How to help introverted teens relax during their high school senior photo-shoot.
I have one of them. I have a reserved teenager that just graduated this 2019. I am extroverted and sometimes don’t like to be in pictures either. There are so many reasons that some people can be camera shy. One reason is that they may not want to be the center of attention. I can go really deep on this subject but let’s keep it simple.
For me, I know what angles will make me appear taller, shorter, thicker or thinner. When I see someone try to take my picture at a really bad angle I don’t want to be in the picture. It’s like turning on your camera on you’re cell phone while it’s facing you, getting the angle under your chin. It’s super unflattering. Another reason may be that they just haven’t had their picture taken properly with the right light and right position of the photographer. Yes, it’s a thing.
Over these last 10 years, I have worked with so many personalities and have seen it all. I understand that for the introverted person it takes a little extra time to warm up. Actually, it takes most people time to get comfortable in front of the camera. But I think that the photographer really has to have great people skills.
One of the main reasons I don’t do mini sessions is because it takes time for people to get comfortable. Sure I can get you to smile if you already know me. But really having fun and feeling relaxed shows up in body language. You can also see if someone is tense and posed unnaturally if you really look for it. I look for it. A two-hour session gives room for that. The first part of my sessions work through those nervous smiles.
I feel like you really have to get to the point where you trust your photographer on a personal level. Getting pictures taken is a vulnerable process. This is the reason we include an additional 20-30 minute planning session with your photo-shoot. The photo-shoot experience is completely personalized and starts the moment we start planning the shoot.
When picking your photographer I think it’s important to have that connection. Over these last 10 years, I have worked with different shapes, ethnicities, kids on the spectrum (I have one myself) with introverted and extroverted teens. This is why I specialize in portrait photography because it the one thing I love doing.
So, what is the biggest sign that a photographer has the ability to make your teen comfortable? One of the biggest indicators is looking at the expressions of the people in their portraits. It’s okay to have those quiet moments in a shoot. Not every image needs to be smiling while looking at the camera. But what does the body language say overall? Do people in their portfolio look stiff? Is the smile forced or fake. Does it look like the person is genuinely relaxed?
At the same time, I really think teens deserve more credit. It seems like teens always have a different energy with other adults even if every now and then they have an attitude with their parents. So, when it comes to that I wouldn’t worry too much about that. I can handle it.
One of the things I have noticed is that if they can bring a friend their age on the shoot it tends to change the energy. We don’t always get lucky and get to do that but if they can invite a friend that will make it cool for them and they are more likely to try something new.
For this photo-shoot, we had a friend present and it made it fun. We shot in Portland.
I do have a few more things we can do to get your introverted teen comfortable. There is so much to it. But I save that for my clients. Is that you? Is your teen graduating soon? Do we seem like a good fit? I’m only a phone call away. (503) 724-8711