Let’s hear it for the boys! Anyone else think of that 80’s song or am I just dating myself? I wish we were doing a deep dive into 80’s music now… but we’ve got an even better topic for today’s Seniorologie Podcast episode. We’re talking about senior guys and their photoshoots! I don’t know about you, but the majority of my clients are girls – which I think is pretty normal. But sometimes that means our client experience for the guys becomes a little subpar. That’s why today I want to talk about my senior experience for guys and how it can help you in your senior portrait business too!
I think sometimes when it comes to the senior guys, photographers get nervous. We worry about if we’re going to photograph them as well as the ladies because it’s out of our comfort zone. Guys can be different – they probably don’t have a ton of outfits picked out, a Pinterest board full of ideas, and may not even really want to do their photos to begin with. BUT they are still our clients and deserve to have an incredible experience during their senior session, too! I used to think that trying to understand the girls vs. the guys was the answer. It’s not. Instead, treating every client, regardless of who they are, as an individual who deserves a custom and personalized experience is the best way to make sure our guys have a great senior session. (And let’s be honest, an experience that mom will love too won’t hurt anything!). So let’s dive into the senior experience for guys!
Client experience begins with the inquiry. For many senior guys, it’s going to be mom who’s sending that email. For all of my inquiries, I work to create a personalized experience. We hop on the phone to talk about the process and pricing and then I follow up that call with the same information in an easy to read welcome guide. I also send available dates in that email and let them have a few days to decide what they’re going to do.
In that email, I send a digital welcome guide for my clients. It’s jam packed with lots of information about sessions, pricing, and what the process is like with me. I also include what to wear, location options, and inspiration from other senior sessions. Parents LOVE these welcome guides and it’s a great way to show that you really do know your stuff.
Once they’ve booked, it’s time to start preparing for the session. The worst thing in the world is to not prepare our clients – and they have to wonder about what to do when. Instead, I want to give them as much information as I can ahead of time so they show up feeling confident and prepared. For both girls and guys, I have a “Client Lounge” on my website which has tons of tips about hair and skincare leading to their session, props, locations, wardrobe inspiration, and so much. Continue to communicate with them leading up to the session – even a final text to confirm is a really easy way to improve your experience!
Here’s where the fun begins! I know this is also where a lot of photographers get nervous for senior guys. With the girls, it’s super easy to play up the hair and makeup, helping them feel great. But with guys, it’s a little bit harder. They’re generally less comfortable in front of the camera so our job is really to make sure they’re comfortable and confident. Here’s a few tips I’ve found help my senior guys during sessions:
Be realistic with your own expectations! As senior photographers, we get excited about doing our job – the right light, the best shot, the perfect frame. With guys, their excitement may not be as evident as with the girls. And that’s okay. Don’t take that as a bad thing – they’re just not going to squeal and jump up and down like your senior girls might!
Do a mental mindshift! If you are like me, you are most often photographing girls. You want to make the girls look pretty, pose them in flattering and feminine ways and tell them how beautiful they are! But when it comes to guys, we have to shift our posing ideas. Poses need to be more masculine and you may want to choose different words to encourage them.
Set their expectations! Explain the process, let them know that you will tell them exactly what to do and that you won’t take any more time than necessary. Let them know right off the bat that you will give them great images that they will love and make sure they look cool and confident in those images. Just help them feel better about the process.
Keep it moving. The guys just have less to do during a session – no hair and makeup, super easy wardrobe changes… so remember that your session might feel shorter but that’s okay! Make sure you give them what they need during the session but don’t stress about it too much.
Location matters! Guys want to look cool in their senior photos and a location can help with that. Finding a cool location that provides variety that you can use with posing is key. Look for somewhere that they can sit, lean, stand and really maximize the location you’ve picked.
Talk to them! During the shoot you want to make sure you are communicating and talking throughout the entire shoot. You don’t want a ton of silence because they will start to feel like they are doing something wrong. Find out what they like and get them talking about it: hobbies, sports, school.
Include their favorite activities! I have found that nothing makes a guy more comfortable than being able to show off his hobbies! By incorporating that into their session, they are doing something they love which automatically helps them feel more at ease.
The best thing to do when it comes to photographing senior guys is practice and get yourself more comfortable! Your level of comfort simply comes from experience. So, focus on photographing a few senior guys and you’ll start to feel your confidence grow. The goal is the same no matter who you’re photographing: create a relaxed session atmosphere where they feel comfortable and confident and excited about their senior portraits!
I have a brand new course called The Senior Posing Academy (to be released soon)! This course will teach you the importance of posing, the entire posing formula and show you exactly how this formula works on senior sessions! If you are interested in being the first to know when this course is available, be sure to go to the waitlist and add your name so you’ll be the first to know (and get a special discount). And don’t forget to grab my FREE Posing Guide, 1 Pose 50 Ways.
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