How To Rebuild Your Senior Photography Business After Relocating To A Different State

How To Rebuild Your Senior Photography Business After Relocating To A Different State

When her husband was given an opportunity he couldn’t refuse with his job, the Huff family packed up and moved from Indiana to North Carolina. But with that move, Flavi had to start all over again in another state. Rebuilding her senior photography business proved to be quite a challenge, but she made it happen.

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What's In My Camera Bag?

Some of the most popular questions I get (especially through Instagram) is about the equipment I use when shooting senior sessions. So I thought it might be a good idea to have all of it listed out for you guys.

I’ve recently made a switch over to Sony, and I’m absolutely in love with the quality of the images. There has definitely been a learning curve but well worth the time invested.

Off Camera Flash Senior Portraits. What’s In My Bag. Jena Golden Photography.

Sharing behind the scenes images on my InstaStories from senior sessions also strums up a lot of questions about my lighting. While I do love natural light (it’s so beautiful), there is just something about off-camera flash that I am drawn to. Maybe it’s the consistency of the white balance, the crispness of the images, the beautiful catch lights or the ability to get those beautiful blue skies in my images. And let’s not forget the flexibility of being able to shoot any time of day!!!

SENIOR SESSION CAMERA AND OFF CAMERA FLASH LIGHTING GEAR. WHAT’S IN MY CAMERA BAG FOR SENIOR SESSIONS.

So here ya go guys! All of my equipment details below . . . enjoy :)

Camera Equipment

Lenses

Lighting

Extras

Other things I take with me on sessions are an emergency bag of things like first aid items, bug spray, lint brush, hair spray, bobby pins, oil blotting papers, scissors, rubber bands, change for parking meters, etc. This has saved me several times!!

So now that you know what I use. How about you? What are your go-to tools for your senior portrait sessions?

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Setting Your Senior Photography Business Apart In Your Market

I couldn’t be happier and more honored to have Kristin Jones of Any Angle Photography as our very first guest blogger here to talk to us about setting our senior photography businesses apart in our markets!  

Kristin Jones

Any Angle Photography

Photo Credit: Belle Marie Photography

Kristin is an amazing senior photographer and is such a gift to our industry.  She’s based out of her residential studio in Maple Grove, MN and averages 35-45 seniors each year.

A little bit of her story . . .

Seven years ago she took a photoshop class just for fun and was told she needed a better camera.  Of course she bought one! After taking pictures of everything her own high school kids were part of, two of her son’s friends asked her to take their senior pictures.

She never looked back.  

Kristin has been in business for 6 years now.  Last year she quit her ultrasound tech job of 25 years to pursue photography full time.  And we are so glad you did girl!  

Here’s a few of her most recent accomplishments:

Voted Senior Style Guide Hot 100 Icon Status the 2 years 2017, 2018

Voted Senior Inspire 50 to Follow the last 2 years 2018, 2019

Voted The Twelfth Year Top 50 Established Photographer 2018

TCPPA (Twin Cities Professional Photographers Association) 3rd Place Senior Photographer of the Year 2018

TCPPA Board Member 2019 (Member at Large)

Published in Modern Teen Style Senior Magazine 2018 and 2019

I twist balloon animals and can do magic tricks. 


She also has a witty sense of humor if you caught that last line.  That helps with photographing seniors!!

And with that, I will turn it over to Kristin :) 

How To Set Yourself Apart In Your Local Senior Market

Do What You Love and They Will Love What You Do

I picked up a camera for the first time at the age of 45. I learned how to work my camera photographing my sons’ high school theater productions.  I loved capturing them on stage and quickly learned I loved capturing all the kids on the stage.  Any pictures I took, I gave to the directors to use. My first pictures were not good, but I loved taking them so I kept at it.  Through this I met many of the students involved in the productions and once my kids graduated I had improved my work and started to receive compensation for photographing the shows.  This evolved into taking many of these students senior pictures. I continue to photograph the shows (just finished my 8th year), now take pictures of all the choirs, bands and orchestras at our local high school and take several senior picture sessions each year.  

This has been successful, I believe, because going into this I already had a deep love for theater, band and choir and loved photographing the enthusiasm of the students on stage, behind the scenes and in the pit orchestra.  It has always been work I enjoy and that comes out in the images I take year after year.  

Through photographing the musicals and subsequently taking many senior pictures of the participants I have learned how much I love to capture a senior doing what they love.  I started with musicians and performers, but I equally love capturing athletes, seniors with their favorite pets and seniors with their different talents and passions. The love they have for their “thing” comes out in their faces and body language, and we create amazing images collaborating and working together. 

These students are unsung heroes.

They are talented, diligent and work hard to perfect their craft. I have been the lucky one to be able to capture images for them that show their abilities and their personalities.   

Volunteering at my local high school created my business.  Building rapport with the students, leaders and teachers led to senior pictures booked with next to no marketing.   Students came to me and asked for pictures. Once friends saw those images, others asked. 

How can you do this in your own senior photography business?

1.  Identify what you like to photograph then identify ways you can create business around that.  If I had started photographing sports, I don’t think I would have had the same success.   

2.  Find a way in.  Is your kid or other relative involved in an activity you could photograph? Any friends involved in something you could photograph? Work through your contacts and find those in authority over what you enjoy to photograph and then volunteer.  Let them see what you can do for their organization. Be generous to them.  

3.  Once your value is seen, find ways to advertise your other services through their organization.  Flyers, promotions or emails, word of mouth all work.  

What Not to Do

Do not volunteer your services, then hold the pictures hostage. This should be a good will gesture. Make sure intentions and terms are clear at the beginning and there is good communication. Prove your value, then renegotiate terms.  

Reaching out to offer your services is not comfortable.  It’s hard work.  There is competition and the rejection is hard to take.  To be successful, you have to keep trying. It only takes one successful job to engage another, then another.  Find something you love to photograph and find a way to volunteer your service. Hopefully you will find the same fulfillment I found and create a successful senior photography business of your own too.  

Thank you so much for your contribution to Senior Studio Success and to the senior photography industry! We wish you many more years of success!

To find Kristin online visit her here:

Website

Instagram

Facebook

Here’s a little bit of Kristin’s awesome work with seniors too!

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Honeybook: My Favorite Senior Studio Management System

Honeybook: My Favorite Senior Studio Management System

It used to take me hours to get through all of the steps to bring a new senior photography client on when booking a new session. And inevitably I would forget to do something.

I looked at Honeybook several times in the past before finally making the leap, and man, I wish I had done it sooner. I would have saved hours upon hours here in the studio doing meaningless tasks.

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How To Make Working From Home As A Photographer Actually Work

The phone is ringing, the dogs are barking, UPS is dropping off a package, a friend is texting to ask if you can drop her off at the airport and a neighbor wants to talk about the new HOA policy because you know, you work from home.  Insert eye roll here.

I get it.  Completely!  Working from home can be tough.  I’ve owned commercial space, had my studio inside my home and now have a detached studio on our property.  This has been my absolute favorite set up btw :)

Unless you are super organized and protective of your time is can be hard to get anything crossed off your to do list each day.  So let’s talk about how to make working from home actually work for your photography business.

How To Make Working From Home As A Photographer Actually Work

6 Tips For Working From Home As A Senior Photographer

  1. Set boundaries

    Be polite but firm when setting boundaries with family, friends and clients about your business.  Working from home doesn’t mean you can drop everything for a 30 minute chat about what another PTO mom did last week.  While working from home does give you flexibility in your schedule, it needs to be on your own terms. 

  2. Have pre-determined office hours

    Setting office hours are extremely important - for you and your family.  This may change for you as your life changes, the kids get older and as your business grows. But set them and do not let anything get in your way. We’ll talk about distractions in a minute. But I would caution you about sneaking in a few hours late at night when the kids are occupied. Sure this is necessary every once in a while, but it’s easy to form a bad habit. Been there. Done that. Enjoy your family time in the evenings. There will always be work.

  3. Get comfortable with saying no

    Saying no comes so easy to some and it’s extremely difficult for the “people pleasers”. Come on. You know who you are. I am a recovering people pleaser, so I can relate! But what I have learned over the years is that saying yes to trivial or unimportant things in the moment means that I am ultimately giving away my precious time and saying no to my family later on in the day. There are only so many hours in the day and we have to use them wisely. Only say yes to requests that line up with your priorities and values. Everything else can be a gentle “no, I can’t right now, I’m unavailable” . . . you get the picture ;)

  4. Eliminate distractions

    The phone is absolutely my biggest distraction. It’s worse than my kids y’all!! Turning your phone to Do Not Disturb is the best thing you could do to actually get some focused work done! I’ve even gone so far to delete social media apps and email from my phone to keep me from being distracted.

  5. Morning & Evening Routines

    Creating routines (for myself and the kids) has been a lifesaver to me. There are just those non-negotiable things that have to get done each day, right? Take some time to sketch out your mornings and evenings to make them successful. It takes a while to form new habits, but that investment will pay off! A great morning starts the night before :)

  6. Batch your time

    Jumping from one type of task to a totally different one can be such a waste of time and mental energy. To stay productive in your work hours be sure you are focusing on only one type of task - emails, calls, editing, continuing education, etc. Have session days and in person sales days separately so that you can stay focused on one thing. I even close the studio one day a week to run all of my errands and schedule appointments on that one day. Batching things like marketing, client work, post production, calls, emails, and admin work has been a huge time saver as well. The best tool I’ve found to help me with this has been Trello. I’ve been using it for years, and it really keeps me focused and on track. You can read more about it here in this post.

What are some of the things you’ve found to help you stay productive working from home? I’d love to keep the conversation going!

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