May 16, 2023
This one is for all our photographers or wanna-be photographers out there today. We’re talking about a niche of photography that we’ve never actually covered specifically and in-depth on this podcast before. BUT TODAY IS THE DAY.
If you’re currently a senior photographer or have ever considered exploring that niche of photography, this episode is for you. We invited to the podcast one of our past workshop and course students who turned into a sweet friend, Carly Hardin.
Carly is a multi-passionate wife, mom, business owner, photographer, designer, wannabe children’s book author, marketing fanatic, social media expert, and…lover of doing a little of everything if you can’t already tell! She started her photography business out of college shooting high school seniors at The Hardins Photo. Along the way, she began designing websites and branding. Just when she thought business education would be the next thing for her…along came a positive pregnancy test. Motherhood shook up Carly’s plans…in the best possible way! Now she’s balancing mom life and entrepreneurship, rocking her wildly successful senior photography business behind the scenes and living with her cute little fam in Arizona.
Instagram has never been a huge part of Carly’s marketing strategies for seniors. In 2015 is when Carly really started ramping it up. The beautiful thing about senior photos is they do your social media marketing for free. It’s having a hundred mini-influencers pay you. They want senior photos because they want to post them. In 2020 Carly finally created a separate Instagram for her Seniors and she does have a strategy for it but it’s so low on her priority list. Word of mouth is her number one way that she gets clients. Carly really leaned in on creating a luxury experience so that her business could run on word of mouth.
The very beginning:
Carly just had a random girl see her photos on Instagram and that’s how Carly got into the realm of shooting people she didn’t know. Carly took her photos for dirt cheap, shared her work, and utilized hashtags and reels. Social media is incredibly helpful, you have to get your photos out there before you can even create a business that runs solely on word of mouth.
It was her second year and she started her rep team. Other people call it a spokesmodel team. This is something that at first was a free program, reaching out to different seniors in the area from different schools. Offer them this program that would be super fun, free photos, and create a fun environment for them. It helps get your name out there and is dirt cheap to create a portfolio and reach out to girls. You can literally reach out to seniors, follow them, and like all their photos.
It’s different when they are paying to be in the program than a free program. When it’s free you don’t want to get burnt out. Carly didn’t do any styled shoots or anything. If it’s free, make it totally free. Be very modest in what you plan, plan maybe one shoot a quarter. Have it be super simple and take photos. That is a huge educational opportunity too, to practice new poses and experiences. Create one event where you go out to pizza to cultivate community.
Since they are paying to be a part of it, Carly goes all out for her styled shoots. We did a Christmas party and we’ll do an end-of-the-year party as well.
Somewhere along the way, weddings and elopements became the end goal. Weddings can bring in a ton of money, but Carly makes more with seniors than she ever did with weddings.
Carly went from $45 for a session to $145 and now currently Carly is charging $1,100 for a two-hour session, but that didn’t happen overnight. You need to invest in yourself and put in the work for your business to be able to raise your prices.
That luxury experience starts way before that hour-and-a-half session. The experience starts at your website. Is your website professional and beautiful? That is step one. How do they reach out to you? DM’s and texts do not scream luxury. What is your initial email like? That is part of the luxury experience. What does your pricing guide look like? Do you even have one? Before they email you back, what is that experience for them?
Beyond that, what do you do? Carly has a video consult call with every single senior and their parents who want to book with her. Next would be booking with you. If they are getting a contract PDF e-mailed to them and a little Venmo request, that doesn’t justify the price point at which you would hope to price yourself. How do you offer them instant value after they book? Carly sends them a location guide, and senior guide (head-to-toe colors and outfits). You want to make sure that they are not stressed at all going into the session and have zero questions.
The bulk of creating a luxury experience is the booking process.
Over the years Carly kept experimenting and trying new things. She used to stand in front of the mirror and pose, trying different things. Getting photos taken of yourself also helps too. Investing in a few portrait sessions with photographers and putting yourself in your senior’s shoes. You never want them to ask “What do I do?”, you are going to tell them exactly what you want from them.
One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
The Symphony of Mission by Michael W. Goheen
We all get a scoop of passion from God, and we don’t always have to be on fire and passionate about what we are doing for work as long as we are passionate about why we are doing it.
Determine Your Why Freebie: www.theheartuniversity.com/why
This episode is brought to you by BetterHelp. Give online therapy a try at betterhelp.com/HEARTHUSTLE and get on your way to being your best self.
The Heart Apparel: www.theheartuniversity.com/apparel
Follow along with Carly:
If you want to connect with us and other listeners in the Heart and Hustle community join our Facebook group here.
PODCAST10 for 10% off anything from The Shop!
WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
GET OUR 'TOP 5 APPS WE USE FOR INSTA
GRAB OUR FREE GUIDE BELOW ON THE TOP 5 APPS WE USE IN CONJUNCTION WITH INSTAGRAM TO UP LEVEL OUR INSTA GAME! TRUST US, YOU'LL BE A PRO IN NO TIME!
ARE YOU RIDING FRONT SEAT ON THE INSTAGRAM STRUGGLE BUS LATELY?
Be the first to comment