How to Get Started Q&A


Senior Portraits: Create the Ultimate Experience


Lesson Info

How to Get Started Q&A

I think one of the themes that I'm seeing here is again being worried about these other companies on dh whether you're going to interfere with the bigger companies that maybe in your market have kind of ah contract anything. So cj bryant asked, how do you how do you get around the school contract in our area? The school's tell the kids that they have to use the school photographer and even threatened her reps with suspension for passing out her information have you experience? No, never, so what might you do? No, I never experienced that I mean again, my my seniors have to have that yearbook photo and that is that is I mean, they have to they could just say I don't want to be in the yearbook, of course, but for me I'm not I don't feel like I'm overstepping or interfering with their business because they automatically have business, I mean let's face it, they've got a contract, I know they're going to photograph however many kids there in that class, they probably are in several high sc...

hools in the area and the kids are coming to me for something completely different, so I've never had any trouble with anything like that I do have models rips, they do give their their flyers and their rep cards and things like that never had any of them say you know hey, we weren't allowed to do this s o I haven't personally experienced that maybe tell your reps not to hand them out at school maybe hand them out you know, social situations that way your school's not gonna know the difference but definitely have your reps tell these other students that it's different it's not the same it's not that type of photo shoot we are giving you something different and structure your business that way because that way you can say I mean the whole reason I started sing your photography was because I didn't want to be like every other photographer and tail I wanted to do something different I didn't want to come addition I don't like competing so I thought, well, let me do something nobody else is doing because then I kind of don't compete yes, we're all photographers and we're all trying to do the same thing, but I'm doing some clint specific everybody else is doing this therefore I don't have to feel like I'm competing so I don't feel like I'm competing with the big companies that are contract id now again it's different in every area so I'm not familiar with that person's area but I would just say do anything you can to work around that and just really emphasize the fact that it's different absolute not doing the same thing absolutely that education and having the reps educate well yeah and you got to educate your rip so that they related information correct exactly and we'll be talking all about yeah rep program later later yeah s o way have a few people that voted on this question ok, which is have you ever asked to school if you could participate in a college fair knight that they might be hosting as a way of marketing your business? I have not asked but one of my reps like two weeks ago asked me if I thought that would be a good idea I don't know that it was a college night but it was some sort of thing at her school and she's like hey do you would you be interested? I'm well ask for you and so she's trying to find out if I can set up you know, maybe a table or whatever and kind of do it that way I think that's a great idea I think it has to go with your branding bell so you know what type of business are you do you want every single student or do you want an ideal client on you know, calming tea just because you know you get into high school and there are varying, you know, stages of who these girls are some macon afford you some may not so make sure that whatever you do it's like a bridal fair you know I mean like when your wedding photographer and you set up a booth at a bridal fair, you're going to get a lot of people that maybe don't fit your brand, so make sure it fits your brand if that's something you want to do now one thing I did do kind of on the same line as that is I contacted a cheerleading coach and we worked out a an event we did a facebook profile party where I took all the cheerleaders face new facebook profile pictures and then we use those to advertise for this facebook profile party where anybody from high school could come get there. One photo taken for the facebook and then the proceeds went to help the cheerleaders pay for camp that got me in front of a bunch of people that are now calling me or called me after that means, you know, everybody could come a freshman and sophomore anybody, so all those people now when they get to be seniors, remember my name. I gave him a card, you know, I even gave him a little discount so that when they call the book using your so they could get something in return a call to action type thing so that's the way that you could do it as well if you didn't want to necessarily go the booth route I guess so just my only advice would be make sure that it fits in with your brand and that you're going to get something out of it yeah, we're going to be talking more about branding and then I'ii admit actually as well as marketing and all of these there's a lot of questions coming in of course on topics that are going to be covered over over the entire course I so keep those questions coming as they did you have more than you wanted to cover in this segment or did you want to take more questions? I was gonna die tonight. I wanted to tell us a little bit I saw your hand go up when we were talking about what it's like in your area. So if you want to tell us a little bit about do they have to have a yearbook photo that kind of thing in the high schools around us they do have to use the contracting photographer and get their standard you're right but they also can submit a yearbook at right in the back that features like my photography and there s o that was the answer to that question. Yeah yeah and it's a great weight and get you in a yearbook without you paying for an ad also it would be a great marketing tool maybe you want to give that as a bonus if they book by a certain date absolutely get a yearbook at or maybe not the actual ad but the design right you know include the design in the world for previous they both a date or something like that right now that's important yeah no one no one of your students do that or even educating your students that hey that's a cool thing todo is off yeah there's a lot of money that too and then I think your hand without yeah so in my county where I'm most of the schools used my images for their yearbook but I have one school that is contract id with another company and so like right now one of my rep is kind of facing that issue she's from that school and she can't seem to bring in the referrals because they're in no hurry teo their contract id photographer similar and what you do no no they're no they are different yeah is more of a drape and of yeah backdrop and they yeah and I guess they've tried to push away for the students don't want it so I tried to push away from it but the school is very adamant about right so then your rep just really need to educate her friends on the fact that yeah yeah you do have to go get this taken right but you're not gonna have fun right no you know you're gonna look like everybody else yeah if you want to go to my feet if you want something different my photographer offers that it is outside or write, you would shoot on location. Sometimes I shoot on location. But I'm up here in the pacific northwest, so I'm kind of deal were we deal with weather, right? Weather, but that's different because I'm not inside is not on the backdrop, right? You know, so I think again it goes back, teo. Same thing broken record here, but educating yeah, your rep to educate now? Yeah, and there's. And we'll talk about this a little bit more when you get into the red part. But there is only so much a rep can do, right? You've got to give them the tools and then they share them. But, you know, there's, only so much you could dio you know, one thing that you could do is maybe offer something some incentive for the actual person that's being referred to write the ref, obviously get something if she gets a referral. But what does the student she's referring getting? Yes, that may be something that will catch their eye. Like maybe they get free hair makeup, they booked, or maybe they get create that ten or whatever you want to dio, but that might be an incentive. Yeah, maybe you know, twenty five dollars off session fee or something like that, make them notable right may not be a good idea and then that right now you know a lot of times though it it takes till the end of their senior year and going oh no I forgot to get my photo taken so I see a lot of that to milk like doing before they graduated right, right, yeah yeah I want it like graduations coming I've got to get this in so if you're not seeing a lot right off the bat it's probably still seeping in that it might be a different you know, that might just be on a different time frame yeah, so anything you can offer or educate on why maybe it's a good idea to do it in the fall, right? Your weather is better in the fall I don't know but maybe it is maybe you do a vlog post really get it out there that hey, you know, I know that springtime seems great but the weather is better in the fall and this is why and this is why it works great for senior photos and you know all that stuff education, education, education until your rep that she can tell them that you know the name yeah and that's actually leslie a question that had come in from tiffany mccoy and more people had voted on question as well, how do you get seniors to book you with beginning of the season I and not wait until the last minute that czar some great idea know yeah, and that happens to me too and honestly every year that I do it mohr and mohr start to book early, so it is just a constant education a constant just getting it out there, letting people know I mean your block is a great way I mean, I know blogging sometimes seems daunting and people are like, I don't know how to write whatever just tell him just be honest and say give fall is great for this reason that's a post right there fall is great for this reason book about such and such a date do a back to school special if you booked before school starts, you get whatever you know all of these things airways that you can start to educate people or give them in in a time that maybe they don't typically book. But again, it does take a little bit of time like I say, the first year or two I was doing seniors, they were all in may and I kept thinking, oh god, what I do the rest of the year I had to supplement with some families, you know, because I couldn't just not photograph every other month of the year, you know, but little by little by little, I start showcasing these sessions that I've done and we'll talk a little bit about social media and how that helps you really get it out there I mean post that you're doing a session today in august you know post when you're doing it in september then people go you get your photos taken in september wow great little that's a little thing you can do again a block post about fashion in the fall why would you what would you wear to fall session starts people thinking maybe I could get my photo taken in the fall or you know do a winter concept shoot and showcase how fun it is to you know bundle up and do a shoot with snow I mean, you know nothing there's a girl out there that loves the snow and that's a good thing and then somebody will start thinking hey, maybe I can do a mass in your session in the in the winter or here's another idea that I've started doing a little bit just dependent on the girl is maybe do a mini session and a mini session in other words they can't sad between spring and fall maybe you do one session that you split it into two little mini sessions twenty minute session in the fall so they can get that paul look and they can wear their fall wardrobe and they could do whatever twenty minute session in the spring so they've got you know it's almost like a year in the life of the senior you know I mean you're capturing them at two different times in their senior year ah lot of times I have heard where somebody would say well, I don't want to do it that early because maybe I'll change well you probably aren't really going to change that much but the way you can go around that and say, well, why don't we do in many session here and a mini session there and then you've got two different looks you've got a variety as long as you're willing to do that as long as you price it accordingly I think it's a great idea I my reps especially take advantage of something like that you know? I have a great relationship they've worked for me so I tend to go a little bit more overboard with what I know I want to do more for them because they've done a lot for me so doing two sessions too many sessions aren't aren't a big deal to me it doesn't cost me anything that's necessarily because it is I mean time is money but it isn't that I'm not paying to do it you know, so just make sure you think about different ways that you can try to get those bookings earlier rather than later and then also it's important just tell people I book up in april and may I'm booked solid in april may because a lot of people wait till april and may to get their system done so if you want to make sure you have the date you want fall summer before your senior year that's the way you can do it put out there what dates you have left calls people to see that hey I need to book you know? So hopefully that answers that question oh yeah and how you can sort of started look up you know? Another thing I did was really set my shooting days so that helps me get booked up, you know? I mean like I no longer just say, oh, I could do any day or, you know, whatever I have set shooting days and you know and what what are those? What for you for me it's sunday and wednesday and then if I haven't, you know, when I have busier months, I might throw in a friday and there's reasons behind that number one my makeup artist isn't doing weddings on saturday and sundays as much a saturday, so I never book a senior session on saturday because I don't wanna have to deal with tryingto find another makeup artist and all makeup artists are busy on saturdays every gets married on saturday, so that's the reason why sunday is better a weekday wednesdays for me are not days my kids have football baseball practice I'm not missing anything again it's figuring out a way to you know, build your business for you and for me it is important that I not be shooting on days that my kids have baseball or football so you know if you don't have kids you can of course due any time but yeah, shooting during the day or after school after school after school yeah, most of my girls are going to get out of school usually for me every now and then you might have somebody that is thinks it's very important to get out of school for but, you know, depending on the time of the year with daylight savings and all that stuff you can usually she a fiery I can shoot into october all the way up until seven eight o'clock at night you know domain so you know, I know a lot of people shooting the golden hour because of the lighting that me it's really I mean the lighting's great and I do it for that reason but also do it because they have time to come home from school they could take a shower, you know, whatever they want to do, you know, wash off the school day if you will still have time for hair and makeup and still have time for a sheet so that works well for me on dh then fridays friday's or if he was seniors especially in the fall just because football games and things like that that every now and then you know in the busier months I have to throw in a different day of the week on them not opposed at all to do in someone mondays tuesdays, thursdays but that's just those were the days I book up first and then once I start getting more calls then I will start saying okay, I'm away the option do I really want this don't want to miss this or whatever so that helps because then you know, people know these were the days I'm shooting and you've got to get booked you got a book you know educating your your clients that even if they want that spring session they khun book now you know in a vein like there's no reason why you have to wait till the month that you want it done most likely that much is going to be already full anyway so but now for later isn't important I think so that answer that question absolutely we have so many questions having leslie do you want to take some more? Yeah let's go ahead and take some more because the next section is all about draining yeah I don't get started and have to stop you know take a few more questions but there's a lot of people that are continuing teo ask and talk about that how to get started, how to get started in my area. Also, folks who have ideas that their personal off for for how to get started. And there was a good one from nick lover, liberty livered. I was offering a suggestion. He's got a studio here, she in buffalo and in new york we photographed the high school sports teams and then create mailing lists from their order envelopes. Since we shoot freshmen through a varsity, levels were constantly creating an updated mailing list. And then they actually shoot three hundred plus seniors annually without using reps. So that's a different approach, utterly different market and sports teams. Cheerleaders doing it serves dance teams. You know, those air great connections because of that reason. I mean, like I say, the very first thing I did was contacted cheer coach at eastside high school when I really wanted to start getting into it. We did that whole facebook thing. I know anything you can get involved in. Maybe you can sponsor cheer team. Maybe you can put an ad in a sports program or whatever, but, yeah, anything you can do. And I think I think sports teams are great. Yeah, for that reason because you can start to make a connection with somebody that is that age group. So cool to just hear all the different ideas of what people are doing and again, specifically in your area that research like we've been talking about throughout this segment and then applying it yet I'm finding out what works for you, but which we're gonna be talking about later, too, with branding, we have mojo don, who doesn't have a brick and mortar store like the last person did where's your book and throwing a business card in a fish bowl to grow that email list on facebook that they have to come like thiss persons madonna's paige, because it would be creepy for me to approach them. How do I how do I get in without a brick and mortar stores studio? You don't have one? Yeah, I don't have that I don't have a brick and mortar store, I don't think it's no, no, I don't think it's necessary not at all, I think, you know, like I say, just putting myself out there, making connections with people, talking to people that, you know, getting your name out there. Hey, this is what I'm doing. I think those are all important things like the person before her, you know, maybe you get into taking a photo for a sports team on dh that's, the way you get out there, you start to show some girls that maybe you've taken photos of and their friends are going to see you tag them and use social media to your advantage tag them, their friends see them, you know, then their friends and their friends and it just continues to grow that way so use social media to get out there. There definitely is no reason why you have to have a brick and mortar I mean, think about the way you was shot for a photographer would you drive down the road and see a brick and mortar studio and say that's the one I'm a higher? Or would you talk to your friends? I would talk to my friends it doesn't matter to me if there's a brick and mortar not past it. I don't know anything about it because it's got a sign out front in a vein, so use, you know, talk to your friends, get your name out there that way word of mouth is super duper important on dh that's how you can start to grow your business and again when you're first starting out find anybody you can to do these shoots with so that you can start to show what you've done I think that is really the key that helped me is finding those girls that would model for me not necessarily in a senior rep model type thing, but just for one shoot type thing so that my portfolio I could constantly post on instagram or facebook or you know, when I started it was really facebook but posting these photos tagging these girls in it, all of their friends saw it and started to ceo that's really cool oh, maybe when I get to be a senior I can call her whatever I think that's really the most important thing I think obviously if you want a studio I think it's great, but I definitely don't think that's a necessity to get your name out there I think word of mouth is way more than seeing a studio absolutely and what is a really cool about this workshop is later in the programme we're actually going to be talking to a panel of seniors and we've never done that here in any of our courses, so actually talking to the seniors and what they are looking for and where they are and what social media there use exactly so I know howto use yeah, exactly well here right from the mouth of whore digs exactly yeah so good. Cool let's see, I love this idea as well. From m b fourteen eighty five consider approaching the home school community in your area to help expand your business I don't need it totally yeah, they might be a little more approachable because it's the mom of the you know contact the mommy don't contact the senior I would contact the mom but that's different than contact in a school you know, maybe you could make it and also used facebook to see if maybe you have a friend in common then it will seem less creepy you know domain like the cheer coach that I contacted I looked on facebook I looked her up and I was like, oh, I'm mutual friends with this person so when I emailed her called her I said, hey, you know, I'm leslie we have a mutual friend and commented it well, I automatically seemed a little less creepy that way you know I'm a knight oh well she's friends with so and so she's got to be somewhat saying maybe not that good but yeah, you know, maybe now I have done I have done that approach to a stranger in a mall and that did not go over very well, so I don't really see just adam maybe can I felt creepy doing it and feel creepy doing it? You probably shouldn't do it. There was this girl and hear what I wasn't even in my hometown with somewhere in indiana we were doing a shoot out in indiana and there was this gorgeous girl target and I was like, oh my gosh, you know, have you ever asked her how old she was first and she was like, I don't know nineteen says she's in the age range on I was like, oh, we're doing this better shoot if you'd ever think about modeling or whatever and she's kind of looked at me like okay and I gave her my car of course I never heard from her is that I don't suggest that e they are young and they don't want to you know, they don't want to feel like you're creeping on on, so but I think if you can find some mutual, uh, friendship or common ground or something like that, this book is a great research tool look up who you know that might know them and that that will get you in the door a lot faster for sure right? That shared friends it's kind of like linked in yeah using it in a way that is possible thing, you know? Yeah, well, good for you for walking up to that person and I try I try yeah again the last thing that looks the worst things that can happen because they know right or never called me, which was worrying I have a question from addie to two for for my area is lower income and I have a hard time charging what I'm worth because I feel guilty and most people just don't book due to money, how can I build my business and make money in this situation right, yeah, pricing is a huge topic and we will go over that in detail but just to answer her question, my first thought is is there uh, outer lying area that's not too far from her that maybe is a little higher income that would probably be my go to thing and let me see if there's because it is a luxury I mean, it is it's not something that everybody can afford even if you are the chief of a photographer out there there's still somebody that probably can't afford you. So I think that, you know, setting your pricing for what it's worth for you to make a business is important on dh then finding that ideal client, which we will talk about the next segment that fit your brand meaning can afford you and, you know, connects with you and, like, you know, thinks that's important stuff like that, so I would suggest that, first of all, second of all, I would tell her, you know, you can't you have to be paid for what? Your words. So I understand the guilt I totally do, but you're also running a business. So you've got at some point to make sure that your pricing is enough to cover your expenses and to make a living or whatever your goal, maybe when doing this if it's a hobby and I didn't do it you know remain like have fun and give these girls that session but if it's a business, then you've got to set your prices and you've got to stick to him and you can't still I mean you might feel bad about it I feel bad sometimes too you want to book a cz many as you can, but they're just are some people that aren't going to be your target market now one thing she could do is maybe she could do it give away to a deserving senior in that area who might not could afford her that feel good I mean, you know, I mean but go back to federally therapy and do something good so that that would lessen her guilt and she could still give maybe one senior up per year or however many she wants to do and do it that way. So then at least these girls or guys who maybe can't afford her could still, you know, benefit from it. You have a submission process and say you know hey, nominate somebody that's deserving of a freezing your session and go that route so there's a two different ways you can do it but if there is a new area maybe thirty, forty five minutes away there's no reason you can't market to them if that area is a little bit more has a little bit more disposable income exactly and I really I really appreciate how you made the distinction between between it being a business or a hobby and and what is your goal? Right? Because if it is a business and it is your business, a lot of people's business here right either way is great ugly but if it is a business and this is something we encounter, I have been every single workshop in terms of valuing yourself and valuing your products and we're going to be talking about the particular products that you sell leslie and talking about what works for you, but I just I appreciate that kind of separating the two and thinking about how you can give back but because ultimately you do have to get over that way he'll make it weigh all do do that I don't know why it's so personal but it is very personal to charge for you if you worked for target, you wouldn't feel bad about charging, you know, twenty five dollars for whatever it is, but you know when it's personal and you feel like I mean, I get it trust me, I get it I mean biggest hurdle as it is the hardest thing to me that's the hardest part because I would love to be able to give it everybody because I love my girls and I mean if I could give it away, I would but I'm taking time away from my family, so therefore I gotta, you know, there's gotta be some reason I'm doing it, you know the name, but again, like you said, if it's a hobby, you go for you, give them that that's, it it's your passion, and you have another income, or maybe your husband or whatever can support you. Then I say, go for it.

Class Description

High school seniors are energized, creative, and fun – and the best photographers know how to take portraits that capture that spark. Join Leslie Kerrigan for a guide to designing, marketing, shooting and sustaining a senior portrait business.

In this course, you’ll learn everything you need to know to create senior portrait sessions that aren’t just a photo shoot, but are memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Leslie will share her unique approach to creating a style closet, providing wardrobe consultations and keeping up with the of-the-moment social networking tools teens use. You’ll learn about connecting with seniors’ personalities, interests, and sense of style to ensure their portraits are every bit as unique as they are. You’ll hear from the teens, themselves as Leslie hosts a roundtable discussion with a group of teenagers who will talk honestly about what they want out of their senior portraits and how to reach them. You will also explore ways to leverage that personal connection into more sessions, sales, and referrals.

Don’t miss this opportunity to become the dynamic, must-have senior photographer for every teen in your area!


Lynn Powell Roberts

I learned a lot from this course. I watched all day when CL replayed Sal Cincotta's senior course and I wanted a second perspective, so I bought Leslie's course. I'm really glad I purchased Leslie's course because it was a great complement to Sal's course. Leslie covered different things like using a style closet that I especially found useful. She also did a beach shoot with a male and female model, which I found very useful and different from Sal's style. Leslie is so excited about "her girls" that she photographs - it's very engaging. I highly recommend this course.