Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Photographing Teenagers


The Fun and Creativity of Photographing Teenagers

I love photographing teenagers and I’ve found that, over the years, I’m doing it more and more. when I first started my business, like most family photographers, I concentrated on babies and young children – like most family photographers I enjoyed photographing the two-year olds who were oblivious to the camera and who would ignore me as they played. It’s where we all start as they are, relatively, the easiest family session.

But sixteen years have passed since I started my family photography business. The children I first photographed as tiny babies and cute toddlers have grown and are now wonderful teenagers and fascinating young adults. We are still taking pictures and what I have found, is that far from being difficult, photographing teenagers is fascinating and fantastic and I love it.

What I love most about photographing older children and teens is being able to portray their personalities, being able to dig deeper and find out what they want to remember. What are their favourite hobbies? how do they like to be presented? what will they enjoy doing while we take pictures. It’s so interesting and such a collaboration between me and them and their parents that the results are wonderful and a real team effort, it’s all the better for it.

So now, when I photograph teenagers we start with a family walk – an opportunity to take those all-important group shots and also for everyone to relax a bit in the outdoors and get used to the camera, and then we concentrate on the children individually, photographing them in their favourite places, including their hobbies, enjoying sports or activities or just taking beautiful portraits that show them at this age.

I wanted to demonstrate this by showing three very different images on this blog post – I also thought it would be an interesting counterpoint to the sneak preview from my last photo shoot with this family, where I showed three portraits with a definite theme, using the lighting to create beautiful profile portraits.

This year I wanted to show variety, the different types of images I look for during a photo shoot.

The first one is an underwater image. I got an underwater housing last year and I’ve had such fun playing with it. I’ll often get it out at the end of a session as it’s a bit hit and miss (I’m effectively photographing through a giant plastic bag) but the results can be wonderful. We finished with fifteen minutes in the swimming pool and it was brilliant, taking pictures underwater have such an otherworldly feel.

The second, a portrait, a classical image of a beautiful and inspiring young lady. I had such a brilliant time chatting and this picture that echoes one we took back in 2014 is a real favourite.

The third is an action shot. Tennis is his sport and I wanted to produce a picture that was a bit different. Inspired by my fellow Canon Ambassador Marc Aspland’s shots for the Times at Wimbledon this year I used the zoom burst technique to focus on the energy and explosive nature of the sport.

I love all three shots and I love the variety we can create on a full mornings photo shoot. If this style of work appeals to you and you would like to create wonderful pictures of your family, then do get in touch.  September weekends are fully booked but there is space midweek and also at the weekend in October and November.