At just about every conference or convention I've heard photographers talking about their interest in the senior market. Things have changed a lot since I was a senior and the creativity in a senior shoot today, if done right, is similar to the fun photographers have with their clients during an engagement shoot. However, the quality the client is looking for is more like a portfolio series from a glamour session! (Yup - that's my senior shot and the photographer gave us the luxury of two expressions before bringing in the next senior!)
If you've got an interest in the senior market, the first thing you need is to make sure you've got the skill set, but not just with your camera. You need great communication skills and the ability to build a relationship with your subject. Remember, for many seniors; this may be their first time working with a professional photographer. They're as nervous getting a portrait done as they are in dealing with some of their own self-esteem issues. That means your listening and conversational skills need to be as good as your understanding of exposure, composition and lighting!
While there are challenges in getting into the senior market that are local and sometimes political, for the most part, it's about building a reputation of making senior portraiture a fun experience. Personally, I still love the idea of ambassador programs where photographers start with 3-6 seniors and shoot their images at no charge in exchange for them becoming "ambassadors".
I also love what Kirk Voclain talked about years ago. He was doing a "model search" and the images of the seniors he chose would then go on display at a local mall. Kirk has a gift for working with seniors. I interviewed him for an article I wrote for PDN years ago, and he talked about how he gets his subjects talking about their friends, hobbies, goals, future and just watches for that gleam they get in their eyes when they hit on something they're passionate about. That's when the shutter gets clicked! If you want to see work that sets the standard for outstanding senior portraits, he's just a click away.
Once you've got the skill set, communication skills and reach into the senior population, Marathon comes in to give you the marketing plan. They've put together a program for up to four mailings, all at different times to help you plant the seed and then nurture it into a portrait session.
- Mailing 1: Create awareness by putting senior portraits at the front of their mind.
- Mailing 2: Shape comprehension by showing seniors that your photography is unique and stylish and worthy of their consideration.
- Mailing 3: Finish off with an attractive offer to get them to commit.
- Mailing 4: Optional mailer designed to grab the attention of seniors with a last-chance offer.
Check out the range of design samples below:
Even better is the way Marathon gives each studio exclusivity within their zip code...
These 3-part promotions are limited to only one studio per marketing area, so call (800) 228.0629 NOW to make sure your preferred ZIP Codes are available! ZIP Codes are protected on a first-come, first-serve basis.
3 automated mailings with your choice of 18 mail dates between February - October, 2016.