Seniorologie » The Study of Senior Portrait Photography

  • Welcome to Seniorologie! Learning, taking notes and studying are all things we have in common with high school seniors. As photographers, we are as much students as any senior! Seniorologie is an inspirational blog dedicated to the study of senior portrait photography. We will post unique sessions, behind the scenes, marketing, business tips and more! And if you are a senior, we have posts for you too! Whether you are looking for a photographer in your area, fashion tips to help you get ready for your session or inspiration for your upcoming shoot, we have it! So sit back, take notes, learn and be inspired!

Building Each Other Up – {SHARE THE LOVE POST IT NOTES}

Back in December 2014, I was sitting at my computer editing away while listening (and half watching) the Meredith Viera Show.  I stopped what I was doing when I saw a young girl on the show sharing her story of how she decided to encourage other girls in her school by posting post it notes on lockers, doors etc that had a short, sweet and encouraging message.  Soon her entire school was covered in bright colorful post it notes and others began to share their words of encouragement.

As I was watching the show and listening to the story, I thought ‘why can’t we do that for the photography industry?’  My mind started working and thought what if we could send digital post it notes of encouragement to others in the industry.  I quickly called up two of my friends in the industry and asked if I could run an idea by them.  Latasha Haynes of Ike & Tash and Spanki Mills of Spanki Mills Photography are two woman who inspire me on a daily basis so I knew they would be the right ones to talk to about this idea.  We tried to set up a Skype call to discuss this idea but with our busy schedules it just wasn’t possible.  So group texts began and I shared my thoughts of how we could take this idea by this sweet teen and turn it into an encouraging moment for our industry.

After all, we all sit at our desks, working from home or a studio, mostly alone so wouldn’t it brighten someones day to know they are inspiring others or doing a great job and someone out there sees that.  Of course Latasha and Spanki were both in love with this idea so I thought why not share it with all of you!

If there is a photographer or business owner out there that has either inspired you, motivated you or encouraged you through direct contact or just by their work, let them know!  If you are friends with other photographers in the industry, brighten their day with a little digital sticky note of encouragement.  I have created a few digital notes that you can use to share the love.  Simply take one of these, post it on someones Facebook page or post it on Instagram and tag someone you are inspired by in your post and use the following hashtags:  #sharethelove, #buildeachotherup, #stickynotelove, #seniorologie.  Let them know what or how they have helped you in this business.  Let’s all build each other up and not be afraid to reach out to others in the industry and give them a compliment!

To participate in the Share the Love Post It Note movement, click here to grab your favorite (or all!) post it note and start encouraging others today!

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Geni Bean - I LOVE THIS IDEA!!! I remember reading about “the post it note” girl also and what a sweet idea. I”m soo glad you’ve brought this to our industry! :)

Senior Inspiration – {Christine Long Photography}

I love when my senior reps earn their individual senior photo session!  It not only gives me a chance to photograph each one of them again, but it allows me to do a shoot that is really all about that individual.

The photo session below was submitted by Christine Long of Christine Long Photography and this is the individual session of one of her senior reps!

“Shannon is one of my senior reps for the Class of 2015!” said Christine.  “These images are a part of Shannon’s full senior session.”

Check out this beautiful session below and read what Christine had to say about it!  Thanks for sharing this with Seniorologie Christine!

Website:  www.christinelongphotography.com

Blog:  www.christinelongphotography.com/blog

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/ChristineLongPhotography

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What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?
Shannon! She’s beautiful, smart, and talented. We wanted to capture her relaxed style, fun and sweet personality, and dancer’s grace.

Where did this photo shoot take place?
This session took place in downtown Ann Arbor and also at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

What camera, lens or other equipment was used for this shoot?

Canon 5d Mark II and Canon 85L.

What time of day were these taken?
evening

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What is your favorite thing about this session?
My favorite thing about this session was working with Shannon. She is so natural in front of the camera, and has this amazing grace and presence. She is so fun to photograph and easy to work with!!

What do you want this session to convey about this senior and about your senior photography style?
I want it to convey Shannon’s personality and style at this moment in time. I want it to be an honest portrayal of Shannon – to show different aspects of her personality. I also want it to show that my senior photography style is natural, organic, fun, rosy and filled with light!

What is one tip you can share with other photographers regarding photographing seniors?
Get to know your seniors – figure out what it is they love, what makes them smile, and what their personal style looks like. Collaborate before the session, if possible, so that you are on the same page!

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Senior Inspiration – {Ansley Beth Photography}

State Pride can be a very good thing to incorporate into a senior photo session especially when that state is Texas!

“Emily was born and raised in Dallas and loves everything Texas,” said Angela Ditmore of Ansley Beth Photography.  “This girl is a true Texan through and through and loved the ideas of incorporating her home state flag and a few extra Texas details.”

Check out this fun photo session below and read what Angela had to say about it!  Thanks for sharing your work with Seniorologie Angela!!

Website:  www.ansleybethphotography.com

Blog:  www.ansleybethphotography.com/blog

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/ansleybethphotography

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What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?
Emily is born and raised in Dallas and loves everything Texas. This girl is a true Texan through and through and loved the ideas of incorporating her home state flag and a few extra Texas details.

Where did this photo shoot take place?
Grapevine Texas a suburb of Dallas. Downtown and at grapevine lake

Did you collaborate with this senior to come up with the clothing and/or concept for this shoot?
yes mam! Emily sent me photos of ideas she had always envisioned for her session and the biggest one was the use of the TX flag or American flag. I felt because she’s a true Texan the TX flag and TX details only seemed fitting. We also collaborated on her outfits and accessories before her session. Emily wore her special state necklace for one of her outfits and we incorporated a fun texas flag painted fishing boat dock into one of her locations.

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What camera, lens or other equipment was used for this shoot?
Nikon D700
50mm 1.8
85mm 1.8

What time of day were these taken?
late afternoon/golden hour

Can you share any post-processing techniques used when editing this session?
I edit mostly in LR5 and then do any final edits needed in PS. My editing style is simple and clean so I don’t do a ton of post processing to alter my images.

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What is your favorite thing about this session?
Emily’s smile and inviting personality. I really think it reads through on her images. She’s truly such an amazing young woman with a huge heart and genuine welcoming nature. Her session was truly such a treat!

What do you want this session to convey about this senior and about your senior photography style?
I love light and airy with occasional pops of color. My sessions are fun and not super edgy or serious. Also I really listen to my clients and who they are and incorporate that into their session so that it truly provides images that are true to who they are as an individual!

What is one tip you can share with other photographers regarding photographing seniors?
Listen to your clients and invite them to participate in the process with you. They trust you and your professional guidance but it’s fun to make them feel like their session is unique. Always tell them how great they are doing and be sure to smile and laugh out loud often! They will love this and your session will be filled with genuine smiles and emotion.

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What I’ve Learned as a Senior Photographer

Today we start a series talking about What I’ve Learned as a Senior Photographer.  Caroline Trespalacios of CG3 Photography is a Seniorologie Tour Alumni who is sharing her thoughts on what she has learned as a senior photographer in a series of blog posts over the next couple of months.  We all learn things everyday and sharing the things that we have learned along the way is a great way for others to learn!  Thanks for sharing your thoughts Caroline!

Things I learned as a Senior Photographer – Part 1

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If you told me when I started CG3 Photography three years ago, that I’d be blogging for Seniorologie, I probably wouldn’t have believed you! Yet here we are! I guess I should tell you a little about my background, huh?! As you might have inferred, my name is Caroline, and I’m from Naperville, IL. I’ve been running my business for 3 years and exclusively shooting seniors for the last 2 years. I may not be one of those ‘I always knew I was a photographer’ types, but pretty close.;)   Having studied Interior Design, I had a foundation in many of the concepts that I still pull from today and it was this foundation that led me to photography. I took two photography classes on a whim at the local college and couldn’t get enough! The slow pace of the classes just didn’t cut it, so off I went to teach myself everything I could! I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m still learning every day.

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Ok, back to the topic! When I thought about what might be most useful for everyone in a ‘what I’ve learned’ blog post, I figured I’d start with my most frequently asked question. Can you guess what it is?! …

“How do I find Seniors?!”

It really is the question, isn’t it? One thing is for sure… they don’t come to you! Or do anything that they think people want them to do, for that matter! They are independent, dynamic, hesitant and often shy at the same time. You have to break out of your shell to get them to break out of theirs. To combat that in the early days, I hit the pavement, literally. I went to the places they hung out: Chipotle, bookstores, frozen yogurt shops, the mall, you name it, I was there. I would walk right up and introduce myself and hand out business cards. That’s right ladies (and gentlemen LOL) check your ego at the door and put yourself out there. I would usually target teens in pairs or groups so that they didn’t feel so isolated or confronted. And, yes, occasionally I did get the “ugh, you creepy lady!” look but I didn’t let that slow me down. For every 5 girls I approached, one would book me. That’s pretty fantastic odds and as such, every rejection just pushed me further to that 5th senior for the yes that was likely around the corner!

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As I progressed in my market I constantly tried to think a step ahead: a step ahead of my market, my business and my clients. Bringing in clients the old pavement way was great, but how do I get them to come to me? Start a rep program perhaps. The key here is to have the ‘in’. Don’t get discouraged though, I guarantee you have one, and if you don’t think you do, you just haven’t thought about all of your connections. Between facebook, linked in, twitter, instagram, we’re all really only a few comments away from Kevin Bacon, wait, I mean one another.

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Ahh instagram, pardon me while I pause on that gem of teen social media for a minute…

ok, ok, I’ll get to that later! back to the rep program. So for me, my connection was my sister’s best friend. I knew she worked at one of the high schools in my area, so I asked her if she would hand out flyers to some of her students. She agreed and before I knew it, I had my first 5 reps!

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My rep program has been huge for me. I would definitely mark that as the true kick off point for my senior business. In fact, combined with a TON of hard work and social media of course, I can honestly say that my program has been the single biggest contributor to my biggest applicant pool to date which is directly linked to the business I can expect to drive next year. This past November I had over 90 applicants from 7 different schools for my 2016 senior rep program. This gave me the opportunity to be very selective with the 28 I accepted.

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So, let’s summarize, so far we’ve gotten rid of our ego and we’ve started a rep program, what else can we do? Let’s get back to that social media gem, Instagram! Instagram is my best friend and my number 1 way to reach seniors. If you’re not on Instagram, you need to be, because trust me, that’s where they are. Forget Facebook! Well, maybe don’t forget it, but don’t try to find seniors there. You know why they aren’t on Facebook… because that’s where us Moms hang out! LOL and there is nothing cool about Moms, wait… that’s not true! But put yourself back into your teenage self for a minute and then you’ll be there with me!

CG3-Photography-early-work-2013-ChicagoSocial media should be your mainstay, think of it as your lifeline to the senior community, but don’t discount those early days of hitting the pavement, you can’t really skip ahead, you’ve got to do all the work to get there! It’s helpful to have the opportunity to attend high school sporting events. Take the time to make connections with kids and their parents and have your business cards ready. If you’re talking to a senior, have them pull out their phone and follow you on IG (cool talk for Instagram!;)that’s right, this Photographer Mom knows what’s up! ) If you’re not sure how to get started attending a game without feeling like that crazy lady that we mentioned earlier, then be creative! Volunteer at the school store, or school library and talk to other Mom volunteers and spread the word of your business. You’re creating a community and inserting yourself in the center of it to build relationships and brand awareness just by being you openly!

There are many different ways to find your senior clients and each region is different. Just be personable, outgoing, and funny! Whatever you do, you have to be yourself, but you have to let yourself be that person outside of your shell! Honestly, it’s those qualities that will help you build your clients and are essential during the session as well, but that’s another topic!

You just need to brainstorm, sit down and look through this list of ways to find seniors. Put a place, name or date by each one, then start doing them!

Ways to find your senior clients:

  • Get out there and look for them!
  • Approach them at teen hang outs and hand them your business card
  • Start a rep program
  • Get on Instagram
  • Go to school sporting events
  • Talk to neighbors and friends who have teens
  • Have senior clients tag you and repost your images
  • Run a fun contest on Instagram
  • Do all of these things, and keep doing it! It’s the persistence that will truly drive you forward!

Whatever avenue you choose to find your senior clients, make sure you have a good portfolio to show your work. If you primarily photograph families and babies, make sure you have a senior gallery for them to see. You want to be the answer to their problem and if the problem is that they need a senior photographer they don’t care about babies! If you make them do too much thinking, you’ve already lost them! Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about intelligence… I’m talking about attention span, and that’s not even specific to teens. That’s EVERYONE.  However it’s even more relevant in the teen market! These days, we expect to have the information at our fingertips, so make sure it’s there for them to find. When you think about your online presence, don’t let life’s current drive towards instant gratification trick you into believing that you aren’t succeeding if it doesn’t happen immediately. It’s a process but with hard work and dedication, you’ll find a great senior clientele.

Be smart, be strategic and be persistent and don’t be afraid to be you!

Caroline XOXO

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Senior Inspiration – {Mandy Evans Photography}

Sometimes a location is so cool you just have to find a way to shoot there!  Such is the case with this super cool shoot from Mandy Evans of Mandy Evans Photography!

“We were granted access to our Historic Airport in Springfield, Missouri,” said Mandy.  “We were able to shoot inside one of the hangers featuring classic airplanes!”

This looks like a perfect location for an amazing senior photo shoot!  Check it out below and read what else Mandy had to share about it!  Thanks for sharing these images with Seniorologie!

Website:  www.mandyevansphoto.com

Blog:  www.mandyevansphoto.com/blog

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/mandyevansphotography

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What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?
Art! I really feel like Kayli knows who she is! That’s so huge for a 17 or 18 year old. She’s confident in her interests and has an amazing strong personality. Kinda fell in love with her from the start!

Where did this photo shoot take place?
We were granted access to our Historic Airport in Springfield Missouri, we were able to shoot inside one of the hangers featuring classic airplanes! We also shot on the runway and in an urban area.

Did you collaborate with this senior to come up with the clothing and/or concept for this shoot?
Yes, Kayli appreciated the time spent in coordinating her outfits and discussing make up. This girl has the touch when putting on her eyelashes! They looked amazing!

What camera, lens or other equipment was used for this shoot?
canon mark iii 5D, 85 1.2 lens

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What time of day were these taken?
morning

Can you share any post-processing techniques used when editing this session?
keep it clean and traditional, I love a little warmth to my images!!

What is your favorite thing about this session?
Gosh, I love all the different looks Kayli brought, she looks absolutely stunning!

What do you want this session to convey about this senior and about your senior photography style?
I love that Kayli stayed true to herself, doing so really shows how confident she is. THAT is what it’s all about!

What is one tip you can share with other photographers regarding photographing seniors?
Get to know your clients!

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Seniorologie Spotlight – {February 28, 2015}

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Each week we choose three images that have been shared by all of you on our Facebook page. To enter this weekly contest, simply post a recent photo from a senior shoot that you have photographed sized to 740 px wide and include your photography business name and you will be considered for that week’s top three. The Top Three chosen each week will be posted right here on the blog on Saturdays and the winner will be displayed as our Facebook timeline cover for the week.

This week’s top three are Lisa Holloway Photography, Nephesh Photography and Cailin Powell Photography!

Congratulations to these three! Keep sharing those amazing images with Seniorologie!!

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