Interview With Teen Photographer Sara Clooney


Senior Portraits: Create the Ultimate Experience


Lesson Info

Interview With Teen Photographer Sara Clooney

Hey, sarah, how are you? I'm good. How are you? I'm good. Thanks for being on skype with us. I don't talk about what I did to be here. Thank you for having me. You're welcome. We mentioned just a minute ago a little bit about video and I know you did the guest post on scene urology, so we're going to get into that a little bit, but I'm gonna ask you a couple questions first, so okay. So tell me what you think is the what stands out to teens in the photography market as faras what they post on social media? Yeah, I actually did just want to say really quick. If this is possible for everyone at home to actually log on to their instagram accounts right now, I'm not sure if the studio audience could do that, but I know everyone at home because I want you to be looking at your account and I'm gonna kind of go along with you giving examples from my own counts. You can kind of see like how I work mine and what your strengths and weaknesses are so everyone can go and log on and I'm gonna be do...

ing it right along with you yeah, so as faras standing out that's a huge thing, as you all know, for photographers, because everybody even those in my little small town in rhode island there are so many other people doing the senior pictures and that kind of thing, so you need to think to yourself what is going to make a teen want to choose me over the five other photographers that are kind of doing the exact same thing. So for those of you who are at home and able to get onto her instagram account, I want you to just kind of look at what you've been posting lately and being the eyes seen and think, what do I have on my account that if a teen was looking at the five other photographers in my town, what are they what's going to stick out to them on my account that's going to make them want to choose me? That's definitely an important thing, because if everyone in your towns in the same thing, they're just going to go with the cheapest photographer because why not hear all producing like the same thing and it's important to show that through your social media? So for me, I definitely am able to use my age as an advantage, so I use that and you can definitely tell through my instagram, my facebook and all that, so I think the things that sand out to them are really as you've been talking about with this whole works up the connection is a huge thing they're going to want to see that and it's important that you so show that through your social media so the connection they want to see pictures of their friends they want to see like the video and that type of thing so anything that will stand out from all the rest of your life photographers is definitely important awesome can I just jump in and first of all say my goodness, you are an impressive young woman there e but I want to make sure everybody knows where to follow you as you're talking about your own feet so at sarah cooney photo on instagram correct and I don't need photography sorry sarah kona photography and can you spell that out yet it s a r a g o n e y and then photography hold so you guys know all right fantastic I just want to jump in so people can actually while they're watching going to thank you. Okay, so tell me what are the most popular social media outlets to use instagram by har if you don't have an instagram, please go get one like as soon as this three day workshop is over because you're missing out if you don't have one facebook definitely next we do still check facebook we're just not as active were more active with liking and commenting on instagram but we do still check so if definitely still keep up with posting, and also, parents are on facebook. More so, it's important to keep up with facebook? We're on twitter. I'm not sure how much that would benefit photographers for advertising, maybe a little bit, and then people have been talking about sam chat. I don't I just think that's kind of weird, in my opinion, because it's on ly like it can only go up to ten seconds besides the story, and it would just be weird to just get, like, a snatch out from a random photographer, I don't know, I just I wouldn't know what I mean. I agree with you, I haven't gotten on stop chat because in my opinion, it is very much a teenager to teenager communication, so I mean, I know that, you know, big companies have started to try to use it, but to me, it still it still feels very eighteen to teen s, so I don't really want to be the creepy lady on that. I'm glad that you're great, me like it's, not like if you got some time from someone you'd be like, oh, my god, like this lady's, weird, but it's, just I don't think it would help that much, okay, you and I would just kind of a waste of your own times, right? Okay, so earlier we had a question that I had on my list of questions for you, which is how often can you should you post without being annoying? Yeah, so I know that first video I did a while ago I said once per day and I'm now actually going to change my mind because now that I'm in the busy season, I find that I have so much more to post so I'm saying no more than three okay, I usually do still wanted to, but if you have to post three that's fine, as long as they have a purpose to them don't just post just suppose and if you are going to post three times, I would say morning afternoon night, space it out the only thing to think about is that if you're going to post three times a day, you will get less likes and interaction on each one than you would if you just posted once so that's just something to keep in mind, but yeah, I'd say no more than three there is I've seen some photographers that will seriously post like twenty five in a row and if his clogs my whole entire news feed and I unfollowed like right away all right, I was like, I can't handle that, so don't you have and there's a little tip you no time for that right okay a ce faras website and that sort of thing what do you feel are the most important things to have on your website or your blawg when it comes to attracting teams? I definitely think as faras the website that the two most important pages are the about me section and whatever paid you have that kind of explains what is included with each sessions so the portfolio on your website is so important but as faras the teens there going to be seeing your work already on instagram and facebook and stuff like that so I would go to the about me first and I think it's important especially for a high school senior photographers not to just have a generic about me section like oh, I want to capture your memory's just that like kind of thing, especially for seniors I think you should talk about your favorite tv show your favorite food your favorite movie because I know I was watching your workshop and you're saying the connection kind of starts with the phone call you can almost kind of make that connection start even earlier if they're looking at your about me section maybe you have a favorite tv in common and it starts right there they already know and you have something to relate tio and the other thing I want to say I think it is important to have a picture of yourself in your about me section it's not crucial obviously like someone's not going to not book you just because you don't have a picture, but I think it helps to get to know the person and just it gives you a better idea of like who they are so right awesome hey, tell us a little bit about how you can start using video to take that connection even further than just posting a photo. Yeah, so I actually just recently started doing that and I wasn't even sure how I was gonna post the first one I was like, I don't know if this is that good, but I post I got so many likes tons of comments everyone's like, oh my gosh, this is so cute like I love it, so I'm done about five or six, so I take my process of doing and I take the actual video on my d six ten and then I used my movie to put it together, then I email it to myself. Keep in mind instagram videos can only be fifteen seconds long, so you don't need a whole lot of footage that's going to take up like two hours of your time takes you probably like twenty minutes to put together and then there is an app called video shop that you can download for free you can take the sound out of the video, put a song in and then just export it for instagram and it's just good because it gives even more of an idea than just the picture of what kind of goes on at your sessions, even though it's not talking and I'm not any just having the video kind of gives a better feel for, like, what's going to go on and it's just really fun for like especially for the girls that are in it, so watch they always love it. So lunch. So, did you have a good reaction from both the teenage teenager in the video, her friends and as well as petar years way also, you too? Yeah, all the girls always text me and they're like, oh my god, I love it like, so lot you're amazing! And then all their friends will, like comment like, oh, it's so cute and I've even had, like my friend told me that a bunch of her friends texted her and they're like, oh my gosh, I'm obsessed with video really, really? Yeah and that's spreading the word right there. Yeah, exactly on don't tell me how you feel about maybe just using your iphone to take the video would you do that? I mean, yeah, okay, I mean, the way in because instagram is so tiny so it really isn't even with my slr doesn't look like it's that good quality just because it gets like pushed down so much since it is such a tiny screen I think I would be fine the camera on iphone is amazing too just for something little like that so but if you are going to do like a big one on caseworker you too maybe I wouldn't do the iphone are use your camera okay and then what kinds of things do video just just the girl laughing and having a good time or maybe you even have you ever hated it too may be an assistant or the mom tohave her video the two of you together no, I haven't seen that that is actually a good idea though I just I'm not used to being in front of the camera but maybe I'll do that yeah but yeah I usually I'll just have them kind of like twirler hair I do a lot of like hands through the hair self and then a lot of times I'll end up using those in between moments so don't stop recording as soon as you're done as soon as they're done with the action you gave them you want the in between moments where they're more relaxed they're laughing you can meet number ten thatyou're not recording so I kind of like laugh and relax all right? Those are sometimes the best things to use exactly well, that's awesome anybody have questions for sara she's got a ton of information so I don't want to sit here and on lee be the one asking so do any questions from the guys here? Yeah sarah, you are amazing do you find that teams are actually going to our websites? I think that the parents are going to be the ones more on the website I think the parents will kind of be like, okay, well, you've seen their instagram you've seen their facebook check out their website like and the teens will want to learn a little bit about you if you're more like the business side on your instagram, you don't have a cz many personal post they may go on there to see this specifics again. Like I said what's included in the session the girls I want to I don't want to know how many outfits they have you include hair and make up they're going to want to know that so I do think eventually they'll get to the website if they're really considering booking you what if they're just kind of searching? I think they're going to stick like instagram, facebook and that kind of thing like how do people usually do you feel like usually are you doing like a lot of hash tagging and write like so that you know what I mean? Like how I don't do hash tagging at all I just don't think that really helps because a teen isn't goingto look up like I'm from fortune nobody in my town is gonna look up hash tag ports like nobody does that and if you did like hashtags photography your post is going to get lost in two seconds because everybody is yoon hashtag photography and it's just going to get lost so if you didn't really know anybody and I know this is kind of like the doing free sessions thing is kind of ah controversial thing in my opinion I think if you're trying to get followers it's smart to do like a senior up type thing free session give them thie digital they posted on their instagram tagged your instagram in the caption and then all their followers will see that both click on your caption and opening the right teo your instagram page and then they'll follow you if they like work so then it just kind of start spreading their there's actually a section and I don't know if you guys have seen there's like a following and a news part on your instagram feat in the fall ving part it'll say like this person like sarah cooney parts so if people aren't liking your photos some well that fall of may see that quickly you were account and then it all just kind of growth in there as you keep doing that and yeah. Do you ever use the app that tells you your followers and whose block? Two you and who's dropped you and who's following you? Do you think that would be I don't really care about. Well, maybe I don't either. But it's out there, I know you do. You pay attention to your numbers? Yeah, I do notice when someone's following me, I just don't care. Okay? Anybody else questions? We have so many questions not only for sarah, but also for our panel that is coming next. So let's, get a couple more for sarah. Jackie burhan sarah says do teens respond? Well, teo, a young photographer like yourself, what is what is that like? And I know you spoke a little bit about being in the same image, but you talk more about that? Yeah, it's definitely been an advantage for me, I think that's why I've been so successful. I started in senior pictures for my friends when I was graduating, which I graduated in two thousand thirteen I did them for I think was about eight of my friends last year. I had nineteen seniors and this year a forty, which is insane, like so crazy and I have to say, if it wasn't for instagram, I don't think I would have that money, but yeah, definitely being young helps because some of them I was in high school at the same time is them so they kind of already knew who I wass I think they feel more comfortable with me than I mean, there are a few other photographers around who are, like older men, which there's absolutely no problem with that, but I just think that they feel more comfortable with me being their age on dh I just think it's more like, and they've seen their friends work with me all the time, and they're like, oh, okay, so my friend did it and I know like I'm comfortable with it, so yeah, I think that that is a great connection, yeah always helps me yeah, I've always said that wedding photographers that happened to me, you know how all your friends get married around the same age? I feel like wedding photographers that are around that same age seem to get all of their friends, says senior photography would be something similar where they can connect to her because she's their age, she knows way more people that are that age. So I think, you know, obviously we can't all be her age, but it definitely is an advantage and she uses it and you should yeah, but even even those who are my age, I mean, you can it's all about the connection that's something that I have in common with them you can make that connection in other ways than just age right? So you can still make them feel comfortable again through your social media you just have to do it in a different way maybe then ideo right fantastic question in the studio audience for someone who does multiple different like I do families and teens and letting is it important to have your own instagram for teens senior sam we what we are but that just jumble up um uh that's a good question I haven't thought about that I also dio definitely seniors are my main like client I do also do families and wedding so occasionally I will because mine's just ceremony of targets not specifically for seniors so I do occasionally post families, weddings and all that but if seniors are your main thing maybe put in like your little about me section like high school senior photographer something like that and then you can occasionally do the families and weddings and I don't think that would be a problem but if you're mainly seniors I would keep your instagram to mainly seniors so to kind of something that up sorry those confusing but I would just keep the one account and you can do this kind of mix it all together sarah do you use watermarks on your photos that you put on instagram so that people who know who took the photos or does that turn people away? I personally don't I usually a lot of times we'll do it on their own they'll tag on my instagram either in the caption or a lot of people do it in the location part so it comes up on top of the photo and they'll say it'll say sarah cooking photography so they'll either do that or they'll tag in the photo so they kind of do that on their own I will ask sometimes, well I don't put an actual water mark on the photo I think you can I think that's a good idea for like other farmers who aren't their asian can't just text them and be like, oh, can you just like give me photo credit? So for you guys, I think I would do the watermark if that's something that's like important to you but actually all right I'm going to change my mind on that sorry, because if you have your watermark, then they won't tag your instagram and the caption and that's really important I would rather than tag my instagram and the caption then and just have it on the water mark where they can't click on it and be directly go right to my account so I would say no watermark make them tagger account in the caption good idea what do you feel about about what's your strategy around following other you following other photographers were you following other teens or in terms of that instagram interaction yeah so I actually I have my own personal account I don't like photography account I don't follow anyone that's just because I have my personal account which is where I follow other photographers and I follow like my friends so someone who had just a photography account you can definitely still follow people on there I just have my two separate ones so I follow everyone on my personal account by photography one I just have followers I don't follow anyone and what type of people are you following on your personal one then what would you recommend for people? Well I just follow like people I know personally and then photographers that inspire me other senior photographers I love looking at their work seeing the kind of things they're doing because senior photography is so different in my town than it is for you guys like we nobody here does the hair and make up it's way more casual so I like kind of looking at what they're doing everywhere else and that's kind of what I'm trying to do in my town is start doing like the hair and the makeup in that kind of thing I'm slowly going towards that so I just follow the others for inspiration and just to kind of see what's going on besides little rhode island

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.