senior photography

As a photographer, it’s possible you’ve heard the terms, “senior model team” or “spokesmodel” floating around in the industry. Maybe you’ve even known another photographer or two who have spokesmodel programs, and you’ve thought about it, but you’re on the fence. 

As a senior photographer myself, I can confidently tell you that the spokesmodel program I’ve run for over 10 years is what made me the go-to senior portrait photographer in my area. No kidding! 

So today, I would love to tell you more about what a spokesmodel program is and how it helped my business grow.


What is a senior model team, or a spokesmodel program?


A spokesmodel program is a group of high school senior students that represent your senior photography business during their senior year of high school.

Your spokesmodels help spread the word about your business by bringing in referrals and helping you to grow your business within your target market. Basically, a spokesmodel program is a group of seniors that help you market your business.


Why do you need a spokesmodel program for your senior photography business?


Having a spokesmodel team creates “buzz” about your senior photography business. And in the world of teenagers, “buzz” is so important. Your program can help spread word of mouth marketing within your community. And with a new spokesmodel team each year that includes a new group of students, people in your community will be talking about your business.

You’ll increase your social media presence both on your end, and through your spokesmodels. Your business will be showcased on social media more often, which will increase your marketing efforts to continue reaching your ideal client. You’ll appear as busy as you really are by having a lot of content to show for your work!

You’ll showcase more seniors, which will allow you to book more seniors. And finally, all of this will help you become the go-to senior photographer in your area. 


Mistakes I made and lessons learned with my first senior model team


My first spokesmodel program started in 2012, and I started with only 4 spokesmodels. After looking back on my first year, I realized what mistakes I made:

  • My program started without fully understanding what a spokesmodel program was, or why I was doing it. 
  • Didn’t go into the program having a plan. 
  • Spent a lot of money that I didn’t need to spend trying to get the program up and running. 
  • Gave away my services without setting any rules. 
  • Failed to set expectations or give guidelines to the spokesmodels and their parents. 
  • Ultimately, the biggest pain point I faced in my first year was walking into the program without a plan in place.

But, I don’t regret starting my program when or how I did, because by reflecting on my first year, I learned so much to help me for the years to come. 

So, what did I learn?

  • First and foremost, I gained important experience. 
  • I also gained a lot of content to help me showcase more senior photography. 
  • It gave me a beginning – something to start building on. 
  • I started getting business from word of mouth marketing. People in my community started talking about my business with others, and my bookings began to grow. 


What’s next?


So, if you want to implement a spokesmodel program in your business, what’s next?

If I could go back to the beginning of my program and tell myself one thing, I would urge the 2012 me to determine my “why”.

What is your “why” for adding a spokesmodel program to your business? Really dig deep, and figure out what it is that you need your program to do, and why you want to have a program for your business. If you just want to have one because that’s what you think you should be doing, that’s not deep enough! You have to figure out a strategy behind running a spokesmodel program for you business. 

Let me help you dig deeper! Here are some potential “why’s”:

  • “I’m new to senior photography.”
    • You’re in need of content to showcase to your target market, and you want to promote your senior photography business. 
  • “I want more senior clients.”
    • You might have a few, but you’ve determined that you want more senior clients to build up your business and the word of mouth marketing in your area.
  • “To make a difference and create an experience.”
    • You want a team of seniors that you can give an amazing experience to while also having the opportunity to mentor young teens. 


Write your mission statement


To help you determine your “why”, I want to challenge you to come up with a mission statement for a spokesmodel program that fits you and your business. 

The mission statement for my spokesmodel program is, “to create a sisterhood and community of teen girls who want to connect with each other and experience something special during their senior year of high school while participating in creative photo shoots, events, and community service projects while marketing my business.”

So, think about your mission statement and write one out. I truly believe that having a strong mission statement that fits you, your business, and your intentions, is the beginning of a successful senior spokesmodel program. Take it from me – be as clear as possible about your mission statement! Think through what your program is and what it can do for your business so that everything you do has your mission statement in your mind.




Ready for some homework?

  • First, answer the question – why do you want a program?
  • Then, write out your own spokesmodel program mission statement!

Are you curious to learn more about how to start a spokesmodel program to grow your senior photography business? Enroll in the Spokesmodel Academy today!



Episode 81 – What is a Senior Model Team?


heck, yes i do!

You, want in?

We're busy curating all the best resources, trends, and opportunities for creative women in business - just like you!