Senior Portraits: Create the Ultimate Experience

Lesson 25 of 38

Segment 23 - Interview With Teen Photographer Sara Cooney

 

Senior Portraits: Create the Ultimate Experience

Lesson 25 of 38

Segment 23 - Interview With Teen Photographer Sara Cooney

 

Lesson Info

Segment 23 - Interview With Teen Photographer Sara Cooney

00:00:04.34 --> 00:00:07. Hey, Sarah. How are you? I'm good. How are you? I'm 00:00:07.83 --> 00:00:11. good. Thanks for being on Skype with us. Talk that 00:00:11.16 --> 00:00:13. I needed to be here. Thank you for having me. You're 00:00:13.87 --> 00:00:16. welcome. We mentioned just a minute ago. A little 00:00:16.69 --> 00:00:19. bit about, um, video. And I know you did the guest 00:00:19.79 --> 00:00:21. post on scene urology, so we're going to get into 00:00:21.71 --> 00:00:23. that a little bit, but I'm gonna ask you a couple 00:00:23.37 --> 00:00:27. questions first. I think so. Okay. So tell me what 00:00:27.58 --> 00:00:34. you think is the what stands out to teens in the photography 00:00:34.7 --> 00:00:38. market as far as what they post on social media. Yeah. 00:00:38.63 --> 00:00:40. So I actually did just want to say really quick, if 00:00:40.78 --> 00:00:43. this is possible for everyone at home to actually 00:00:43.79 --> 00:00:46. log on to their instagram accounts ri...

ght now, I'm 00:00:46.19 --> 00:00:48. not sure if the studio audience could do that. But 00:00:48.88 --> 00:00:51. I know everyone at home because I want you to be looking 00:00:51.19 --> 00:00:53. at your account, and I'm gonna kind of go along with 00:00:53.35 --> 00:00:56. you, giving examples from my own accounts. You can 00:00:56.32 --> 00:00:59. kind of see like how I work mine and what your strengths 00:00:59.67 --> 00:01:02. and weaknesses are. So Tigran, Khun, go and log on 00:01:02.95 --> 00:01:04. and I'm gonna be doing it right along with you. 00:01:06.74 --> 00:01:10. Yeah, so as faras standing out, that's a huge thing, 00:01:10.36 --> 00:01:13. as you all know for photographers, because everybody 00:01:14.34 --> 00:01:16. even dozen my little small town in Rhode Island, there 00:01:16.88 --> 00:01:20. so many other people doing the senior pictures and 00:01:20.1 --> 00:01:22. that kind of thing. So you need to think to yourself 00:01:22.58 --> 00:01:25. what is going to make a teen want to choose me over 00:01:25.74 --> 00:01:28. the five other photographers that are kind of doing 00:01:28.42 --> 00:01:32. the exact same thing. So for those of you who are 00:01:32.65 --> 00:01:35. at home and able to get onto your Instagram account, 00:01:35.63 --> 00:01:37. I want you to just kind of look at what you've been 00:01:37.9 --> 00:01:41. posting lately and be in the eyes of the scene and 00:01:41.51 --> 00:01:44. think, What do I have on my account? That if the team 00:01:44.66 --> 00:01:48. was looking at the five other photographers in my 00:01:48.37 --> 00:01:50. town, what are they? What's going to stick out to 00:01:50.87 --> 00:01:52. them on my account? That's going to make them want 00:01:52.72 --> 00:01:55. to choose? May. That's definitely an important thing, 00:01:55.43 --> 00:01:59. because if everyone in your towns in the same thing, 00:01:59.56 --> 00:02:01. they're just going to go with the cheapest photographer, 00:02:01.47 --> 00:02:04. because why not? If you're all producing like the 00:02:04.84 --> 00:02:07. same thing, and it's important to show that through 00:02:07.19 --> 00:02:10. your social media. So for me, I definitely am able 00:02:10.8 --> 00:02:14. to use my age as an advantage. So I use that. And 00:02:14.62 --> 00:02:18. you can definitely tell through my instagram, my Facebook 00:02:18.62 --> 00:02:23. and all that. So I think the things that sand out 00:02:23.26 --> 00:02:25. to them are really as you've been talking about with 00:02:25.82 --> 00:02:29. this whole workshop. The connection is a huge thing. 00:02:29.35 --> 00:02:31. They're going to want to see that. And it's important 00:02:31.2 --> 00:02:34. that you so show that through your social media, so 00:02:34.87 --> 00:02:37. the connection they want to see pictures of their 00:02:37.65 --> 00:02:41. friends they want to see, like, the video and that 00:02:41.04 --> 00:02:44. type of thing. So anything that will stand out from 00:02:44.08 --> 00:02:46. all the rest of lift Harper's is definitely important. 00:02:47.42 --> 00:02:51. Our son. Can I just jump in? And first of all say, 00:02:51.41 --> 00:02:56. My goodness, you are an impressive young woman there, 00:02:56.17 --> 00:03:02. e I want to make sure everybody knows where to follow 00:03:02.67 --> 00:03:06. you as you're talking about your own feet. So at Sarah 00:03:06.9 --> 00:03:10. Cooney, photo on Instagram. Correct. And I don't need 00:03:10.98 --> 00:03:14. photography. Sorry. Sarah Kona Photography. Yeah. 00:03:14.52 --> 00:03:17. Can you spell that out? Yep. Smell it's s a r a C 00:03:17.92 --> 00:03:21. e o n e Y and then photography. Hopefully, you guys 00:03:21.65 --> 00:03:21. know 00:03:26.94 --> 00:03:29. All right. Fantastic. I just want to jump in so people 00:03:29.05 --> 00:03:32. can actually while they're watching. Going to Thank 00:03:32.16 --> 00:03:36. you. Okay. So tell me, Sarah, what are the most popular 00:03:36.15 --> 00:03:41. social media outlets to use Instagram by far? If you 00:03:41.36 --> 00:03:44. don't have an instagram, please go get one. Like as 00:03:44.09 --> 00:03:47. soon as this three day workshop is over because you're 00:03:47.36 --> 00:03:50. missing out if you don't have one Facebook definitely. 00:03:50.85 --> 00:03:54. Next we do still check Facebook. We're just not as 00:03:54.72 --> 00:03:57. active. Were more active with liking and commenting 00:03:57.62 --> 00:04:02. 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. And my opinion because it's only like it can only go up to ten seconds besides the story. And it would just be weird to just get, like, a snap trap from a random photographer. I don't know. I just I wouldn't take up what I mean. That 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 teen to Teen s o. I don't really want to be the creepy lady on. Yes. Yeah. I'm so glad that you were great. You like it's not like if you got a sometime 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 terms, 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? Yes. Oh, 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 want to, too. 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, continous. 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 it's his clogs off my whole entire news feed and I unfollowed, like, right away, right? I was like, I can't handle that. So don't have. And there's a little tips. You no time for that, right? Uh, 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 teens? 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 session. 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 aged generic about me section like, Oh, I want to capture your memories 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 show that one 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 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. OK, tell us a little bit about how you can start using video to take that connection even further than just posting of a photo. Yeah. So I actually just recently started doing that, and I wasn't even sure I was going to 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've done about five or six, so I take my process of doing it. I take the actual video on my, uh, 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 in it. 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 so did you have a good reaction from both the teenage teenager in the video, her friends and as well as for Targeteers 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 let comment me 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, Yeah, I mean, the way in because instagramming so tiny. So it really isn't even with my SLR, it doesn't look like it's that good quality just cause it gets, like, pushed down so much. OK, so since it is such a tiny screen, I think I, for one, 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 states worker, 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 been 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, twirl her 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 even pretend that you'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. Um, anybody have questions for Sara? She's got a ton of information. S o. I don't want to sit here and on Lee be the one asking. So do any questions from the guys here? Yeah, go ahead. Sarah, you are amazing. Do you find that teams are actually going to our websites? Um, I 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 teams will want to learn a little bit about you. If you're more of like the business side on your instagram, you don't have a cz many personal post. They may go on there to see this Pacific's 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. Do 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 to, like, Instagram, Facebook and that kind of thing. Emails 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 goingto look up like I'm from Porton. Nobody in my town is gonna look up. Hash tag port. It's like nobody does that. And if you did, like hashtags photography, your post is gonna get lost in two seconds because everybody is, you know, 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 rep type thing free session. Give them thie digitals. They post it on their instagram, tagged your instagram in the caption, and then all their followers will see that both click on your caption and don't bring them right to 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 are liking your photos, some people that fall of may see that click when you were a count and then it'll 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 who's blocked 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. E do you pay attention to your numbers? Yeah, I do notice when someone's unfollowed 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 it's coming next to. 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 a damage but can 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 two thousand thirteen. I did them for, I think, was about eight of my friends. Last year. I had nineteen seniors and this year of 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 there 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, um that is a great connection. Uh, yeah, always dead really 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 s O. 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 see it's all about the connection. That's the thing 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 Sze is it important to have your own instagram for teens, seniors, family? What are wood that just jumble up? And, 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 cause that minds the ceremony of photography. It's 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, that was kind 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 they'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 those safe. 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 age and 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? 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 so follow people on there. I just have, like, 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? Um, 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!

Reviews

Lightfoot Studio
 

I can't say enough great things about this course! I went into it thinking I gain a little bit of info on posing and social media ideas... boy was I wrong! Leslie covers topics that I didn't even know where apart of Senior Photography. I highly recommend purchasing this course, if for no other reason then for the awesome senior panel that lets you know really want seniors want, are looking for, and actually care about in regards to their photos/social media/etc... I hope to meet Leslie one day and thank you personally! :)

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.