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