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Shooting Seniors

Lesson 7 from: High School Senior Photography

Sal Cincotta

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Lesson Info

7. Shooting Seniors

Lesson Info

Shooting Seniors

We're gonna talk about shooting seniors I'm not goingto spend a whole lot of time here talking about how to shoot seniors, but I want you to change your mindset I want you to think differently when you step into a senior photo shoot so tomorrow you will actually see is putting some of this into action but understand first and foremost when you are working with seniors it is all about the experience we don't sell images we selling experience I said this early on andi still holds true okay, you've got to get that through your head right now that it's all about the experience, not the actual image it's a losing proposition because remember to a lot of clients it's good enough right now whether they're taking the pictures on their own with that they've got a friend who's got a camera who puts it in p for pro any of those things are happening? What are we doing to differentiate ourselves? It's an experience for the kids and that experience it starts with the initial call, so make sure you'r...

e tuning in tomorrow. Something we did was we had taylor we recorded her phone call with the high school senior, so you're going to hear how that initial call goes with the senior getting them ready for their work wardrobe, getting them ready for their photo shoot that's very important to understand that thie experience does not begin at the click of the of the button right that when when your hidden that shutter that's not where your experience begins your experience begins well before that and that initial call that comes in how much are you that's something we don't talk a lot about right? That phone call comes in I guarantee you everybody here everybody out there the first question against well, how much are you? How are you answering that question? That could be disastrous how you answer that question because we will not email them package pricing or give them pricing out on the phone we will answer their questions but the last thing I want to do is allow them to tyr kick right? So if I give them a price sheet and then studio b down the street gives him a price sheet and studio acts gives him a pricey what is the client doing price shopping? I'm encouraging them and more importantly rewarding them for bad behavior. That's bad behavior I do not want you to price shop and so instead I want to sell you on the experience when that phone call comes in how much are you? Well, on average our clients spend about a thousand dollars on you know their packages however we have no minimum order so you could spend you could buy one picture if you wanted to well, how much is innate by ten well to give you perspective and eight by ten is about fifty dollars however keep in mind there's no minimum orders and we will be putting packages and specials together that's significantly discount that so I've answered their pricing question right without handing over my pricing sheet and in a sense I'm pre qualifying if you're not willing to spend roughly about a thousand dollars which allowed client spend more right my averages about two thousand but about a thousand is where I want them to be spending if you're not willing to spend that thousand dollars I would make the argument you're not my client and so I need to pre qualify them but I'm also having this opportunity at this initial call to get them excited about the photo shoot right so what's happening on that initial call we'll just give you a little perspective mom let me tell you a little bit about sound salazar an award winning photographer we're gonna we're gonna give your daughter an experience of a lifetime we have a make up artist mom have you checked out our website if mama says no we already were already going the wrong direction think about if mom says no she has no idea what we're all about so how can I get her excited about artwork? How can I get excited about experience if she's just going no I just called because my daughter wants wants to shoot there well, mama, we recommend you do is before we book your session, I'm actually about to turn this business away. Think about it, I think it's it's a smart move, mom, before we book your session, the first thing I'd want to do is go out and look at our website so that we're in sync on what we offer you and so that's very important that that experience starts on that initial call, we offer full model shoot with makeup, right? We're selling this as a fashion shoot that's what we want, those of the clients we want, those of the pictures on her website don't show pictures that you don't want to take just because you don't have anything else. Most of our chutes are, in fact, on location, so we're on location with almost all of our chutes. Do we offer indoor studio? Yes, but I would say ninety two, ninety five percent of our clients go out on location with us. That's what we're known for is just the kind of stuff you've been seeing on the screen and here in the studio we do have studio c that's, our sub brand, so I won't photograph there that's, one of my senior photographers, that's indoor on lee and when we're indoors back drops our king. Remember, your brand is tied to the backdrop, so if you've got one of those backdrops that air those muslims that have been hand painted with the arches in the arbor in the background, bernie it's got to go right just set it on fire, get rid of it. If you've got fake ivy in your studio, burn it. It's got to go that's not what the kids want, and so we used backdrops from a multitude of companies with their all modern, very modern, very cool, very high fashion. And then the other thing we do is we'll order in a given year six to ten backdrops six to ten different backdrop and by the way, these backdrops now they're made out of cloth material. You can get him for one hundred bucks hundred bucks, so get sixty ten backdrops, okay, we use them for one year after the years old over, they go in storage, so next year we get another six to ten. Why do I do that? Because now the freshman class will never see the same backdrop over four year window because this is what the kids are judging you one they can tell where you've gone for your pictures based on the background oh, you went to someone, so studio because my friend went last year and she had that same background those kids can never say that about us we mix our backgrounds up and then after four years we bring back the initial year and then we keep that rotation going guys with me on that you've got to make it special so music playing hair and makeup wardrobe selection tanning options we now offer for the kids the ability to get a spray tan in our studio if that's what they want okay, so all the options to make it like a real life model syrians questions on I feel like you're looking for some questions you need a mike I guess I'm just wondering where you're getting back drugs for one hundred dollars that are cool oh you get backdrops from you've got uh simply campus you've got drop it modern I mean you've got a multitude of places one hundred to one hundred fifty bucks yeah in that ring that range right the days of the of those muslims you're paying like six hundred to one thousand dollars for these things on those days are over they're not made out of that same material right? But companies like simply they're printing on that w c they're printing on like canvas I mean, all the labs check them all out they all have some sort of offering that are very, very economical they're almost throw away really and so I think they're really cool questions about this yeah I just want to clarify wardrobe selection are you providing war jobs for them toe fixed about over you just like giving them like something to bring that fits in with your style? Yeah, what we do on the wardrobe selection, they bring their wardrobe okay? We're going to help them so what we do and you'll hear this phone call conversation taylor had tomorrow what we do is we tell them to bring ten outfits even though they may only be wearing three to five we make them bring ten outfits we put him on a on a wire hanging on a hanger rack, right? And then taylor is mixing and matching because let's face it some of these kids make really bad decisions they bring clothes that don't fit them they're too tight uh they think they look good, but in reality they don't. My boy clients are the worst by the way they'll show up in flip flops, cargo shorts on and then like four t shirts, I'm gonna have a really difficult time selling mama portrait of her son in cargo shorts and a t shirt. And so we really are heavy handed in the wardrobe selection process that's why we have them bring ten close sets of clothing options and then we help them select so for a lot of the girls they love this option because that's a shopping spree form so when they do, they'll come into our studio with the label still on all the clothes we pick what we want and then anything we don't use they bring back because the labels air still still on so it's a really cool option I have a quick comment also, folks, if you want to buy backdrops f j wescott is a good place to do that and they're gonna be providing backdrops for us tomorrow I think we'll be using their backdrops tomorrow they had some really cool stuff I just saw him come in I'm excited to be shooting on you and those are one hundred and twenty eight so seven hundred twenty way just changed your world right there yeah, I'm blowing you world it's over you can leave them no, no, I mean it's a good option, right? One hundred twenty boxes you can't beat it there truly are almost throw away. And so now you have the ability to build your, um you know, your backdrops inventory and then every year at some new ones so that it's constantly fresh, constantly different for the kids, so definitely check it out. Thank you. Can I ask a couple more questions? Yeah, please, I have a question from kale and photo who asked what timeframe do you have to capture a potential client on the phone what time frame do you have to capture a client on the phone? I'm not sure I understand the question wholeheartedly, like capture them as far as like booking them or captured them as far as like just getting them to hear your message. Maybe. How much time do you invest on a phone call? Okay, so a ce faras that phone call? You really don't want to? You don't want to have a twenty minute conversation with a client. You need to perfect your elevator pitch if you will write. So we should all have that elevator pitch. And that to me is your two to three minutes spiel on what you're all about. So who are you? What makes you unique? And what do you have to offer? What do your sessions? Where your product's? Why should I book you? What? My next steps if I'm calling for information, should I be booking now? I don't know. You've got to tell me, right? I'm the I'm the client. I'm comin perspective client, I'm calling in. You've got to educate me on here's what's next and so we do that on our phone call. Do not be afraid to ask for the money do not be afraid to ask for the business there's nothing wrong with that. So if you're interested mom would like to do is I've got some dates open in june for your daughter's photo shoot do any of those dates work for you to have a calendar handy so now I'm letting the parent no I'm expecting you to book this session right here right now those typical phone calls for us are ten minutes or less we don't spend a whole lot of time on those calls but let's talk about the actual sessions I know a bunch of out there probably have questions on okay what are the sessions you're offering for your clients and so we've got three sessions that we offer studio c which is our indoor only that's with one of my senior photographers I will not photograph that session now when I was starting out guy for those of you were starting out I did cover this session personally but as our business has grown on we've become more scarce there's no reason for mito to offer that session personally so that session is three outfits three backdrops one hour in studio and tomorrow we'll show you how we photograph that session so tomorrow will be using those backdrops studio lighting etcetera that session is one hundred fifty dollars that is the session fee on lee no prints no canvas nothing that's your time and talent as an artist and this will also write if they're booking with that fifty percent off special can be discounted and so that's, the key there is understanding that that one fifty could be a seventy five dollar session could be a fifty dollars session, and I'm okay with that that's not where I'm making my money, but the three backdrop should all be different and the backdrop should be selected with and to match their wardrobes. So tomorrow when the senior comes in and we're going to get ready to photograph on a background, we're going to make sure that the colors we choose for the backdrop match the colors of her outfit, right? Because we're trying to sell art, we need to make sure those colors match. Now, if you're working within the salvator cincotti photography brand these, they're going to be on location. This is what I'm known for. This is what I want to be known for, so you don't have to follow this model just this is going to be what you want to do if you want to do indoor studio work that's fine do it. We have a two hundred dollar into three hundred dollar session, the two hundred dollar session, three outfits local area one and a half hours so I'm spending it out up to an hour and a half with the senior three different outfits, so they're changing on location and you might be wondering how we do that we actually have a changing tube fold into the size of a reflector and will be in the middle of times square in new york city, changing a senior, you know, in front of, like hundreds of people walking by, and this is by a company called sun bounce. I think being a tch carries it. I don't know the price point, I think it's one hundred twenty hundred forty dollars something like that but allows you to have your kids changing on location, verse in the car, running into a you know, coffee shop or something like that. Well worth the investment the one we've had. We've had it for four years, so it's perfect, but they're changing on location back to two hundred dollar session. Okay, then the five outfit destination session that's up to three hours now, in my local market, we call that an urban session. I think about it. No matter what part of the country you're in, you can come up with some sort of destination session of my destination. I mean anything that's about a thirty minute reid from your location. So if it's around thirty minutes away, call that a destination session that could be the beach that could be the sand dunes that could be the mountains that could be the ocean. Let's, call it whatever you want for us. We go to downtown st louis, we gotta like abandoned warehouses, right? Older buildings that's, our urban session that would fall into this five outfits up to three hours and that allows his travel time in that three hour window that's a three hundred dollar session and for the record, never discounted. So all those sales I told you about seventy five percent off fifty percent off whatever the case may be our signature session, which is that destination five outfits never discounted everybody with me there. Because if you do everyone's going to want that session and you're gonna be getting paid fifty or seventy five box, whatever the case may be to spend three hours with them, you can't do it. You can't afford to do it, so we never discount that now. What's optional. For us. We do. New york city, chicago, california, california will hit l a hit san fran, we promote thes on those flyers. So you remember those flyers were talking about the red cards. The direct mail pieces is on the very bottom. Um, don't forget to ask about our destination sessions. We shoot seniors in new york, chicago l a enquire from or limited availability. This is a three hundred dollar session. And so let's talk about this because I'm sure everyone is about to have a million questions about how we go to new york and photograph of senior for three hundred dollars so let me give you a much information and then I will naturally take questions let's talk in new york city actually let's step back rewind and talk about how this concept was even born so about two and a half three years ago I had an engagement up in new york and I had to cancel a senior photo shoot in st louis and we called the mom and we said hey mom so sorry something came up last minute in new york's south has to fly out of town we'll reschedule your daughter shoot for a soon as he gets back mom doesn't even blink an eye well can we come with you and that's how I was born she flew up to new york city with us we photographed her right in manhattan did all sorts of cool stuff with her we were facebook and it she was facebook innit it went gangbusters from there she got home she was a celebrity all her friend oh my god she's in new york city shooting with sal she's ah she's you know being a model she's doing this and we took pictures like we had cabs going by her we had her in the middle of st of times square created this amazing experience she spent over thirty five hundred dollars we had no idea we were doing by the way we're just like cool come on up with us right you already paid you three hundred dollars session feet and it was at that moment it clicked we're onto something here so we started doing is every one of my trips I would post a facebook I would post tio my block I would post too twitter any way I could get it out there hey guys were hitting l a I just did this two weeks ago so I was up in new york city I shot I photographed a high school senior and a engagement couple and I posted it on facebook and twitter said hey, we're gonna be in new york city if you want your pictures done up there and let us know we got limited availability we went to grand central went to times square right? All the cliche landmark places but these air clients coming in from st louis so let me ask you a question I only charge him three hundred bucks by the way, let me ask you a question because you're going to ask me the question who paid for your airfare? I paid for my airfare right? I pay for my affair I paid for my hotel so now I'm up in new york city the client comes up to new york city they've paid for new outfits they've paid for their airfare they've paid for their hotel do you think for one single minute they're not gonna buy pictures it's not gonna happen it is shooting fish in a barrel I promise you every client who travels with us on average spends over twenty five hundred dollars senior engagement whatever the case may be so if I make this price higher than three hundred dollars what am I doing? I'm creating a barrier to entry I'm actually making it difficult for them to travel with me because I'm going to uh I don't know that's so much money we don't even know if we're going to get any pictures from our engagement session come on everybody here is that right so now I'm going no no it's relatively cheap we're gonna be up there anyway wanted just guys get up get up there so now I got two clients came up there thes sessions haven't come to our studio yet but I know from history they're going to spend between four and seven grand between the two of them what was my cost southwest you can get almost anywhere in the country for about two, fifty two, three hundred fifty bucks and one night hotel so I'm on the hook for anywhere from five to seven hundred dollars but I just had a four to seven thousand our payday you tell me worth it all day long all day long I would take that option and so I want you to seriously consider adding that is an option for you and all you got to do is get one even if you were break even what's the worst case scenario here let's say you invest six hundred bucks you get one client to go with you can you sell six hundred dollars worth of pictures if you can't sell six hundred dollars worth of pictures we got bigger problems but what happens if you do let's say worst case they only by six hundred dollars with pictures you just took pictures in a major city now on your facebook side you're blogging everything as clients come to your site they're going to go whoa this guy's legit he was in new york city shooting doesn't matter from legit or not perception reality right so they're going to see that he's in new york he's in chicago he's in l a this guy's great we want to hire him so if nothing else you're building your portfolio alright I'm sure you must have questions so talk to me questions online all right let's start with celtic five seven six four who says when you have a package or whatever for a thousand dollars are you letting them do a monthly payment and how do you do that? We're going to cover packages in pricing but the short answer is no there are no monthly payments packet prints are not delivered until payments received in full so that's number one, if I do have a client that would like to break payments into two yes, I will let them do that. However, I do not want to play bill collector, so the only way I'll let them break payments up into two is if I can build them today and then build them in thirty days without calling them and you can have that agreement was the last thing I wanna do is keep calling them looking for payment hey it's me again! We need payment. I don't want to be the bill collector. So good question. So for a clarification for violet, so do you? You don't charge them for the travel expenses, no travel, no travel expenses and the reason I don't charge him for travel expenses eyes because ultimately that's going to create a barrier to entry it's going to make him make it too difficult for them to travel with me. So you've gotta have faith that if you go up to another city and they're making the investment in this travel, they are going to in fact buy pictures, right? Try it, experiment with it, see what happens and limit your expense pick a city that's you know, for us st louis chicago's four and a half five hour drive, so pick a city that you can actually drive too that's four to five hours away so you're limiting your cost there and stayed a reasonable hotel so you've truly limited your exposure and test it out, see how it works for you. Have you ever done like an all inclusive package where it's the session here make up? And then they get, like a product or like a album or something like that? Would you ever do that? No, and I don't want to just tell, you know the reason I don't do that and all inclusive style packages because what happens is, again, we go back to psychology, understanding the psychology, the sale if you try a bundled package for ninety nine, you get this campus, this print, this that the other thing mentally, when they come back into your studio, they think they don't have to spend any more money, and so they're done. They're like, oh, we've already spent a thousand hours, we're just going to pick our pictures now you've got an uphill battle trying to convince them know you need more, whereas I go the opposite route, you know, when you you're coming into my studio, you're coming to spend money and now it's about how much money can I get you to spend? So we have some more questions about being on location and from joe mcdonald and clyde and amy lin about whether you need to get permits for shooting in places like in front of the space needle here or in the streets of new york city and times square and I see a grin on your face there yes, that is a great question in anyone who has seen me speak before or work side by side with me knows the answer automatically there is absolutely no such thing is a permit in my world so there are no permits and I'm gonna tell you how we're gonna do this first of all you need to get yourself an assistant your assistance key to making this happen so totally true story we're up in chicago and in chicago there's a really cool place and I'm not going to tell you where it is because then next thing I know every photographer in the world's going to be coming in this spot but it's up on the l so it's up on the train and you go to the spot and in the background is the chicago skyline you see the train coming into the station and then they're upon this platform and then as soon as that train hits man that hair just puffs blows right so you've got this amazing scene that picture I painted for you okay, well the problem is in chicago because of nine eleven and sensitivity around security and public transportation as soon as I get up there with my camera okay, because most terrorists typically run around with a seventy, two hundred lens right there not going, they won't use their iphones for that they'll they'll use the big the real deal but regardless we get out there they start yelling immediately at us for being up there so I've prepped my clients now this all leads the experience, by the way, so my clients are I tell my client I'm like okay, look, we're gonna go up here and the police are going to freak out they're gonna start yelling at us but I want you to stay laser focused you stay with me, okay? They're like, okay, we'll stay with you so we got it. We go upon this platform sure enough, we get up there, I get my camera he's up on the other platform he's eye candy you can't be up there. What I can't I can't tear I'm just taking pictures the whole time, right? And I'm like okay, look at each other looking away do this he comes over now he is infuriated that we're ignoring him, right? Well that's where taylor comes into place and now taylor who's from houston she gets all southern on them, right? All of a sudden her southern action comes out oh my god, we can't be here I am so sorry ma'am, you need a permit to be up here oh, my god. Where do I get a permit? You can't get a permit. They're called tio I'm taking all my pictures. Okay, well, by the time he figures out that she's working him we're done okay? And now we walk away and what just happened? My clients had the experience of a lifetime and when those pictures come back make no mistake what do you think? What do you think you were that time? We're getting chased by the car's all that was awesome, right? And I'm like yeah, I was cool we do it all the time, so that is the short answer. No permit, but you did not hear that from me. I do not want to get, you know, calls from photographers who are in jail now that I get thanks our great job. So oh, but that's how I do it have a second half to that question from amy lynn who says what about questions of danger that parents have parents standing, the more danger the better. At least it lends to the experience. It's kind of funny because I was talking to tomorrow we're gonna be in two places we're going to be standing in the middle of the street taking pictures and we're working with celeste and she was like, uh what you know, so we wanted to go into the street, and then we're going to be on the roof, a cz well, so I think my opinion, I don't want anybody to ever die, of course, on my photo shoot, you know, there's, I think there's reasonable risk, but I think we want to put people in a situation that creates that overall experience and memorable moment, right? Of course, without death, that would not be what I would want them to do. Any more questions, we good, we have more questions, but I think of their things you might be getting, too, so maybe, okay, let's, keep going. Of course, in all these sessions, pictures not included, so we're not including pictures. This is for your time and talent. I cannot stress that enough.

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Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I have been shooting seniors now for 6 years. I have to say this is the best course I have ever had online! My head is still spinning trying to process it all. (luckily I gave in and bought the course :) I was going to be printing my marketing magazine for my seniors this week. After the first day of this series, I completely changed my pricing structure and felt so much better about how it would work for me! That is what is amazing about this series. It has incredible amounts of information that the newest photographer to the seasoned photographer can take and use in the business. I watched all three, took notes like crazy; watched again and still could not get all the info I wanted on paper. So I did the logical thing. I bought it! I was so impressed with the down-to-earth style of teaching that Sal and Taylor use and how open they were to sharing so many helpful aspects of how they do business. I really wanted to buy another backdrop, but I truly believe my $99 for this series will reap way more benefit for my business. Thanks so much Sal and Taylor! Now... to go redo that marketing info. :)

a Creativelive Student

This course is amazing. Sal offers a truly comprehensive path toward success in a step-by-step way that leaves nothing out. You can tell he's very secure in his success and his skills and, therefore, can truly share his knowledge. This workshop is great for amateurs and experienced alike. And, unlike many other presenters, Sal doesn't spend exorbitant amounts of time bemoaning the existence of "shoot and burners" ... instead, he inspired even them to raise their game - benefiting the industry overall. Nice. You must buy this workshop.

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