It’s never too early in the season to begin promoting your senior portrait sessions. With summer in full swing, now is the ideal time to bring your photography outside. But when it comes to marketing, how do you target high school students and their parents? Is one platform better than another? What can you do to differentiate your studio and push yourself ahead of the competition? In “Increase Your Senior Sales” we answer those same questions to teach you how to identify your audience, how to reach your audience, and how to draw your audience’s focus.
But what is it about senior portraits that make them such an in-demand product?
Capture Your Client’s Milestones
Senior portraits are a celebration. They commemorate a major milestone and live on forever in yearbooks. They capture teenagers on the cusp of becoming adults to showcase who they are now and what is important to them–memories they’ll appreciate later in life when they re-discover their yearbooks stashed away in the back of their parent’s basement.
Tips For High School Senior Portraits
The emotional value of these photographs trump their physical value, so you want to do everything in your power to take the best pictures possible. Pictures that pop off the page. Pictures that are a true reflection of your client’s identity. To help you achieve this, here are several tips for wardrobe, makeup, and more:
Make The Face The Focus
Have your client wear clothing that is visually simple. Think solid colors that contrast with your background. Your client might love that Hawaiian shirt but the focus should be on their face, not their outfit! If that’s their signature look, don’t deny them a few snapshots but encourage them to bring a change of clothes. Not only does this provide them with options, it provides them will a more diverse album to pick from.
A Little Makeup Goes A Long Way
Dancers and stage performers understand that they never want their costume to overshadow their face. Stage makeup is meant to be heavier so it can be seen at a distance and stand out against harsh white light. When it comes to photography, think “less is more.” Your client’s makeup should enhance their features, not overpower them.
For girls, remind your clients to avoid excessive makeup, especially bronzer, lip gloss, and blush. Bronzer, gloss, and other reflective products like glitter eyeshadow have a tendency to show up in photography as shiny white spots. Blush may give them a much rosier complexion than if they stuck to their normal routine. Translucent powder, however, is great for concealing blemishes and covering up oily skin. Remind them to avoid using lotion the day of their shoot by moisturizing in advance. Their skin will still look healthy without the risk of unwanted shine.
For boys, have your clients trim or shave for a clean-finished look. For either gender, encourage clients not to use too much hairspray, gel, or other product. They may want to tame flyaways which is great, but they don’t want their hair to look greasy or fake in their photographs.
Pro Tip: Double-check your client’s wrists for forgotten ponytail holders–trust us, it’s an easy thing to miss and it will take time to edit out!
Go Easy On The Jewelry
Accessories might be a girl’s best friend but attention-grabbing jewelry can detract from the overall look. Go for simple, understated pieces or encourage your clients to forego the jewelry altogether.
Reduce Glare From Glasses
There are several ways to reduce or eliminate glare. Clients can wear glasses without the lenses–or ask their optician to temporarily remove the lenses–or lower their glasses further down their nose. Offsetting it just a little changes the angle of the lens so light is not reflected.
Personalize With Props
Most seniors have a wide range of interests from athletics to clubs and hobbies to pets. Encourage your clients to bring meaning items like sports apparel, musical instruments, or even a pet to add that personal touch that will take your photos from ordinary to extraordinary.
Know Your Poses
Close-ups. Full body. Sitting. Standing. Leaning against a tree. Resting on their elbows. Know the ins and outs of your poses to help guide your clients. If they feel uncomfortable it will show in your photographs. Create a positive, upbeat environment for your photo session. The more relaxed they feel, the more natural their poses will appear. It also helps to keep a few photographs on your phone that you can show them when they don’t understand how a particular pose should look.
Recognize The Exceptions
Remember: there is an exception to every rule. Some clients may naturally lean towards darker, heavier makeup, big jewelry, or neon colored nail polish. While these tips are a guide to crafting better photos, it’s important to tailor your process to fit your client!
Don’t Forget Dear Old Mom and Dad
These senior yearbook photos will serve as keepsakes for the rest of your clients’ lives, but Mom and Dad will also want to gaze upon those lovely senior portraits long after their children have left for college. After you’ve sat down to present your final images, seize the opportunity to promote your canvas gallery wraps and museum prints. These stunning decor pieces can be hung anywhere in your client’s home to provide a visually-appealing focal point that is also highly personal.