Segment 23 - Interview With Teen Photographer Sara Cooney
Hey, Sarah. How are you? I'm good. How are you? I'm good. Thanks for being on Skype with us. I wouldn't be here. Thank you for having me. You're welcome. We mentioned just a minute ago a little bit about, um, video. And I know you did the guest post on neurology, so we're gonna get into that a little bit, but I'm gonna ask you a couple questions first, So OK, so tell me what you think is the, um what stands out to teens in the photography market as far as what they post on social media. Yeah. So I actually did just want to say really quick. If this is possible for everyone at home to actually log onto 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 accounts. You can kind of see, like, how I work mine and what your strengths and weaknesses are. So fat. Drunken Go and log on and I'm gonna be doing it right...
along with you. Yeah, So as far standing out, that's a huge thing, as you all know for photographers, because everybody even doesn't My little small town in Rhode Island. There are so many other people doing the senior pictures and that kind of thing. Do 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, um, for those of you who are at home and able to get onto instagram account, I want you to just kind of look at what you've been posting lately and be in the eyes scene and think, What do I have on my account that if the 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 May. That's definitely an important thing, because if everyone in your towns in the same thing, they're just gonna go with the cheapest photographer, because why not? If you're 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 in You can definitely tell through my instagram my facebook and all that. So, um, I think the things that stand out to them are really as you've been talking about, What? This whole workshop, the connection is a huge thing. They're gonna want to see that. And it's important that you 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 the carvers, it's definitely important. Awesome. Can I just jump in? First of all, Say my goodness, you are an impressive E. 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 what? I don't need photography. Sorry, Sarah. Kuna photography. Can you spell that out? It s a r a c 00 N E y and then photography hold. You guys know Fantastic. I just want to jump into people can. Actually, while they're watching, go to thank you. Okay, So tell me, Sarah, 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 haven't talking about Sam chat. I don't I just think that's kind of weird, in my opinion, because it's only like it can only go up to 10 seconds besides the story. And it would just be weird to just get like a Snapchat home. A random photographer. I don't know. I just I wouldn't know what I mean. I agree with you haven't gotten on Snapchat because, in my opinion, it is very much a teenager to teenager communication. I mean, I know that big companies have started to try to use it, but to me, it still it still feels very teen. Two teen s so I don't really want to be the creepy lady on. I'm glad that you were great. Like, it's not like if you got some time from someone you'd like. Oh, my God. Like this lady's weird, but just I don't think it would help that much. Okay. You know, just kind of a waste of your own terms, right? Okay. So earlier we had a question that I had owned my list of questions for you, which is how often can 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 supposed. And if you are going opposed three times, I would say Morning, afternoon, night continous. Face it out. The only thing to think about is that if you're gonna 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 posed, like 25 in a row. And if his clogs my whole entire newsfeed and I unfollowed like, right away, I was like, I can't handle it. So don't has there's a little tip You don't have time for that, right? OK, Asi faras website and that sort of thing, What do you feel are the most important things toe 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, um, sessions. So the portfolio on your website is so important. But as far as the teens. They're gonna 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 high school senior photographers not to just have a generic about me section like, Oh, I want to capture your memories Just that, like a 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 were saying the connection kind of starts with the phone call. Well, 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 show in common, and it starts right there. They already know, and you have something to relate. Teoh 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 gonna 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. Okay, tell us a little bit about how you can start using video to take that connection even further than just pressing of a photo. Yeah, So I actually just recently started doing that, and I wasn't even sure how I was gonna post the 1st 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've done about five or six, So I take my process of doing it. I take the actual video on my D 6 and then I use I movie to put it together. Then I email it to myself. Keep in mind, Instagram videos can only be 15 seconds long, so you don't need a whole lot of footage that's gonna take up like, two hours of your time. Take saying probably like, 20 minutes to put together. And then there is an app called video shop that you can download her 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 a 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 much. So did you have a good reaction from both the teenage A teenager in the video, her friends and as well as Petar Way Also, you, too. Yeah, all the girls always texting. They're like, Oh, my God, I love it like so watch your amazing And then all their friends will let comment like, Oh, 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. I'll tell me how you feel about maybe just using your IPhone to take the video would you do that? Yeah, OK. I mean, the way Instagram is so tiny. So it really isn't even with my SLR. Doesn't look like it's that good quality just cause it gets, like, pushed down so much. Okay, So since it is such a tiny screen, I think I would be fine. The camera on the IPhone is amazing, too, just for something little like that. So But if you are going to do, like, a big one on space worker you to maybe I wouldn't do the IPhone user 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 handed it to maybe an assistant or the mom toe? Have her video, the two of you together? No, I haven't done 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. 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, laughing. You can meet number 10 that you're not recordings. A little kind of, like laugh and relax. Those are sometimes the best things use. Exactly. Well, that's awesome. Um, anybody have questions for Sarah? She's got a ton of information, so I don't want to sit here and only be the one asking. So do any questions from you guys here? Yeah, go ahead. I sour. You are amazing. Do you find that teens are actually going to our web sites? I think that the parents are going to be the ones more on the website. I think the parents will kind of be like, OK, 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 as many personal post. They may go on there to see the specifics again. Like I said, what's included in the session. The girls are wanna gonna want to know how many outfits like have Do you include hair and makeup? They're gonna want to know that. So I do think eventually they'll get to the website if they're really considering booking you. Well, if they're just finest searching, I think they're gonna stick to, like, Instagram Facebook in 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? Yeah, I don't do hash tagging at all. I just don't think that really helps because a teen isn't gonna look up like I'm from Porto. Nobody in my town is gonna look out hash tag ports like nobody does that. And if you did like hash tag photography, your post is gonna get lost in two seconds because everybody is using hashtag photography and it's just gonna 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 rep type thing free session. Give them, um, the digitals they posted on their instagram tag, your instagram in the caption. And then all their followers will see that both click on your caption and opening the right to your instagram page, and then they'll follow you. They like work. So then it just kind of start spreading there. There's actually a section, and I don't know if you guys have seen there's like a following in a news part on your instagram feet in the falling part, it'll say, like this person like Sarah Cooney heart. So if people are liking your photos, some people that full of may see that click lock your account and then it just kind of growth there as you keep doing that. And do you ever use the app that tells you, your followers and who's blocked you and who's dropped you and who's following you? Do you think that would be I don't care. I don't either, but it's out there. Do you pay attention to your numbers? Yeah, I do notice when someone's following me. I just don't care way Anybody else questions we have so many questions not only for Sarah but also for our panel that coming next. So let's get a couple more for Sarah. Jackie Burhan, Sarah says. Do teens respond? Well, Teoh, a young photographer like yourself. What is what is that like? And I know you spoke a little bit about being in the damage, 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 doing senior pictures for my friends when I was graduating, which I graduated in 2013. I did them for I think was about eight of my friends. Last year I had seniors, and this year I 40 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 waas. 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 is absolutely no problem with that. But I just think that they feel more comfortable with me being their age. And 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, uncomfortable with it. So yeah, I think that, um, that is a great connection always helps me. Yeah, I've always said that wedding photographers that happened to be, 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, whereas 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 even even those who are in my age I mean you can. It's all about the connection. That's the thing that I haven't Commons. 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 and Tesco question in the street and audience for someone who does multiple different, like I do families and teens and let ings. Is it important to have your own instagram for teens, seniors? Family? What are would that just jumble up in? Um, 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 that mind just Sarah Cooney photography. It's not specifically for seniors. So I do occasionally post families, um, 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 selling that up. Sorry, that was kind of confusing, but I would just keep the one account and you can just 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, um, I usually a lot of times will do it on their own. They'll tag 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 tagged in the photo. So they kind of do that on their own. I will ask sometimes. Well, I don't put an actual watermark on the photo. I think you can. I think that's a good idea. For, like other photographers who aren't their age and cant 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 gonna change my mind on that. Sorry, because if you have your watermark, then they won't tag your instagram in the caption and that's really important. I would rather than tag my instagram in the caption then and just have it on the water mark where they can't click on it in Be directly, go right to my account. So I would say no watermark, make them tagger account in the caption. Good idea. Yeah, What do you feel about about what's your strategy around following other You following other photographers or you're 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 in 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 makeup. 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.