Take Your Portrait Photography to the Next Level!

Teenage years are a transitional time on the threshold to adulthood. This is a time when you want to capture their joy and excitement. These are some tips to help you photograph teenagers better.

Be a good listener

No matter the personality of the teenagers you are photographing, it is important to approach them with grace and tact. It is important to establish a rapport with your teenagers by using a friendly conversation and bridging the gap. You don’t have to try to be hip slang or bring yourself down to their level. Instead, elevate teens to your (adult level) and they will feel that you are not treating them as children. Teenagers crave this respect. Tell them you are there to capture this moment in your life. It’s important to learn about their interests so that you can maximize their participation in the photo composition. This will make it a win-win situation. You should work quickly and with minimal preparation. This means you need to be prepared for anything and ready to capture it as quickly as possible.

Treat them as adults

Teenagers are going through a transitional period in their lives. They will become adults but still have some elements of childhood. They want to be treated with respect as an adult. Talking to them about topics and ideas that appeal to their mature side will help you earn their respect. Once you have developed mutual respect, you can start asking teenagers to pose for photos with you. Working with teenagers is more difficult than ever because of the importance of effective communication. You will gain trust from them (show them the photos on your LCD screen) and they’ll be more open to being photographed.

Use simple backgrounds

Attractive Asian Girl outdoor portrait

Teenagers are often unaffected by the complexities of life, so it’s best to leave them alone in simple settings that allow you to concentrate on their youthful energy. Simple backgrounds, such as brick walls or parks, can be used to avoid distracting elements. Avoid flash photography. Keep snapping photos and they will soon become more comfortable and less aware. Also, if the background looks casual, they will be less formal and more relaxed.

Natural is the Best

Female student outside walking to class on campus

Teenagers are fascinating subjects because of their natural behavior and actions. Encourage them to be authentic and not to worry about taking photos. To break the ice, you can even snap a few random images. You can tell stories to get them relaxed and allow them to do what they want. The best images are those that you can be patient with. Wait, take another picture. You shouldn’t rush candid photos. If you don’t feel comfortable setting the exposure on the camera, you may want to use the P (Program mode) option. This will allow you to capture teenagers in a natural setting (non-posed). You don’t want your subjects to have to fiddle with the controls or lose their patience.

Make it memorable!

Teenagers dancing at a birthday party

Teenagers enjoy being with their friends so why not take them out to have fun together? You might find that they appreciate having someone there to capture them having fun. If it’s a low-light event like an indoor birthday party, you can use an external flash with a diffuser to freeze the action and capture those moments when they aren’t so self-conscious.

Get dressed to click

A Pretty Teenage Girl outdoors laughing

Teens often display individual styles during their teenage years that reflect their changing personalities. Teenagers will not be compelled to wear clothes other than what they want. You don’t have to stage photos in formal outfits or attire. You can simply wear the casual, natural (or unique) clothes they like. Contrasting colors are bold and vibrant. A contrast t-shirt and leafy green background make the wearer standout. This type of image is best captured with a telephoto lens between 200 and 300mm. For blurred backgrounds, turn the mode dial to AV mode (Aperture Priority).


You should aim for shutter speeds between 1/125s to 1/125s depending on how much light is available and your aperture setting. You can use a flash when necessary, but you shouldn’t make the entire process seem formal or grandiose. It should feel and look natural. The depth of field should be kept low so that the focus can be on the subject and not the background. A large aperture.

Equipment we recommend

A selection of lenses is important. While a 50mm standard lens is the best, a 28-70mm standard zoom lens will also work. Telephotos are useful because you can photograph from a distance and not make the teenager feel embarrassed. If you need more light, use a large reflector. Teens aren’t usually open to staging photos. If you need more light, use the flash and any accessories that can be attached to it.


Teenagers, who are growing up and feeling like adults, want to be treated with respect. Respect is the key to working effectively with teens and photographing them. Establish open, friendly and fun lines of communication with teens to build trust.