Photographing a family with two older girls (Morgan is 12 and Jessica is 7) is completely different from photographing one with a toddler or a newborn. I don't treat older kids all that differently because I address all children and babies with the utmost respect and consideration. But tweens have well-formed opinions at this point. They need to feel comfortable in front of the camera. They have rooms that are just full of personality and little treasures. And their preferences are both strong and willful.
This is also the least photographed age. For some reason the tween phase is known as the 'awkward' stage in kids' lives. Let me tell you something. There is nothing awkward about these girls. Not only are Morgan and Jessica so lovely to be around, but they are actually pleasant towards each other (I know, I'm as shocked as you are)! They spent a bunch of the session hanging out together, being themselves, and the portraits we got are absolutely stunning as a result.
My favorite part was afterwards, when Mom told me that the girls really enjoyed the wardrobe styling process (I spent some time before the session picking out the perfect outfit for each girl, especially since they needed something warmer for the outdoor shots). Girls this age usually have their own sense of style, but unlike with Mom or Dad, they're actually willing to listen to my suggestions.
And it all comes back to the whole respect thing. I treat kids with consideration. I ask them how they feel about things. I collaborate. And we work together to create something that is impossible without mutual regard. I credit my clients with the artwork we create just as much as I credit my own abilities.. and as you scroll through my favorite images from this session, I think you will agree with that statement.