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  • Rob Jenkins

Keeping your teen safe as a model...

Updated: May 7, 2019

Teens tend to fall into two categories when it comes to being photographed - either they hate it or they really love it. I'll focus on the second in this post. These are some quick tips for parents of teens who really would like to do some modelling.

Firstly ask why they want to be photographed. When I've talked to teens about modelling I find most want to experience being a "model" - they like being photographed, and having a great time with make up and hair styling. They are growing into young adults and they are aware they are changing in attitude, thoughts and physically. For some it's about being a bit special, being noticed. A good photo session does wonders for a young person's confidence. I've seen it time and time again. And this is where you, as the parent or carer need to be involved. Make sure that they understand that modelling can fall into a few categories - those photo shoots that are fun and about dressing up a bit, enjoying being made up and those that become serious models for catalogues or fashion events.

My granddaughter Izzy

Tip One : Talk to your teen, understand what they want, set boundaries with regard to the style of the photos and the clothes they want to wear.

Tip Two : Research photographers - they (your child) may have a friend or know someone who takes photos - that doesn't mean they are a photographer. What I mean is just because you have a fancy camera, doesn't make you a fashion photographer. Bad pictures can mess with your teens confidence. They may see themselves as unattractive due to poor photos or bad processing of the images. So the key is to take a look at the photographers website or Instagram feed.

Tip Three : Talk to the photographer - make sure they are someone you can trust. Always accompany your teen on the photo shoot, that way you set limits on what is worn, how he/she is portrayed. Ensure before you head off for the shoot, the photographer understands your feelings as parent/carer. Yes... photographers should know that they are photographing a teenager, they should know that it is highly inappropriate to take photos that could be seen as suggestive. But, in my experience, you should never take anything for granted. When you look over his/her portfolio you'll get a feel for their style of work. But remember - styles of photos change when photographing an adult to a teen so specifically look at their portfolio for teen model photos.

Tip Four : Who Owns the photos - ok this is a bit tricky. My understanding is that with copyright laws in Australia, the photographer owns all his/her images except as follows from the Australian Copyright Council:

Commissioned photographs

Where a photograph was commissioned before 30 July 1998, the client is the owner of copyright unless there was an agreement to the contrary. For photographs commissioned after 30 July 1998, the photographer is the owner of copyright except if the photograph was commissioned for a private or domestic purpose. If the photograph was commissioned for a private or domestic purpose, for example, a family portrait, the client owns copyright, unless there is an agreement to the contrary. Where an artist is commissioned to create a photograph, portrait or engraving for a particular purpose, and the client owns copyright in the commissioned work, the artist may stop the work being used for any other purpose.

So what this means is you need to understand that if you haven't commissioned the photos and paid for them or have some sort of agreement in writing - the photographer owns the images. That also means the photographer can share them on their website or social media. What I do is have an agreement with parents and the teen where I share the images with them in the first instance and only on approval will I then post to my social media or website. To me it's safe and avoids issues later on.

Tip Five : Sharing your teens images. Most teens today are on social media, and... most will love sharing their photos because that's why they modeled in the first place. So as a parent, ensure they share them safely and, here's a big one, you monitor the response they may get. You don't want your teen teased or bullied or worse, stalked by a weirdo. Be safe and wise with this.

Tip Six : Encourage your teen, but with caution. I had a mum ask me if I thought her daughter could be a model and do paid work. Probably I said, but ... do you want her to be in that industry. It's hard work and ... it's probably better coming from a model themselves - click this link to read more about a model's views.

Tip Seven : A good photographer can really build confidence in a person through the art of photography. And a teenager is likely more impressionable then an adult and so their confidence is more fragile (for some). Great photos are an amazing confidence builder and every photo session I've done with young people has been extremely positive for them. It's helped them see that their favourite celebrity isn't super human, no... they've got great lighting, great make up and great photography and post processing. That's what makes a cover shot.

Want to know more?

My goal as a photographer is to make people feel good about themselves. To help them understand just how beautiful they really are. Photography, for me, isn't about money - it's about creating great images and hopefully giving people back something they love.

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