How To Pump Up Your Senior Model Program


Today’s article is from .

Tosha Says:

This session was so much fun for me and my spokesmodels. I went with a fun theme – Jewel tones – to inspire their clothing choices and makeup. I think it turned out better than I had anticipated and the girls love sharing their images with their friends which brings me more referrals…SCORE!

Group laughing

This was my second year with my Senior Spokesmodel program and I had made some huge changes to pump it up! Here are the major changes I made to the fashion shoot to generate a ton of interest and help my girls promote me as much as possible:

1. Offering two different shoots.

My first change was offering two different fashion shoots instead of one. I broke the girls in to two groups so they could decide which one they were most interested in. One of them was a winter wonderland shoot and the other was the jewel tone inspired spring shoot (which is the one I’m featuring here).

This gave my models some options in case they weren’t interested in a jewel shoot or a winter wonderland shoot; they at least had another option to choose from.

Briana alley way

2. I spoiled my girls.

The next change was how I set up the shoot and spoiled the girls throughout the whole thing. When I was planning for my shoot I gave each girl a jewel tone color that would compliment their skin tone, hair and eye color. I worked closely with my MUA to help me make that decision and to determine how their makeup would feature that color. We decided to focus the color on their eyes and lips (one or the other on each girl).

This made each model feel pampered, and like I was paying close attention to each and every one (because of course, I was!).

Haleigh and Briana

3. Color swatches.

Next I gave each girl their color swatch (just picked up some color swatches from my local hardware store) and told them to go shopping! I started a GroupMe group for my Spokesmodels where they could share their finds with me and each other. This helped me make sure their outfits meshed well together and it showed the other girls what to expect. (And it made them totally excited for the shoot too!)

Ashlyn walking

4. Snacks.

During hair and makeup I had yummy snacks and a lunch ready to go since this was going to be a long day. I made sure of any food allergies ahead of time (one of them ended up being allergic to gluten). Making sure there is enough for the moms is important too! Don’t forget them 🙂


5. SnapChat.

Yes, SnapChat! One of the funnest and best marketing things I did was had a SnapChat takeover the day of the shoot. I got the idea from Ari Dorfman, who shared this with all the Seniors Ignite followers. I gave each girl a pre-designed image to post on their Instagram, the day before the shoot, that said they would be taking over my SnapChat for the next day and to follow me @toshacolephoto.

Then, the day of the shoot I had them post pics and video during their hair and makeup, during the shoot, and so on. I gained a ton of followers and had over 100 people viewing my story from that day!

Ashlyn window

6. Easy Promotion.

Finally, I focused on making sure my models could easily promote my studio with these images. I made sure that each Spokesmodel had a mobile app from StickyAlbums of the best images from the day. I even ran a contest that whoever got the most views and shares by the end of the month won an awesome prize.

Group sitting serious

There’s so much more to planning a Spokesmodel shoot than just picking outfits and makeup. You have to make sure it will generate interest and excitement that will lead to new clients.

I hope this helped give you some great ideas to pump up your Spokesmodel program!


Tosha used a Nikon D700 (affiliate link) & Nikon D300(affiliate link) with a Nikkor 85mm 1.4 lens (affiliate link) and a Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8 lens (affiliate link) to capture these images.

Tosha Lijewski is a Saginaw, Michigan Seniors Portraits photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Wardrobe and Styled Shoots.


Tosha has some great ideas regarding senior portrait photography, but if you’re looking for more, Seniors Ignite is really the place to get it. Everything from lighting to marketing to sales, you name it, they have information about it.


Natural Love with a Circular Polarizer Filter

When to Use a Polarizing Filter


Today’s feature is from .

Jes says:

“Marlene contacted me through Instagram and asked if I would want to come to her home to photograph her and her husband, Salo, in their natural environment to celebrate their pregnancy.

I believe she was around 5 months in these photos. After a bit of Instagram research, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

She was half yogi, half fashion expert. Her hair was cropped and her face bare, but she made sure to ask my advice when choosing which Chanel or Jimmy Choo heels to throw on – “even if they aren’t in the photograph”.

Salo is a Grammy-winning Latin composer, and he serenaded us on the piano during the entire session, only taking his eyes off the keys to gaze at his wife. This was simply them, and I just happened to be in the room with a camera.

For the outdoor images, Marlene and I chose a white, Free People gown from her wardrobe, and we headed down the road to a nature reserve in Laguna Beach. She opted to go barefoot, of course.

Even though I had only known them for two hours, by the end of the session I felt as though I was part of their family.

By starting in their home and watching them go about their normal routine, (interacting with each other as if I wasn’t there), I felt perfectly comfortable posing them in a wide outdoor setting.

The arrangements felt natural for all of us, and I do believe it was because they had welcomed me into their personal environment versus a photographer hosting a family in the comfort of their own studio/common shooting location.

It was truly a magical session, and Marlene and Salo welcomed their baby boy, Julian, into the world just four weeks ago.”

Jes’s Photography Tip:

Soft, natural window light is my dream, and their home happened to have plenty of it. Even in areas that it didn’t, a little grain and a bumped ISO doesn’t bother me as it tends to add to the raw feeling of the photos.

For lens choice, the indoor space was also small, and I wanted to be as intimate as possible with my framing. I used my 50mm 1.4 and stayed between 1.4 and 2.0.

The outdoor light was also rare for Southern California – a thin blanket of sea fog had yet to burn off at our 1pm session, allowing for a softly-lit afternoon.

For this part of the session, I pulled out my 24-70 with a circular polarizer filter – which is a must for capturing the landscape and retaining the highlights of the sky and background in the bright California light.

There wasn’t any blue sky on this day, but the rocks and dress would have been more overexposed for my liking (had I exposed for the shadows without a polarizer). They save me every time!


Jes used a Canon 5D MK III with a Canon 50 1.4 lens and a Canon 24-70 2.8 lens to capture these images.

Jes Workman is a Greater Los Angeles Area, CA Wedding and Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Camera Settings.

Maternity photos can be a lot of fun, especially when you get to photograph the mother during pregnancy, and then the newborn once they’ve been welcomed into the world.

One of the best ways to do that is set up a package that includes a maternity session and a newborn session. If you’re still struggling with pricing and packaging, there’s a lot of great resources out there to help you sort it all out.

Turning fun shoots into paid shoots

It Had to Be You

Today’s feature is from Tracy Waitkus.

Tracy says:

“On a beautiful day last November, I brought a few different teens to the Village of Arroyo Grande (California) for a vintage-inspired photo shoot.

This was a personal project that I had planned over several weeks and reflected my love for portrait photography and vintage clothing.

I sent out a model call (affiliate link) on my Facebook page and via email, and got great response from a number of girls who wanted to participate in the shoot.

Before the shoot, I communicated with the girls via email, sharing my vision with them and giving them guidelines for hair, makeup, and wardrobe.

They did a great job prepping themselves, and arrived ready to go!

We shot for about 90 minutes in the late afternoon, using several different locations including a public garden, the steps of a historical museum, and a bridge.

We had a great time together and both the girls and parents were really excited with the final images.”

Tracy’s Photography Tip:

Here’s something important that I’ve learned as I’ve been building my part-time photography business: make the time to do you own personal projects and shoots in addition to your work for paying clients.

I try to do at least two such shoots throughout the year, recruiting models from my client base and personal contacts. These personal projects end up being my favorite, most enjoyable shoots and yield some of my strongest images.

The benefits to doing personal projects are many:

  • You can plan a shoot that aligns completely with your artistic vision and style, including location, wardrobe, or even a theme.
  • It’s great practice for your paying gigs. You can try new locations, poses, gear, processing, etc. without risk of failing for a paying client.
  • If you do it right (affiliate link), you should be able to even end up with some sales from the shoot. I did!
  • You might end up with some fabulous images to add to your portfolio, images that speak to the type of work you’d most like to be hired for.
  • You’ll have a blast and be reminded of what you love about photography!

Let's Fall in Love
We'll Meet Again
Sentimental Journey

Tracy used a Nikon D610 (affiliate link) with a Nikon 85mm 1.8 (affiliate link) lens to capture these images.

Tracy Waitkus is a San Luis Obispo County, California Portrait and Performing Arts photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Wardrobe.

Doing portfolio shoots (or even shoots just for fun!) can be rewarding just for the images you take during the event.

But if you work the event right, you can even sell prints from it like Tracy did.


Portrait Posing in Dramatic Outfits

Pool side glamour portrait

Today’s feature is from .

Lindsay says:

“This is a glamour and fashion-themed portrait session that took place in a local park. I had this idea to make a huge skirt out of tulle – a fabric that seems to float and photographs very well.

The look I was going for in this shoot was romantic and whimsical. I wanted the model to shine and I wanted the look to be dramatic, hence the fullness in the skirt.

My aim in my photography is to bring elements of glamour and high fashion to portrait sessions for ordinary women, allowing them to step out of the norm and feel like a model for a day.”

Lindsay’s Photography Tip:

Sometimes less is more when it comes to posing. When dramatic props and wardrobe are used in a session, try not to over-pose clients. A model doesn’t always need to use big movement or gestures in a pose in order to produce an interesting image.

In this example, the model’s skirt was very large and took up a lot of space, creating a dramatic effect. We kept the posing very simple, but still effective. I believe that the basic poses combined with the wardrobe in this session made for a winning combination.

Glammed up model pondering at sunset

Model in tulle skirt leans up on stone wall.
Model in skirt climbs steps.
Girl twirls in skirt at golden hour.
Beautiful portrait captured on steps during sunset.

Lindsay used a Canon 5D Mark III (affiliate link) with a Tamron 28-75mm 2.8 lens (affiliate link) to capture these images.

Lindsay Carlisle is a San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Glamour Portrait Photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Wardrobe.

If you’re looking at doing your own dramatic dress shot but don’t want to make your own, we have good news – you can rent your own dress from Lindsay Adler.


Wardrobe Ideas from Blue Dandelion Photography


Today’s feature is from .

Courtney says:

“This session was an engagement session Doug shot in Washington DC this past April. The couple is from North Carolina but will be doing a Wisconsin wedding this year!”

Courtney’s Photography Tip:

I always send wardrobe recommendations to the clients so they can dress they’re best! Having a couple or family that dresses well can mean the difference between awesome and “just okay” portraits.

We have even created a style guide to send to our clients before the session, as well as a Pinterest board that they can reference.

So even if you don’t create your own style guide, a Pinterest board with outfit suggestions is still a great way to help your clients prep their wardrobe for the shoot and to make sure they have a finished, put-together look in their final images.


Courtney used a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens, a Nikon 35mm f/1.4 lens, and a Nikon 58mm f/1.4 lens to capture these images.

Courtney Weittenhiller is a Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Wedding, Newborn, and Portrait photographer, but also does work nationally as well. Courtney and her husband, Doug, also put on workshops for photographers, and you can read more about their workshops on their website here.

Click here to see more tips on Wardrobe.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Planning a Themed Photoshoot


Today’s feature is from .

Allison says:

“We were one of the event leaders/shooters at the Seniors Ignite Event 2014 in Las Vegas. We were each given a creative concept to shoot and ours was steampunk-themed. We were pumped! The tip we want to share (below) is about planning your creative concept session.”

Allison’s Photography Tip:

We loved every part of planning/styling/executing this steampunk-themed shoot, which can be broken down into three different areas – location, research, and wardrobe.

1. Location. Steampunk style incorporates a lot of gears and gadgets, and can have a very old-world Victorian feel. The location we chose, which was a ghost town in Nelson, Nevada, was something we scouted the previous August and knew it had a lot of the steampunk elements we were looking to incorporate into our theme.

2. Research. To get a better handle on the steampunk style, we did a ton of research and sifting through photos and images to get ideas for the types of clothing and props we would want for the shoot.

3. Wardrobe. After sifting through tons of images and going back and forth with the model, we decided which items we wanted to create ourselves for the shoot and which ones we were going to purchase.

For the purchased items, we  found a little antique studio near our studio whom we discovered makes custom steampunk apparel, so we had some great options to choose from for the items we were looking to purchase.

The shoes, however, were something the model chose to create herself, and turned out fantastic!

The results of all of our planning were exactly what we had envisioned (down to the little gears on the model’s face)! So when you’re approaching a themed shoot such as this, make sure you plan everything down to the smallest detail and really have a solid feel for exactly what you need and what you’re looking for.

The effort and attention to detail you put into the planning process will absolutely be reflected in your final product, so the more you plan your creative concept shoot, the better it will be!







Allison used a Nikon D700 with a Nikon 24-70 F2.8 lens, a Nikon 24-120 F4 lens, and a Nikon 70-200 F2.8 lens to capture these images.

Allison Ragsdale is a Durango, Colorado Senior Portraits photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Location and Wardrobe.

Want something to help save you time smoothing/airbrushing skin? This senior’s skin is gorgeous – but let’s face it, we all know that isn’t always the case.

One of the best tools I’ve found in working with seniors is the Portraiture plugin from Imagenomics. With just a few clicks of a button, the plugin smooths over and evens out skin tones and blemishes – literally saving me hours of retouching and skin smoothing.

It’s become such an essential part of my workflow that I use it for every single senior portrait session I do. Seriously.

Read our review of it here, or check out more details (and try a free trial) here!




*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.




Using Wardrobe To Tie It All Together

Ottawa, Major's Hill Park

Today’s feature is from .

Stacey says:

“Even though it was supposed to be spring when these photos were taken, we still had snow here in Ottowa but that didn’t stop this energetic couple from doing their spring engagement shoot.

The groom is of Irish descent, so we decided to take some photos in and around The Heart and Crown Pub (an Irish pub of course), and then headed over to Major’s Hill park and made use of the Ottawa downtown core to come up with these fun, urban-chic shots.”

Stacey’s Photography Tip:

Sometimes we overlook the fact that not everyone knows what “camera ready” should look like. Just because it’s obvious to us, does not mean the client knows what works in front of the camera.

A few times I have had clients show up in much less than their “Sunday best” and the photos did just not look polished.

So my piece of advice is to make sure to discuss location with your clients and what look they are trying to achieve, then plan your wardrobe around it.

If you want your sessions to stand out and your couples to look fabulous and feel fabulous, discuss wardrobe options, give them ideas from something like a Pinterest page or favorite website and make sure they choose something they are comfortable in.

For example:  it makes sense that if you are shooting on a farm to wear casual, but smart, clothes. In the city, you might go for a more urban, polished look.

When I spoke with this bride-to-be, I was  clear that wardrobe is very important to achieve a clean, cohesive look, and that it can really make or break a photo shoot.

We discussed what to wear and definitely what not to wear, such as shirts with words across them, everybody in monochrome colors with matching outfits, etc.

She also told me if the weather was blah she had a great pair of red wellingtons – awesome!

Then, since I knew red boots were going to be part of the shoot, I looked around for other bits of red near our location so I could make those red boots pop and tie everything together.

Overall, this couple didn’t really need too much wardrobe coaching as they came prepared with multiple outfits, hats and accessories.

Discussing your clients needs, brainstorming with them and guiding them about what to wear to a photo shoot, will help the finished product appear polished. Your clients will be comfortable and everyone will be happy with the final outcome.

Snowy spring in the park
On the steps of the Snug pub (heart and crown) Ottawa
Laughter in front of York Street Spa
Making eyes, Ottawa's York Street

Stacey used a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens and Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 lens to capture these images.

Stacey Stewart is a Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Wedding, Engagement, and Boudoir photographer.

See more tips on Wardrobe and Client Direction.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Ethereal Glamour Portraits by Britt Lanicek

Etheral Glamour Portraits in Northwest Ohio by Britt Lanicek Photography

Today’s feature is from .

Britt says:

“This portrait session was born out of a wish to take full advantage of the abundance of snow we’ve received this winter.

My goal in selecting the wardrobe and accessory items you see here was to create a contrast between their soft, warm hues / textures and the stark winter landscape. Essentially, I wanted to convey a sense that beneath a blanket of snow, the first stirrings of spring have begun.”

Britt’s Photography Tip:

I put a lot of thought into wardrobe and accessory selection for this set. There was a definite feel I was striving for that hinged largely on use of color and texture, along with camera settings that produces soft, creamy backgrounds (via shallow DOF) and an overall ethereal glow.

One of the things I love about use of winter landscapes in portrait photography is the sense of quiet and peace that takes over. Almost like nature is sleeping, and we should speak in hushed tones (soft, warm colors and textures) so as not to disturb her. Another benefit is the way a portrait subject really stands out against the neutral tones of leafless trees, dried grasses and snow.

But I think what I love best about shooting in the winter is the unique lighting provided by the reflective snow. Snow sessions can produce the most even, beautiful light available.

Consider your environment when planning your session. How will the available light affect your subject? Does the environment support the aesthetic you and your client are trying to achieve? Do the chosen wardrobe and accessories contribute to this as well? Which camera settings will provide optimum effect?

By considering these elements in advance and how the different pieces will come together in the final setup, you will find your end results are more cohesive and effective in conveying your intended look and feel.

Etheral Glamour Portraits in Northwest Ohio by Britt Lanicek Photography
Etheral Glamour Portraits in Northwest Ohio by Britt Lanicek Photography
Etheral Glamour Portraits in Northwest Ohio by Britt Lanicek Photography
Etheral Glamour Portraits in Northwest Ohio by Britt Lanicek Photography
Etheral Glamour Portraits in Northwest Ohio by Britt Lanicek Photography
Etheral Glamour Portraits in Northwest Ohio by Britt Lanicek Photography
Etheral Glamour Portraits in Northwest Ohio by Britt Lanicek Photography

Britt used a Nikon D700 with a Nikkor 85mm 1.8 lens to capture these images.

Britt Lanicek is a Northwest Ohio Glamour and Senior Portraits photographer.

See more tips on Lighting, Location, and Wardrobe.


*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Decadent Glamour Portraits by Britt Lanicek

Gatsby Styled Vintage Glamour

Today’s feature is from .

Britt says:

“This amazing session features Lucy, a local high school student. Lucy shares my affinity for vintage glam and found this awesome dress – the perfect combination of Gatsby cool with a modern punch of color. Love, love, love this girl’s look! We put pin curls in her gorgeous curly dark hair, and splashes of diamond accessories everywhere. Honestly, I could shoot these vintage styled portraits every day and not get tired of it, and does Lucy ever deliver!”

Britt’s Photography Tip:

Aside from the killer wardrobe and styling, the dramatic lighting and contrast were essential to this set. Once I knew what Lucy’s dress looked like, I chose a starkly contrasting backdrop and set it up in the room in my studio that has blackout curtains.

To control the light and provide some deep shadowing with which to enhance the heavy feel of these images, I drew the blackout curtains almost closed, and positioned Lucy at the edge of the light stream.

I did not employ supplemental lighting here, as I wanted to use the dim lighting and slight grain produced by my chosen settings to enhance the vintage vibe. By using a shallow depth of field, I was able to create a sense of soft dreaminess that played well with the subdued lighting. I love how these elements combine and contrast with the vibrant, sunny color of her dress.

Lucy herself was positioned in a manner that put her curvy figure at its best advantage. We played up her shapely legs in the pull back shot by letting them drape over the side of the chair, and shot from above in other images to both elongate her neck and reveal her attractive decolletage. By stretching her out across her chair, we were able to slim her petite, curvy figure and give an air of poise and delicacy.

I spent some time talking through Lucy’s preferences and sensitivities, and then worked through each pose with her as we went (demonstrating where necessary) to help Lucy feel at ease and understand clearly how I wanted her to position herself.

Putting forethought into each session to ensure that wardrobe, accessories, hair and makeup, lighting, and backdrops all work together to evoke the intended vibe will make a huge difference in your end results. It also pays to think about preferred lenses and camera settings that will best produce the desired effect.

During the session, I recommend spending some time talking your client through each set, showing them how you want them to move, explaining why certain poses or movements are more flattering than others (taking their body type into consideration). This is huge in terms of putting them at ease and for getting the results you want. You will get your best images from a client who is comfortable with you and has a clear idea of what you need from them.

Gatsby Styled Vintage Glamour
Gatsby Styled Vintage Glamour
Gatsby Styled Vintage Glamour
Gatsby Styled Vintage Glamour
Gatsby Styled Vintage Glamour
Gatsby Styled Vintage Glamour
Gatsby Styled Vintage Glamour

Britt used a Nikon D700 with a Nikkor 24-70mm lens to capture these images.

Britt Lanicek is a Fostoria, OH photographer who specializes in senior portraits and glamour photography.

See more tips on Lighting and Wardrobe.


*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Beautiful Couples Portraits by Natalie Champa Jennings

Sunset portrait

Today’s feature is from .

Natalie says:

“This session is a gorgeous anniversary session in Minneapolis, MN. The couple wanted to celebrate their one year anniversary with a series of outdoor portraits near the Mississippi River – a stunning shoreline dotted with recreational areas and parks throughout Minnesota.”

Natalie’s Photography Tip:

There were a few components that made this session beautiful and successful.

First, the time of day. We shot around sunset on a semi-hazy day which provided the perfect light filter and quality.

Second, the colors the couple decided to wear, along with their props, fit very well with the neutral tones found in nature at sunset.

Third, the couple was very comfortable in front of the camera and took direction easily without showing discomfort. This provided the shoot with a very natural feel.

Depending on what you’re looking for, following this tip should give you a warm relaxed, and natural set of images.

Sunset by river
picnic portrait

Natalie used a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 35mm 1.4L lens and a Sigma 85mm 1.4 lens to capture these images.

Natalie Champa Jennings is a Minnesota Destination Wedding and Portrait photographer.

See more tips on Lighting and Wardrobe.


*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.