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  • Writer's pictureNicole Trejo

Working with teens!

Oh, this one is always a toughie--not because teens aren't awesome, but because they are suddenly PEOPLE. They're not babies or kids, so what in the world do you do with them? We went live today on 10 Minutes with Manzanita and here are some highlights:

1. Remember teenagers are adults in a sense. If you personally feel self conscious in front of the camera, there's a good chance that teen feels the same way. Channel your empathy, and you'll put everyone at ease.

2. Go OLD SCHOOL. I'm talking Dean Martin, Cary Grant, etc. Those old dudes knew how to pose and knew how to do it with style. So for inspiration, go look at some old photographs of past movie stars and see what they did.

3. Affirmation. This is big. Teens are going to react by the way you speak to them. Tell them you loved that shot! Wow, your eyes are amazing in this! I love your hair, etc. If you're silent, they're going to think something is wrong and they will shut down, so speak love all day long.

4. Interaction with their little sibs. I love this one. Teen girls are generally maternal, so I love having them twirl their little siblings or kiss their noses or give them deep hugs. Moms love these shots, too. Don't be afraid to separate a teen with one sibling you notice they like. The shoot does not have to be balanced by any means, so separate them and let them interact with just one person.

5. Teenagers have amazing bodies made of elastic. They can run, jump, spin, dance, you name it. And they can do it so much better than you lol. Utilize that skill and help them see how they can move. Have the boys do a power slide or guitar kick from a rock. Tell your teen girl to twirl so her hair moves. Get them moving.

6. Walk the runway. Teens love attention, even though they get bashful. So tell them you're working on your settings and have them walk away from you "on a runway". Bring music. Make it fun. Tell them their fans want them to show off, so have them twirl, pause, throw hands up, smile, toss their heads, etc. It loosens everyone up and you can snag some amazing shots.

7. Get the details. Detail shots are not just for babies or tinies (although I love detail shots for my babes). Tell the story of that teen--their hands, their earrings, their jawline, their bowties. The complete story is more than just a posed smile. Grab the small stuff.

Any thoughts about teen sessions? What works for you?

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