I was scrolling facebook because umm, facebook . . . And I ran across a conversation between a few senior photographers about photographing senior guys. There were different opinions on the topic, of course. But to sum it up, none of them ever counted on getting senior guys into their studios to photograph.
I was speechless. Thank goodness! I’m glad I didn’t comment because usually the first thing I think of is never the first thing that should come out of my mouth!!
But it got me wondering . . . why are we so afraid to photograph guys?
Why are so many senior photography business models built around girls only? I just don’t get it! Sure guys aren’t as excited as girls are about senior portraits, but their mamas sure are! They’ve been waiting 17 years for these portraits too. They’ve raised wonderful young men and want to celebrate them.
As a mom of boys I want senior portraits of my son just like any other mom would!
Guys are generally not going to ask their moms for senior pictures. So there needs to be a mindset shift when it comes to marketing. You have to market mostly to their moms, but you gotta show to the guys that it will be worth their time and not be lame!
So how do we do that?
Figure out who he is. What is he all about? You’ll do this mostly through having conversations with mom. Is he quiet and reserved? Is he the life of the party? What lights him up?
Photograph his car, truck, passion, his dog . . . but do it in a way that fits his personality. Don’t try to make him into something he’s not just for a cool shot. If you can get him comfortable you will get some killer images.
Do not pose him in a feminine way. A guy should look strong and not at all posed like a girl. Study posing if you’ve never photographed a guy. Here’s a great posing book by Lindsey Adler. She is the queen of posing and lighting!
Guys love to lean on things. They should look natural and not forced into a pose. It just doesn’t work and any awkwardness he feels will come through in his images.
Create classic and timeless images for him, not something gimmicky that he will be embarrassed by later.
Most guys will give you a serious look all day long, but if you can get a genuine smile, or better yet, a laugh, you will melt his mom’s heart. At the end of the day that’s all she wants really . . . natural expressions that she sees every day from her boy.
So, don’t be afraid to start marketing guy senior images. The moms are out there waiting for you to show up in your area! Be an expert when it comes to photographing guys. I’m shocked at the phone calls we get from moms who call me saying that there aren’t any other photographers around that even have images of guys on their websites. Wow! Just wow! Hey, I’ll gladly take those sessions though ;)
What’s it gonna be? Will you start photographing guys this year? Offer friends who have a teenage son you are comfortable with a small session to practice posing. Build a portfolio, get to work and add to your bottom line with this new offering at your studio!!