I started my first “Senior Rep” program in 2007 with the Class of 2008. Senior Portraits (as we know them today) were a brand-new thing, and I utilized the following steps (with modifications along the way) to build the successful business you see today. My program was so successful that I was able to completely book up my schedule year after year.
Enjoy reading my tips to starting your own program – and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to see my latest work!
Do you do individual rep shoots for each girl or a group rep shoot?
I do individual sessions only – our Reps book their actual Senior Portrait session the spring of their Junior Year so they have their photos done first, and can promote us all summer leading up to fall (and throughout the year). In Seattle the summer & fall are the busiest times of year because it is when the weather is the nicest!!
How many reps do you have each year?
I accept 10 Senior Reps and no more than 2 per the same school
How did you choose your reps?
Every winter (starting in January) we post an application on our blog, and Facebook page. Previous clients, reps and friends help spread the word. We get dozens of applications each year – and accept 10. We require our Senior Reps to in fact pay for their session (with a generous discount of course!) – because they value your work THAT MUCH MORE and are willing to spread the word because they are a happy paying client – who receives something in return for marketing our brand.
What does each girl receive for being a rep?
A very generous discount on their session, lots of extra Facebook photos, and cash back for the number of referrals.
What tips would you give other photographers who want to implement a rep program?
DEFINITELY have your reps pay something for a session – there are so many Photographers out there, and many girls are just looking for free photos. They can go to anyone for free (and usually go to multiple Photographers!). Those girls are not the clients I want, so I steer away from that. You want something that will create brand loyalty to YOU – and something that makes them excited to work hard for it!!
What is one thing that didn’t work / one thing that did work?
My old incentive program had them earn things like print credit and albums – but I found my reps weren’t as motivated about those items. In 2012 we changed it all up – and now do cash back. This really has motivated the girls even more because now they can earn money back (once they have paid, completed their session, and then referred enough people)!
Quick Tips for YOUR successful Senior Rep Program
* Don’t give away FREE sessions (unless you are Portfolio Building)
* Photograph your rep sessions BEFORE your busy season to market to the upcoming senior class
* Offer incentives teens are interested in (like cash!) – print credits and products are what their parents buy them
* Offer something fun and unique that no one else is doing – give your rep program it’s own twist
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