How To Photography: 8 Tips To Maximize Your High School Senior Portrait Photography Orders…and Re-Orders
Marketing experts will tell you that the secret to connecting with the members of your target audience (high school seniors, in this case) is to know them. The first fact to know about teenagers is that they want pictures of themselves. Living in a digital, social media world, they are some of the most active participants on Facebook, etc. and a demographic that loves to take photos whenever they are together, and then share them. What this means is that you are already offering a service, an end result, that your prospective customers truly want; you don’t have to sell them on being photographed, only that you should be the one to do it.
With this advantage over many other businesses, you can immediately focus on the first step to convince high school seniors you are the best photographer for them. This step is to establish and maintain a strong relationship with your prospective client by being genuinely excited and enthusiastic about the opportunity to be his or her photographer. Don’t try to talk like a teenager. They will know you’re a phony, and not trust you. Virtually all teenagers will respond positively to an exciting and enthusiastic tone of voice or expressed in an email or text message.
Another tip for establishing a strong customer relationship is to try to make all the arrangements with the student, and not his or her parent. The benefit is that the student will already feel comfortable with you when he or she arrives for the portrait sitting. If a parent schedules the appointment, then you’ll have to spend valuable time at the beginning of session to develop a bond with the student. If a parent insists on making the arrangements, then ask for an opportunity to talk with the student before the shoot to convey excitement, enthusiasm and how much you looking forward to the fun of your session.
Avoid pre-determining backgrounds and poses you’ll use for any particular client. You can make the shoot more fun and creative if you ask the student to bring a variety of clothing. Ask him or her which is preferable, and then choose backgrounds and poses that complement or contrast with the chosen attire. You can also excite the student about trying another clothing combination that may not be his or her favorite, but could result in a daring or different kind of photo and look he or she would have never considered, but will like. If you’ve established a strong relationship, then the student is more likely to trust you and think outside the box with you.
During the portrait sitting, don’t concentrate so much on posing the student that you fail to pay attention to the details of those poses. You want to run through a checklist in your mind, which includes facial expression, position of shoulders, the look of the hands, the student’s comfort and excitement level, any facial flaws or makeup errors, etc.
Many teenagers may request a sexy look or pose. This is acceptable, of course, within reason. The secret is to allow only two of the three primary sensuous elements of a pose. These are sexy look, sexy attire and sexy pose. Two are sexy and suitable; three can easily become erotic.
Establishing a strong relationship with a client is a continuous process, so make sure to express excitement and enthusiasm in your direction of the student, as you pose him or her. Make it fun and make him or her laugh and you’ll make a customer that will order more pictures and tell more of his or her friends about how enjoyable it was working with you.
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Photograph by Photography Talk Member: Karen Skelly's