Earlier this spring we were trying to come up with a totally different and unique idea we could offer to our seniors this year. We decided to see what would happen if we put a post on Facebook about doing a destination senior shoot in Hawaii with up to seven seniors. To our surprise, less than 2 hours later, we had the seven positions filled! Within the next few days the session fees were all paid, and we were making plans to go to Hawaii! This has become a big topic within the senior market in our area and has helped set us apart from other studios. We already know this is something we are going to be doing each year now, and not just in this country. We are talking about destination senior shoots in Australia, Africa, New Zealand… who knows!
The trip to Hawaii is going to be our first try at this (it happens in November) so we are still learning a lot about how to plan an event like this, but here are a few details we have figured out so far for a domestic trip. First, we suggest taking a small group of seniors (obviously at least one parent is required to accompany each senior) instead of just one. The more people you have talking about it the better, and after the trip, you then have multiple sales to look forward to. Second, plan your trip outside of prime tourist seasons to get better discounts on airfare and hotel/resort expenses. Third, go to a totally different region of the country to make the experience and hype the best it can be for the senior… example: Alaskan’s going to Hawaii in the middle of the winter! Fourth, only charge your client a session fee, and let them make all their own travel and lodging arrangements. This will alleviate your pressure of making all the arrangements for everyone, and your client will have control of their own schedule. Fifth, have each senior do some research of the area you will be staying in and let them have some input about the locations they will be photographed in. Sixth, we called the hotel we will be staying at about a group discount, which they offered, but we found a much better deal on Costco Travel’s website (you will have to be a member of Costco) for the same hotel.
A few years ago, a well known photographer told me something I have always remembered. She said, “they can’t buy it from you if you don’t offer it.” Our Hawaii trip is just another example of the truth in that statement. As soon as it was offered, they bought it! Think about what is NOT being offered in your area, and offer it! Even if you offer a destination shoot like this and noone buys it, so what… at least you will be known for coming up with a unique and different idea. And that alone will set you apart.