The Shipman Photography Senior Portrait Experience
Senior photos have changed a lot over the years. What was once a boring and mundane necessity has become a highly personalized and customized experience featuring post production effects, dramatic lighting and themed shooting schedules that dial in a client’s interests, activities and personalities. At Shipman Photography, we take that experience to a new level – shooting our seniors’ sessions on location and in studio to create a highly individualized portrait set featuring custom edits and settings. Our packages deliver an incredible value for the quality of portraits we create. And customer service is our guiding principle. Our goal is to surpass your expectations and create a picture client for life. Your satisfaction is guaranteed and your decision to do business with us is respected and personally valued. Here is what you need to know about Shipman Photography as you prepare for your senior year and why you should consider us for your portraits.
Shipman Photography, where custom high school senior pictures are our specialty and delivering quality portrait art and session experiences are our passion.
The Changing Face of Portrait Photography Specialists
Not that long ago, a senior portrait photographer worked in film photos and had a highly specialized technical skill set that took advanced training and equipment that was prohibitively expensive. As we’ve advanced further into the digital age, the landscape has changed dramatically. Gone are the department store photo studios and gone are the photography business models of that time. Today, everyone has a relatively decent point and shoot digital camera in their pocket and the decreasing expense and rising quality of consumer level cameras has created a low barrier of entry into the field of professional photography. In other words, there are a lot of choices and a lot of talented people with good eyes and good ideas out there. So to stand out from a crowded field, you need to be something unique.
What is Unique about Shipman Photography?
Experience: In the summer 2003, Gregg started his first photography business. 15 years and hundreds of thousands of photos later, the artistic talent he had been blessed with was slowly reinforced through hard work and experience – for which there is no replacement or shortcut. Talent is important. Gear is important, but it is practice that helps you apply those things to their best use. The same is true of a musical instrument. You can buy the same guitar Jimi Hendrix played, but it’ll take a lot of practice to sound like him!
Artistic Blends: Before he was a photographer, Gregg was a sketch artist and an oil painter. He’s also a writer and a musician who believes a photography project should tell someone’s story as clearly as a book or a song. As his photography skills advanced, he developed a passion for post-production, editing and digital art. Today, Shipman Photography is unique among other studios in that the blend of photography and digital art is a seamless integrated into many of our productions and portraits. From basic retouching to 100 layer Photoshop projects, there is no editing or graphic art request that cannot be accommodated in-house. When we say we can deliver custom photographic art to you that is completely unlike anything else in our market, we mean that and prove it every day.
Low Pressure, Fun Experience: At Shipman Photography, we do believe in making friends with our clients, having fun at shoots, telling dad jokes, creating custom payment plans and giving clients everything they wanted and more than they expected. We do not believe in high pressure sales tactics, making you pick out your images at the gallery review or trying to sell you out of your budget. We know that we aren’t the cheapest option for your senior experience, but we are the best value, and we want every client to leave our studio feeling they’ve received an incredible deal for family heirloom quality art that will be in their family for generations to come.
What Schools Do You Work With?
While we are the official sports photographers of Bixby High School and Union High School athletic departments, we are not limited to any specific area or school. Shipman Photography is a Tulsa, OK based studio that attracts out of state clients every year due to our unique style and strength of personal referrals by previous clients. In any given year, we will typically work with high school senior picture clients from Bixby High School, Jenks High School, Owasso High School, Union High School, Booker T. Washington High School, Broken Arrow High School, Collinsville High School, Sapulpa High School, Sand Springs High School, Glenpool High School Tulsa Public Schools, Bishop Kelly High School and Cascia Hall High School. We will travel for senior sessions as needed and can work with clients from any Oklahoma or out of state schools as well as home schooled students. We can work directly with your yearbook staff to provide content to them as needed.
How Does a Senior Picture Session With Shipman Photography Work?
First, after making contact with us we will arrange a time to visit at our studio or over the phone. This is important as it helps us begin to understand the personality, interests and personal style of our potential client. We look at examples of previous work, discuss themes, locations, dates and any and all elements that might be included in a senior photo client’s session work.
Second, we book a date. Sometimes it’s more than one date. A football player may for example, may want to shoot part of his session on his home football field and part of it in downtown Tulsa with a short ‘ring session’ at our midtown studio. That plan is best served by planning two evenings rather than one. Some other sessions can be accomplished in one. It really depends on the individual plan for each unique client we serve.
Third, we conduct all the session photography for the senior client and set a date for a gallery review/sales meeting. This is typically done as soon as possible after wrapping up session work for our seniors because they are excited about seeing their pictures! We like to post teasers of some of our favorite pics and pullback shots from these photo shoots and tag our clients and their parents on social media.
Fourth, the gallery review/sales meeting is a business meeting, but it’s not designed to be a stressful experience. It should be fun to finally get to see all the images from the session work, and we do our best to make it so! We begin by showing you several fully edited and retouched (as needed) images that have been fully produced to what we consider portfolio quality. These serve as examples of what anything in the gallery can be and may range from a very basic edit to a highly detailed studio composite. Typically a client will then be shown 80-100 unedited proofs as we discuss editing options and have fun reliving the shoot.
Fifth, at this meeting we do not ask you to pick out your selections from so many proofs on the spot. We prefer you make that decision at home at your own pace, but we do walk you through the process for how to make your selections and let us know what they are when you are ready.
How Do the Packages Work?
Our packages are all a combination of digital and premium printed products. Pricing is based on the number of fully edited digital masters we finish for you from your proof gallery. Once we have received your selections, we edit those selections (satisfaction guaranteed) and load them to an order gallery on our website. From here, you can download the full sized, high res digital masters to your computer or device along with a print release for unlimited use, but you can also order prints directly through your gallery at my cost – meaning wholesale pricing with no mark up (ie. $2.29 for an 8×10 print) from our professional print vendor who provides excellent quality products that are calibrated specifically to our computers.
The printed products sometimes come as extras that clients buy, but more often come as bonus materials provided as incentives to pay for their package at the sales meeting. These items may include photo albums, coffee table books, canvases, acrylics and more. These galleries stay up indefinitely with no specified expiration date, providing our clients with prints on tap that they can share with friends and family or use as their own personal resource for gifts.
Retouching and Editing
We teach Photoshop editing skills to other designers and photographers. We are very good at it and perform retouching in a way that does not leave our clients looking artificial or plasticized. Typical editing will include the removal of temporary blemishes (zits) leaving permanent unique characteristics such as moles, freckles, scars etc. untouched unless specifically asked to do so. One of the greatest Photoshop skills to possess is knowing when is too much and when to stop when editing. That’s a line we recognize and are always on the right side of, but can accomplish any specific editing request a client may request. Our goal is to leave our clients completely satisfied with our work every time.
So, How Much?
Great question! We have a pricing graphic that we send clients upon request, but our packages are very modular and custom and there are factors that can affect a package quote, such as travel or number of sessions. A typical client can expect to spend $150 when booking the session. That holds the date(s) and covers our time to conduct their photo session work and prepare their proof gallery. A typical package sale is $700 to $2,000 with our $900 package being the most popular. We have discount sessions starting at $400 and custom packages with no upper limit. The focus is always on value and delivering an experience and a product that our clients feel was fairly priced and are proud to display in their homes. That is our commitment to our clients.
Show Me More!
Gladly! Please check out our full portfolio HERE
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Lastly, HERE is a recent blog on the Shipman Photography senior portrait experience!