There might be a lot of high school seniors out there, but there are also a lot of senior portrait photographers. The competition is fierce because senior portraits are a very lucrative business that can really set you on a path to having a tidy income.
There are all kinds of things you can do to break into the senior photography scene. Creating beautiful photos, offering competitive pricing, and providing niche products that other photographers don’t have are a few ideas for getting your big break. But for the purposes of this article, we want to offer three tips on the marketing side of things.
Make Connections With Parents
When it comes to senior pictures, parents and guardians are the primary contact point. They pay for the sessions and ask their friends who they would suggest for their child’s senior portrait session. As a result, it’s imperative for you to make connections with area parents and strive to impress them, both from a price standpoint and with the products you deliver to them.
So how does one connect with parents?
First and foremost, word of mouth marketing is extremely important. While you need to take other avenues to market yourself, among them using social media, having a website, placing ads in local newspapers, and the like, for senior portrait photographers, word of mouth is what will really get people in the door. Parents will be looking for a photographer that takes beautiful photos that highlight their child’s personality and individuality. The more you work to make the photos you take unique and a reflection of each individual client, the better the product will be and the more your clients and their parents will be impressed with your work.
But the products you create are only part of the equation. How you interact with your clients is of the utmost importance as well. Teenagers can be an interesting and challenging lot to work with, so you will need to invest some time in honing your communication skills to ensure your photo shoots are as productive as possible. Be yourself. Encourage the kids to be themselves. Ask questions. Be willing to highlight things kids love in their photos, be that their car, their dog, or the tractor from their farm. If you can do these things and pair that with good prices and quality products, you will demonstrate to parents that you offer an excellent value for the money. Delivering on these fronts will certainly help spread a positive word about you and your business.
Something else that impresses parents is if you can accommodate last-minute jobs. It can be a pain, but if you can bite the bullet and take on clients that are behind the ball, they will be both grateful and impressed, which will lead to even more positive word of mouth marketing. Of course, you also need to strive to have a fast turnaround time for all your clients. Putting the product in your client's’ hands sooner rather than later is also an impressive trait that will encourage parents to talk you up to their friends.
Know When and What to Advertise
Key to your success will be knowing when to advertise. Each school system is a little bit different, with deadlines for yearbook photos coming in virtually all parts of the school year. As a senior portrait photographer, you will need to keep abreast of the deadlines in your area so you’re sure to advertise your services well in advance. Running ads on Facebook or in the local newspaper in November when the deadline for photos was in October won’t do you any good! What’s more, if you stay on top of local deadlines, you can share that information with potential clients and help them stay on track as well.
Part of your marketing scheme should hit upon your intimate knowledge of the local area. Sometimes, senior portrait photographers get comfortable with a handful of locations, resulting in photos that look the same from client to client. But since each of your clients will be a unique individual, it’s your responsibility to have a large catalog of locations that you can utilize for your portraits. Look for areas that are unique or fun, and be open to the idea of taking photos where your clients want their photos to be taken. A great senior portrait photographer will listen to his or her clients and be flexible to meet their needs and wants.
Advertise With High-Quality Products
It’s one thing to tell potential clients about the products and services you offer. But it is another thing entirely to actually show customers the types of products and services they have to choose from.
Advertising becomes much easier when you have high-quality products to show off, whether you use photos you’ve taken in the past or highlight supplemental products like graduation cards. Your Facebook posts, tweets, newspaper ads, and other forms of communication will have far more impact if you include photos and descriptions of custom products that other photographers don’t offer.
Tasteful graduation cards that feature your beautiful senior portraits will speak volumes to potential clients. What’s more, by partnering with a company like Plymouth Cards, you can offer even more products, like laser-cut graduation cards, graduation announcements, wall decor, and other custom-printed products that will make your client feel special. Items like these also help them commemorate their big day and help you extend your reach and connect with more potential clients in a more personal and valuable manner. Doing so will establish you as the go-to senior portrait photographer in your area and get you the big break you’ve been looking for!