New Trend: Teens Spending Thousands on Senior Portraits for the "Experience"

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The Joy of Marketing, a leading provider of marketing education for photographers, is hosting a free, online marketing event to teach high school senior photographers how to embrace new trends to grow their businesses. This event, Senior Spirit 2013, features 12 speakers who are also successful high school senior photographers. These professionals will cover topics including connecting with senior clients, starting a senior model program, selling to both the teens and their parents, and other techniques on becoming successful in this trendy niche.

The Joy of Marketing has partnered with the photography industry’s premier lab, White House Custom Colour, to show photographers how to grow successful portrait businesses through adapting to the changing trends of high school senior market. The free online marketing education is for professional photographers who are currently in, or would like to be in, the high school senior portrait market. The free education will take place March 27, April 3, and April 10, 2012 from 11 am – 3 pm CST each day. Complete details at:

Professional photographers have noticed a growing trend in the teenage market for more glamorous senior portrait sessions. To stay in the forefront, high school senior photographers are going to elaborate lengths to create unforgettable experiences for their clients, as well as produce beautiful images. Examples include creating senior “model” programs where the teens are given the opportunity to be a “model” for fashion clothing in a portion of their session, or bringing in professional make-up artists to prep the teens. “Seniors love the idea of having a makeup artist. You can literally see them come alive in the chair at the studio when their makeup is put on. Having a makeup artist definitely adds to the experience,” commented John D. Pyle of John Pyle Photography in Georgia.

Senior photographers have also become accustomed to working with teens with an eye for fashion that bring in a large variety of outfit changes. “The old rules of what to wear for senior portraits do not apply anymore. The old school of you want solids, don’t wear busy pattern, anything like that don’t apply in today’s senior portrait world,” said Jen Basford, owner of 3 Girls Photography in Oklahoma. “[Our senior clients] bring clothes, shoes, jewelry, hats, scarves, anything at all. The more they have for detail, the more they’re bringing in that’s a part of them, and the better this is going to be as a session.”

But, not only have the expectations for the experience changed, but also the amount of money teens and their parents are willing to spend on senior portraits. “Not only is my business growing rapidly with senior clients, I’ve also seen a huge trend with teens wanting higher end senior portraits,” says Sarah Petty, owner of Sarah Petty Photography and founder of The Joy of Marketing. “My average sales have tripled since 2006, and families spend thousands of dollars on their son/daughter’s portraits without blinking an eye. I’ve had parents tell me that their child has been talking about coming to me for senior portraits for three years, and that price is not an issue, they just want their child to have an unforgettable experience.”

With these new trends, come new marketing ideas for senior photographers to attract the right clients for their business and still become profitable. The online education at the Senior Spirit 2013 event teaches photographers how to embrace the trends to grow a profitable senior portrait business.

Topics covered during the free online event include: “Connect and Book More Seniors Today,” “How to Market Your Photography,” “Fresh Cut Style Guide: Seniors. Fashion. Inspiration.” “Brand Building,” “Bring a Magazine Mindset to your Senior Business,” and “Grow a Profitable Senior Business.” For more details on these and other topics, visit

“The event is jam-packed with information that you’ll find useful if you’re planning to photograph seniors this year.” said Sarah Petty. Professional photographers can learn more about the free Senior Spirit 2013 event at or purchase the recordings of the event for $79. Transcripts are also available.

About Sarah Petty & The Joy of Marketing

Sarah Petty is a highly-acclaimed speaker, author, MBA and coach who has inspired thousands of boutique business owners to use beautiful marketing to take their business to the next level. Her expertise is based on over 20 years helping build the Coca-Cola brand, meeting the marketing goals of a top regional advertising agency's clients and building her own successful boutique photography studio. This studio was named one of the most profitable in the country within just five years in business. Sarah is also the founder of The Joy of Marketing, a company focused on providing marketing education, small business marketing ideas, beautiful design, and inspiration to help others enJOY marketing and build a powerful business.

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Erin Verbeck

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