Capturing the Tween | Monica McNeill Photography, Dallas Visual Storytelling Photographer, Children's Photography

The ever elusive tween boy. Documenting his transition from elementary to junior high needed to be more than a portrait, I wanted to tell a piece of his story. For me there is no better way to do that than to invite his space into the story. All the details that seem mundane, that feel permanent, will gradually be replaced with a new storyline as he grows and changes. 

As I told him to ignore me, to not give me his attention, he burst with laughter. But I meant every word. It was just what I needed to become part of his world. Smart phones, video games, basketball are all pieces of him right now and I'm not sure about you but when my boy is lost in his world he's not making eye contact of any sort. 

Authentic captures are what I'm after. Which is why in planning his session we wanted him in clothes he is comfortable in, clothes he actually wears, clothes that are him, to create a true environmental portrait. I am always driven by the desire to translate a memory into a moment captured and that can only be done when my subject is being themselves.

As a mother I can imagine that those big smiles with eyes still on a device are exactly what his mother sees as she moves through her day. Real people, real life, real memories. 

This session was one my extended Sixth Grade Short Story Sessions and one of only two times I offer portrait sessions during the year. There is dramatic change from the beginning to the end of the elementary years. So much so that I feel as though an authentic portrait of children in this space is the story

They say you should shoot what you know and this tender space of motherhood is what I know. It will be interesting as I move through my own personal motherhood journey to note how my appreciation of the authentic portrait at other stages will grow as well. But for now the elementary years are what open my heart and has me focusing my lens. 

Are you curious about how this environmental portrait is different when I'm in the space of a girl? You can see that session here.

This weekend I'm shooting my Kindergarten Short Story Sessions which is the other side of this journey and the only other time I offer portraits. You can learn more about those sessions here


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