I had the lights set up and the studio ready. Why not take a photograph of the boy? It's the same lighting I used on Amy, the triathlete. Super large umbrella to one side blasting through multiple layers of diffusion. Black, light absorbing panels on the other side and a gridded light aimed at the back wall of the studio. I shot twelve frames and released the boy back into the wild.
Camera: Hasselblad 501CM medium format film camera. Fuji 100 ISO black and white film. 150mm f4 lens shot at 5.6. Sharp in the middle of soft. Scanned on an Epson V500 scanner. I love that there's detail in the white t-shirt.
If you want to learn to do better portraits I'd recommend setting up a small studio in your house or garage and getting a good book, like one of Chris Grey's on basic portraiture and just practice. Once you understand the basics you only get better by doing it over and over again, learning what looks good and doing it more often. Learning what looks bad and figuring out how to avoid it.
The control you develop is half the fun. But it's still a collaboration because you'll never be able to "control" your subjects...unless you threaten to withhold their allowance..