This week I have a fabulous treat for you…words of wisdom from the fabulous Jessica VanDerMark! Jessica is a custom portraiture artist specializing in High School Senior Portraiture in Louisiana.
Trust me, when you see her guy images, you’ll definitely want to listen up when Jessica talks about the Senior Guy market. She kinda ROCKS.
Tell us a little about your photography style…how is it typically described?
My style is definitely non traditional, not whimsical or playful at all. I would say it leans more to fashion/editorial while trying to still be true to each senior’s personality and style. For the boys specifically, I want them to look like they could be in the pages of GQ. I assist in styling their wardrobe prior to the session to help bring my photography style to life.
How long have you been photographing Senior Guys?
5 years. My first senior season, I had one senior boy. Then my second season, I had three and each year it has grown. This year I will end up with over 20 senior guys.
What do you think the biggest misconception is about photographing guys?
I don’t know what the biggest one would be, but I think a few of them are:
They are boring sessions
Boys don’t want their portraits taken
All of these are UNTRUE! Some of my biggest sales and best clients have been senior boys!
A lot of photographers have a general opinion that the guys aren’t really “into” the sessions. Do you have any tips that you use to connect with the guys and get them to loosen up a bit and enjoy the session?
Yes! I start by acknowledging that they might not want to be here. (in a playful, joking way of course). I assure them that we will have a good time and that I will give them great images that the girls will love. 😉 I ask them about themselves and get them to open up a little. People are most comfortable when speaking about themselves because it’s a topic that they know! I don’t just jump right into shooting. Guys need a little more time to warm up. Prior to the session, I encourage them to bring along a friend. Usually if they have a buddy, they can provide some comic relief and get some genuine smiles out of my boys for me.
Do you have any specific marketing techniques that really make you stand out in the market to attract the guy clients?
I always always have one or two senior model reps that are boys. I want the guys to see from the start of the season that it’s important for them to have senior portraits too! I also provide styling for each client and make sure that they are arriving to their session with clothing that will photograph well and then show those images on my facebook and website. I’ve had so many senior boy clients say that they came to me because I made my guys look high fashion/model-like without looking stupid. (Their words, not mine! ha ha)
What is your favorite product that your guy clients just love?
There is not really a product that my guy clients love. Even though I can get them into the session, it is still the moms that are the buyers. Moms LOVE heirloom albums of their boys. If I can provide a gallery of images of their baby boy, they want that to be showcased! Moms are used to having great images of their daughters over the years of them growing up because, let’s face it, girls love to get their picture taken! But for a mom to have amazing images of her son…. that is something truly special.
What’s your favorite “go to” pose for the guys?
Ahh… hard to verbalize, but I’ll add it as one of the images I submit. MY favorite pose is one with their hand tucked in the back pocket and the other hanging off their neck.
THEIR favorite shot is one that I do with both hands framing their eyes. It takes a while to get it because they spend the first few minutes laughing, but when we get it, they love it!
How do most guys find out about you…word of mouth or another source?
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 90% of my senior boys choose me themselves (not their moms) and they all reference past senior guy client sessions that made them want to book with me.
What suggestions would you give to photographers that are wanting to gain more Senior Guy clients?
Change of attitude first and foremost! I think most photographers have a hard time because THEY aren’t inspired to shoot senior boys. If you can get a couple of senior guy clients to come with a great wardrobe and showcase that, it snowballs from there. Also, boys talk! If you are fun on the session and make it comfortable for them, they tell others. They want to know that it will be a great experience!
That is some great insight by Jessica! You can connect with Jessica and see more of her incredible Senior portraits on her sites:
Be sure to leave Jessica some comment *love* and thank her for sharing her awesome images with us at SENIOR GUY STYLE!