Working with a fashion boutique can be an amazing opportunity for a senior photographer and it can open a lot of doors and new networking avenues. I have been personally working with a clothing boutique for a few of my senior modeling shoots and will tell you how I went about contacting and working with them and other ways that might work for you and expand your viewers.
I searched boutiques that I admire in my area, and that have the same market as me with cute clothes that my seniors would love to wear. I worked with the amazing Apricot Lane in my area. You might already have a store in your area you know of and just need to reach out, or maybe you already shop there and that is even better for getting your foot in the door. Having just moved to the area I looked on google and Instagram for boutiques and when I found the perfect one that I would love to work with. I messaged them through their Instagram and asked if I could get ahold of the manager to talk about a session with them, and giving them more social media content. I was given the name and email of the manager and proceeded to email her. I then went into the store to talk face to face when it was the best time for her letting her know that I loved the stores style and felt our brands have the same target market.
I offered to do a model shoot with their clothes and allow them to use all of the images I edited with my watermark on them for all of their social media pages. They were very interested in this idea because many other photographers wanted to work with them, but wanted them to pay for the shoot and digitals. Since I was wanting to use their clothes for this shoot and offer my senior girls an even more amazing senior experience with boutique clothing I was happy with the experience for my girls and exposure of being on their Instagram accounts being tagged for all of the photos. Doing this also gets your foot in the door for working with boutiques and fashion lines, and being able to charge stores and clothing companies for this type of work in the future.
Makeup Artist: Melissa Tomfohrde
Boutique: Apricot Lane
The day before my sessions I go into the store to pick out all of the outfits with my seniors sizing, and an idea for the session. For my first shoot with the boutique had a floral prints, and denim for spring theme. My second shoot I wanted a more grunge urban look, then a soft pink casual and boho vibe to get lots of variety with the photos for my seniors and the boutique. Another way to make it even more fun for your senior would be for them to come the day before and help pick out their favorite outfits. This gets them more involved and they can try on the outfits beforehand to make sure they fit and you can pick your favorite things together. They will be putting all of this on snapchat and Instagram so you can even do a pre-snapchat take over. So you get all of their friends to follow your snapchat to see what’s going on and they do a 2 day take over to get more engagement. When their friends see what your senior models get to do and picking out the clothes from a boutique this will be a huge talking point and extra incentives for their friends to book you also. This is great if you can work with a boutique a lot and get this setup for all of your seniors. I personally have it so my regular senior session they bring all of their own clothes, and as my seniors they are eligible for extra fun shoots so they could be chosen for a boutique model shoot but each senior is not promised this.
I keep all of the clothes and accessories organized and accounted for so after the session is over I can tally everything up and make sure it is all in the bag. During the shoot I make sure we don’t get anything dirty or ruined, we don’t go into water or muddy places. If I have them sit down I have towels just for them to sit on so the clothes don’t get ruined. If they do you will be purchasing those clothes, or just not working with that boutique again, so I like to be very careful.
I usually get all of the photos edited within a week, probably 30 – 40 and send them the download link to share the photos however they see fit. The images I provide them are low resolution and have my watermark on the corner, and I ask that they always tag me in the photo, which I have had no problems with.
Another way you can approach this is to buy a whole outfit from the store if you want to have some work to show them with their clothes as the center piece. If it is their clothing they are seeing in your photos they are more likely to agree with working together, and if they have any tips or special requests then you can work on those to match their brand more.
Some boutiques only purchase a set number of each piece of clothing. If this is the case you have to get the images to them quickly so they can use it for their social media advertising. Some boutiques may carry more than a few so they can use the images for a longer span of time to advertise with, you have to take this into account when editing and making plans with a clothing boutique.
I have also personally talked with the manager about making a custom magazine with the photos I have taken with their clothing for their store. This might benefit a boutique that has more of one piece of clothing more than a store with fewer of each piece. But if you can make a beautiful magazine and put your photos in it, with a little information about your business and senior photography then that would be great for their customers to pick up and take home.
If this is something that is too expensive for you to think about doing, you can start with small numbers and see how the printed magazine does in the store at first. If you want to go with a bigger magazine with more pages the cost more money, you may be able to find other businesses with the same clientele that would like to advertise in a local clothing boutique. For example, a hair and nail salon, massage parlor, cupcake shop, eyebrow threading, makeup artist or tanning salon may be interested in advertising if this is something the boutique would be okay with. A few pages of advertising would help offset the costs of the magazine and give something beautiful to their clients. Pack it full of awesome advice for clothing trends and what to wear for certain events and make it a real magazine and the boutique might love this idea with their name along with yours on the cover.
Working with a clothing boutique can be a lot of fun and create some amazing new relationships. You can even host a swank event party where you invite all of your seniors for drinks, cupcakes, and shopping with personal shoppers to help them pick out the perfect outfit for their senior photos. You could even talk to a local bakery to donate some cupcakes. They can then pass out information and a discount for graduation parties to be catered by them. If you are entertaining your seniors and helping the boutique to also benefit, then it is good for all of the parties involved. This is just another way to set yourself out of the crowd of other senior photographers by giving your seniors an amazing senior year.
Don’t be shy about putting your best foot forward and contacting people about how you can help them with your amazing gifts. Not everyone can do what you do and create magic in photos. Let them know how you can help their business and make it all about them and what you can do for them.