01 | documenting everyday life with teens

Tell me about when your child was little - better yet, show me. I am willing to bet that you have tons of photos and videos and maybe even albums full of little moments of their lives as young kids. Now show me a recent photo of your teen...tell me about their everyday moments. Are we losing touch in the hustle and bustle of our overly busy days? Do we struggle getting them in front of the camera for a year end photo for the holiday card? Or do they just "refuse" to let us take photos of them anymore? My kids are nearing that moving out of the house stage and I don’t love it. I’m proud of them and know that we’ve taught them well…but I want to make sure that we’re documenting the memories that we’re making now for our future.


A couple of years ago I wrote a series on the Carrie Owens Photography blog about documenting your everyday life and all of the little components that go into that. (Documenting your Everyday Life) Now that my children have all moved into that teen area it's gotten more difficult to document their everyday lives the way we used to so I thought it would be a great time to revisit many of those tips and ideas.

me, typing a paper, sophomore year (1990)

me, typing a paper, sophomore year (1990)

This year long series will be held here on the Carrie Diane blog as I will also get into what to do with those images and some tips and tricks on getting those teens of your on board with your efforts. I would love to hear thoughts and ideas and questions from parents of teens and tweens and even adult children or those that are away at college - what are you struggling with? Do your teens put their hand in front of their face every time you try and take a photo? Do you feel like you're invading their space by taking photos? Do they demand that you don't ever post a photo of them on social media? I get it - and I get all of those responses from my own three at various times and in various ways. I have come up with some really great solutions that have put us all on the same page and we can all get what we want out of the deal.


  • getting your teen on your side (it was so much easier when they were 2)

  • capturing everyday moments (everyday moments are quite different from 8 years ago)

  • capturing traditions (how have traditions of your child changed over the years)

  • capturing those moments you don't want to forget when they've moved away (yes - even the not so great moments)

  • getting images with you AND your child together (very important!!!)

  • social media and privacy issues for your teen (let your child lead in this area and be sure to have an open dialog)

  • what to do with these images (the answer is not to leave them on your phone)

  • phone and camera tips - as well as some social media tips from the teens themselves


When our children are little and brand new and going though all of those amazing milestones we cannot wait to snap a pic and share it with the world. This is great - even if we aren't sharing those photos with the world, we're telling them (in a way) how proud we are of them, how much we love them, how important they and their stories are. Once our kids start growing older and becoming more independent those photo ops change. They don't necessarily become less frequent - they're just different. We need to actively look for them. Their stories are just as important to tell (and we need to make sure we're getting their permission on where and how we tell them). These are the years that they remember and having their stories told from your point of view to look back on are more valuable than you can imagine.

me, first day of school, junior year (1990)

me, first day of school, junior year (1990)

I'm sure you're still getting those first day of school photos...when they'll let you. Those are important. I love looking back at mine (my mother was adamant about getting these shots - she even had my college roommate take my first day of school pic my freshman year). I love to see the clothes that I wore, the car that I drove, the way my hair looked. There are many things that I wish I could see, but having these images reminds me of things I might otherwise have forgotten from this time in my life.

me, first day of school, senior year (1991)

me, first day of school, senior year (1991)

Other than these images, birthdays and holidays and images before dances there aren't a lot of photos from my teen years. And that's ok. I was busy, my mom was busy and there wasn't a camera attached to our hands at all hours. That's simply not the case today.

me and erin, a random shot, december junior year (1990)

me and erin, a random shot, december junior year (1990)

This photo above of my best friend and I at her home in a random little moment means so much to me. We've been best friends since we were 5 yet have seen each other just once in the past decade. But we're still close, will always be close. Seeing that photo, I can hear her laugh. I can remember what it felt like being in her home. I remember her family. I remember our matching J. Crew jackets. I don't know why I'm smiling so big or what we are doing but I can feel how much our friendship still means to me.

I know that my kids have a lot of pics on their phones, selfies and photos with friends. I know they have instagram and other ways of sharing those images, but I want to make sure that I'm continuing to tell their stories as well. That we continue to create memories together and document those times for them (and for me) to relive when they're older.

Don't stop taking photos just because they're growing up...don't think that a photo of them walking away from you and into practice doesn't tell a story.

everyday life is in the details.

xo, c