Planning your photography session? There are many factors that can influence your end result and are worth consideration prior to your shoot:
Your session should be relaxed and fun, but keep in mind that it is an investment, and an important one.. With a little thought and planning, you can be assured you get the heirloom portrait that you've imagined!
When planning your session, think about the 4 “W's”:
1. When (time of year),
2. Where (beach, city, park, meadow, home),
3. What time (time of day)
4. What to wear (casual, traditional, preppy, trendy, etc.)
And while you nail down those basic planning elements, take a step back and think about what you will DO with your images. Do you plan to:
• Create a keepsake album or coffee table book?
• Display images on your walls, and if so, to what size… will they be framed or canvases?
• Give gift prints?
• Share the images online and use in your personal photobooks and slideshows?
Once you’ve thought through those items, you will want to consider your family’s personality, your style, and the decor of your home.
• What type of family are you (sporty, preppy, beach-bound, traditional, casual)?
• Which room(s) are you most likely to display your images (foyer, family room, hallway/staircase, living room, bedroom)?
• What is the style, decor and color of that area (warm, cool, formal, modern, beachy, cottage, traditional)?
Next, describe your dream images – if you could have 5 images come out of your session, what would they look like?
Armed with these answers, regroup with your photographer and communicate your vision. Together you can come up with a game plan that will ensure you are on the same page and allow your photographer to deliver the type of images you have always dreamed of having for your home. Additionally, once you view your gallery, you are not arbitrarily looking at images, but instead selecting them with your specific goals in mind.
To make sense of this, consider viewing a gallery in two scenarios:
1. Without Session Planning: “I suppose the family photos are fine, but they don't really show much of the setting, they seem to be cropped tight on the family....is there a way to get more of the landscape in? Another thing, we look cold, I realize we did the shoot in March but since it's a beach house maybe we should have waited until June...our winter, formal clothes don’t match the beachy decor.”
2. With Session Planning: ”Awesome, this is exactly what we wanted for the focal point wall gallery in the family room. I love it! The beach backdrop, the colors and our outfits are exactly what I had in mind when I thought of a story-telling canvas collection for above the fireplace.”
Surely you won't have time (or energy) to repeat a session, so be sure you have articulated a clear vision of what it is that you want. Your planning, preparation and communication will pay off and you will have personal art in your home that will preserve memories for a lifetime.
Successful Senior Photography: Marketing to High School Seniors
I wouldn’t say that I have a specific “marketing strategy” for attracting Highschool seniors to my work. Instead, I listen to my clients and what it is they want, once I’ve figured out how to cater to each individuals needs and deliver exceptional values to them the rest is pretty automatic. My client’s word of mouth referrals are mostly how I market to this market.
The Customer Experience
1. FIRST IMPRESSION
The customer experience begins when a potential client visits my website. In essence this is the equivalent of them walking in the front door of my business. It is of course a virtual storefront so I take great care when designing the space since I can’t be there to greet them myself. I want my customers experience to be unique and memorable – it’s part of my brand – and when I can provide an outstanding experience from initial impression through image delivery, then I have succeeded in brand development and most importantly, exceptional customer service.
2. BE RESPONSIVE
When I get a lead from a perspective client I try to answer their initial query as soon as possible, and never let them wait more than 24-hours. Put yourself in their shoes and understand their needs, once you have done that it’s easy to respond appropriately. This is especially true of high school seniors, since they are a social bunch in every aspect of the phrase. They have embraced social media and are used to same-day responses.
3. MEETING IN PERSON
If a prospective client seems interested in working with me, I suggest that we meet in-person. I usually meet them at a coffee shop, tell them about my style of photography, and try to learn as much about them as I can. This is most important as it helps me provide a level of service that makes all of the difference. I ask about their style and their interests and what they’re looking for; I get to know them, give them a brochure of information about my senior sessions and show them some sample products.
4. OPEN COMMUNICATION
At the pre-session meeting, I let the client know that they can call, text, or e-mail me whenever they have questions or concerns. I tell them that they’re welcome to text me pictures of their outfits if they’re having a hard time making a decision or send me a link to a Pinterest board with ideas and inspiration for their pictures.
5. PERSONAL ATTENTION
During the photo shoot, I make sure my clients know that I am genuinely interested in them. I take their requests and concerns seriously, and I don’t insist on any poses or positions what so ever, we try a variety of things and build off of what works. I always have cold drinks to offer my clients during the shoot. Little things like that I think makes a big difference. We talk and laugh and have a good time. They end up feeling more like friends than clients.
6. FIRST CLASS SERVICE
At the end of their session, I give them a timeline for when they can expect their pictures to be processed and ready for viewing. I always over-estimate so that I am guaranteed to meet (or, better yet, exceed) their expectations. I do the same thing for their order; I over-estimate how long it will take for the order to come in, then I hand-deliver it to them (custom packaged to match my branding) on or before the day I said it would be ready. I also send a thank-you note with a small gift after I’ve delivered their prints & products.
My “Marketing Strategy”
High school seniors are very social savvy. If you don’t spend much time around them, you may be shocked by how often they engage in social media. It’s not uncommon for a student to tweet 10 or 20 times in a single day! Different social media outlets are more popular in different parts of the country/world, so it’s important to find out which one the teens in your area engage in most often.
If you’ve made an effort to give your client a top-notch customer experience, chances are you won’t have to invest very much (if any) money specifically towards marketing. Luckily, this makes marketing to seniors much easier than marketing to most other audiences. After you’ve given them a one-of-a-kind senior picture experience, they will tell, tweet, and text their friends all about it!
And you can make that even easier for them. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. are all free and easy, you just have to invest a little time in learning about them and then incorporate posts, tweets, status updates, pins, tags and hashtags into your daily routine. Post about your client – talk about how much fun you had with them and tag them in your post.
Allowing the post…what about the watermak?
It’s almost guaranteed that your senior clients will want to post pictures from their session on the Internet as soon as they’re able to. Keep in mind that if you don’t make this easy for them, they will find a way anyway. Since nobody wants low-resolution screen shots or cell phone pictures of their prints all over the Internet, I highly recommend embracing and not fighting your client’s desire to post their pictures and making it easy for them to do so. It’s free marketing! You can tell a client not to post the pictures on the Internet until you’re blue in the face but chances are you will just frustrate them and your pictures will end up there anyway. If you don’t want them to post un-watermarked pictures, then provide web-sized watermarked pictures for them. That doesn’t mean they won’t crop your watermark out. My advice is to just let it go. It’s not worth the battle and it’s not worth upsetting your client.
SophterLight Photography accepts seniors in the Fairfield County area, we have worked with students in the following high schools: Alternative Center For Excellence, Barlow High School, Bassick High School, Bethel High School, Brien Mcmahon High School, Briggs High School, Brookfield High School, Bullard-havens Technical High School, Bunnell High School, Central High School, Darien High School, Fairfield Ludlowe High School, Fairfield Warde High School, Garner Correctional Institute, Greenwich High School, Harding High School, Henry Abbott Technical High School, J. M. Wright Technical High School, Masuk High School, New Fairfield High School, Newtown High School, Norwalk High School, Ridgefield High School, Shelton High School, Stamford Academy, Stamford High School, Staples High School, Stratford High School, The Academy Of Information Technology, The Bridge Academy, Trumbull High School, Westhill High School, Weston High School, Wilton High School, , Brunswick School, Center Of Progressive Educatio, Christian Heritage School, Convent Of The Sacred Heart, Eagle Hill - Southport, Fairfield College Preparatory, Fairfield Country Day School, Giant Steps Connecticut, Greens Farms Academy, Greenwich Academy, Greenwich Country Day School, Immaculate High School, King & Low-heywood Thomas School, Kolbe Cathedral High School, New Canaan Country School, New Hope Christian Academy, Notre Dame Catholic High School, Oakbridge School Community Sol, Sacred Heart Academy Stamp, Seton Academy, St Catherine Academy, St Joseph High School, St Luke's School, St Vincent's Special Needs Ser, The Greenwich Japanese School, Trinity Catholic High School, University School, Wooster School, Yeshiva Bais Binyomin
It's all about the location
First & foremost, congratulations on your engagement! The first step of course, will be establishing where & when you and your fiancé will be getting married. This can be a daunting task, especially in beautiful Fairfield County, where each wedding venue seems more magical than the next. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Questions to Consider While Touring a Wedding Venue You don't want to fall prey to the beauty of the venue & forget to ask some very important questions. Keep these in mind while touring every venue & don't sign anything until you have answers to these questions.
SophterLight Photography. Luxe wedding & Portrait photography.
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SophterLight Photography, LLC We shoot on location, in your home and also at our studios in CT and New York. We serve Connecticut (CT) , New Jersey (NJ), New York City (NYC). Locations in CT include Fairfield, Westport, Darien, Greenwich, Old Greenwich, Cos Cob, Riverside, Stamford and New Canaan. In the Big Apple, NYC areas we cover: Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Long Island, Tribeca, Soho, West Village, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Central Park, South Hampton, West Hampton, and East Hampton. Some of her locations in NJ are Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Morristown, Summit, Alpine and Edgewater. We service clients throughout Bergen county, Passaic county, Westchester county, Fairfield county, Warren county, Monmouth County, Somerset County, Union County, Essex County, and Morris County.