We all have our preconceived notions about how easy or difficult it is to work with teens on just about anything, but I am here to say loud and proud that I love working with teens!

Teens bring so much to the table and they are so full of personality that they are a joy to photograph, especially when they are together with friends and celebrating something they are excited about. Most of my teen experience comes with seniors, but I also got a chance to photograph a group of teens heading off to Junior Prom this year and it was a blast.

I was recruited for photographing high school students before they headed out to walk-ins and had an awesome evening out together. I made some arrangements and prepared two locations in the event of bad weather- which we ended up having. It was FREEZING. We are having one of the coldest weekends of May EVER in Ohio and it just had to coincide with prom. Thankfully, this group of moms didn’t find themselves frantic at the last minute trying to find somewhere decent to take their kids- I had it all under control. So we headed out to The Garver House B&B in Strasburg, Ohio to take some pictures in and around the house.

This group of friends were pretty sick of taking pictures by now, but they were good sports and we tried our best to move it along at a good pace given that there were six of them all together. Before meeting up with me, they had taken some pictures at home with their individual parents and/or dates, so I was a special stop in their day for one particular mom who didn’t want the pressure of taking good pictures of this special occasion on her own (a very wise woman).

As parents, we all want to take family pictures and capture our memories, but there are times when the difference in quality of pictures just really jumps out. I know I have a huge box of “dance” photos from high school that are pretty much junk and I only still have them because I like to see (sort of) what everyone’s outfits looked like back then. But they are certainly not a stellar set of images that capture me feeling like a dancing queen. Most of the pictures are from unflattering angles, people are making weird faces, or the flash is making us look like ghosts. Not so good. Photographing high school students is not the easiest thing to do, especially if you’re the parent.

It’s was a completely different experience for one particular mom who organized the group and hired me. She wasn’t on her phone, she wasn’t toting a camera, her son wasn’t rolling his eyes at her for taking the bazillionth photograph from a slightly different angle. She got to take in all the hustle and bustle, and truly experience the excitement before her oldest son went off to his very first prom with his girlfriend. She got to be IN the moment. She got to have the piece of mind that there would be fantastic pictures to look back on from her son’s first formal dance ever.

What kind of experience would you prefer? The traditional “mom-shots” (see below)?

Or something stress-free, intentionally shot, and high in quality?

How would you best remember the day and celebrate it years later when you look back at the images? Photographing high school students can be tricky, particularly for moms of moody teen boys who would rather do anything in the world other than what their moms want them to do.

Teens are great. I love teens. I’m not their mom, so they don’t sass me (too much).