Senior Rep Inspiration – {Kelly Klatt Photography}

June 05, 2013
Two complete looks, 12 models and a whole lot of fun equals a Senior Model Shoot with Kelly Klatt Photography!  Kelly said she wanted to do two different looks, a Taylor Swift country theme and a baseball theme, because any more would make things too complicated!  Looking at these two different looks below, it is impossible to choose which I like better.  They are both so great!!
Read below to find out how Kelly came up with these concepts, where the shoot took place and what her models get for participating!  And if you want to take a look at Kelly’s awesome model video, click here.  Thanks for sharing Kelly!
How did you come up with the theme for your rep shoot?
 
I knew I wanted 2 specific ‘looks’ for the shoot.  I was afraid if I did more than that, I would make things too complicated.    I wanted them to be vastly different from each other, so that it looked like we had a lot going on, and nothing blended together!  This winter, I started my two pinterest ‘inspiration’ boards.  The baseball theme was something I’ve had in the back of my mind for almost a year, but I had a hard time finding images that conveyed the look I wanted.  You’d be amazed by the amount of ugly baseball pictures I found online!  The ‘taylor swift’ country theme was much easier to pull together…soft, pastel, lace, boots…that whole look is still huge in the stores, and it’s everywhere on pinterest.  
 
Where did this photo shoot take place?
 
We did the hair/makeup in my studio (attached to my home), and did the country theme and a small portion of the baseball theme in my backyard/field.  I live in the middle of the country, so for the last portion, we drove into town (about 10 miles) and used a local baseball field.
Did you collaborate with the seniors to come up with the clothing for this shoot?
 
Sort of?  I was pretty clear about what I wanted them to wear.  I shared my pinterest boards with them, and told them to start pulling together looks that matched my boards.  About 1 month before the shoot, the models and their moms came out to my studio for an ‘info’ meeting.  At that time, I had the girls bring whatever clothing/accessories they already had.  Most of the girls came with several complete outfits for both themes, and I was able to go through their options and choose the best ones.  It helps to have a meeting like this so you don’t end up with 7 of the same cream colored lace dress (which they ALL own).  A lot of the clothing they already had in their closets (or their friends closets), but many did go shopping specifically for this photo shoot(believe me, it’s not a hardship for teens to go clothes shopping…and the mom’s get just as excited).
 
What camera, lens or other equipment was used for this shoot?
 
I shoot with a Nikon D700.  I think my 24-70 was on for most of the shoot, simply because I was working with such a large group.  I probably pulled out my 50mm 1.4 for the individuals.  I also used an Alien Bee Beauty Dish (a little OCF) to help fill in their faces for some of the group shots…
I should mention that I had a second shooter (because I was afraid that with 12 girls I would miss a key moment ((just like a wedding, when there is a lot going on!)), and I also hired a videographer to film the entire day and produce an awesome video!
 
 
What time of day were these taken?
 
Actual shooting time was between 3:15pm and 7p.m.  The models arrived a few hours earlier for hair and makeup.  The toughest part about this shoot was the CRAAZY bright sun at 3pm.  I live in Minnesota, and spring was unusually late this year (the shoot took place on May 5th), which meant we had ZERO leaves on the tree’s yet….hence we had super intense backlighting, which wasn’t the look I wanted at all (it turned my pretty lace curtain into a high-key background!)…but there weren’t any other options, so we went with it!  Honestly, we had snow on the ground the week before, so I was praising Jesus that the day turned out sunny and warm!
 
Can you share any post-processing techniques used when editing this session?
 
I culled everything waaay down in lightroom.  I use the simple ‘keep/discard’ method, and trash about 3/4 of what I take.  I have yet to fully embrace lightroom’s features, and only use it for basic adjustments (shadow/highlight/exposure/color).  I edited my favorite 60 (or so) images in Photoshop, and rushed them over to my videographer so he could combine them with his footage.  Oh, and if you don’t own Blogstomp yet, you should!  It is the fastest way to resize/sharpen/watermark your images for the web.  I love it…almost as much as I love cake….or vodka.
 
How did you find your reps/models?
 
I did two things~first I put an open submissions form on my blog/facebook.  Then I contacted all of last year’s seniors and asked them for a few names each.  I used those names and messaged them via Facebook (and explained that an upperclassman thought that they would make a great model rep).  I think you need to do both to get the ‘best selection’ (that sounds like I’m shopping for lawn furniture).  To be honest, teenagers typically don’t like to put a lot of effort into things…I heard from a few girls (after the fact), that they had wanted to be a model, but just never got around to filling out the form.   Huh.  Oh, and if you are starting from ground zero, my advice is to find a senior shoot-out (seniorologie puts on a few every year), and build your portfolio with beautiful senior images.  Then start by finding ONE great teen that you know (a neighbor, a babysitter, etc.) that can be your first model.  Start with one, and the rest will come….that is deep.  When I first started building the senior side of my business, I rented a windowless van, drove to the high school parking lot, and bribed kids with candy.  I’m kidding.
 
How many different high schools do you have represented with your reps/models?
Four schools.  The majority of them all go to my local H.S.
What qualities do you look for in a rep/model?
 
Big boobs.  I’m sorry Leslie, I made it through almost 1/2 the interview before I released the kraken.  Where was I…okay:  I’m looking for girls who are really involved in their school (because they will have a larger social circle).  This year I focused on finding girls that were really into fashion and styling (thus it was easy to show them a pinterest page and have them pull together looks themselves).   I don’t need to have the most beautiful girl in the school…it’s much more rewarding to take regular girls and create beautiful images with them.  All of my models are gorgeous (inside and out), I’m like a proud mama seeing their confidence bloom in front of the camera.
 
Could you share the incentives that your reps/models receive for referrals?

~their face on the big screen…a little bit of fame never hurt anyone 😉

~free FB images from the shoot

~Session Fee Discounts!

~SWAG bag!  

~referral cards to pass out to friends.  For each senior you refer (that brings in your card and pays for a session), you will receive a $15 gift card to Target *OR* $25 in print credit towards your portrait order.  Refer 5 friends, and you will get either a $75 Target card, or $150 towards portraits ~ your choice! 

How many years have you done a rep or model program?

This is my 3rd season shooting model ‘reps’.  The first year, I did them individually.  Last year, I did a group shoot (and actually worked with another local photographer to combine resources and make it a bigger event).  This was the first year I did the whole ‘group shoot’ on my own…kind of stressful, but very rewarding!

What is one tip that you would give another photographer on how to build a successful senior rep/model program?

My advice is to make it as easy as humanly possible, don’t make them jump through a million hoops or expect them to live and breath your studio, because you will be disappointed.  Make it an amazing experience, get it out on social media, and finger’s crossed you will get a buzz going!  

What is your favorite thing about this photo session?
 
The video.  I love how it all flows together.  I also love the shot of the ‘baseball team’ on the bleachers.  That was the shot I was visualizing for months, and to make it happen (and have it look as good as it did in my head) was very exciting!