Steph Villa Davis

They’re tuned into trends, they’re savvy social media players and they’ve got their parents’ pocketbooks! Ok, so there’s more to this unique market than those traits, but nobody can dispute this fact: Senior Portraits continue to grow in popularity. The Senior market is expanding as teenagers continue to connect with photographers who can create unique portraits of them and their friends. Since Spring is Senior Portrait Season, we’re sharing a series of posts from photographers who specialize in Seniors. Get to know these talented photographers and learn tips and tricks! This week’s featured Senior Portrait Pro is California-based photographer Steph Villa Davis.

Q. How do you educate seniors about what to wear for their session?

A. I have a pre-session consultation with all my senior clients and their parents. Depending on my schedule and theirs, this can be done by phone, in-person or sometimes we get super fancy and Skype. In this consultation, we discuss the elements that make a good outfit as well as other important information. They are also sent this information in the form of a PDF guide for reference after their consultation. The details in the guide go over exactly what we talked about. Example: “Stay true to you! If you’re a jeans and flipflops kind of girl, this isn’t the time to channel Victoria Beckham in sky-high heels. You want these images to be a great representation of your fabulous self. So wear what you like to wear!”

Even though I love clothes and I love when seniors to put together fun outfits, I make sure they understand that clothes are just a way to show personality and to help make them shine. When they have on a great outfit that fits well, they’ll exude confidence! And that’s more beautiful than any outfit they could wear. It’s all about them. I hammer that home. When it comes to choosing outfits, doing makeup and deciding what they want for their session, it should be about the real them. In my opinion, high school students are pressured to be so much more grown up than they really are; to be something that they’re not. This session should give them the freedom to break walls down, embrace who they are and celebrate it. I love that I get to be a part of that!

Steph Villa Davis

Q. How do you reach seniors?

A. I have found that the most effective marketing for my senior portrait business is word-of-mouth. And by mouth, I mean Facebook! I use Facebook and my current senior clients to connect with other seniors in two ways:

  • Seniors are tagged when the blog post featuring their session goes live and also when I add their photos to my Facebook photography page. When my senior clients are tagged, their friends see. Their friends love the photos and then they “like” and “comment” the heck out of them. They are also slightly jealous and “must-have” their own session with me!
  • Seniors are given a disc of their images in Facebook-ready form. These images are a good size and resolution, but are watermarked with my website. These pictures are usually posted by the senior within a few hours of receiving their disc. They can’t wait to show off how fabulous they look!
Q. How do you use Pinterest in your senior business?
A. I am a Pinterest whore. Can I say that on here? No? Then let’s just say I am mildly obsessed with Pinterest and peruse it every day; okay twice a day. Therefore, it was a no-brainer for me to try to use a wonderful tool like Pinterest in my photography business. For me, it’s as simple as using a Pinterest board to give my clients ideas for fabulous outfits and great ways of doing makeup for their session. These outfit collages are visual representations of the guidelines that I have already discussed with them. They’re seeing exactly what I meant when I said “bold jewel tones will make you pop,” or “accessories add interest and texture.” They are able to take these ideas and apply them to their own style and personality, ultimately making their senior session the best it can be!

Just recently, I have started using Pinterest in a more intensive way. This is only for my senior clients who are as into Pinterest as I am.

I create a board on my Pinterest profile, title it with the senior’s name and add the senior as a collaborator. Both of us are able to pin to the same board; they can pin ideas for their session and so can I! It helps them take ownership of their session and invest more in it. It gives me more insight into their style and identity, which aids in the creative process. And, it also gives me another fun way to connect with my client. I’m really loving it!

You can check out my “Senior Style Ideas” board HERE.

Or, check out one of my personal “Senior Collaboration Boards” HERE.

About Steph Villa Davis

Steph is an on-location, natural light, portrait photographer in Southern California.

She’s a self-proclaimed awesome bargain shopper who loves her family and views her friends as members of her extended family! Being empathetic to the core, Steph approaches each of her clients and each unique shoot with a desire to provide a fun, personal experience

1 comment

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.