©Jenn Lewis

Making a Senior Team Work

As a high school senior portrait photographer, Jenn Lewis, Cr.Photog., CPP, considers her influencer team of clients to be the foundation of her business. It provides organic marketing that ensures her images and behind-the-scenes videos will wind up on TikTok, where her target market lives. It’s also a great way to build relationships with teens and their parents, says Lewis, who will teach a pre-conference class, “The Business of High School Seniors,” at Imaging USA 2023.

Her team includes freshman through senior teens from several high schools in and around Winston-Salem, North Carolina. One of the perks they get are themed photo sessions several times a year. Themes she’s used include local fair, New Year’s Eve, black lights, prom, and sunflowers. After each session, she shares a handful of group and individual images with each team member, which they post on social media, tagging Lewis in the credit.

“When they join the team, they are committing to be a senior client with me when the times comes, so the team helps with not only marketing but filling my calendar,” she says.  

  • Charge a fee to be on the team. No one values what they get for free.
  • Use the team sessions as opportunities to try new things. Gen Z teens love to collaborate on new ideas.
  • Offer a bring-a-friend session. Once a year, give team members’ friends an opportunity to meet you and see if they’d also like to join.
  • Make it fun. “If we’re shooting in my studio, I order pizzas, and the fridge is always stocked with sodas and water. They play music, we talk, and there’s often a dance party.” She lets teammates pose each other and help one another with hair, jewelry, and outfits. “And we make cool photos.”

Amanda Arnold is a senior editor.