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7 Valuable Tips for High School Senior Photographers

Today’s post comes from Mike Fulton of TriCoast Photography. Tricoast is an award-winning photography team out of Houston, Texas that specializes in senior photography and teaches tips on posing, lighting and marketing to photographers world-wide. Today, Mike shares a few top tips for photographing high school seniors and getting the most out of every session.

Pre Consultation Meeting:

Have a pre-consult meeting with all your High School Seniors with their parents present. This way you not only get to know more about the student, but also what the parent expects from the session. Find out if there are certain wants and needs to fill from the session, such as a certain place in the client’s home or a certain feel or look both the senior and parent would like. Also go beyond just what the session will offer and find out simple personal things like what their favorite music is, what’s their favorite color and even their favorite sweets. Come session time this information will help have simple communication with the senior and their parents but also upon delivery of the portraits you can add their favorite sweet as a thank you bonus.

Sell the Experience:

Come session day – it is ALL about the senior. At TriCoast we have our own Senior branding, website, logo and more. We want our seniors to feel it is all about them and that they are a star from the moment they walk through our studio door. From a simple 20 minute session to an all day event, we sell the experience every step of the way. Having their name on the dressing room, having their favorite soda or drink in the fridge to having their favorite music playing in the shooting area. By doing this, the senior is left with good memories, the parent is left smiling and the portraits we captured from the event are almost secondary.

Posing and Lighting:

Lighting is important in any aspect of photography, however when photographing High School seniors it is even more important. TriCoast always tries to blend 3 different lighting patterns into each session. Each one of these patterns suits our client the best and shows off their best beauty.

Posing and lighting can really be a post in itself. My top quick tips would be to remember to challenge yourself to learn your weakness, push yourself each and every day to learn a new trick of the trade, don’t be afraid or too proud to admit you are not ‘everyone’s gift to the photography world’ and go study from others who make your weaknesses a strength.

Online Marketing:

Go viral – of course we have all heard that but sometimes a little is just right. We love sharing what we are doing on our TriCoast Senior Facebook page, but we do not ‘give the farm away’. Always stay professional and only give enough information to keep the students and their friends interested. NEVER post ‘sneak peak’ photos as it lowers your profit drastically. Trust me on this we have done it both ways and have the numbers to back it up. If you think about it why would you give away freely the one thing the senior wants to see the most? Hold on to these images until their purchasing appointment (we call ours the Investment Session).

Use online sources to get the High School Senior/Grad excited as well as their family so when they come to the Investment Session they are just exploding with excitement ready to see the images and purchase away. Once the portraits have been purchased, watermark them and put them online in a slideshow to share with everyone.

Price Effectively:

Just because an 8×10 print costs $2.50 from your lab, does not mean it costs $2.50 to produce. Remember time is the most important aspect in life not just the photography business. Time away from your family, time away from your TV shows, time away from you and your friends hanging out together, all of it is time you won’t have if you don’t charge correctly.

A simple Senior Session at TriCoast consists of the following:

• Pre-consult – 1 hour
• Shoot a session – 4 hours
• Processing of images – 4 hours
• Sales – 1 hour
• Ordering Prints – 1 hour
• Designing Albums, Grad Announcements, Slideshow, Custom framing, etc. – 10+ hours

So each session we roughly (on a low end) have 20+ hours involved.

Selling to your client:

First and foremost, remember you’re not selling to yourself. Your personal limitations are not the limitations of your clients. Just because you would not or could not spend $2000 on Senior Portraits does not mean your clients can not. Have a clean yet effective sales method so everyone understands, and don’t be tricky as you will get the money up front but a bad reputation afterwards.

NEVER leave money on the table, meaning ALWAYS have enough product until the client finally says they are done and happy with their purchases. You never know one’s limits until you find them, by not finding them your leaving money on the table. Remember the couch your client sits on in their house most likely costs $2000 and the portraits they purchase from you will see two, three or four couches in its lifetime. Charge correctly!

Customer Service:

Simply put – EXCEL in Customer Service. Tell me one company which has bad customer service and if they are still in business let me know what people think about them. Customer Service is EVERYTHING. It is like playing Golf – it’s easy to do but hard to be great at. It takes time, effort and constant work, but your reward is a solid foundation in your community with a business which will grow for years to come.

I will leave you with this to think about: What is the difference between a Large Pizza and a Professional Photographer in today’s times? The Large Pizza can feed a family of 4…………. Work smart, always learn, hire your weaknesses, and throw away the pride. In time you will create a solid business model and with luck can feed a family of 4 in the process.

WPPI Road Show Austin

The Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Road Trip (WPPI) is on the road and heading to Austin on Monday, September 19th! The daylong event will be jam-packed with informative and inspiring topics covering the ins and outs of photography, especially tailored for professional wedding and portrait photographers.

Keynote speakers will discuss a range of topics, including marketing, lighting, posing, shooting and postproduction. And of course, there’s always the opportunity to network with your peers.

Attendees will also have several opportunities throughout the day to visit the trade show, where Photodex will be exhibiting. Stop by the Photodex booth for a demo of ProShow and to meet the Photodex team! Visitors to the booth will also get discounts for purchasing at the show.

Best of all, we’ve got 10 FREE passes if anyone is interested in attending. Email prinfo@photodex.com to request a pass. First 10 to email will get them.

We hope to see you there!

100 New Songs in ProShow Web

We’ve added 100 fresh, new songs to ProShow Web! Everything from tried and true classical tunes to fun, up-beat pop songs. Log into your ProShow Web account today and listen to the new tracks.

All songs are 100% royalty-free so you can use them in your projects to post online, burn to disc and sell to clients. Here are some of our top picks:

1. ‘Feather’ by Peter McIssac Music – A song worthy of your wedding slideshows that is sure to evoke emotion.

2. ‘On My Way’ by Pete Morse – A soothing pop song great for family or portrait slideshows.

3. ‘Rocket Launch’ by Olive Musique – If you’re a U2 fan, you’ll love this one! Great pop song for up-beat slideshows.

4. ‘Ave Maria’ by the Apollo Symphony Orchestra – A beautiful rendition of this song with a beautiful vocal.

5. ‘Sunny Morning’ by Martin Riopel – Fun, lively tune great for children and family portrait slideshows.

Enjoy the new music and happy slideshowing!

SXSW Panel Picker Voting – Just a Few Days Left!

There’s just a few days left to vote for your favorite panel at the SXSW Interactive festival next year.

Photodex is in the running and we’d love if you could take a minute and vote for our panel, ‘When Photo Sharing Goes Wrong’. Click here to vote!

We appreciate your help and support!

Back-to-School Sale on ProShow Training

If you had to rate your slideshow skills, how would you do?
Whether you scored a 1 or a 10, we’ve got training tools to take you to the next level. Save up to 50% on ProShow training DVDs and books during our Back-to-School sale.

Use code B2SSALE during checkout. Offer ends 9/5/11.

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SXSW Interactive Panel Picker Voting

Photodex is excited to be in the running to host a panel at the annual SXSW Interactive festival.

Public voting accounts for about 30% of the decision-making process, so we’d love if you could take a second and vote for our panel “When Photo Sharing Goes Wrong”.

The panel will feature Paul Schmidt, Photodex’s President and Founder and several other prominent experts talking about the current state of online photo sharing and discussing whether or not we are ‘oversharing’ personal images and what the consequences of that can mean. Read the entire description here.

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Make the Jump: 5 Reasons to Upgrade to Producer

Do you love making slideshows?
Whether it’s your passion or profession that inspires you to make slideshows, you deserve the best tool for the job. If you haven’t upgraded to ProShow Producer yet, you’re missing out on a lot!

We get questions all the time from customers who are trying to decide if they should upgrade to Producer. Here’s five top reasons why other customers made the jump, and never looked back:

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Reason #1: Better, flashier shows
If you enjoy the quality of your shows made in ProShow Gold, wait till you see what what you can do in Producer! With hundreds of additional built-in effects and unlimited creative options, even when you’re on ‘auto-pilot’ (using Producer’s wizard + built-in effects), your production value will get an instant upgrade.

If you’re looking to impress, this is the ticket. Watch the video below.

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