Guest Post – {What a Role Model is and Isn’t}

January 22, 2018

Today’s guest post is from Conference Twelve Alum Corrie Barto of Corrie Barto Photography.  Corrie is sharing how she created a senior rep program for her business based on the concept she learned from Courtney DeLaura at Conference Twelve 2015.  Role Models is a unique program that not only gives teens a change to be a spokesmodel for her company but also gives them guidance and teaches them the valuable lesson of giving back to their community.  Read Corrie’s blog post below!  Thanks for sharing Corrie!

I’m in my third year now of forming my ROLEmodels team, this time for the Class of 2019.  It’s so easy for me talk about what ROLEmodels is, and why I think it’s beneficial for teenage girls in this market.  And in this post, I will share what it is.  But furthermore, lately it’s been on my heart to describe more about what it ISN’T.   I am used to the questions, and have my answers ready for any parent or student with hesitations.  So, in writing this post, I’m hoping that it gives my clients a quick way to get all the answers.

And because I’m an organized, concise gal who used to be a corporate trainer and would write emails to my big company in the easiest format possible to read, I will use bullet points to make my list. 🙂

What is ROLEmodels?

A marketing platform:  ROLEmodels is first and foremost MY platform for marketing to high school seniors in the area.  Social media helps with marketing as well, and when I combine my Instagram and Facebook with the ROLEmodels program I reach target clients.  Yes, I said that it’s a marketing program.  But that’s just the WHAT behind it, not the WHY.  So what is the WHY?  Well, that’s a whole other post (hmmmm…I need to add that one to my blog schedule), but in a nutshell, I want a model program that encourages community service and personal growth.  I want girls who love helping others and who are a reflection of myself and my business, and most importantly my BRAND.   I need to keep my name out there in area high schools, and want it to be associated with something positive (and of course beautiful, quality portraits).
A mentorship program:  My girls (and I’m not opposed to boys, I’ve just never had one apply) have my full and complete attention into their needs for growth in all areas.  I’m here for them in the capacity to help them achieve their goals.   I’ve been blessed with several mentors over the years, and love giving back to others that might need advice or help.
A service-based opportunity:  Each class chooses what their platform will be for service during their senior year.  The last two years we have focused on the homeless community.  This year we will talk about what other areas we can serve, whether it is veterans, the elderly, or animals.  I provide several opportunities for service projects throughout the 15 months that they are on the team.
A way to make new friends:  I promise that this program will grow your network of friends, and maybe even land you your future college roommate.  This happened on my Class of 2018 team!  Grace and Sabrina met through ROLEmodels and will be rooming together at Oklahoma State.  At our events, I provide team building opportunities to get to know each other.  And I’m a super competitive game player (cards, board games, you name it), so don’t be surprised if I make everyone play a couple rounds of Heads Up during a photo shoot day!
A modeling opportunity:  My business focuses on senior portraits, and also photography workshops.  I am always in need of models for my workshops, and go straight to my ROLEmodels team for this.  Also, I’m continually growing my skills and my portfolio.  If I’m in need a model to try something new with, it’s my ROLEmodels who will be used for this.
A way to get a ton of extra photo shoots and free pictures:  ROLEmodels get a styled photo shoot the summer before senior year.  It includes professional makeup, and styled clothing from myself or a local boutique.  In addition to this, they get another styled shoot that they pick the theme for, and a college shirt/cap & gown mini-session at the end of their senior year!  From every shoot, they get the digital files (no watermarks, high quality jpegs) to keep and share (remember that part about keeping my name out there–they post these fun pictures to social media and tag me).
A commitment to Corrie Barto Photography:  Being a ROLEmodel means you are committing to use my portrait studio business for your senior pictures.  And they cannot represent any other photographers in the area.
A Get-Extra Program:  Being a ROLEmodel means you get MORE than a regular client.  More pictures, new friends, service project hours, gifts (yes I do love giving presents!), modeling opportunities, scholarship recommendation letters, resume builders, and more.
A way to earn money off your senior portraits:  If my ROLEmodels refer a friend to me for senior pictures, they will receive credit off their own senior portraits (about $100 off for each referral).  I ended the list with this, because it’s pretty much the least important part of the program for me.  I do this program to keep my name out there in a positive way (remember my WHY?  I didn’t mention doing it to get zillions of new clients).  If my ROLEmodels bring me new clients, great!  But if not, it’s totally OK.

What is ROLEmodels NOT?

A referral program:  WHAT???  Huh?  Notice above I made absolutely no mention of my ROLEmodels having to refer clients to me to be part of the program.  Most model programs are traditional in the sense that they get the photographer to take their senior pictures in the summer before senior year, and then they are required to use those pictures to get new clients for the photographer.   Once they do this, they get free products, discounts, etc.  This whole concept stresses me out!
A way to get senior pictures for free:  My ROLEmodels are full paying clients.  They know they want to use me for senior pictures, and want to be part of my program to enhance their senior year.  If they get a referral, they get a credit towards their session.  Simple.  I present my pricing at the ROLEmodels information meeting so the parents are aware of the cost of my portrait experience.  Nothing hidden here!
A scam to exploit teenage girls:  I can’t really explain this one other than I had a parent call me and accuse me of this.
A modeling school:  No, I’m not Barbizon.  No, I’m not going to suck your teenager into my web and scam you out of thousands of dollars so she can be a “model.”
A way for me to cold-call clients:  If I’m contacting your daughter, it’s because she applied to the program through my online application.  I do absolutely no work on the front-end in contacting potential members.  They all come to me first.  Everyone that applies has heard about me through a current ROLEmodel, a friend, a family member, Google, or social media posts.  On my online application, there are two initial boxes that say they have asked a parent first if they could apply, and if they are aware of what the program entails.  So no, I’m not trolling Instagram and Facebook and targeting certain girls for this program.
A program that requires a ton of extra time:  Listen, I get it.  These seniors are SO busy!  They have school, a lot have jobs, extracurricular activities, and busy social lives!  I know that I’m not their main priority.  I require a fee to join the program (Class of 2019–it’s $200 to join) for several reasons, and you can read those here in another blog post.  By paying the fee, they are showing their commitment to share Corrie Barto Photography with their friends, and their commitment to participate as much as they are able in the service projects, other events, and social media posts.

I hope this post answers a lot of the questions that parents and students might have about the Corrie Barto Photography ROLEmodels program.  The application is just the first step, and I encourage everyone who is on the fence to apply and come to the info meeting to meet myself and other ROLEmodels and their moms so you can see what it’s really about!  Apply here.   Applications close on Monday the 22nd!

Check out these other blog posts about ROLEmodels to get more detailed information about our events and photo shoots:

http://corriebarto.com/rolemodels-homeless-shelter-service-project/

http://corriebarto.com/class-2017-rolemodels-photoshoot/

http://corriebarto.com/zachary-bags-rolemodels-service-project/

http://corriebarto.com/hope-supply-company-rolemodels-service-project/

http://corriebarto.com/rolemodels-lauren-james-fundraiser-night/

http://corriebarto.com/rolemodels-project-beauty-frisco-senior-photographer/