Any other senior portrait photographers out there have a senior model team? We’re almost 50 episodes into The Seniorologie Podcast, so by now, you know I truly believe in the power of a model team. I also believe that it’s one of the best things I did for my business. But, let’s face it: dealing with teens isn’t always a walk in the park. And running a model program isn’t easy either. Teens these days are busy, distracted by their own lives, and have a million things happening during senior year. It makes my head spin to try and keep up. As a photographer with a model team, you probably know that sometimes by the end of the year, it can feel hard to keep your model team engaged all year long.
I used to believe that my job was just to take good photos and the rest would happen… but it’s much more than that. Running a strong model team requires hard work on our part. And keeping your model team engaged is definitely your job. Over the years of teaching this model program, I’ve had complaints about models who don’t do anything or people not getting referrals. And I hate bursting bubbles, but the reality is some of that is on US as the photographers.
We’re responsible for leading our team and motivating them to do what we need. We really have to create an atmosphere in which seniors want to participate. They’re team members, not employees. Our job is about creating and setting an example of how to participate from start to finish – not just at the beginning. But how do we do that? I’m happy you asked! Today, we’re talking about 5 ways to keep your model team engaged all year long!
Multiple shoots mean LOTS of photos your seniors can share all year long! And let’s face it, kids live digitally, so having a lot of photos to share is a huge plus. This creates more content for them to share (and to share about you!). Space your shoots out throughout the school year so they always have something fresh to share. Don’t burn yourself out planning shoots every single week, but sprinkle them throughout the year so everyone stays excited!
Get your models involved in planning the shoots. Get their ideas, listen to them – and truly consider them. You could even have one or two models in charge of pinning looks and outfits on Pinterest for your shoots. Getting your models involved helps make them feel valued as more than just models. And their opinion doesn’t have to be the style of the shoot, but on things like the date or location, too. Get creative and get them involved!
Remember that tip about creating an atmosphere in which they WANT to participate? Creating a space where you can all connect via text (or an app like Group Me) can help everyone get to know each other more and feel ready to engage. Even things like a birthday text or a milestone celebration can go a long way with your team. There’s so many moments to celebrate in a senior year: college acceptance, proms, homecoming, sports wins, the list goes on and on. Be there and celebrate with them!
Creating a model team isn’t just about creating a group of people who will market for you. It’s about creating a community. So get involved with your model teams! Go to their games, attend a concert, or just let them know that you’re there for them and celebrating with them. Their lives aren’t just about the model team, and we want to support them in whatever their life looks like outside of that!
Teens are interested in giving back and making a difference in their communities so USE that! Not only are you able to help your community, but you can help your team find something they’re passionate about. Holidays are a great time to give back to your community and an excellent time to get together as a team. Adopt a family together as a team, call local shelters to see if you can volunteer or connect with an elementary school or church to see what you can get involved with during the holidays!
At the end of the day, there’s so many ways to keep your model team engaged year round. But it really just comes down to being invested in them as people more than anything else. Show them that they matter to you – and make sure they really do. The more you show them you are engaged the more they will be too! Lead by example and you will have a team that supports you, your business and each other!
If you want more information on how to run a successful model team, check out two programs I’ve created to help you! One is the Seniorologie Semester which is a six month coaching program specifically for senior photographers! This program is designed to help you build a complete, successful senior photography business and includes six months of education via live zoom workshops. You also receive two one on one coaching calls with me and unlimited access to me throughout the six months. The semester includes a 2 day in person retreat with accommodations included. Spots are limited so apply early!
The second option for learning more about senior spokesmodel teams is the Spokesmodel Academy! This is an online course that walks you through why you should have a team, how to create the team, launch the team and get models interested in being a part of the team! This course comes with 5 modules and 7 bonuses to help you create a successful senior model team!!
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Need help with your senior photography business? I’ve put together lots of FREE resources to help you in your business! You can have access to these awesome free resources HERE!
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