5 Reasons to get photos of your younger teen or tween

Why it's important to photograph Tweens & younger teens

A few years ago, my friend Stephanie from college hired me to do a portrait session for her oldest daughter Logan as she was about to start middle school. She wanted the session to focus on Logan as she made the transition from elementary to middle school, and I thought it was a great idea. We do milestones sessions all the time for babies, and then again when kids are seniors in high school, but those middle years often get left out. We need to document the lives of our tweens and younger teens too. I’d love to see more clients interested in photographing tweens

This year, Stephanie contacted me again, and this time it was a big year for both of her daughters. Logan is about to start high school, and her little sister Molly is about to start middle school. So she wanted a session for both of them to document this transitional time period in their lives, and I was super excited to get to hang out with both of them.  They are really fantastic young women and we had the best time. They are both gorgeous and were so easy to photograph. 

I couldn’t get over what fantastic weather we had for this late July session. I was a bit worried it would be insanely hot, like it typically is this time of year, but we got so lucky with a beautiful mild evening.  Preservation park has definitely become one of my favorite places to photograph sessions.  My only complaint is that it’s quite a bit of walking (and up a giant hill) to get to the spots I really like to shoot at.  

Since we do’t often think of doing a special photo session for younger teens or tweens, so I wanted to outline a couple reasons why you might want to consider one.

Reasons for photographing tweens & Teens

  1. They are changing so fast.  We typically book lots of photo sessions for our babies and toddlers because “they are changing so fast” and we want to document all those seasons and changes.  Well, that’s happening now too.  It seems like you look a way for a moment, and when you look back, your baby is gone and somehow a young woman is standing in her place. #dontblink
  2. Even if they don’t admit it, they enjoy the extra attention. I don’t actually know this for sure and it’s probably not true for every kid, but I think most of them welcome the opportunity to be made a fuss over just a little bit.  Especially when they figure out that my sessions are pretty laid back and casual and we are just gonna hang out and chat. 
  3. They are really becoming amazing, unique human beings and a session is a chance to get to know them better. We joke a lot about how tough it is to parent teens, and believe me, it is.  But also, it’s so freaking cool to be able to have these real, meaningful conversations with these amazing people that you MADE.  A photo session is an opportunity to stand back, take a deep breath, and appreciate your beautiful creation. 
  4. Maybe the photos will help them to see what amazing humans they are, if they don’t already know it. As tough as it is to parent a teen, it’s probably even tougher to be one.  Maybe the photos will help them see how beautifully made they are, if they don’t know it already. 
  5. Before you know it, it will be time for that Senior Portrait session.  As my friend Michelle always says, “the days are long but the years are short.” Before you know it, this season will be over, and you’ll wish you had documented it. 

So there you have it…5 reasons to either pick up the camera and get photos of your “big kids”, or hire a professional for either a family portrait session or a session of just your older kids. Did I miss any? 

Combination Family & Senior Portrait Session in Thompson Station TN

Nashville Senior Portrait Photographer

A few times, I’ve been approached by a mom who needs to book a senior session for her child (or in this case, children) for graduation announcements and all that fun stuff.  But then she’ll also say that it’s been a long time since they’ve had family portraits done and that she’d like to get a few photos with everyone in them. 

I’m sure that other photographers may disagree with my approach to this, but I am 100% OK with combining a senior session with a family session.  I charge a set fee for a one-hour photo session for up to 6 people, so it is really up to the client on how they would like me to prioritize that hour. I always do individual shots of each child at a family portrait session, so it is pretty easy to combine the two types of photo sessions. 

Combining sessions might not be the best option for you if your senior is very shy and maybe might take a while to relax at a session, allowing me to get natural images. But that wasn’t the case for Sarah and Jacob.  It also might not be best if your other children are very young toddlers and may need extra time for getting family shots.  But Eli was just old enough to be pretty easy to work with, so this was an excellent option for their family. I feel that we easily got enough photos for the twin’s senior portrait needs, and also the typical family sessions shots. 

Beth had let me know that she had these adorable shirts that she wanted to get a photo of the kids in at the beginning of the session. So we planned to get these in first and then let them change for the family session. Aren’t these just so cute?  

My first real family portrait clients

I cannot believe it’s been almost four years now since I began on this adventure as a professional family & children photographer.  I was thinking about that during this session because I consider this family to be my first “real”clients.  I had been photographing lots of families before I considered myself a real professional, but they were all close friends who I knew very well.  This family was the first ones who hired me who I didn’t know really well when they had their first session, so that’s why I consider them my first real clients.

It was for a maternity session and included the big sister to be at a session at Harlinsdale farms.  I was nervous about shooting with people I didn’t really know, but I just fell in love with them right away, and not long after that, was blessed to photograph Grayson’s birth. And each year since, I look forward to photographing their family photos.  I talked yesterday about how I had a weekend of shooting my ideal clients, and this is definitely one of my favorites.

Each year I say how easy these two adorable kiddos are to photograph and they were the same way this year.  There is just so much cuteness and they clearly love each other sooooo much. It’s not just the kids though.  I adore mom and dad as well….they are always playful with the kids and we have so much fun just capturing memories. It’s always such an easy session and they are just simply beautiful.

My ideal family portrait clients

I want to apologize for the large amount of photos in this blog post.  I really am trying to get better about that, but I easily had enough photos from this session for three blog posts, and I had a really hard time choosing.

I first met this beautiful family last year, when they hired me for an extended family session after I had photographed sweet Lily’s preschool graduation photo and I just fell in love with them.  There is just so much love, and joy and togetherness with them that is just beautiful to be around. 

In photography workshops and facebook groups, they talk a lot about finding your ideal clients.  That’s not something I thought about at all before becoming a professional photographer, but I quickly realized how important it is to find clients who are a good fit for my style.  This past weekend, I had three family sessions, and I walked away from them all thinking about how exactly perfect the clients were for me. 

I can’t put into words exactly what makes them so perfect, because a lot of it is just a feeling.  But there are a few things that I know I love to see in clients:

  • They are familiar with my style of work and have come to be because that’s the style that they want, not just because someone recommended me or they found me in a google search (those are all great ways to find me, but my point is that they did look at my photos and made their final choice based upon my work.)
  • They put thought and planning into their wardrobe selection, but also understand that the primary subject of the photos are the people themselves, and have chosen clothing that they are comfortable in and feel themselves in. 
  • They value photos as priceless artifacts of their time together, and after the session, they take the time to print the photos and enjoy them. (I was so excited to hear how this family printed and enjoyed their photos from last Fall!)
  • They aren’t looking for perfectly posed and put together photos, but are interested in capturing real memories of their time together.

I feel so thankful to have so many amazing clients who are not only clients, but who have become friends.  I love being able to see them grow each year ❤️