documenting the everyday life of your teen

Tell me about when your child was little – better yet, show me. I am willing to bet that you have tons of photos and videos and maybe even albums full of little moments of their lives as young kids. Now show me a recent photo of your teen…tell me about their everyday moments. Are we losing touch in the hustle and bustle of our overly busy days? Do we struggle getting them in front of the camera for a year end photo for the holiday card? Or do they just “refuse” to let us take photos of them anymore? Are we relying on the face that they take 1,000 selfies a day and we assume that’s enough?

Salt Lake City teen photographer talks about documenting your teen's life


A couple of years ago I wrote a series here on the blog about documenting your everyday life and all of the little components that go into that. If you didn’t see it – go take a look (Documenting your Everyday Life) Now that my children have all moved into that teen area it’s gotten more difficult to document their everyday lives the way we used to so I thought it would be a great time to revisit many of those tips and ideas. (and we’re also going to get into it from the teen’s point of view)

Salt Lake City teen photographer talks about documenting your teen's life

me, typing a paper, sophomore year (1990)


This series will hopefully encourage you and your family to get in front of the camera more often. I would love to hear thoughts and ideas and questions from parents of teens and tweens – what are you struggling with? Do your teens put their hand in front of their face every time you try and take a photo? Do you feel like you’re invading their space by taking photos? Do they demand that you don’t ever post a photo of them on social media? I get it – and I get all of those responses from my own three at various times and in various ways. I have come up with some really great solutions that have put us all on the same page and we can all get what we want out of the deal.


what will we focus on?

  • getting your teen on your side (wasn’t it so much easier when they were 2?)
  • capturing everyday moments (everyday moments that are quite different from 8 years ago)
  • capturing traditions (how have traditions of your child and family changed over the years)
  • capturing those moments you don’t want to forget when they’ve moved away (yes – even the not so great moments)
  • getting images with you AND your child together (very important!!!)
  • social media and privacy issues for your teen (let your child lead in this area)
  • what to do with these images (the answer is not to leave them on your phone)
  • phone and camera tips – as well as some social media tips from the teens themselves

why is this so important?

When our children are little and brand new and going though all of those amazing milestones we cannot wait to snap a pic and share it with the world. This is great – even if we aren’t sharing those photos with the world, we’re telling them (in a way) how proud we are of them, how much we love them, how important they and their stories are to us. Once our kids start growing older and becoming more independent those photo ops change. They don’t necessarily become less frequent – they’re just different. We need to look for them. Their stories are just as important to tell (and we need to make sure we’re getting their permission on where and how we tell them). These are the years that they remember and having their stories told from your point of view to look back on are more valuable than you can imagine.

Salt Lake City teen photographer talks about documenting your teen's life

me, first day of school, junior year (1990)


I’m sure you’re still getting those first day of school photos…when they’ll let you. Those are important. I love looking back at mine (my mother was adamant about getting these shots – she even had my college roommate take my first day of school pic my freshman year). I love to see the clothes that I wore, the car that I drove, the way my hair looked.


Salt Lake City teen photographer talks about documenting your teen's life

me, first day of school, senior year (1991)


Other than these images, birthdays and holidays and images before dances there aren’t a lot of photos from my teen years. And that’s ok. I was busy, my mom was busy and there wasn’t a camera attached to our hands at all hours. That’s simply not the case today.

Salt Lake City teen photographer talks about documenting your teen's life

me and erin, a random shot, december junior year (1990)


This photo above of my best friend and I at her home in a random little moment means so much to me. We’ve been best friends since we were 5 yet haven’t seen each other for nearly a decade. But we’re still close, will always be close. Seeing that photo, I can hear her laugh. I can remember what it felt like being in her home. I remember her family. I remember our matching J. Crew jackets. I don’t know why I’m smiling so big or what we were doing but I can feel how much our friendship still means to me.

I know that my kids have a lot of pics on their phones, selfies and photos with friends. I know they have instagram and other ways of sharing those images, but I want to make sure that I’m continuing to tell their stories as well. That we continue to create memories together and document those times for them (and for me) to relive when they’re older.

Don’t stop taking photos just because they’re growing up…don’t think that a photo of them walking away from you and into practice doesn’t tell a story.

everyday life is in the details.


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