DIY Tween Photoshoot

I have had some beginners luck taking photos of my kids and I've wanted to put together a tween inspired photoshoot for my 11 year old step daughter for quite a while.  I finally decided to make it happen and I think the photos turned out great!  I wanted to share my process with you in hopes to inspire you to try your hand at a photoshoot! 

Step 1: Get Inspired!

The first step in this process for me was to get inspired.  Poses and settings don't naturally pop into my head, especially not poses, so it's always a good idea to get some inspiration for the shoot.  I created a pinterest board with a ton of inspiration photos.  The photo that my 11 year old and I agreed was a good inspiration is this photo by Audrey Woulard.

Step 2: Go Shopping

I'll take any excuse to go shopping, let's be real and I can same the same for my 11 year old : ).  First we took stock of her closet to see what she had that she liked for the shoot.  Make sure the clothes fit well and the model is comfortable in them.  They will act stiff and uncomfortable if they feel that way and it will show in the photos!  Once you know what you have, you'll know what you need.  In this shoot, we needed the sunglasses and a beanie (hat) and we wanted to add a scarf.  

We found the sunnies at Claire's and she's yet to take them off haha.  So much fun!  We struck out on finding the beanie so we scratched it and we couldn't find a scarf she loved so we raided MY closet and she was able to borrow one of mine that she loves.  

Options are good too, we had a backup top and shoes in case we weren't loving the way the outfit was working but never ended up using them.  Also, notice it's important to be flexible and gain inspiration from an image, don't recreate it.  That's no fun, plus you will get frustrated because it's impossible to get it exactly like the inspiration photo!

Step 3: Scout Locations

This is actually something I had been doing for weeks before the shoot.  Just in my travels around town I would look for locations that I thought would be engaging in a photo.  One of those spots is actually a bank up the road, they have these great rock retaining walls and a beautiful fountain.  The title image above was actually taken spur of the moment in the bank parking lot.  The flowers were on a parking divider and by the angle we took the photo you can't see the landscaping light to the right of the model or the concrete parking lot in front and in back of her!  

Step 4: Get Good Light

This is one of the biggest things for me.  I don't have a super fancy camera so it's not going to cooperate if the lighting is too strong or overhead.  On this day, it was over cast for the most part so we'd work with the light.  When it was too dark, we'd wait a minute and think about poses or other locations to shoot, then when the clouds shifted we'd shoot.  

My favorite time of day to shoot is about an hour before sunset.  They call it Golden Hour.  It's great warm light that is diffused so it doesn't case harsh shadows especially on the face.  With little ones though, it's sometimes hard to get them in a good mood exactly one hour before sunset so the idea of working with what you have and maybe taking advantage of a slightly over cast day is worth the effort.

Step 5: Process Images

This step isn't necessary but if you have some basic Photoshop skills it surely doesn't hurt.  My husband hates over processed images so I like having control of how much processing the images get.  If you're just starting out, I highly recommend checking out Little Lusker photoshop actions.  These are handle little shortcuts that are put together by professional photographers that give your images a polished and professional look. 

Here's the gallery from our shoot, we had a blast!  

Remember to have fun!  While we were downtown on Main Street we picked up some cup cakes and went into a vintage shop just for fun.  We had a great time and I love the way the images turned out!  Coming soon, a post on how to create a Gallery Wall.  I used a few of these images and it's turing out great, so excited to show you!