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How to Start a Senior Portraits Business

How to Start a Senior Portraits Business

If you have photography skills and a winning personality, you might want to consider learning how to start a senior portraits business.  In the senior portraits business, you will be creating memories for teenage girls and boys who are about to enter their senior year of high school.  Helping them look their best and producing high quality work will be paramount to your success.

The students who use your services will want to have pictures in several poses and then choose the one that they like best for their yearbook and to hand out to family and friends.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

In addition to professional photography equipment, such as cameras, filters, lenses, lighting, and props, you will also need a good computer to keep track of clients, the ability to print final pictures once proofs are created and reviewed, and some marketing abilities will be important as well.

As you are learning how to start a senior portraits business, think about the location you will want to find for your studio.  You want it to be easily accessible, with plenty of room for several photography settings, and an outside area that is suitable for photographs would be nice too. You don’t have to locate in a high end retail area, but you do want your shop to have good visibility and be in a good area of town.

Some people who start a senior portraits business operate out of their homes.  This is a great way to reduce your startup costs, as long as your home is suitable for your senior portraits business.

Find out the school colors of each of your local high schools, and make sure you have backgrounds and props to match each of them.  You might even want to consider having backdrops created with the various school mascots on them.

Other items you will need to invest in when starting a senior portraits business include: software to track clients, their appointments, and their work, an accounting and payment system of some kind, and professional photo editing software.  Of course at least one photo printer and quality paper are also necessities.

You don’t have to have any specialized training to start a senior portraits business, but you will obviously need to be a good photographer to realize success.  Also important will be your ability to create a comfortable, fun environment for the teens you are photographing.  In some cases, you might even want to consider using a nice local park as a spot for outdoor portraits.

Marketing a Senior Portraits Business

Think about the amount of competition in your area when considering how to start a senior portraits business.  You will need to differentiate yourself from your competition if you hope to be successful.

One way you can do this is to form relationships with the high schools in your area.  Consider sponsoring their teams and supporting them in other ways.  If they will allow it, leave some high quality pamphlets at the office of the various schools – or even in the lunchroom.  It is also sometimes possible to purchase advertising in the school yearbooks.  This is a must whenever possible.

As your business grows, consider expanding into other areas of photography.  If you are good at what you do, don’t be surprised when your customers (or their parents) start asking you to do other photography work for them.  That’s when you’ll know that learning how to start a senior portraits business was a wise choice!