I am often asked, “Is it too late to start a rep program?” And my answer is NO!! I say, stand out from the rest, pick your own timeline for your rep shoots and go with it! Make sure you have a plan and get lots of inspiration from our new series, Senior Rep Inspiration!
Today’s Senior Rep Inspiration comes from Sarah McClendon of Sarah McClendon Photography. Sarah says that her inspiration came from a hairstyle and everything else fell into place. She shot this session on a beautiful private property with a barn, open fields, grassy sanctuaries and a sparkling pool. With all those endless backdrops, Sarah created a beautiful photo shoot with a ton of variety.
See Sarah’s rep shoot below and read all about how she planned and executed ‘the shoot to create an elegant celebration of the journey from girlhood to adulthood.’ To see more of Sarah’s work, click here. Thanks for sharing Sarah!
What was your inspiration for this photo shoot? My inspiration was a photo I found on pinterest of a 1940’s victory roll hairstyle that had been kind of deconstructed and modernized. It made me want to take this session in a different direction than I normally go to add a classic timeless feel to the photos. All the girls got variations of these “victory roll” elements in their hair styling, and makeup we kept fresh and timeless with a neutral face and pop of orange red on the lips. This shoot had a very country vibe to it, and I love how the feel of the photos ended up being reminiscent of playtimes as a little girl but also elegant and dreamy.
How did you find your reps? I advertised an application process to be my reps on my Facebook business page and blog. I also contacted a couple of reps from the previous year about recommendations and had them email the application to their friends. Then I just sat back and waited as the applications came in. Each applicant had a questionnaire to fill out. They were to describe their personalities, list activities they are involved in, give an odd fact about themselves, and tell why they think they would be a good representative. They also sent in a current photo of themselves. Each applicant received a phone interview before the final decisions were made.
How many different high schools are represented with your reps? There’s a long story behind this easy question…I originally had 5 schools represented, but due to scheduling conflicts and other issues beyond my control, only 3 final schools were represented, but I’m confident in my girls’ ability to spread the word even beyond their own personal schools!
What qualifications do you look for in a rep? This is a hard question. There are the logical reasons: really involved in their schools and various activities, outgoing personalities, having a social media presence. But I found myself leaning towards choosing girls that left an impression on me. A couple of the girls expressed their inner selves to me, and that was such a refreshing quality to me. I jump at the chance to work with reps that are interested in forming relationships and being real and authentic. My secret desire is to eventually use my high school senior business as a springboard for mentoring. Even though I’m now a mom of 4, I still feel young (32yrs) and am kind of in denial of my age. I love goofing off just as much as I love talking about deep issues. Ok…that was a long-winded answer…
How many years have you done a rep program for your senior photography business? This is my second year doing a representative program. Last year, I took 3 girls out separately for sessions and then had them pass out materials with incentives for getting bookings. I believe this was fairly successful, but I really wanted to do something more this year and have an event to remember. This year was really jumping off the plank for me tackling such a large project, and I’m hoping it pays off!!!
What incentives or rewards do the reps receive? Representatives get to participate in the super awesome shoot you see here with hair/makeup, wardrobe, and snacks provided. They also get a discount off their own personal session. All the girls have materials to pass out, and they will receive a $20 product credit towards their ordering session for each booked and paid referral they bring me.
Where did this photo shoot take place?
A private rural property with elements of wooded grassy forests, rustic barns, a glittery swimming pool, and open fields.
Did you collaborate with this senior to come up with the clothing and/or concept for this shoot?
Collaboration came with my stylist, Ginny Early. Most of the wardrobe was provided by Dress Up Boutique and makeup/hair from girls at Tiffani and Co. The seniors were simply models.
What camera, lens or other equipment was used for this shoot?
Canon 50D, Sigma 30mm 1.4, Canon 50mm 1.4
What time of day were these taken?
Afternoon into the golden hour.
Can you share any post-processing techniques used when editing this session?
I use Lightroom 3 for 99% of my processing. I want my photos to have a rich classic feel with vibrant color, clear tones, and not a lot of fuss.
What is your favorite thing about this session?
That it feels like it was from a different era, that it made me push myself creatively, and that it captured the balance of girlhood and womanhood.
What do you want this session to convey about this senior and about your senior photography style?
I wanted these seniors to look timeless, classy, and have the perfect blend of girlhood and adulthood. Senior photographs are such a coming of age event. What I wanted to convey was that I love dreamy inspired images that create a lasting impression. That I’m not afraid to go outside the box and push myself creatively. I love seeing my seniors transformed and telling a story while still keeping their individual personalities alive.
What is one tip you can share with other photographers regarding photographing seniors?
Be silly, be authentic. Seniors appreciate someone who is not all put together and can just have fun. I try to relate with each girl and make them feel the most beautiful they ever have, but also make them feel comfortable.
What is one tip that you would give other photographers on how to build a successful rep program? One-ish?! Keep in touch with your girls. Talk up the event. Make it fun and exciting. Fun and exciting things we experience can’t help but spill over to others. Above all, involve the parents too! Will this be successful? We shall see! Check back with me at the end of the year LOL!
Hair: Marybeth Lewallen
Makeup: Anneliese Jones
Styling and Flowers: Ginny Early – www.enemiesoftheaverage.blogspot.com
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