That's probably not what you wanted to hear, right? I promise I'm not trying to scare you - I'm just being direct; there's enough fluff in our senior photography industry.
We can't do what we've been doing because it just doesn't work for these younger Gen Z clients.
The truth is that you need to attract more of your target Gen Z clients with a rep program that is aligned with who they are - natural content creators.
As a senior photographer, you've been told that offering a model or rep team is the best way to ensure you have lots of year-round word-of-mouth clients.
In fact, one of the most asked questions I hear in my Facebook group is "HOW do I run a successful senior rep program?"
You're spending tons of time on elaborate team photoshoots only to...
I mean like seriously - are you ready to finally nail this strategy down once and for all and tackle all the blocks that come up as a result of doing this work?
Oh yeah, there will be blocks - that's what happens any time you redirect, reframe or rewire underlying limiting beliefs. They'll rear their ugly heads up and try to stop you from moving forward.
"Why would I self-sabotage like this, Renee?" I know - I can hear you asking this, friend.
Well, you're not doing it on purpose, of course. You're over here actually trying to make some real changes in your biz - and you should pat yourself on the back for that!
The truth is that the stronger the desire to change, and the more you take action on that - the louder and more intense that sabotaging voice can be!
It's your unconscious mind trying to keep you safe - that's it. All that "fear" people talk...
The business of senior photography has changed a LOT over the last five or so years.
If you've been around for a minute in this industry, you probably know this. Maybe you've noticed the subtle differences in how your senior clients use social media now ... how they consume more than they create most of the time.
Maybe you run a model team and have noticed that your team just doesn't share or post the way they did in the past - even if you "require" it. (By the way, requiring them to post doesn't really work; I'll go into that in just a bit.)
If you haven't seen these changes yet, there is a really good chance they're coming; this just all depends on where you're located. I started noticing these changes back in 2017 because I'm in Los Angeles; we tend to see trends a little sooner in general. But you can be sure that all high school senior photographers will see these changes because of the combination of the pandemic and how popular TikTok...
WHY is social media marketing SO hard for photographers?
Knowing what to post, when to post, how to post. How to connect authentically with Gen Z audiences. Knowing how often to post, how to make reels that are engaging, how to reach out to teens without seeming creepy. Figuring out a multitude of apps for editing and constantly feeling like your content just isn't as good as other photographers.
WHY does it have to be so hard???
You don't have to spend all your time stressing about it, creating content, and figuring out how to use multiple platforms.
But you DO have to market. Clients do not just show up automatically. Yes, a good word of mouth client base is worth its weight in gold, but that will not get you a steady stream of clients - especially Gen Z clients.
These clients are savvy. They need a...
we don't just watch movies, we critique them. We discuss them. We rip them apart
It's part of being married to an actor/writer/director and all-around super creative person. My husband's brain NEVER stops, so when we watch movies, we go deep.
I'm getting there ... stay with me.
Last night, we were watching the bootleg cut (director's cut) of Almost Famous. You can only get it on Blu-ray as part of its 20th anniversary - released last year. It's hands down one of my favorite movies of all time - it's truly a work of art. And right in the middle of it, as I was losing my mind watching the scenes that were cut from this masterpiece, I had a revelation.
A director's cut is the entire vision of the director and in this case, also the writer. It's the whole story - all the little nuances that add to the...
People always ask me about my lighting so I wanted to share a little bit about my process ... it's pretty simple!
I use a 40x60 reflector 90% of the time! It's always with me - here's one that like from Amazon:
Neewer 5 in 1 Portable Multi 40"x 60"/100 x 150CM Camera Lighting Reflector/Diffuser Kit with Carrying Case for Photography
I don't buy expensive ones because I like the ease of folding one as opposed to using something like a CA Sunbounce (those are awesome but I don't need all that and if you don't need it, don't buy it!)
My philosophy - in general - is keep it simple. I don't like carrying around lighting; even when I DO use OCF, it's the small Profoto A1X. It's not cheap but it's small and super powerful.
But in general, I will use a giant reflector for 90% of my sessions - only the silver side because I like to retain facial features and not "flat light". We saw a LOT of that in the early...
It's all fun and games until you have to figure out how to make a living at it, am I right?
Trust me, I have made my fair share of business mistakes….
I got to the point where I wanted to burn it ALL DOWN.
I mean, I was making like $2/hour when averaged out!
I started with NO money, NO training, NO clarity. 100% bootstrapped
And now I make over 200k/year
The truth is that most photographers do NOT know how to run a business.
Heck, MOST photographers feel sick to their stomach just thinking about charging actual money for their work.
Can you relate?
I want you to hear me when I say that you deserve to have...
If you've followed me for a bit, you know that I talk a lot about how different Gen Z is in terms of what they want from a senior team or senior portrait experience. I have tons of info out there about why this is and how to ensure your Gen Z clients feel seen and understood, including an entire Style Guide that will help get them prepped for their session - and I'm always updating info in my Facebook group for senior photographers.
We will be serving Gen Z clients for a while, so I highly encourage you to make sure you're well versed in what they are looking for in a senior photographer because this generation is SO specific and vastly different from their millennial counterparts.
That's not the topic of this blog post, though - TEENS are. And by teens, I mean younger than high school seniors. Now, you may be thinking, "Renee, aren't they still Gen Z'ers?"
Yep, they are! But younger teens are historically more excited to shoot and SHARE...
We’re all at different stages in our senior photography businesses - some of you are just starting out and have never run a prom session, while others have been doing it for years but you may not be sure how to do it without driving yourself absolutely crazy.
Reasons why you might want to take this on if you are a newer photographer:
Use prom as a lead gen + to get more senior clients for the following year
Great way to get your brand in front of a LOT of people all at the same time
If you are a seasoned photographer:
Great way to serve the team and clients you already have
Prom is always amazing marketing because the images will be posted all at the same time far and wide
Here are 5 tips for your prom photography:
1. It’s really important to get really CLEAR on why you want to do this - whether it’s exposure, money, added value or all of the above. Make sure you outline your intention here...