My single greatest business achievement is my return client base. They all are of means, and they stick with me year after year even though they have lots of options and they are informed consumers. Their unwavering support means more to me than anything I could accomplish photographically. New photographers coming up are very talented and competition can be fierce. The fact that my clients stick with me keeps me going. It forces me to level up my craft, my product offerings, my marketing.
My wedding career spanned many years. I stuck with it because I made good money. I found myself stuck in a creative rut, searching for who I was as an artist. I did not know where to start, but I knew I was ready for another adventure that would shake things up. That’s when I found “sportraits” and adventure photography—the inspiration and creative outlet that reinvented me as a portrait artist.
One thing that separates me from the other photographers in my area is the client experience I offer. We go places, plan setups, and use creative and exotic outfits and secret locations. We shoot with cars, horses, pets, guitars, guns, buildings, bridges and friends. But when we sit down with Mom and Dad to order, you know what they buy? Close-ups. The ones that show all of that beauty, the expressions, the smile they invested so much in, the sparkle, uniqueness and joy. This month, I show you how I incorporate close-ups with every outfit and location I shoot.
Is your senior portrait client too cool for school? Or maybe too shy to give a single smile for the camera? Seniors come in every variety, and photographing them brings a variety of challenges. Even if your senior portrait subject is confident and cooperative, she probably isn’t a professional model. She needs your posing expertise. Let’s talk about a few of my go-to posing prompts to make your senior sessions more authentic and fun.
You have probably already figured it out. Gen Z is taking over, and they are not like their millennial predecessors. This is the first generation born with technology. They expect it to be everywhere and to always work. Where does that leave us as photographers and business owners? Welcome to the world of reinvention. Senior portraits are different than they were 20 years ago. Heck, they’re different than they were five years ago. The kids are different, their personalities are different and the final product is different. Below are some ideas for thriving with a new generation of seniors.
High-school seniors, especially girls, are thrilled to get the chance to be a model for a day with our studio. It’s not always about the pictures for our clients and their parents, however. The main reason our studio has been so successful with high-school seniors is the unforgettable experience we provide from beginning to end.
Our studio’s senior marketing has been unconventional. It’s easy to shower your market in direct mail or buy sponsor banners on the varsity football field. Those tactics are not necessarily bad, but everybody’s doing it. So how are you going to stand out to your target audience?
Being a location portrait photographer has its drawbacks. We are often at the mercy of our environment, which means we are going to be faced with lighting challenges. If your schedule is busy, you won’t always have the luxury of planning all your sessions at sunset. Being forced to learn to overcome these situations, I picked up a few skills that are sure to help any photographer overcome bad lighting on location.
It’s no secret that high school senior photography has changed over the last five to seven years. As with all genres of photography, our style of shooting must always adapt to the trends. Our studio has grown in the wedding market, but this year I set out to grow a new line of business for us: senior portraits.
Before I opened my first studio, I was still coaching football and shooting out of my house, so most of my sessions were on location. That first year of shooting was all about trying to get better in hopes of making photography my living.