Autumn Colours Enhance Teenage Photoshoot at Westonbirt Aboretum
Last week I had the wonderful experience of shooting these two lovely teenage girls in the incomparable setting of the Westonbirt Aboretum.Westonbirt, near Tetbury in Gloustershire, comprises one of the greatest collections of trees in the world. It was founded in 1829 and now houses over 18,000 trees and shrubs over 600 acres. Westonbirt is at its most dramatically beautiful in high autumn with the leaves of the maple trees turning to vibrant bright flame reds, oranges and yellows creating a riotous blaze of colour. I had a vision in my mind to photograph my goddaughter Mali with her beautiful, copper, auburn hair against this magical, colourful, autumnal background.I was delighted when Mali and her great friend, Rosie, agreed to do the photoshoot with me. These girls are not professional models but as you can see from the portraits here, they are so beautiful and natural in this spectacular setting.Working with teenagers is one of the aspects of my work I enjoy the most. In spite of their youthful beauty, vitality and gorgeous young skin so evident to adults, teenagers often lack confidence. The teenage years are a time of immense change where young people have to navigate a safe path between childhood and adulthood. Some teenagers glide through with ease while others may find these years challenging and often have problems with self-confidence. In the world of global celebrities, Instagram, Facebook and selfies, teens are constantly exposed to images of physical perfection and not many feel that they match up. Sadly, few teenagers seem aware of the inherent beauty of their youth. Many suffer self-esteem issues or at best, moments of terrible insecurity. Yet young people are so alive, so gorgeous and bursting with possibility and I love to catch this vitality in my portraits and I hope in the process enable them to see see their beauty and to be confident in themselves as who they are.
The fun of the photoshoot begins in getting prepared. I encourage the teens to find and express their style by looking through magazine and tearing images or taking photos on their smart phones of things that they like. I advise that they bring at least 5 different outfits which reflect their style and image. Accessories are crucial too and I get them to think about shoes, hats, jewellery etc – items which reflect their character. I also recommend that they have a manicure and get their eyebrows shaped so that they are fully prepared. On the day of photoshoot we normally start by styling outfits for the session before having hair and makeup done by one of my makeup artists.
On the day of the photoshoot we all had a very early start at 7am as I wanted to get to Westonbirt before the crowds descended! I was very impressed by both Mali and Rosie’s enthusiasm at this early hour. We had great fun playing with different outfits and styles, the girls had brought their own clothes or had borrowed items from various girlfriends. After selecting outfits my wonderful friend and makeup artist, Amanda Durkin, started to work her magic on the girls before setting off to the arboretum.
We were also very lucky to be able to borrow some exquisite, soft and gorgeous cashmere jumpers and bobble hats from N Peal to wear while frolicking in the leaves..
Then the girls changed into their own clothes chosen to express their individuality and style.
One dress from Reclaimed Vintage was a particular favourite and suited both girls beautifully.
It was also amusing to create a colourful leaf skirt like a big puffy ballgown!The shoot ended by being discovered and photobombed by sibblings and friends!My teenage subjects have told me that the shoot and resulting images surprised and delighted them. They hadn’t imagined how fantastic they looked and felt uplifted and positive when seeing the images.
“On our shoot with Serena we had such a huge amount of fun. We didn’t need to worry about having to pose for photos because she was so good at directing you that we forgot we were in a photo shoot. It was very relaxed and we laughed a lot, the day went so quickly I couldn’t believe it was over at the end. It was such a treat to have Amanda doing our hair and makeup and also useful to have her styling throughout the day. The pictures we have had back are stunning and we are so pleased with the results. I would love to do it again and would recommend it to anyone.” Mali aged 18
The experience boosted their self-esteem and gave them confidence in their journey towards adulthood. This is the perfect time to capture some stunning and fabulous portraits in a young person’s life.
If you have a teen, Godchild, niece or nephew give them the gift of gorgeous, esteem-boosting photographs to treasure. Please contact the studio on 020 8748 1988 or email by clicking here if you are interested in a Quintessential Teenage Portrait Shoot.