Feature Photographer – Amanda Holloway

September 26, 2011

Sometimes you have to photograph anything and everything you can in order to figure out what you love!  From families to weddings to kids to seniors….photograph them all and figure out where your passion lies.  Finding your passion and shooting what you love will allow you to enjoy your job as a photographer!

That is exactly what Amanda Holloway did when she started out.  She pointed her camera at anything that would let her and she quickly found out what she loved and what she didn’t!  From there, it was easy to carve out her niche in the Senior Portrait Photography market!

Amanda is a fabulous senior portrait photographer out of The Woodlands, Texas who, for the past two years, has run Amanda Holloway Photography all while still maintaining a full time job as a Juvenile Probation Officer.  She just recently decided to follow her dream and become a full time professional photographer!  Congratulations Amanda!!

In addition to her senior photography business, Amanda also has some wonderful tools for other photographers.  The Purpose Posing Guide is a fabulous tool that I had the opportunity to review.  This guide has so much information, including the reasons behind why certain poses work, and it even has a field guide that you can put on your iphone!  What a great way to be able to take posing suggestions with you on a photo shoot!!  I am sure we have all found ourselves a little stuck during a shoot, trying to come up with a fresh, new pose.  Having these great photos of fun and fresh poses on your phone will help keep things going smoothly for your next senior photo shoot!  Seniorologie highly recommends this guide!!!

Amanda also has a workshop called The Kitchen Sink where she gives you everything but the kitchen sink!!  She shares her knowledge on shooting, editing, pricing, ordering and much, much more!  Be sure to read more information about her workshops here and read the wonderful reviews from attendees below.

I would, without hesitation, recommend the Kitchen Sink workshop to any photographers or wanna be photographers out there. Whether you’re just starting out or needing a boost in your current business, you will not be disappointed! I’m also thankful I got to experience this weekend with several other great ladies who are all pretty amazing photographers themselves. Seriously girls, after this workshop – there’s nowhere to go but up!” -Amy Schilling

Amanda’s workshop experience starts with her making everyone feel at ease. She is so open and honest and welcomes any questions you have without holding anything back. From our first meal the night before the workshop until we left each other on the last night after midnight ~ she gave more that 100% of herself to each of us. She shares everything with you from the beginning of her senior’s shoot, editing, financial, forms… okay .. you get it …. it truly was the Kitchen Sink  . -Rhonda Jackson

I had the opportunity to interview Amanda about her business, her workshops and her advice to other senior photographers.  Please check out what she had to say below and be sure to check out her website here.  Amanda is also offering a special discount on the Purpose Posing guide to all Seniorologie readers!  To purchase the guide, click here and enter the code SENIORFANS11 at checkout.  The coupon code is for $25 off and will be valid until October 2!

How did you get into photography?  Any formal training?  My husband bought me my first DSLR when my son was about 2-weeks old.  It was a Nikon D5000 with a Sigma 18-200mm f 3.5-6.3 lens.  I learned a lot on that combination while I endlessly took photos of my son.  As the usual story goes, friends started to ask me to take pictures of their children, and when they posted them on Facebook, their friends wanted the same.  For a few months, I was a shoot and burn photographer, but I quickly figured out that that was not how I wanted to spend every free weekend and night.  I soon moved on to prints and then up to products.  I think my very first 5×7 was a whopping $5, and I remember thinking, “Is someone really going to buy a 5×7 for $5?”  Ha!!  Even my husband was a little leery when I told him I wanted to sell an 8×10 for $10.  I honestly think I’m the classic case…I had a beautiful baby boy and I wanted to document his life.  I owe all of my photography success to my son…he was my original inspiration and is the reason I got started in the first place.

How long have you been in business?  I have been in business with full blown pricing since August of last year, after portfolio building with parallel pricing for another year before that.  I made the decision that if I was going to do this…I didn’t want to take 5 or 6 years to be finally happy with my income and art.  I wanted to hit milestone sales and my target market in my very first 2 years and after a ton of research and trial and error, I did it.  A lot of photographers ask how I can teach workshops and mentorships after being in business for as long (or as little) as I have.  One of my photographers that I mentored put it best when she said, “Amanda, I don’t want to learn from someone who it took 10 years to get where you are.  I want to learn from someone who did it like you.  It’s refreshing to know that I too, can do this.”  And what’s really awesome is that photographer just called me last month screaming that she just made her very first $1500 sale!  Woo!!  I put everything into my business, and I am one of those people who truly believe that you get out what you put in.

How did you get into the senior portrait market?  I actually used to shoot everything and anything that would let me point a camera in their general direction.  Ha!  I suddenly started paying attention to myself and the way I would feel when I was shooting certain sessions.  I quickly found out that I was not a fan of children or family shoots.  I would literally dread these sessions and it showed in my work.  I would get frustrated that the little girl wouldn’t look my way or that the little boy just bit me (oh, yes…he bit me!).  But when I was shooting seniors, I felt like I was on top of the world.  My work was much better with seniors, and I felt at ease shooting them…like I was in the zone.

How did you make the decision to only photograph seniors?  Well, when I was shooting everything under the sun, I was quickly beginning to realize how much time I was spending away from my own family.  My husband and I would argue about how much time I was spending on the computer, I was always gone on the weekends, and one day it came down to one question.  He asked me, “Amanda, if you could shoot one specialty and never got paid for it, which one would you still be happy to shoot?”  I blurted out SENIORS!!  And there it was.  That very night changed my career forever.

Do you have a specific senior season?  If so, when?  So far, I have found that February, March, April and May of their senior year is the season for my seniors.  It’s like someone called them one morning and said, “Psst…it’s time for your senior pictures girls!”  And then BAM!  They’re all calling and emailing all frantic because they’re about to graduate and haven’t had their photos taken.

What is your favorite thing about photographing seniors?  Their willingness to do absolutely anything and everything I want to try.  They are just as excited to be there as I am and that truly shows in their images.  We’ve done some pretty crazy stuff and shot at some super weird locations, but they are so happy to be there and it totally pays off.

What are some tips you can share with other photographers who want to break into the senior market?  Get acquainted with that generation’s passion…all forms of entertainment and social media.  You need to realize that they are spending tons of their time surfing the net, checking their news feeds on Facebook and looking at the latest and greatest in all the fashion magazines and music videos.  If you’re not letting them know that you are waiting for them with open arms, they will find someone else who will.  you have to get out there, show them what you can do, and give them a reason to want YOU to take their senior portraits.

What do you think makes your business so successful?  I’ve always said that if you want a successful photography business, you need to be a business person first, and a photographer second.  Marketing is so important with seniors!!

What has been your best marketing tool for your business?  Facebook!!  Facebook is an amazing resource for photographers!  The fact that I can get so many people’s attention with just a click of a button is so awesome!  Again, marketing is super important with seniors!

What are your most popular senior products for your clients?  By far, my digital files.  I sell them with a custom image box, custom CD hard case, senior slide show and a 5×7 of every showcased image.  How can you say no to that?!?!  My albums are big sellers too.  A lot of my sales are psychological in the way that I present them and show my samples.  You can hard sell your products while being subtle and maintain respect for your clients as well.

You have a Senior Posing Guide called PURPOSE.  Can you share any posing tips for seniors?  First and foremost, angle your senior girls away from you ever so slightly.  This can trim their shoulder lines, jaw lines and waist lines, and be very beneficial to the overall look you are going for.  Second, inverting her toes can do WONDERS for her thighs and legs.  It can make short legs look long and long legs look well…even longer!  Finally, press those knees together!  You always want to maintain modesty when taking a senior’s pictures…her parents will thank you for it!  Ok…I lied.  I have one more.  Keep her hands in the frame.  You want your viewer’s eye to move around the frame while keeping focus on your subject’s face.  If you keep her hands in the frame, it will be a lot more interesting to look at and dynamic.

I decided to call my guide the PURPOSE Posing Guide because I wanted photographers who read it to shoot their seniors with purpose.  Slowing yourself down and creating in camera exactly what you want is HUGE in cutting down culling time, editing time and the time you spend fixing what should have been fixed in the field.  My guide is full of different types of posing with a ton of educational tips and tricks on lighting and composition for polishing your senior portraits to their very best!  I’ve had tons of photographers tell me that they felt more complete when shooting their seniors after reading the guide because they felt that they had more of an overall knowledge of not just how to pose their senior girls, but they also understood WHY they were posing them that way – which I believe is very important!

(The above answer is just a glimpse into the tremendous amount of information that Amanda includes in the posing guide!  She shows examples of the poses and breaks them down to explain why they work!  It is definitely a must have for all senior portrait photographers!!) -Seniorologie

You also teach workshops and mentorships.  Can you share some details about each of these?  I named my workshops and mentorships The Kitchen Sink Experience because I truly try to give all of my photographers everything but the kitchen sink!  It’s a full 2 days packed full of everything including pricing a la carte and collections, session tiering, marketing, branding, in person ordering, psychological pricing, samples, contracts and releases, financial aspects, editing side by side for color, vintage noirs, tilt shift, vintage and textured styles and even styling your shoots.  Add to that 2 full senior shoots full of TONS of gorgeous models who are made up with professional hair and makeup , and you basically have everything but the kitchen sink!  My photographers go home with a workshop book over 100 pages (with full blown editing screen shots, composition and lighting examples), a DVD of tons of information, a great portfolio boost and hopefully a lifetime experience that will change their business forever.

 

What is in your camera bag?  Nikon D700, Nikon MB D10 Battery Grip, Nikon Nikkor 35mm 1.4G, Nikon Nikkor 50mm 1.4G, Nikon Nikkor 85mm 1.4G, Nikon Nikkor 105mm 2.8G, CF cards: Hoodman RAW, Strap: Black Rapid RS-W1, Field Bag: LowePro Flipside 400

What is your favorite lens?  I honestly have to say my 35mm 1.4G.  That lens changed my shooting style FOREVER.  I can literally look back at my work and see where I started using it.  It opened up my creativity to a whole other level.  I truly love that lens.  I just bought the 85mm 1.4G so we’ll see how that goes…I can already tell we’re going to be best friends!