Welcome to the Senior How-To ... name is Kia Antisdel Bondurant ...

Welcome to the Senior How-To Event brought to you by The Joy of Marketing. My
name is Kia Antisdel Bondurant and I will be teaching today on how to incorporate
fashion and buying trends into your senior portrait business and how to make your
senior portrait business better with fashion, new fashion and buying trends.
I am a photographer at Antisdels Photography in Louisburg, Kansas. My mom Sana
Antisdel and I are the owners. I have been a photographer there for almost 15 years.
My dad, Todd Antisdel works there with us now. He handles the phone and if you ever
want to talk to anyone feel free to call. If he answers, you’ll have a great chat.
My husband, Andy Bondurant is the director of Senior Portrait Artists, an organization
we started to equip and inspire senior photographers. We have four children, ages 11,
9, 6 and 3 and everyone’s safely and quietly in bed right now while I’m talking to you.
Hopefully, we won’t hear any little voices in the background.
I wanted to tell you a little bit about the direction that I’m going to take today and the
different things that I’ll talk about so that you’ll know when you want to pause, should
you hear something and when you want to fast forward. You’ll have a good idea of
what’s coming up.
1. First, I want to talk about our business, the Antisdels Photography and what it
looks like so you can get a picture of that.
2. Second I’ll talk about Senior Portrait Artists and how we incorporate the fashion
buying trends in that business as well and what that business does.
3. Then I’ll talk about the 2011 seniors, how we predicted the trends for the coming
year, how those predictions came true and how we utilize that in our business to
improve our business and to give direction.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
4. The next thing I’ll talk about is current buying trends, how that affects how
seniors buy and how we’ve applied that to our senior portrait business.
5. The last thing I’ll talk about is some of the new trends that are coming up.
That gives you a little bit of a picture of what I’ll be talking about. I’ll mainly be focusing
on the 2011 senior trends and the current buying trends.
To go back to our business, like I said, it’s a mother/daughter studio. We are both
photographers. I photograph two to three days a week and so does my mom, using
Canon cameras. We do 200 – 250 seniors and the rest are children, about 400 clients.
Although, this is not about that, we were just in the Cutest Kids contest, which I know
that is not what this is about, but it has blown up and I’m doing about 20 sessions a
week with that right now, which is crazy especially in the spring of the year.
We do projection sales, so every client comes in, views their images in a show set to
music. Every image is re-touched before they ever view it, so our sales take about an
hour and a half and we use Pro Select for those.
We have three additional employees and then two part-time employees besides my
mother and myself. We have a digital re-toucher, a sales person, a receptionist phone
person, shooting assistant and a framer.
We print everything on Fuji Frontier as well as sending off our wall portraits and
canvases to our labs. We use White House Custom Color and H & H for those. We
have a Wizard matt cutter so almost everything that we offer is matted and framed, so
that when they take it home, it’s already done.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
Just to jump into the buying trends a little, I just read an article in Newsweek Magazine
about women being frustrated about all the jobs that they have, how they have to take
care of their family, doctor visits, and all the different things they have to do. Of course,
my husband was rolling his eyes about, because he helps or does so much of what we
do. This is the perspective that a lot of women have, that they carry the load of the
home as well as the load of their jobs.
What a great thing for us to do to incorporate into our business ways to make a
mother’s life easier, because they really are the main purchaser of portraits. That’s
something we do, everything we do is packaged, framed and done so that they don’t
have to make multiple trips to different places to finish off their portrait experience.
Now, back to Antisdel’s Photography, we shoot on Canon 5Ds and we use Macs except
for Capture One, which is how we process our images and for that we use a PC, and
we’ve been in business since 1994.
I have been Kansas Photographer of the Year and my mom Sana has been Kansas
Photographer of the Year multiple times. We’ve been a National Senior Photographer of
the Year. We’ve both been featured on the PPA magazine cover, which was very
exciting. Like I said earlier, we are Founders of Senior Portrait Artists.
From the very beginning when we started the business, we didn't start it because we
loved cameras, technology and that kind of thing. The reason we got into photography
is because we love people, making them beautiful and making them feel beautiful. We
love young people and the clothes that they wear, the trends and the exciting things that
go with it. And right from the get-go, that was the direction of our studio. We started out
as a senior portrait business.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
I remember we had little cards from 1994 that say who you really are, which is so crazy,
because if you’ve seen the movie that’s coming out in April by Disney called ‘Prom,’ it
says that is one of the tag lines on it, who you really are. In 1994, we had little cards that
we stuck a wallet to and direct mailed out that said who you really are. Then we had a
little wallet on it.
From the beginning, we’ve been involved in the trends and got very excited about the
different types of papers, the matte papers and different types of finishes, so that’s been
a direction that our studio has had and it’s something we connected to from the
beginning, wanting to dress so that our seniors feel like we know what’s going on. Not
necessarily that we dress just like them, but that we have clothes that are relevant to
what they think is important. All of that is interconnected.
We started Senior Portrait Artists seven years ago. Senior Portrait Artists has an event
as well as a forum, education information and we have a portion of it called Spa Models.
Spa Models is a national model search that senior photographers can enter their high
school seniors in.
The winners of the Spa Models contest come to our event for free. They’re in our
fashion show and are photographed by the lead photographers. Everyone learns from
seeing them photographed and the clothes from the fashion show with the relevant
backgrounds. That has grown tremendously.
It was amazing this November when we did a people’s choice on Facebook for our 16th
model. We had 15 models and we were going to add a 16th. That grew from around
1,000 fans on our Spa Model Facebook fan page to 25,000 fans. The response was just
tremendous. It showed us something that’s important to high school seniors, which is
being famous; hugely important.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
Even to young children, my daughter plans to be famous or infamous, one of the two
she’ll take either really. That is something that has been a neat direction for Spa
Models, taking those kids and giving them a chance to be famous. We do that with a
fashion show and we also award a top model who goes on, gets signed with an agency
and gets a week in L.A. to go on Go-See’s, meet with agents and that type of thing.
The reason we wanted models for our first event is because we wanted to show the
new fashions, what was coming up and have people be aware of them, how they can
change their photography and what type of photography you can do with those. That
also turned into a fashion show, which is a great way for kids to feel famous. It’s very
exciting for them and I know Jen Bassberger is talking about how to use a senior
fashion show to grow your business. You’ll have to listen to her on that.
I wanted to tell you a bit about Spa Models so you would know how we're utilizing the
senior trends in our businesses, Antisdels Photography and Senior Portrait Artists.
Our Spa Model winners have been tremendously successful. Our most successful Spa
Model winner came from Sarah Petty’s studio and her name is Anna Specheart. She is
in lots of different national ad campaigns and is currently in magazine editorials, right
now in Flaunt Magazine in an Anna Sui article. She’s doing amazing. She’s moved from
L.A. on to New York. It’s going great for her so that is kind of fun.
The great thing about Spa Models for us is it brings kids in that work with our direction
for our studio. They are aware of our connection with fashion and style. It sets our
studio apart when we advertise Spa Models. Kids are coming in that are interested in
the fashion industry and interested in modeling. Definitely not all of them, but it brings in
the kids that are the cream of the crop in that area, so that’s exciting.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
I’m going to move on to the fashion trends that we have worked with for the 2011
senior. I’m going to talk about what those are, how we predicted them, what the kids
wore and how we utilized those.
We change our website several times a year and we posted the four different fashion
trends for 2011. We used the style guide from the Spa fashion show, put our kid’s
pictures in it and then posted that on site, as well as inserted it into high school
newspapers. That was fun, because we gave them something useful, not just an
advertisement, so they saved it all year long.
There are four different fashion trends.
1. The first one is DIY, do-it-yourself.
That has been huge, not only with fashion, but just in the world itself. Etsy is a huge
website, the crafting movement and you see DIY everywhere. Other words we use to
describe it are create, graffiti and 80s. So, we’ve utilized the DIY trend in our studio in a
lot of ways and I talked about this before when I’ve spoken for The Joy of Marketing.
One thing we do is have every senior sign their name on a piece of paper before their
session and then we put it on their Facebook images as well as their free bonus items
and different things like that. This gives them a chance to express themselves on their
images and so a little something that is just them.
2. The next trend is galaxy or tough chic.
That is going to be your blacks, leather and that type of thing.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
3. Another trend is Americana, reclaim and recycle.
Recycling is so huge. The green movement is a big deal. I know a lot of people talk
about charities and giving back, and I’ve been shooting a lot with the Cutest Kids
contest, it’s for a charity and the first time I’ve done that type of thing. Integrating that
into your high school senior marketing is going to be important as well.
4. The last one is enchanted.
This is more like, simple and sheer. One area that I’ve seen that is prevalent and I’ll talk
more about the actual fashions of clothing, but one place I’ve seen the enchanted look
is in the type of imagery that you're seeing in magazine. You're not seeing that crisp
bright color as much, you're seeing more images with flair, fog, out of focus, images that
are very light that don’t have a lot of saturation or with a golden glow or that type of
That is not traditionally correct with portrait photographers. Portrait photographers tend
to want to have color that is perfect, skin color that is spot on, which is something that
we definitely have always done, the nice, warm skin tones. You must be aware that
when they're starting to see those trends in magazines that you want to incorporate that
into your studio and into your look in the right way.
You don’t want to be so trendy that it’s not going to make sense, but when you know
that it’s a fashion trend and that you're also seeing it in the magazines then you need to
be aware of this and pay attention.
I’m going to talk a little more about our predictions for the season. What we told kids
was coming up and then what they actually brought and wore. I think the 2011 class will
continue to see those. I think they have a lot of value.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
The first trend I talked about a moment ago, was the do it yourself trend, graffiti, paint
splatter look. I have a screen where I’m watching different pictures and I’m going to go
through the clothing.
We had a girl with little romper and it has paint splattered, turquoise, purple, yellow,
white and black. We had a girl with a long prom dress and it was the hombre, like when
it fades from one color to another, so it was patches of hombre, with hot pink, purple,
teal and light blue. We had another girl that had a jewel encrusted top that was yellow
and the skirt was pleated with yellow, pink, light blue and green.
Then, another mini-dress was white with paint splotches thrown on it, which I remember
doing in Junior High. We had the sun visors and Ray-Ban type sunglasses. We’d get
that paint splattered out with all of the different colors. I’m starting to see the different
styles come back like that 80s look you’re definitely seeing.
We also have kids bring great big peace signs, great big home décor signs, which is
impressive. We actually painted a wall with graffiti and we put peace, hope and love on
our graffiti wall. They loved being photographed with that.
We told them to bring those types of clothes. They loved them and they worked great
with our backgrounds and these were the resulting images. It’s fun to see that.
I’m going to talk more about the backgrounds in a minute, but I want to introduce to you
all four of the fashion trends and how the clothing works with them.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
Next is Americana and with this, Ralph Lauren comes to mind that whole style of
cracked leather, plaids, denim, chambray, little tiny florals, all of that. Ralph Lauren’s
style is the Americana look, especially the red, white and blue.
One of the things I talked about in the fashion industry is that Americana is in style in
other countries. In Japan and others, they love the red, white and blue, the Levi’s, the
plaids and that whole style.
As I’m looking across the screen I’m seeing jeans and you're always going to see these,
but knowing that they're in style and I can shoot these, because this is important, that’s
how you benefit by knowing what the fashions are going to be. Kids bring plaid shirts
and have forever, but knowing now this plaid shirt is important, I need to photograph it
and show it, because kids will respond to it is why knowing the fashion is going to help
your business.
I see a guy in a plaid shirt. One side is tucked in with the hem at the bottom, but the
other side isn’t. That is something new that we’ve seen a lot this year, a girl with a cute
yellow, blue and white plaid shirt. Another girl with plaid shirt and her denim jeans rolled
up. Another girl with a denim mini-dress with turquoise jewelry, little denim shorts and
then we saw a lot of florals too. Knowing those things are in has been so helpful.
Next is enchanted. I didn't know if I was going to like this style as much. It’s more sheer
fabrics, lace, creams and nudes. I like bright colors and always have. When I saw this
first come in wasn’t ready for it, which is funny, because you see those styles and you
think that is not very pretty. I don’t like that and then a year later, you're wearing it and
it’s your favorite shirt.
Today I wore an enchanted shirt, which is a sheer shirt with another shirt underneath it
in a pale skin tone color. That’s funny.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
Our girls came in with those types of fabrics, the cotton, drapy fabrics, things that
weren’t necessarily fitted, off the shoulder. This shirt is important. Off the shoulder is
always so pretty. It’s great to work with it. We also had tiered ruffle dresses in the
camel. Camel is a very in style color. Then the pretty prom dresses pink, ruffled, lace
and blush, all of those colors.
We got a car this year. A friend of my dad had it in his driveway and it’s a peachy tone.
In PhotoShop we thought we’d make it a little bit lighter pink to go with all of those cute
little pink dresses. That is kind of fun.
The last style is galaxy. Sequin studs, black leather, a lot of space references. The kids
come in with that. I think, are they really going to wear that, but they do. I see a girl with
a black mini dress and then gladiator sandals come up around her ankles. Then another
girl with knee-high black boots, a silver leather jacket and silver jewelry, a guy with a
black T-shirt with the more intense graphics on it.
We predicted those four different styles for the senior season and what the seniors
ended up bringing in and wearing. We predicted those by putting them on our website
and by putting them in the senior newspapers.
I’m going to go through the styles and talk about a few more of the things that are on the
actual style guide. With the create or the DIY trend, we told them accessories are RayBan sunglasses, which they brought in, brightly colored tennis shoes, loved those, so
fun to photograph. Bright beads, bows, pompoms and bows are a trend that is going to
stay around for a while.
Biker shorts, which nobody wore, I was hoping not. Graphic tees with words, photo reel,
which is when there is a picture of someone’s actual face. You see a lot of those with
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
celebrities. Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and that type of thing or a picture of
something else that is real on the clothing.
Comics– I’ve seen a lot of that with the Super Woman t-shirts, Junk Food is a company
that does a lot of that, bright windbreakers, cropped tees and uneven hems.
Then in fabrics and colors, you're going to see bright colored things, paint splattered,
acid washed jeans. I had a girl come in with acid washed jeans and her hair in a poof
with other trendy items. I thought, oh, this girl is so out of it. She has no idea what is in
style. Then my mom saw me photographing her and she got all jealous and said she
wished she was photographing her.
I hadn’t paid attention to what was in style and what was coming up next, because we
hadn’t done this yet. This girl was definitely on the edge of the new styles. It goes to
show, I photographed those items and they looked good, but I would have had more
confidence if I would have known that was something that was coming in.
Polka dots, which is fun, animal print or graffiti print, because then you can use those in
your backgrounds and have the outfits and backgrounds work well together. Neon, hot
pink and hand made knits, which goes with the DIY look.
Americana has turquoise jewelry, spring boots, I don't know if you saw all of those little
short cowboy boots, but shoes are very important to your high school seniors. Showing
those shoes can make or break a look for their session. Those boots have been darling.
Dangling earrings, straw hats, feminine dresses, ruffled tanks, Mexican tunic dresses
and boyfriend jackets, which have been a big deal, boyfriend jeans and shorts.
Boyfriend jeans are the baggy ones. Shirt dresses, denim jackets, country western and
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
being from the Midwest, we get a lot of country western whether it’s the style or not. It
helps to know this is in style and I can definitely make a big deal out of this.
The fabrics are florals, denim, plaid, gingham, quilted, patchwork and then things that
are ripped and torn. Obviously, going with the clothing that’s been worn a little bit more
is going to be exciting. Then red, white and blue, going back to the things that are a little
more patriotic, it’s not a bad thing.
Accessories for the enchanted look are lace up sandals, feathers, feathers are so fun,
skinny belts, suspenders and then the dresses shapes are going to baby doll dresses or
little tiny shorts or draped items. The fabrics and colors are going to be pales, pastels,
neutrals, nudes, whites. I can leave those colors I don’t need them at all. I’ll take them
or leave them, but it’s important to know those. Then lace, ruffles, sheer.
Accessories for galaxy are exposed zippers, fringe, studded belts, intense shoes, skinny
ties, big glasses and boy are big glasses continuing to come in. that nerdy look is going
to be a big hit. Also fabrics and colors for that are mesh, black, metallic, silver and
My husband Andy has a pair of rubberized jeans that always have to be defuzzed,
because they just gather everything. Then geometric stripes, galaxies, acid wash again.
Shapes are going to be vests, studded jeans, aggressive bleaches which are really
intense, shredded tank tops so those shirts that look like they're cut, they're intentionally
done. Bustiers, slashed Tees, slashed leggings and then those James Bond skirts
which are really fun.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
As you can tell I enjoy this. I like to connect everything together and tell a story for
Next is backgrounds and how you can incorporate those in to the fashion, how you can
utilize those. I’ll take a short break and be right back. My break is over and I wanted to
talk about all the different ways we’ve incorporated the fashion trends in our 2011 senior
advertising and connection with the kids.
Like I said, we told them what to wear and gave them direction with that. Obviously,
people didn't wear just those four styles with everything, but I think it gave people
something to go by and something to think about.
We incorporated it with our backgrounds and with our website. Knowing the trends, we
utilized those types of fabrics, patterns and that look to go with our website throughout
the year. We also used it in our advertisements, the styles, wording and kept that look
all the way through with out catalogs and postcards.
We also used it in the dressing room with the seniors in their clothing. We don’t do a
consultation beforehand. We do one when they come to the session. We go through all
of their clothing and then through our backgrounds and they can plan with that.
When you're looking at 20 different outfits and they do it. They always bring lots of
different outfits. When you're looking at all of those outfits and they say they want us to
decide, it’s so nice to pick on in this style, one in this style. You're going to pick this
sheer, flowy dress that will be great. You’ll pick this hot pink tutu and purple converse
for one. You’ll do something that is black and fitted with chains and high heels, and then
you’ll do something that has the ripped jeans, flowy peasant top and that look.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
It’s great to know what you're looking for in their clothing and have the name of it. You
know this shape is a baby doll dress or this shirt is a cropped tee and knowing those
names helps.
The other way we use it is when we choose the images for our advertising. This way
you know this image is important. I want something in this style to put on the front. I
want something that carries this feeling. It helps you know which images are going to
get the most response from the kids.
We used this in the actual experience of the session. We incorporated the DIY trend
with writing your own signature. We also incorporated it into the type of photography
that we're doing, the intense color, flair in the lens, sheer, softer images, so we try to
have a good variety that goes with the actual styles and that reflects in our photography,
not just what they're wearing in the background.
I’m going to talk about some of our different sets that we’ve created. For our Spa event
we created sets that we photographed on and I’ll tell you a little bit about what’s in
those. In all of these sets, you don’t have to purchase them from a background
company. You can make them out of items that you have at home.
For the create set we used tulle, pipe cleaners, pompoms, floral fabrics,
pillows and those kinds of things that we did at Spa.
For our enchanted set we got some chairs made of raw wood and had
them covered in canvas fabric. The background of the set is lace and tulle.
For guys we used a white paper that we got at Home Depot.
For the galaxy set we used silver insulation board, chains, black plastic,
leather chairs and even some insulated rope lights.
For the Americana set we used green turf, cowboy fabrics, and rope,
canvas and denim fabrics.
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Those were a big hit throughout the year using those sets and I’ve seen a lot of
photographers with those sets, especially the galaxy. I think that one was a big hit.
We also create a lot of sets at the studio. One of the things that is available is our do it
yourself set book that talks about what we do at our studio. I’m going to go through
some of those backgrounds and talk about which ones relate to the styles, but those are
things we create at our studio to set our studio apart with new and different looks.
The tools that we used all year long are clothing racks, because we do the fashion show
and after we put the clothes away we have all of these clothing racks. We can roll those
around in different backgrounds. We use big clips, spray adhesive, then paint, varnish
and gaffer’s tape.
We have a wall with concrete board that is great for the galaxy look. We have lots of
great cardboard that we get our frames in for the Americana look. We have a raw piece
of plywood that I’ve been using a ton with little kids which is good for the enchanted feel
and then the Americana as well.
Then we have these great pillow walls where we’ve put a bunch of different bright
pillows together and it’s a great DIY look. We have the enchanted look with the draped,
ribbon and lace and crochet.
Then we have all of these great tin pieces and painted them every different color. With
my senior models last year, I photographed all of the models on different colors of tin.
We had the bright yellow, blue, orange, hot pink, red, cream and that was very fun. We
take those tins and put them on the insulation board and connect them.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
We have a steel wall that was created out of local steel mill and we chose all of the
pieces. If you’ve watched us in the PhotoVision videos, that is what we photographed in
front of. It’s great for sports and for guys. It’s very heavy and I don’t know if we’ll ever
movie it. That’s okay, because it’s a great background and it will work forever.
Then for the cover of our senior catalog and then I also used it for a fall holiday event for
all of the walls, we took newspaper, glued it to a board and then sprayed it with silver
aluminum paint. That was a gorgeous background all year long for the galaxy look, but
we’d also hit light on it and it’s great for the enchanted look as well.
I also painted boards with gold so I had the gold and the silver in my booth at my event
and it was just beautiful. It reflected the light and made you look at the images.
We have antique doors from Egypt and India that we’ve purchased and those are super
for the Americana look. They work all year long. Those are a favorite with our clients.
We made a wall of old sheet music so that was fun. We have several old pianos, but we
have to walk outside to get to those to another building. When someone is into music,
we say oh. When we don’t feel like walking outside or it’s too cold or too hot, we're like,
alright, let’s just use our sheet music. They get pretty excited about that. I’m not saying
we're lazy or anything like that, but it’s always nice to have an alternative.
We spray painted an outdoor wall for the graffiti look with peace, hope and love, peace
signs and flowers. We also painted a canvas in the studio that we can put behind if we
didn't want to go outside or if we needed to use it indoors. Those are all sets that we’ve
created specifically to go with the new trends.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
That concludes 2011 senior trends and everything that I can think of that we utilized
from it. I’d now like to talk about buying trends for consumers.
The world has changed so much. Three years ago, people were all trading up and
opting for luxury. Now they're doing thing differently. I want to go through some of the
things that I’ve learned from experts about how people buy and talk about how you can
apply that to your senior portrait business and how we’ve applied it.
When you're thinking about this, people used to buy luxury. Our brand, Antisdels
Photography is definitely very well associated with luxury. Our display in the mall is just
outside of Nordstrom’s, which is where we want it. Everything that we do implies that
you're going to pay some money for these portraits, which is important. They need to
pay money. They're worth so much. They're priceless.
In the session, people get afraid. They have been afraid to buy, because they're afraid
they won’t have money, because of the talk of what’s happening in the world and
because some people really don’t have any money anymore. They don’t have as much.
Our reaction is to discount a lot of times. Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to do some
discounting. I know that in boutique studios people say they never lower their prices, but
people like discounts now.
If you’ve listened to Dave Ramsey, he’s great talking about money and how to handle
your money. He said that the majority of people that use coupons that watch for
discounts are college educated people that make the highest level of income.
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When you're discounting, you're not just attracting the people that don’t have money.
You're also putting a sign out there for the people that do have money that are just more
careful of how they spend it so coming to you is going to be a good choice for them.
Another way to handle the recession, and I’m not saying that discounting is the best
option, I’m just saying it’s a reaction that we have to a recession and it’s not completely
wrong. Another answer is bundling. Taking things that people want and putting those
together in packages in a way that will bring them in and help them to buy.
In the world today, Facebook images, files, digital images are the things that people
want. If you can figure out a way to put those into your pricing, that’s going to be
something that will help people to buy.
The other thing that has changed is how people make their choices on what they
purchase. I still believe that direct mail is the way to go, but you have to put that with
everything else, your social media marketing and that type of thing.
The number one reason people buy is word of mouth. When they hear friends talk about
something and they trust that friend that is why they're going to purchase from you.
Think about how you can get more word of mouth.
In 17 years of being in business, we’ve only done a senior model program for two or
three years and the reason we didn't do it before is because we didn't need to. It wasn’t
something that worked with our brand, but in the last two or three years we started
doing it, because people are making so many decisions based on who’s pictures they
see on Facebook and who’s had their picture taken and what they're doing.
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We’ve changed some of the direction of our advertising, because of the way the world
has changed.
Now I want to talk about how Apple sells. I am working on my pink titanium laptop. My
husband Andy just bought the new iPhone 5g or whatever. I’ll be getting his hand me
down phone shortly to replace my old iPhone. Apple knows what they're doing. Apple
has done a great job of marketing to the current consumer. Here are some of the things
they’ve done. I also read this online so I pulled these and I wanted to talk about how
they apply to the senior photography industry.
Apple sells by perceived technology innovations. When you’ve done something new
and different, you need to let your clients know about these new sessions and products.
A year ago we added on a bunch of add on sessions. Normally, our sessions are based
on time or outfits and they go from smaller to bigger. We also added on a line of theme
sessions. We have the prairie princess in the Laundromat, going shopping and those
types of sessions. Doing things like that may not be something that will bring you a lot of
new bookings on that session, but they let your client know that you're doing something
new and different.
Think about what have I done new and different that can bring my clients in?
Pricing decoys are another way that Apple sells. Decoys are products and services or
price points that you don’t want your client to take, but you use as a reference to make
another product look better.
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In our case, we have six different sessions. Our lowest session is $100 - $150 and our
top session is $550. We want them to choose the second of the third session so that
$$200 - $300 one, but we use the lower and higher sessions to point them to the make
them look like the best deal.
Also, references prices, which are like having a higher session fee that you mark down
so that it looks like a deal. That is always great in the photography industry and I know it
seems like everyone does the 50% off the session fee, but it really works. People love
to know they're getting a deal on the session fee.
In our studio, we don’t count the session fee for averages or the actual predictions of
what we're going to be doing, because it’s something that we can use to bring people in.
Another way that Apples sells is by obscurity. Putting things into packages so they can’t
be price shopped with your competitors. That is very important. We put our 8 X 10s, 5 X
7s and wallets in packages so that they can’t be price compared apples to apples with
The last way they sell is by bundling. They package products that have a high value, but
a low cost of goods. For us, packaging things that aren’t a high cost of goods, so
packaging things that are digital like, products, slideshows and things that’s a way of
bundling so we can be like Apple.
Other ways that seniors buy and that you can market, is romance commerce. Your
seniors like to have at least a month to enjoy and feel being trickled out and to
comparison shop. I’ve noticed this. More of my seniors come in and they have looked
everywhere, they’ve shopped hundreds of places online and I love to do it. The act of
shopping, the act of seeing all the different websites and immersing yourself in that
product is fun and exciting.
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We used to send out a postcard and immediately get a reaction within a week and
totally book up whatever we wanted to do, but you can’t have those expectations now.
When you send out a postcard, now you're going to give them time so that you tell them
a month in advance. A postcard, email or however you're doing your advertising, but
you need to say here is the start of the information and in a month I’m going to expect
them to start thinking about it and be ready to make a decision.
The next thing you need to keep in mind when advertising to seniors is the concept of
human hubs. I’m sure that in your business and in your life have met people that
everyone else listens to. Everyone else does what they suggest.
Several years ago, I had a girl come into our senior session. She booked one of our
basic senior sessions. She was a shorter girl, pretty, but nothing that blew me out of my
chair or anything like that.
I walked into the room and she had two absolutely beautiful prom dresses in her room,
totally different. They were so eye catching. I was like, your clothes are amazing. She
said, I designed and made those. Right there, I realized she was something special.
This girl’s name is Jovana. She’s in her senior year at Person’s School of Design. She’s
a human hub. She started doing fashions shows with all of her own designs when she
was in eighth grade and by the time she was a senior, 600 – 800 people were going to
her fashion shows. She had 70 – 80 kids in her designs.
Jovana is a very nice girl, very sweet, very self-effacing, but whatever Jovana did,
everyone else wanted to be a part of. That year it was so interesting to see all of the
kids that came to us, because that is what Jovana did.
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You’ll see that in your studio and in the kids that come to you, there are some kids that
everyone wants to do what they do, they listen to them. These kids are really into the
media, news, music and technology. They love new and different things so be watching
for those kids. Involving them and getting them to be a part of your studio and getting to
know them well is going to be important.
The next thing to think about is autheticitude. That is the feel of real. It doesn't have to
actually be real it just has to feel real. It must have a little grit to it. The American style is
where clothes are ripped, torn or have a little edge to them, Urban Outfitters right now
are selling clothing that has come from thrift stores that they go out and bring in it’s the
clothing that has life.
There was a TV show on MTV and at the very end of it, she didn't get to go to the prom
with the boy she wanted to or something like that. In the very end she said, “Life isn’t
perfect, but that’s how you know it’s real.”
When you think about that, our images at our studio, we make sure they're skin is
beautiful, that their hair is in place, that their posing makes them look great, but I also
like to leave a little edge of imperfection and their hair not perfectly in place, but
intentionally messy. I like to have them laughing, moving, not totally posed, because
that’s what they want. They want something that is a little bit real.
They don’t necessarily want to look like they’ve just woke up with no make up and their
pores are the size of saucers, but they want to feel like they're more relaxed. That takes
work, thinking, planning and the backgrounds and sets need to go with that too, things
that have a little bit more grit, things that are a little bit more real.
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The last thing to keep in mind is conspicuous reduction. For seniors, they're not paying,
but they feel like they should be saving and that is a big thing for these kids. The kids
that you're photographing right now have been highly affected by the changes in the
world. They remember 9/11, but not very well.
They’ve been alive during the war in Iraq and now the recession has changed a lot of
their world. They want their parents to know that they get it, they understand and they’re
not just out there spending a ton of money.
If you can give them ways to look like they're saving money, that’s fine with them.
Superficial savings is okay they just want their parents to know they get it and not
spoiled brats. That is not everyone. Some don’t care what they spend, but you must
think about that.
We’ve had clients come in that have spent a lot on their older siblings and the younger
siblings are saying absolutely not. I don’t want you to spend this money on me. We
have to figure out a way for the parents to be able to get what they want and the seniors
to be comfortable with the choices they made.
I want to make sure that I cover everything. I’m going to talk a little bit about your online
presence. Actually, I’ll talk about why seniors buy.
What influences their buying decisions?
The first thing is whatever they buy has to look good. Your images have to look good
and that is important whether it’s on the Internet or a printed file.
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One of the things I see often is that people put up one, two or three great images on the
front of their site, click in and see how they photograph. It’s my opinion that you only
show your very best work. Don’t put anything on there that doesn't show your very best
work. Only show images that really flatter the people. It’s important if you're putting
someone up that isn’t going to win a modeling contest, that they look the very best for
Secondly, seniors buy things, because it fits who they are and their personality. I had a
senior girl email recently and she said I want to come to you, because I like your work,
but I don’t like to wear a lot of make up. I like to be more natural. I’m into these things
and one of them was studying volcanoes.
I emailed her back and said, absolutely. We will want you to look natural and be
yourself. I said I’ve climbed a volcano in Guatemala and that was much fun so I went
back and forth with her. I needed to clarify that we were the place for her and that she
fits with Antisdels.
The third reason seniors buy is that they want something original and different. We try to
have different images and a different look with every senior. A lot of times they’ll buy the
same thing, that same smiling headshot with their hand under their chin or whatever,
but that also is incorporated in putting their name on their Facebook images. Every
single image looks somewhat different, because it has their name written in their own
handwriting. It gives them their own flair.
Seniors also like to buy because things are on sale. They like to know that they're
getting a good deal. For seniors, I don’t think it’s a problem to have sales. We do all
year long. Right now we're having a two for $2 sale. They get their session and an 8 X
10 for $2 during March and they have to call on March 1st and 2nd. Surprisingly this
brings us great orders.
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We have a few that call in and they think I’m going to get this great deal, but most of the
people that call in are planning to come anyway. This just gets them moving and they
think they have a good reason to come. We get great sales for that.
Just on a side note, we require $102 session fee and $100 goes toward their order so
they don’t have to pay just $2 when they call to book, otherwise we would have a lot of
no shows I’m sure.
Then the last reason why seniors buy is because they can customize it. Our sessions
are based on them helping choose their outfits, helping choose the backgrounds and
that is important. You see the tennis shoes that you can customize now, your iPod, you
can put the different colors on it and all of that stuff is very important.
Now I’m going to talk about why parents buy. I think that is something you must keep in
mind. High school seniors, especially now, like to be with their parents. Their parents
are cool to a lot of them. They like family time. It’s important to them. They like doing
things with their parents, so having senior portraits as something that the parents can
feel good about and that they can be involved in is something that is going to benefit
your studio.
The first reason is education. They like invest in education. That is top in importance to
parents. They feel like they're doing a good thing and they're benefiting their kids. We
had a lot of our high school seniors that want to be photographers coming in and they
feel like they're going to be learning something from it, which they definitely are.
Recognizing why they're coming in is important.
The second reason is health. Parents will invest in their children’s health obviously and
showing why good photography improves self-esteem is important. I’ve had kids come
in this year with the most amazing physical disabilities and differences that I’ve ever
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
Kids without bones in their cheeks so one eye is coming down and having to
photograph with that, girls with only patches of hair, not a full head of hair and wearing a
turban on their head. These are girls that like to dress cute, that want to feel beautiful
and that are beautiful.
I’ve also had girls come in that have been suicidal when they were younger. This girl in
particular, the mom said, it doesn't matter what it costs, I was bringing her here,
because I know she’s going to feel beautiful. She’s going to blossom. She said, I can tell
already that this is making a huge difference for her.
Health and showing parents that investing in good photography makes a difference for
your kids. It’s important.
Parents also buy because of innovation. They like to have the latest and greatest things
for their kids. Being the latest and greatest in senior portraits is going to encourage
parents to purchase from you.
They also like to buy because of social parity. They want their kids to have what all their
friends have. Having senior pictures done at Antisdels or your studio will put their child
on the same social level as their friends. It’s important to get those kids that are setting
the trends to come to your studio.
The last reason is they like to purchase things that are badges of sound parenting. I
take my daughters to a gymnastics club and they do dance and gymnastics there.
When you say to your friends, oh yes, my daughter goes to Diamond, oh my daughter
goes to Diamond too it’s definitely a badge of investing well in your children. Parents
who really care have their seniors photographed at Antisdels.
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The great thing about all of these is if you get this information out there, the seniors are
going to get this. They're going to know that these things are ways to talk their parents
into coming to you. If you give them a good line, they will use it. Those are some buying
trends for parents and why they buy for their teens. We're going on to some of the
highlights for the 2011/2012 senior trends.
Obviously, the current 2011 seniors, those trends I talked about, galaxy, DIY,
Americana and enchanted, those are going to continue throughout the next several
Other things coming up that will be fun are more like school girl type trends. More with
the letter jackets, plaid skirts and that type of thing. Then also, trends with the fur
jackets, Fair Isle and that type of look for fall as well. Knowing those things are coming
is so exciting.
We just had our spa spring fashion show that you can possibly find online. They said it
wouldn't be up for a little while. We're also having our fall event and then we’ll be going
over our new trends as well.
I wanted to tell you a little bit about where you can find me. I didn't get to talk about
everything I wanted tonight, but I think we got a good picture of how you can incorporate
the fashions and buying trends into your senior portrait business and how you can step
it up to the next level and make yourself different.
You can find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/kiabondurant, at Antisdels.com, and
AntisdelsPhotography.com. Any of those emails from those sites, I get all of those. You
can also find me through SpaArtists.com, SpaModels.com and Spa2011.com. If you
can’t find me, you have not looked, I promise.
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I want to talk about what’s available for sale today. I’ve bundled a bunch of things that
have been priced separately. You're getting a great deal with it.
I have the Antisdels Do It Yourself Trends book, a PDF and that includes all the
backgrounds I talked about earlier, the sources of where we got them and the
companies where we purchased them and that type of thing.
I also included the Spa Darkroom Design Set. Those are the actual sets that we
designed specifically to go with the trends and those include how to make them and
where all the items where purchased.
The last thing I’ve included is the actual template for the Look Book that includes the
four different styles so you can take it, use it, put it on your website, use it in your senior
catalog and that type of thing.
All of those are bundled together into what we call Antisdels Trends. If you're interested
in purchasing that, that is online and I don’t have that anywhere else for sale as a group.
The Antisdels DIY Trends, we only sell when we speak, so I won’t be speaking until
April in Montana and after that it won’t be until the fall.
If you're interested in it, it’s something you should grab. I think it would work very well for
you if you're interested in incorporating those trends into your studio.
If you want to know more about Spa Models and being a part of that, watch March 7th
and I don’t know if March 7th is coming up or if it’s already happened when you're
listening to this, but we’ll be putting all of the new information out online for that. We’ve
got some new and exiting things coming up with that.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant
I hate to say good-bye, it makes me sad, but it is time. If you listened through all of this,
thank you so much. I enjoyed my time talking with you. Feel free to email me, Facebook
me, Twitter me. I’m much better by email so I don’t have kids in the background.
The products can be found on a tab on the side of the event site or you can go to
SeniorHowTo.TheJoyOfMarketing.com/products. I have a hard time finding the products
so I wanted you to know where those are going to be.
Thank you again for listening to this High School Senior How-To Event brought to you
by The Joy of Marketing. Have a great year.
Senior How To Event | Kia Bondurant