Orig Post - Josh Fisher - Seniorportraitsecrets.com | Re-post June 4, 2015
Have you ever actually stopped and thought about which poses your clients are actually buying? And which ones you’re totally wasting time on? Specifically senior picture ideas for girls. And what poses are making you the most money? Which ones are they completely skipping over?
When I first started shooting senior portraits, my mind was all over the place with posing. I even had little cheat sheet cards to look at while at shooting, but I had no sense of direction as far as the bigger picture.
I wasn’t actually shooting for a purpose, but instead just randomly choosing poses in different locations hoping blindly that the girls and their parents would like and ultimately buy the images. I knew I wanted my clients to buy big prints, which meant big money for me, but I wasn’t giving them that opportunity because I wasn’t shooting images that worked as big prints in their homes.
So about two years ago I got a little more focused, and instead of reinventing the wheel and trying to find unique poses for each individual senior, I started taking each client through the exact same set of poses, with just a little variation for each person. I also started keeping track of which were their favorites and which ones they actually purchased.
As it turns out, my idea of what my best-selling images were was totally wrong. I hadn’t considered what high school girls and their parents would buy. In fact, to this day, some of my best-sellers are images I would have never thought would sell. Could have something to do with the fact that I’m not, nor have I ever been a senior girl!
Using a little trial and error, I now have a fine-tuned posing system for girls, and I’m confident knowing which poses sell and which ones don’t. No more wasting time shooting senior picture ideas for girls I know won’t sell anyway.
I finally realized that the sales process starts so much earlier than the actual sales appointment. If you don’t shoot for a goal – purchases – you’ll be shooting with no direction, and will most likely end up with no sales…or only small sales if you’re lucky. Now, SO many seniors later, I am excited to share my findings with you and help lead you to be a more profitable shooter.
When I first started shooting senior portraits – I knew I wanted my clients to purchase something large for their homes. So naturally I assumed that a close-in crop would not sell for a large portrait. I was dead wrong on this. These types of poses are some of my biggest money makers for girls. And they are consistently selling in sizes 16×24, 20×30 and sometimes much larger.
2 Full-length poses do not sell
Well, that’s not always true… But for a full-length pose to sell, my senior needs be in the lower half of the frame if vertical or take up one-third of the frame if horizontal. Any images where my senior is taking up too much of the frame while standing has never actually sold for me. When I first started, I thought this shot was the money-maker. Nope. Stop shooting it. Most girls are super critical of themselves, so they really don’t want a super close-up, full-body shot.
3 Sitting Down / Shooting Down
Time and time again this pose has proven to be my number one seller. Shooting down (or at least slightly down) on my seniors while they are sitting turns out to be an ultra-flattering pose, and moms and senior girls absolutely love these. It’s important that you start shooting this type of pose with each outfit and each location.
4 Sitting Down
Sitting down and shooting on the same plane (eye level) has also turned out to be a great seller for girls. Even if you’re not the same height as your client, this type of shot is easily accomplished by shooting on a set of stairs or on a bench of some sort. Try it out! And of course, try it with a full-body shoot, as well as a waist-up shot. See what works for you.
5 Shooting Up
I was always told that shooting up would be unflattering to subjects and to avoid shots like this. In some cases, that’s true. But, in doing this research, I decided to break that rule, and it turns out… senior girls absolutely love this pose. Obviously, you need to make sure you aren’t so far below them that their chin smashes into their neck, but try just being a few feet out and shooting at 135mm while squatting down. This type of shot never fails.
So, while it is important to remember that each individual is just that – individual – it’s also important to remember that your clients have more in common than they have differences. They’re all senior girls. They want flattering poses that make them look the best version of themselves. And for posing, don’t reinvent the wheel for every shoot. They don’t all know each other, and even if they do, it’s really okay if they have the exact same picture as someone else. The lighting will be different, the trees or the landscape will look a little different, and most importantly, it will have their own personality and style.