In this post, we’re diving into a topic that every senior photographer can relate to: the most common challenges we face and how to conquer them. It’s no secret that being a senior photographer comes with its unique set of challenges. From connecting with seniors to mastering the art of lighting, we’re here to tackle it all. So, let’s jump into the most common challenges a senior photographer faces and how to overcome them!
One of the first hurdles photographers face is building a genuine rapport and connection with their senior clients. It can be hard to make a connection with someone who is a bit younger and in a different season of life. But it makes a HUGE difference in your client’s overall experience when you can connect with them and make them comfortable behind the camera. It also makes a huge difference in capturing authentic and candid moments.
So, how can we bridge this gap with our clients? One thing that I’ve found helpful in connecting with clients off the bat is sending over a pre-session consultation form. This helps understand their personalities, interests, and expectations. It could include questions about what activities or sports they enjoy, any important milestones or accomplishments in their high school career, what they like to do for fun, etc. Include questions that really help you get to know their unique personality and interests. You can incorporate those elements into the conversation and into your photos! This is a great step to lay the foundation for a comfortable and relaxed photoshoot.
The next common challenge that we face as senior photographers is giving the right posing suggestions and directions during a session. Posing seniors can sometimes feel like a puzzle with missing pieces. Imagine it this way: You’re handed a box of puzzle pieces, each representing a different aspect of your senior’s identity. Your job is to fit these pieces together to reveal the bigger picture—their essence and individuality. It’s a puzzle that requires creativity, intuition, and a sprinkle of photographic magic.
During the shoot, think of yourself as the director of a movie, and your seniors are your stars. Communicate your vision clearly, with simple directions and steps, helping them understand what you want to convey through each pose. Whether it’s a soft and introspective look or a burst of laughter, your guidance will help them relax and find their groove through the poses.
Now if you need help with posing, I have several resources for you! Currently, I have a posing guide on super sale for only $7 that shares one key pose and how to turn that pose into 50 poses on your next senior session! In addition to that, I have an entire course on posing that teaches you a step-by-step posing formula. This formula will give the most variety and create jaw-dropping images that your seniors will be obsessed with! With this posing formula taught inside The Posing Academy, you will never forget a single pose and create senior sessions your clients will rave about! The Posing Academy is also on sale for a limited time at just $97!!! Be sure to grab one or both of these to help you when it comes to posing your seniors!
But here’s the secret sauce: candid, in-between moments. Sure, the posed shots are wonderful and undoubtedly frame-worthy, but the magic often happens in those unscripted moments. Imagine the senior adjusting their tie while sharing a laugh with their friend, or that split-second glance towards the setting sun. These are the moments that tell a story beyond words—a story that’s uniquely theirs. Remember, it’s all about creating an environment where they feel confident and natural.
Choosing the right location can make or break a senior photoshoot. The quest for unique and picturesque spots is real! To overcome this challenge, I suggest scouting locations beforehand. If you are a veteran photographer in your area, you probably have a list already of your go-to locations. If not, it’s time to get scouting! Check out different places in your community like parks, downtown areas, any unique murals or backdrops, etc.
Familiarize yourself with the available light, background options, and angles at different locations so you can keep this in mind when planning your shoots. I would also consider your clients and what they fill out on their pre-session questionnaire when choosing locations. If they are an athlete, maybe they would like to get some shots out on their field or in the stands. If they love the city or downtown-style environment, plan out a shoot on a fun city street. Consider the weather in the days leading up to your shoot too! If you need a backup plan for rain, make sure you have one ready to go! Doing your research ahead of time will help you be prepared to work your magic, rain or shine.
The 4th challenge I want to cover today is lighting. Ah, lighting—a photographer’s best friend and sometimes, worst enemy. Overcoming lighting challenges involves understanding how different lighting conditions affect your shots. This is why knowing your locations well before a shoot is so important! When you take into consideration the natural lighting available, the time of day, etc., you can better prepare yourself to have the best lighting possible.
Natural light can be a game-changer, but don’t be afraid to use external lighting sources to your advantage. I know that natural lighting is all the rage right now when it comes to photos, and for good reason. But if you need to shoot inside, that’s okay too! Using the right lighting equipment will help you get that perfect shot inside or out! Remember, practice makes perfect when it comes to mastering lighting techniques. Take some time to experiment on your own in different locations so you feel comfortable and know what you need in advance.
After the last camera click, the work isn’t done! Next comes the editing and processing of your photos to send over to your client. This side of photography is the side that none of our clients ever get to see, and they usually don’t realize how time-consuming it truly is! When it comes to setting aside the time in our schedule to tackle these tasks effectively and efficiently, we can easily get overwhelmed. Especially if we have multiple clients’ photos to process at one time.
It is so important to establish an editing workflow and a routine to follow to help you avoid being overwhelmed. For me, I love to set aside certain times of the week specifically for editing. These times are my “office hours” when I am at my desk, and I have set aside as many distractions as possible to get things done. I usually do this when my kids are at school! Nothing like a nice quiet house to focus on and knock out some tasks.
Aside from blocking out calendar time, there are a few other things you can implement to make your editing process smoother. Batch editing similar shots or creating your own presets to use are two things that can significantly reduce your post-processing time, leaving you more time to focus on what you love—capturing stunning senior portraits! If you are new in the photography world, let me encourage you and remind you that over time, you will pick up editing faster! Right now it might seem like such a daunting process. But with more experience and sessions under your belt, you will find your editing groove and style, and you will feel like a pro in no time!
There you have it—the top five challenges senior photographers face and practical strategies to overcome them. Remember, every challenge presents an opportunity for growth and improvement. Embrace these hurdles, and you’ll emerge as a more confident and skilled senior photographer. I want to remind you all that being a senior photographer is a journey, and it’s okay to face challenges along the way. The key is to never stop learning, adapting, and pushing your creative boundaries! If you find yourself facing one or more of these challenges, I hope this episode encouraged you and provided you with some real solutions!
If you need more help with growing your senior photography business, making 4 -figures per senior session, and becoming the go-to senior photographer in your area, The Seniorologie Semester is for you! You can learn more about it by visiting www.seniorologie.com/semester.
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