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Featured Photographer :: Thrive Seniors

Such a pleasure to introduce to you an amazing photographer and studio! Heidi is the brains behind Thrive Seniors and her work is just yummy! Read her interview, I promise you will love it:)

Where are you located and what is your website address?

Thrive Seniors in located in Olathe, Kansas and serves the greater Kansas City area!   Our website is:  www.thriveseniors.com


What made you want to photograph high school seniors?

Before I took my photography passion and created a business with it, I was a senior high youth pastor.  I have LOVED working with teenagers for a long, long time and when the time came for me to step out of high school ministry, my heart was so sad to lose my connection to young people.  Thankfully, God was so gracious to me and my business just naturally grew and “thrived” in the senior market.  I’m definitely not some cool young chick; I’m more like their mom’s age, but I have a young heart and an ability to connect and make young people feel comfortable and special.   

What inspires you for your senior sessions?

I am inspired by so many different things; first off, I am just simply inspired by each client.  I have had such a diversity of senior clients; from their backgrounds, to their interests and that is inspiring.  I am inspired by new found locations, thinking creatively to bring in props or elements to  make shoots more interesting, by glorious golden sunshine and yummy, yummy back light.  

What is your favorite type of location to shoot at?

Gosh, I don’t think I can pick a favorite!  I love the diversity of Kansas City.  I can find a beautiful field of wild grasses, a 100 year old abandoned barn, incredible architecture in our city filled with fountains or amazing old buildings….all within 20 minutes of each other.  In January of this year, I moved into an unbelievable studio.  (See here:  http://thrivecreativestudio.com/thrives-open-house-celebration/ ) I am right off the interstate, in the middle of 3 major school districts that I serve on a 1 acre lot with a 2,000 square foot studio.  I am just discovering all the ways to use my outdoor studio.  I have an old 1940’s truck, a waterfall, beautiful grounds with stonework columns, garden gates, trellises and more.  There is a gravel drive that goes behind the studio and at many angles, I can shoot it to look like a country dirt road!  I am LOVING this!  The amount of time I saved this spring was astounding.  

What senior product do your seniors order most from you?

Prints are definitely the main product that I sell.  Wallets, especially.  I have a stand-out mounted collage that is a senior favorite too.

Are you doing anything different with marketing this year? If yes, what is it?

I really have not done any “paid” marketing of any kind.  Up until last year, I used Senior Spokesmodels, but in 2011, I decided that the program wasn’t really working out the way I wanted it to and that most of my referrals were coming from clients who booked me and loved their experience and portraits.  I decided to take the rewards I offered to my Spokesmodels and give them to my clients instead.    This year, I actually have a daughter who is a Class of 2013 senior, so I decided to try a direct mailing with just the girls in her senior class.  I sent out about 200 postcards two weeks ago.  I have had two bookings and many inquiries from it and expect a little more.

What is some advice you can offer to other photographers that has helped you, or that you think can help others?

I think one of the most damaging things we can do is compare ourselves to others.  When we do that, we begin to doubt our abilities and talent and I believe that it stifles our creativity.  Believe in your gifts and your business and while it is so helpful to learn from other photographers and be inspired, fight the urge to compare yourself and your business.    If you want to be encouraged, go back and look at where you started.  Pull up those first senior portraits you took and look at what you are doing now and then take the time to appreciate your growth.  Shoot as much as you can because the more you do something the better you get!

What is your dream senior session concept you’d like to photograph?

I have always wanted to do a session with a few best friends at a fair or carnival and happily, I am actually shooting that THIS WEEK!!  It will be such a blast!  Check out my blog in the next couple weeks to see how it turns out!  www.thrivecreativestudio.com/blog

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