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How to Make Shy Teenagers Feel Comfortable in Front of Your Camera

Effective methods on how to photograph shy teenagers, earn their trust, and get amazing creative results.
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How to Make Shy Teenagers Feel Comfortable in Front of Your Camera

Each and every one of us was once a teenager who did embarrassing things and felt insecure. Our adolescent years overflowed with angst, infatuation, boredom, curiosity, and emotions we couldn’t really understand. In a nutshell, it was a roller coaster of an experience, a wild ride that had a significant impact on our older selves.

Mood swings and uncertainty can make teenagers feel self-conscious about themselves. This might compel them to avoid photographers altogether. The fear of looking awkward in photos forces young people to take photos with people in their close circle only. This, of course, makes it much harder for photographers to communicate with them.

When you do get the chance to photograph a teenager, be it your own child or a client’s, you may feel creatively hopeless. Shyness and insecurities all add up to a teen who simply doesn’t want to cooperate.

This can be fixed using a number of effective methods, all of which will be shared in this article. Below, you’ll find tips on how to approach shy teenagers, earn their trust, and get amazing creative results.

photo of teens in park

Introduce Yourself

As a client photographer, the worst thing you can do is not talk about yourself. If possible, meet your client beforehand for a friendly chat. Opening up will make you look more human in a teenager’s eyes. It may also reveal fun parts of your personality that your client will be able to relate to.

Show them your work, talk about your own adolescent years, and share funny stories with them. Your conversation will have a significant impact on your client’s opinion of you. If you befriend them, they’ll want to take photos with you.

photo of a book

Ask Them for Inspiration

Every teenager has a unique style they admire. Ask your client to show you their favourite musicians, photographers, fashion looks, or anything else they’re comfortable with showing. Understanding their creative taste will give you a better idea of the kinds of photos they’d be happy with. It will also show them that you care about their opinion, something that will contribute to their overall level of comfort during your shoot.

photo of a teenage boy

Embrace Unique Perspectives

A variety of interesting photos will boost your client’s self-confidence, so experiment with different angles and movements. Express the teenager’s personality through your work. Catch them off guard by avoiding simple portraits and straightforward instructions. Most importantly, go from location to location (even if it just means walking a few steps back!) to give yourself and your subject more space, backgrounds, and lighting to work with.

photos of teen girls
If your client brings a friend or two, bonus points to you! Your models’ natural chemistry will add a spark to all of your photos. Furthermore, it’ll make your main client feel very comfortable.

Be Honest and Open

Inauthentic compliments are easy to detect, so make sure your feedback comes from an honest place. If a pose or expression doesn’t look right, show your client what you’d prefer to see. Show them your results every few minutes and notice what they like. If their favorites are different to yours, embrace their opinions! You may ending up learning something valuable yourself.

skateboard photo

Don’t Give Them Commands

Teenagers may find instructions irritating and boring. Once you feel that they’re comfortable in your presence, don’t keep telling them what to do. Let them interact with their surroundings, talk to their friends, or give you creative ideas. During this process, they’ll find their own artistic voice and help you take gorgeous photos.

kid looking through binoculars photo

The beauty of adolescence is hard to find at first. Teenagers like to hide their true feelings and avoid awkward situations. However, as a photographer, you have the power to make them feel comfortable in their own skin. Once you find that world of openness, you’ll never have to look for it again. You’ll have incredible photos and genuine friendships eagerly waiting to be made.

skateboard photograph photo of girl jumping photo of girl in grass


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How to Make Shy Teenagers Feel Comfortable in Front of Your Camera