I'm used to shooting babies and toddlers. Running after them, capturing their cuteness on the fly. As my kids get older their friend's parents hire me and the shoots change from running around chasing snotty kids to working with young adults and helping them build their confidence. Sometimes that includes doing makeup, helping with postures, poses and making everyone has fun. It's a good thing I'm really dorky because teens and tweens think I'm funny which ends up showing beautifully in photos.
A few tips to aid in a successful shoot with young adults....
1. Make it fun!
Let the kids be themselves! Mix it up with goofy shots and also the formal poses you know the parent's want hanging over the fireplace. I always let the kids know, "I want you to just hang out and laugh and be silly." Easy peasy.
2. Send the Mom on her way to get the kids a treat
Kids seem to loosen up when Mom or Dad aren't lurking in the background telling them what to do. I usually send parents away to Starbucks or the nearest 7-11 to grab water or a snack for the kids. Kids ALWAYS act different in front of the camera when parents aren't around!
3. Compliment and Help Build Confidence
Let the kids know how they are doing! Give feedback but also help them with their posture and SHOW them how to pose. Most of us aren't professional models. I find that teen girls struggle with good posture, so I usually tell them ahead of time, "I'm going to help you stand up straight and look your best!" That way they know what to expect and they know I will be "directing" the shoot so to speak.... Plus everyone loves a young lady with great posture. Just sayin.
4. Help Parents with wardrobe choices
Be specific. Sometimes I will even go over to a client's home ahead of time and help them choose. I like when people bring two outfit choices on location. I think the best shoots are the ones which the parents stretch slightly out of their comfort zone. Mix and match. No all white please..... Photographers: SPELL IT OUT. The more specific the more successful your shoot will be!
We are in the business of setting expectations. People want to look good and will pay for it. Have a few good vendors you like to work with, i.e. makeup artists and stylists. The Archer family graciously allowed me to do their daughter's makeup and help style her. Offer their services to help the shoot look well put together if you think necessary. Put the time and effort into each and every client and your shoots will look like they came out of Teen Cosmo. :)