17/52

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.”
Che: In the garage, sorting through boxes of miscellany.
Poet: The mischievous spark of an almost-two-year-old sitting on her bookshelf.
Β 

Might I just say that I’m finding it difficult to choose only five favourites. This week I was completely enamoured by Charlie and Rufus in the woods; children within nature, a wonderful thing / I adored the nostalgic quality of she and him / siblings on a windswept hilltop, unforgettable silhouettes / little girl, you have the sweetest ice-cream smudged face / and the waking and sleeping beauty; gorgeous Bo.Last week Emma mentioned that whilst photographing her baby is easy, capturing her older boys is proving difficult. During 2012 I wondered whether I could do another year of 52 with Che; simply because he was turning from the camera so much. But, his reaction proved inspiring. I started taking photos of him immersed in a project or his footsteps as he walked in front of me. It’s when I started to really value the “unportrait” and I quickly learned that a portrait isn’t just a photo of a face or expression; it’s about capturing gestures, traits, artistic creations, shadows and silhouettes. I had to get sneaky though – photographing through windows orΒ door frames, around trees and from above.

This year I’ve taken an entirely different approach and so far it’s working. When I’m not capturing him in the midst of an activity I engage him in conversation by talking about the light and how it’s helping me create the photo. Afterwards we look through the pictures I’ve taken and chat about each shot. Sometimes, if he’s not in a rush to run off and play, he’ll take a few photos with the camera and I’ll talk him through the process (his composition is impressive!).

Do you have any inspiring tips for photographing older children and teenagers?

 

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Showing 66 comments
  • Emma Bradshaw
    Reply

    Thank you Jodi for talking about photographing older ones – again this week the nine year old has proved elusive, whilst the younger two are easier to entertain! I find capturing other peoples children so much easier than my own! I would love to hear more tips of the trade, so to speak!
    Emma x

  • Preeti Dubey
    Reply

    Both Che & Poet look so adorable in the pictures.Che is a sweetheart. My kid is not that grown up and happily poses for all the cameras (even to my friends:) but yes, i also think that engaging the kids in some talks or activity can let us capture their innocent faces and gestures. sometimes asking them to imitate their favourite character/ actor may give is opportunity to capture them. Have a nice sunday!

  • Lou Archell
    Reply

    I find that my two understand what I am doing now.. constantly having a camera pointed at them kind of helps. Charlie still proves difficult, only because he is a fidget and more often than not my images are blurry. I think engaging them in the process and take pictures of an 'unportrait' way, just of them being them helps.

    • Lou Archell
      Reply

      p.s. thank you for choosing my boys! Such a surprise to see their names up there. xx

  • Mammasaurus
    Reply

    I love the lighting and Che's look in the first photo and Poets mischievous expressions in the second!

    My teenagers have just started to let me take their photographs, in fact they quite like it but the 8 – 13 yr stage was one where it was hardest. I love photos of children immersed in an activity – even when they have no awareness of the camera – purely because it feels more like capturing a stolen moment x

  • Reply

    Really love Poet's cheeky face.

    Mine are still young but they're beginning to become conscious of the camera. But also interested in photography (it runs in the family). I'm thinking of investing in a cheap digital camera for my 5-year-old to begin his own photography projects, think he would love it.

    • Mammasaurus
      Reply

      My 5 year old just started taking photos on the LeapPad and loves it – I'm toying with the idea of giving her my old, old point and click camera – would be cool to see what they come up with!

    • Emma Bradshaw
      Reply

      Mine have both cheap digital cameras and a fuji instamax which is their favourite as they get instant results and don't have to rely on me to order them online. I would definitely recommend a camera, my eldest had an old polaroid until it broke and loved it. Emma x

    • little love
      Reply

      I gave my eldest her first camera for her fourth birthday – a little Sony point & shoot. She's since moved on to a Nikon 3300(she got that last year) & at 6 has been asking about getting a DSLR. We'll see! Kids capture some great photos. Pip even had her own photo blog – she's gone off it a little lately but when she wants to put a photo up I'll help her out πŸ™‚

  • fritha strickland
    Reply

    Poet's cheeky grin! Beautiful x

  • Lil Muse Lily
    Reply

    that look on Poet's face looks like trouble πŸ™‚

  • Rebecca Alexis
    Reply

    I have a 13yo and there are times when it is really difficult to capture him. His self awareness makes my 9yo have more self awareness as well. I have talked a bit about this on my blog. Lately I have been really inspired by Tara Whitney (http://tarawhitney.com/justbeblogged/). She is a photographer that takes simply fantastic photos of her teens, and posts on the blog "you are my wild" with other photographers from around the world. Simply stunning. I do some of what Jodi suggests above with my 6yo and my 9yo. However, with my 13yo I have found taking less photos of him in our day to day helps( because he deplores it). Instead, I am attempting to make it a moment of intentional well spent time together. Last week, I did this and was able to get some really good shots of him. Because I have more than one, I am also giving up on having to post all 3 of my merry men if I can't get a good shot. One intentional or perfect snippet of a moment is all I need. I am letting go of it always needing to be perfect on my blog and making this a learning time for me as well as a playful moment with my boys.

    • Rebecca Alexis
      Reply

      I have also considered letting him do his own selfies. But he is not really into it. However this idea, might be useful for other teens out there. xxoo

  • Lauren Knight
    Reply

    Poet's hair is just so great! And Che's profile… wow. They are both so beautiful!

  • Jane George
    Reply

    love that cheeky face and your light again!! beautiful stills and great topic. loving this project Jodi, thank you so much for hosting it xxx

  • Astred*designcherry
    Reply

    Look at that cheeky chops! I know that face well… Aaah daredevil babies

  • Reply

    Love the light on Che's face. And that cheeky grin, brilliant! So pleased with herself!

  • Victoria
    Reply

    lovely images, we have the same trouble but I now usually snap her in moments she's not paying attention, I feel like that's more a her photo style now.

  • Mother Down Under
    Reply

    That is so lovely that you now take photos with Che…I am sure that he will remember those moments for ever…and will of course emerge from this project a skilled photographer in his own right!

  • sara
    Reply

    your children are darling!
    and i am l o v i n g your approach, to capture them in their own element.
    i'm finding myself drawn to the "unportrait" in this series for both older and younger children.
    so inspiring!

  • Kirsty
    Reply

    O I love Poet's cheeky smile! I've only just started letting my 4 year take photos, but I'm definitely thinking of getting them both little cameras for Christmas. My 4 year old still loves having his photo taken and always asks to see it. My 2 year old tells me 'enough photos, mummy, put the camera away!'

  • Kim H
    Reply

    lovely photos, as always, Jodi:) I'm keen to hear everyone's ideas for taking shots of teenage boys. Lew is getting really hard to take photos of these days. Though we've just got him a new dog so hopefully there'll be lots of photo opportunities there:)

  • Steph @ this brown wren
    Reply

    Oh those curls! And Che looks like such a beautiful, industrious little soul. Hope your week is grand. See you Friday! x x

  • Suzie Williams
    Reply

    I work as a photographer and I'd say photographing older kids (7+) is all about collaboration, involving them in the shot, showing them the results and explaining what you're aiming for. At home, with an eight and five year old, my oldest is far more cooperative and understands the project – he calls it my homework! – whereas my five year old sways between cooperative and totally uncooperative! Letting him have a play with the camera helps but I'm definitely going to try talking to them more about the mechanics of the shot!

  • aluminiumgirl
    Reply

    Cheeky Miss Poet!
    Love it πŸ™‚

  • Reply

    You certainly did capture a mischievous looking Poet. So very sweet! Che is as handsome as ever. Like Suzie above, I tell the kids this project is my homework and they are most always willing to help out.

  • Catherine
    Reply

    I love that cheeky little grin as only a little one can do when they are caught in the middle of doing something they're not suppose to:) I am finding it extremely hard photographing both of my girls but my unaware photos seem to be the best of them, not posed because the posing just hasn't been working for us lately:) x

  • The Wholefood Mama
    Reply

    Oh little Poet look at you! I see that same cheeky sparkle in my Sol on an all too regular basis. People talk about the 'terrible twos' but I didn't experience that with either of my boys, with both the third year has been the most challenging for my patience. Beautiful photo of Che in that light x

  • Reply

    I'm with you, the unportrait is key. Photographing my husband proves to be challenging in the same way you speak of photographing Che. And I agree, capturing him when he's already engaged in something is key. I've found that when I ask him if I can photograph him, the shots are boring. The "unportraits" are my favorites and I love thinking of new and creative ways to capture him. I've also included a lot of him interacting with one or both of our boys. Not sure if that is truly a portrait, but I'm not stressing over it πŸ˜‰ I really like capturing those moments. I love your photos this week. Poet looks so proud.

  • Kym Piez
    Reply

    Oh yes. Taking pictures of my six year old is getting more difficult. I too, want natural photos, but he's become too aware. My kids have been use to me taking photos, and so they're not too posed, but I have found that going through the photos together creates a moment of it. Beautiful photos. x

  • little love
    Reply

    I love trying to visit as many links as I can throughout the week & leaving comments. I just wish everyone would get rid of word verification! I'll try once, twice but by the third time the kids are breathing down my neck & it's adios blog comments!

  • Bianca (ivylovesjack)
    Reply

    Oh Jodi, Poet's cheeky little face here is so completely and utterly adorable! As always, your kids and your photos are beautiful.

  • Angels have Red Hair
    Reply

    I am also struggling to get photos of my boys … aged 13 and 15. I find I just have to be ready to go at all times. If they are in a mood that's open to it … it's go go go … no waiting for a convenient time for me. This week I managed to catch the 15 year old asleep … that's been the easiest shot yet ;0)

  • one claire day
    Reply

    ha! Poet's face – what a munchkin!

    Love the contrast of warmth and cool in these shots x

  • Brenda @ Mira Narnie
    Reply

    your children's facial expressions tell just so much about the fun in these images! I love them Jodi! I too, like to talk to my eldest son whilst taking his photo.. He understand I love to take photograph lots of things and is quite tolerant of that! Wishing you a happy week ahead x

  • Reply

    really appreciating the tips and encouragement on how to capture older less-enthusiastic kids!! will be filing these away to start implementing with my brood πŸ™‚

  • Amber {we stood together}
    Reply

    Oh little Poet, your smirk just screams "I am a toddler!" She is cute as a button.
    My son is 5 and is quite similar to Che in his reaction to the camera. I have been doing almost the same thing with him, capturing him engaged in things he loves. I find with him it is easier to get a "real moment" with him if I don't expect to get a photo with him making any sort of eye contact with me or the camera. Sometimes I will ask him to tell me what he is doing as I love capturing his face as he talk through his creation or moment of play. It is still hard work but I am learning not to push it πŸ™‚

    • Jodi
      Reply

      In my experience, forcing the photo results in a terrible image and an even worse mood. I think I did it twice and vowed never again. What is most lovely is that Che understands that taking photos is important to me, it something that I love doing and if he can help me with my project he feels like he's really a part of it too x

  • toi
    Reply

    that's so sweet!!!

  • JoKnows
    Reply

    What lovely sweet portraits. I love your idea of photographing your son while he is captivated by something. And thanks so much for featuring she & him. πŸ™‚

    Jo
    http://www.womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/

  • Coal Valley View
    Reply

    Love this portrait of Poet, don't think I've seen this cheeky grin of hers before, makes her look so grown up. Mel x

  • Anna {fields-of-sage}
    Reply

    My goodness Poe's hair is growing! Adore those sweet ringlets x

    • Jodi
      Reply

      …and the subsequent dreadlocks πŸ˜‰ x

  • Sarah Raaen
    Reply

    The palette blue & white in this portrait of Poet is refreshing – & that grin is incredibly endearing!

    I adore your points how you photograph Che – I find that I am adopting the same ideas whilst capturing images of our animals. They hardly enjoy the camera being 'in their face', so following them around for a portrait is tedious, however some of my favourite images so far have been whilst I watched their antics from afar…as well as through door frames, around trees & from above πŸ˜‰

    Sar xx

  • Laura
    Reply

    Love that cheeky smile!

  • Hazel
    Reply

    My first week, hooray! Sorry I can't link back I'm yet to work that out for the blogger app on my phone.
    I loved how you explained to Che, and that he was then interested! it's a lovely portrait, and Poet? So cheeky and cute!

    • Jodi
      Reply

      I'm delighted that you and the girls are joining in. Maggie and Elisabeth's first portrait week – so special x

  • Maxabella
    Reply

    It's all about the unportrait with mine most week. I either get 'the face' (goofy Max), 'the pose' (Badoo loving herself) or 'the over smile' (Cappers loving that gap!). So, I tend to let them do whatever they're doing and then softly say their name and the second they look up, snap! x

  • gabrielle
    Reply

    beautiful pictures this week, love Poets smile. With my now 18yr old it was about making a time with her and photographing her vintage outfits or capturing her playing with her little siblings. Some of my favourites are her walking hand in hand with them taken from behind. Also she also had right of veto to anything I posted which made her more willing to have her picture taken.

  • Pink Ronnie
    Reply

    I think it's all about capturing the moment. Even if the photo is 'imperfect' from a particular technical point of view, if it captures a moment perfectly, then to me it's a 'perfect' photo/portrait…
    I adore all your portraits. This one of Poet is particularly sweet. LOVE that look in her eyes.
    Ronnie xo

  • Luckybeans
    Reply

    Oh my goodness, thank you so much.
    As far as taking photos of older children, I do usually rely on the unportrait. And I have also noticed that their relationship with my lens is always changing. Sometimes they are happy to ignore it, sometimes they only want to pull faces, sometimes they actively request specific shots, sometimes they shriek and hide– there is a large range, but I just laugh and keep snapping, unless I am specifically asked not to. I also try very hard not to force things– those are never good shots anyway. I think the most important thing for them to be comfortable with it is to simply have it around and not make it intrusive. They expect it now, and so they simply carry on.

  • flyingjen
    Reply

    I absolutely love Poet's curls. And her impish little smile!

  • Kate
    Reply

    Love the contrast in this week's tones – the warmth and cool is perfection. It's so fun to challenge ourselves in taking approaches we haven't tried before, different angles, engaging our children, being sneaky πŸ˜‰ I love all of it. I'm really having so much fun with this x

  • Ladies in Navy
    Reply

    gorgeous! adore the second photo
    kw ladies in navy

  • tinajo
    Reply

    Lovely portraits! πŸ™‚

  • HPMcQ
    Reply

    poet's face is brilliant, a classic caught in the act kind of look!

  • Katrina@capturingmomentss
    Reply

    You always get the most lovely light in your photos. I am learning a lot from you Jodi, thank you. x

  • look see (naomi)
    Reply

    Oh Poet! That grin! πŸ™‚

  • Veronica
    Reply

    Jody I've noticed this sense of complicity between you and Che in the last portraits, as he's working at this project with you. I can tell from the way he looks at you through the camera. And he seems to have grown al lot recently…

  • barbara
    Reply

    my daughter is still so young (almost two) so not so difficult to surprise her with a photo, but i found other difficulties: she keeps moving, sometimes the light is not enough, i don't like the composition but, by the time i find another point of view, she moves or that pretty face has gone…
    i'm learning so much from all the talented photographers (you first) in this project so thank you!

  • Lila Wolff
    Reply

    I agree with the unportrait but that's how I prefer to take all of my shots, I want a natural record of them. I think I'm very conscious of the fact that I am horribly uncomfortable having my photo taken so I try to make it as natural as possible for my children.
    My teens have opted out and I think my advice to others is to respect it if your children don't want to participate. Yes we all want to capture the fleeting moments as they grow but forcing it (as Jodi mentioned earlier) results in a poor mood in the photo. I think the other thing to bear in mind too with teens is that they may not be comfortable with their image being shared online and that could be part of any reluctance. Showing them that their opinion and autonomy is respected is as important as taking part in this beautiful project.

  • natalie thistlewood-cox
    Reply

    I talk to them while I have my camera out, they both love using my iphone to take photos xx

  • Iliska Dreams
    Reply

    I LOVE that image of Poet, full of so much personality and life.

  • thespunmonkey
    Reply

    I included my husband in this project, and find that both he and my son will shy away from direct portraits more often than not. I love to catch them unawares, engaged in their respective pursuits, or in a sweet moment together. I have begun to engage my son in the photographic process, too, which really does help! Although, my approach this week was to post the outtakes instead, just to keep it real…we're not always in the mood! btw, I love how this project is encouraging me to keep a journal of weekly accomplishments and tiny things that may have passed unrecorded.

  • bron @ baby space
    Reply

    I love that Che is interested, I wonder if the kiddo would be interested if I talked to him about the process too? He's usually still keen to have his photo taken — especially if he's in a play-acting mood, which is a lot πŸ˜‰

    with the teenager I get the best pics if I'm around with the camera when he's doing things he loves: playing basketball, being with his friends, that kind of thing.

  • Rachel Beemster
    Reply

    As always I enjoy your photos but your photo of Che was one of my favourites for this week πŸ™‚

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