Does the idea of doing something you love – AND getting paid for it – sound appealing? How about working three to five months a year for a couple hours a day and putting an extra $ 30,000 to $ 50,000 in your pocket – cash profit.
In 2010 there were an estimated 3.2 million graduating high school seniors in the United States. That trend is predicted to continue rising and is estimated to be in excess of 3.4 million graduating seniors per year by 2022.
The market for high school senior portraits is, year after year one of the most predictable and lucrative, and based on the above numbers, has ever increasing potential.
A Market with a Built-in Sense of Urgency
One of the most challenging aspects of owning a portrait photography business – or any business for that matter – is getting paying customers in the door.
Let’s face it; professional portraits in this economy are a luxury for many families.
Everyone wants a nice family portrait but there’s no sense of urgency – no reason to get it done now instead of next week, next month, or next year. What parent wouldn’t like beautiful artistic images of their young children? But life is hectic, setting up a portrait session at a professional studio is such a hassle; let’s just go to the chain store studio. Simple, easy, cheap.
Portraits on a Deadline
Not so with high school senior portraits. With senior portraits there’s a deadline involved. Students need to turn their senior portrait in to their school office by a specific date – or risk being left out of the yearbook.
While more and more people log on to Facebook every day the average high school senior still orders between 50 and 300 wallet photos to exchange with friends and family. Yes they want to post their portraits on Facebook but they still want those wallet photos as well.
And professional quality senior portraits are simply a right-of-passage. For many teenagers their senior portrait session marks the end of one life and the beginning of another; childhood to adulthood in the space of an afternoon. These are the last portraits they’ll have created while living under Mom and Dad’s roof. Likewise, these are the last portraits Mom and Dad will have of their “little boy or girl”. It can be an emotional time in the life of both the senior and the parents.
It’s Easy and it’s Not
Yes, there’s a definite market for high school senior portraits, but that doesn’t mean money falls from the sky.
You need the skill to create beautiful images that an often times fickle market (teenagers), will like and buy. Gone are the days of the black drape and a string of pearls for a girl’s formal portrait.
Today’s high school senior is all about the here and now. What’s new and cool today are the grungy alleyways, cool portrait effects, and an eclectic mix of portrait products. These ain’t yours or your Momma’s senior portraits.
Today’s high school seniors are more mature and more market savvy. They know what they want and if you can’t, as a photographer, give it to them – you’re yesterday’s news. In a heartbeat.
The Time is Now
The entrance fee into the world of professional portraiture has dropped exponentially over the last few years. Just as the black drape and pearls have gone the way of non-reality based television, so too has the medium format camera and expensive studio equipment disappeared from the scene.
No longer is it necessary to rent expensive studio space or mortgage the house to buy lighting equipment, props and backgrounds. The trend today is towards natural and real – in everything from backgrounds to lighting and posing.
A prosumer digital camera with a 10 megapixel sensor can be had for under a thousand dollars. Combine that with your home computer and a copy of Photoshop and you’re ready to rock.
Take the First Steps Today
If your passion is photography and you’ve always wanted a business of your own then it’s time to take those tentative first steps.
Please feel free to use this article on your website or blog. Please remember that the article must be used in its entirety and this bio must remain intact.
Dave Meir has been a professional portrait photographer in Rochester, Minnesota since 1994. He and his wife Kate specialize in High School Senior portraiture and have photographed in excess of 1800 seniors. They also photograph babies, families, sports teams and – at exorbitant rates – the occasional attorney.
Dave also owns The Portrait Expert website at http://www.the-portrait-expert.com helping new photographers develop profitable and successful portrait businesses. If you’d like to learn more about the high school senior portrait business visit http://www.LearnSeniorPhotography.com You’ll receive Dave’s special FREE report “Seven Steps You Can Take RIGHT NOW To Get Your High School Senior Portrait Business Off The Ground” as well as his FREE 282 page high school senior portrait posing guide.