As a photographer specializing in senior pictures I have one MAJOR obstacle: the school photographer. It’s like an immovable object at times and has been one of the most frustrating blockers to my business since day one. There seems to be no amount of advertising that can overcome the age old – “the school takes your senior pictures”, at least in our area. The school’s “contracted” photographers get to have access to the exact mailing list of ALL the seniors in each school and they get to send you a postcard and other direct mail that makes you believe you HAVE to use them for your senior portraits. Right down to them booking your date and time for you for YOUR senior pictures. And yes, you get to pay for this too. You can at least pick a short session, or a longer session, but they don’t even have to disclose to you BEFORE the session what their packages cost – so most parents go into it blind (unless it’s not their first child) and then are blindsided by the costs of the images! By then it’s too late…the images are done and the session fee was paid, so folks just buy them. IT’S SAD, BUT TRUE – many senior pictures are purchased BY DEFAULT. Because folks think it’s just easier….
And they never knew better.
So what is a photographer that specializes in senior portraits to do? Positive word of mouth is my best advertising – and I think I’ve found a way to help it along a little bit faster this year. This year, ALL my current graduating senior clients (so anyone from the Class of 2013 who was or is a client of mine) will be given the opportunity to share my business with five of their friends – friends who will be a part of the Class of 2014 specifically. What’s in it for everyone? Good question!
The current client is always offered a free return session in the spring before graduation – we call it the Parting Shot Session. That session gives the senior an updated image before graduation, a cap and gown shot with their adornments for clubs, honors, etc – and/or a chance to show off their new college bound spirit wear! We do these Parting Shot Sessions outdoors typically – and they are short sessions – about 20-30 minutes each – because we know it’s a busy time for graduates! Those sessions typically result in graduation announcements – and for each referral of someone in the Class of 2014 the client provides (up to five) they receive 10% off their purchases from their Parting Shot session.
Yup, up to 50% OFF EVERYTHING from that session! Good deal?
Well, it’s a good deal for the person getting referred too! From June 15- August 10th every Class of 2014 Senior who is referred to me by the Pass It On Promotion is offered a FREE indoor or outdoor studio senior portrait session. YUP – FREE! Choose the indoor studio and get your yearbook image at the same time while experiencing a senior portrait studio like no other! Or take the outdoor studio (our exclusive Portrait Park) for casual photos and if you must, use the school photographer for your yearbook image. (gotta give them something, right?) Or better yet, you can upgrade your FREE session to a Split Studio and get it all for an unbelievable price – and have it all done at once.
So there you have it…each current year senior can refer up to 5 next year clients and both sides get something awesome.
So what do you think? And who do you know????