I have 3 children, Colin 19, Julia 16 and Alissa 14. In my profession, it helps to have teenagers. They really keep me up to date. They know the current styles and trends. They are active with all of the social media used in high school; twitter, instagram, snap chat, vine etc. They know all of the popular music artists. They are actually an amazing resource to me as a mother and as a photographer that specializes in senior portraits.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked my daughter Alissa, “what do you think?” when I’ve just created a marketing or promotional ad. Her insight and perspective is always so valuable to me, and she’s honest! In fact, all of my kids have no problem telling me when I’m a bit dorky, or when I’m doing something that is a little corny in their opinion.
But more importantly, I believe it keeps me updated, aware and relevant.
When we choose to specialize in Senior Portraits, we owe it to our seniors to know their culture. To know what they like, what they value, where they shop. I have tons of bookmarked web pages of clothing stores that they use. I check them often. I go into stores like Forever 21, Free People, Pac Sun and Urban Outfitters.
I check out spotify and listen to the top 100 songs, so I know what they are listening to, what’s popular.
Occasionally I’ll look through Seventeen magazine or Teen Vogue. I get lots of catalogs that I LOVE going through: Tillys, Urban Outfitters, Free People. I love to look at the style of photography that is being used to market to the teenage high school culture.
I do NOT try to be a teenager, or “act cool” at all. They see right through that. No, I am an adult, and I am a business professional, but I can talk to them about the things that they love. I can relate to their world. I can value their world. I don’t use their words, (most of the time, occasionally one might slip out) but I know what their words mean.
Take a little time and get to your senior market and their culture. I know that I have each of my seniors fill out a “Getting to Know You Form.” It has been such a great tool for me. You ask your senior about their likes, their hobbies, their taste in music, their activities, their style trends, you name it. It is so nice to be able to bring up some of these questions and the answers on a shoot. You’re taking a genuine interest in who they are and it makes a difference to them.
All this to simply say to you, that I believe it’s important that we know the culture of our clients. Specializing in seniors means getting to know them. It means valuing who they are, what they like. It means we specialize in not only photographing them, but knowing about them and what it important in their world. We can connect more easily and make our shoots more relaxed and fun. That always makes for better images as well… right?