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Adventures in Teen Memory Keeping my joys | #momlife my joys | Teen parenting TEEN MEMORY KEEPING

Documenting Teens | Arm Yourself for Battle

One of the very best ways to make sure your teen will remove themselves from a photo is to ask then to stay still, then fix their hair and or clothes, then ask them to smile, and then say, smile better. Game over mama.  You are most definitely not getting that shot.

This is war– and you need to arm yourself for battle with a few tips and tricks to gather the photos and memorabilia you need for your memory keeping.

  • Embrace Stealth Mode.  Rely on your smart phone for casual and candid every day photos. Bringing out the SLR is sure to raise protests.  Put your smart phone on silent, keep it vertical so they have no idea you are not just scrolling,  and snap away a few candid photos or videos or shenanigans. But, a word of caution here. Don’t post these candids on social- they are for you.  And do respect their privacy. I take candids of the boys doing homework, reading, cooking, putting together models, doing chores, watching TV, scrolling on social, and on family outings. Once in awhile, of them napping. There’s definitely a line between candid a creepy. And creepy will lose their trust and have you blacklisted forever.
  • Don’t be Fake News.  Let your teens know the why behind your drive to capture the moments.  Be honest. Tell them your photos of them have dropped in number and stories of your daily life risk being forgotten. Make a promise if you must not to share these stories outside your family- and promise that the photos will not be shared. (It goes without saying- do not, under any circumstance share a photo unless you get their permission.)  Chances are, if they realize that this is important to you, they will resist less. Especially if you set this understanding down before you dive into your photo project.
  • Set a time limit.  My kids have grown up with terms like “Project Life”,  “Day in the Life”, “Week in the Life” and “December Daily”. If I give them a heads up that “Friday will be Day in the Life”- chances are strong they will let me take a slew of crazy photo like them waking up, having breakfast with bed head hair, packing their book bags, eating meals etc.  They know the mamarazzi will be around for a very brief period, and truth told- they love the outcome of each of these projects.   A perfect example of time limits translating to cooperation is the 1 Second Everyday App– they rarely refuse to let me record for 10 seconds each day so I can curate a cool clip for our project this year.
  • Trade Places.  A perfect way for your teens to understand where your coming from on and for you to empathize a little with their reluctance is to turn the camera over to them for a day and let them document you. Ask them to take photos of “the real your” and the things that make you who your are to them.  It can of course be photos of you through the day, but also photos of objects that remind the of you- of- even memes! Trust me- they will love that! And- you will get a ton of photos you would never had otherwise shot.
  • Zoom in when you need to.  If you are going to an event with your teen and you know they will be a distance away from you- don’t be the crazy mom elbowing people out of the way to get a really close shot. Break out the big guns: Your SLR and a zoom lens. You will be able to get up close and personal and keep a socially acceptable distance all at the same time.  Win-win.
  • Don’t always ask them to pose.  I love a good posed shot- and have tons.  But sometimes, you can just tell that the teens will not be happy standing still  and saying “cheese.” Especially iof they are with their friends.  That just makes the already overly self conscious teen even more so. If you are using your phone, again, put it on silent so they are not aware of the number of photos you are taking, and shoot away while they set up for a shot. You can tell them to look in a direction- and then go crazy.  Or, embrace the goofy and let them go crazy- without telling them to “smile nice”.  Word of caution for these burst shoots- try and delete all the B list photos as soon as possible. My very favorite app for this is Slidebox. I have deleted 300 photos while watching TV without even thinking.
  • Keep it real.  Be sure to capture your candids in the middle of real life. Include the environment, especially if it reflects their lives.  Messy room- that’s real.  Messy backseat of the car.  Real life. Messy is part of teens. Don’t crop it.  Document it.
  • Show them Proof of Life.  Finally, a little little covert support for your efforts, pull out photo projects from a few years ago and look through them just for fun. Then, as you are putting the photos away, sigh and say, “I’m so glad we got to freeze those moments.  It’s awesome how we can relive them now- and they’re not lost.” #mikedrop  A little guilt is a mama’s best weapon!

How about you? Any awesome tracks you have up your sleeve for teen Memory Keeping?  Don’t be shy! Share them in the comments! After all, we are all fighting this battle together!


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