Having rep teams can be a HUGE marketing strategy for High School Photographers. But if you are only catering to the Senior market, you are missing a massive target audience. If you aren't building relationships with the teens , then you are already late to the game when it comes to the Senior year. Beat your competition to the punch by offering opportunities for your younger audience to begin to become loyal customers and your #1 fans.
A few years ago when I first started my Senior team, my youngest daughter who was 8 at the time asked me, "why don't you take cute pics like that of me and girls my age?" I thought about it for a second and thought, I guess I could. From that point on, I was hooked. I then created a kids team. A tween team. A teen Team. And of course my Senior team. Am I crazy? MAYBE! But I LOVED it! I was creating a name for myself and customers with ALL the ages, not just the Seniors. I was building my clientele for the next 10 years. Was it alot? Depends on how you manage it. But that my friend is a whole other level of conversation.
So funny to look back. The first two images were of my first kids and tweens teams and the bottoms were of this years. Still love both, and even have some of the same faces on the teams!
I know it seems like you are adding a lot more workload to your already full plate. But are you? Just like you invest in your education and equipment for your business, shouldn't you also be investing in your future client's? I actually went to college to be a elementary art educator, so working with kids and tweens comes just as naturally as working Teens and High School Seniors. But I TOTALLY understand it isn't for everyone. Being particular on your application process is just as important as the application process for your Senior team. Making sure the kids want to be there because they enjoy being in front of the camera, not because moms wants them there. High School Seniors are my bread and butter. They are what allows me to bring home the bacon. The younger teams are my bonus. Their one on one shoots are quick little 30 minute sessions I can do while my kids are at soccer practice. They don't require a lot of time and are just a little extra pocket money. They also allow me to start building my audience. I fill up my Senior calendar for a full 18 month in advance ONLY because I have been focusing my marketing to all ages. I have been in my current Seniors feed for over three years. If I am only focused on my current class, my business would struggle each year for bookings. But because I have built a relationship with the up and coming classes and the moms, they girls eagerly wait for me to open my books! Fulfills my soul. I love to be creative and pretend I am some big time commercial photographer who is creating scenes for the next Target ad. So I do it! I take my tiny teams, create scenes and have fun. Wanna know the bonus? If I ever decide to offer minis to the public because I am in a bind, I already have the images to market it with! Having these younger teams allows me to still be creative and keep my artistic soul on fire!
See these girls below? They have each been with me from almost day one. We have so many memories together and each one waits for me to announce if I am having a teen group that year. They are my most loyal, my number one cheerleaders, my Girl Gang. They each book a session with me each year ( if not multiple) and we are already making big plans for their Senior year. I have been shooting with them so long, they know how to work the camera and pose naturally without me having to really direct them at all. They are truly my superstars.
If you haven't added younger teams to your rep's portfolio, I strongly encourage you to do so! Make 2021 the year for investing in your long term clients and start building those relationships!