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I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

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Building A Senior Spokesmodel Team| Create Conversations Podcast Interview

November 18, 2019

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by my friend and fellow photographer Vanessa of Vanessa Jordan Photography for her podcast Create Conversations. I talk all about my senior spokesmodel program, my client experience, and advice I have for other photographers who are interested in starting their own team!

You can listen here on Youtube or anywhere you listen to podcasts!

What is a rep team and how can it be beneficial?

A spokesmodel or senior rep team is a group of seniors that are selected to represent your business for their senior year. They are responsible for marketing and bringing in referrals, and in exchange they get free photos and other incentives.

It’s a huge opportunity to market and get instant feedback about how to improve your experience –– and it’s fun to be creative! These are the girls and guys that are your ideal clients so I always feel recharged after working with them.

For me, it’s made the biggest difference in creating a brand for myself and solidifying me as one of the go-to photographers in town.
I’m able to talk to the girls about what I think would be a good idea and they’re really honest with me about what they think will work and what won’t.

They’ve also helped a ton in creating new content, which is additional marketing help that I didn’t expect. 

What made you want to have a senior rep team?

I always grew up on teams full of girls, and then went to college and was super involved in my sorority. I actually ended up working for them to help build new chapters at other colleges.

I know the power of building up a community specifically of young women, and I wanted my senior experience to be similar to that. I wanted a way to be closer to my girls and also have a way to be creative outside of just paid sessions.

I saw the things that a few other photographers were doing and I wanted to try it too. I took Hope Taylor’s Spokesmodel course and that was a huge helpful resource to getting started.

What makes your experience different than other senior rep teams?

This question is hard to answer because I didn’t reinvent the wheel. I’m not doing something that’s brand new, but it was brand new to my area and I’ve worked hard to take a blueprint but make it work for me.

I do my best to make my team stand out by being really creative when it comes to my group session and how much I pour into the girls. We hang out outside of just shooting and I do my best to support them beyond just my business.

I think it’s different because I’m trying to build a community and a group of women who are connected beyond just their senior year. I still have girls who were on my teams 3 years ago that still come back and are involved.

How do you think putting so much into your rep team has helped you build a better client experience?

Oh this is the biggest thing! I’ve learned so much from my girls about ways to stay relevant and educate from the beginning. I’ve used them to help attract the right types of seniors for me, which makes the experience better for everyone.

They are the ones that I get feedback from constantly so I’m able to make changes or add in new opportunities after other people see them do it.
My client experience is completely different than when I first started, and I think the time and effort that the team took to create and manage really pushing me to put that same effort into all of my seniors.

Do you think anyone can have a rep team, photographer or not? Why or why not?

This is such an interesting question. At it’s core it’s an influencer strategy, which I think most people can implement and benefit from.

It depends on your industry and what your business goals are, but I do think there is almost always room to have a team. If you’re a boutique, you can have a modeling team. If you’re an ice cream shop, you could probably have a group of people (moms or kids) to represent the business and push people toward eating there.

I think it really comes down to thinking about what your goal actually is, and how other people can get involved in it. Then you have to make sure that you’re choosing the right types of people and structuring it in a way that benefits everyone. 

What do you think makes an exceptional client experience?

I think there’s a lot that goes into a great client experience –– strategy, passion, truly caring about your clients.

The biggest one I would have to say though is organization. You can love and care for your clients all day long, but if you’re missing emails, losing information, and not creating a seamless process for them, it’s going to be a bad experience. You have to do what they’re paying you to do first, then you can add all of the extra stuff.

Is there any advice that you can give for anyone wanting to have a rep team and/or give their clients an exceptional client experience?

I would say to really think through all of the pieces of the process before implementing. My first year I started a team without really having everything together and it almost ruined my business.

Really think through what you want to implement, poke a million holes in it, set goals for it, plan it out, and then implement. It’s okay to make your own timeline and do what will make it the best experience for the girls apart of it. 

What is the best thing to you about being an entrepreneur?

I have the type of personality where I love to see results. I want to know I’m making an impact. I’ve always been drawn to the startup culture, where there’s high risk, high reward. The mentality is different because what you do actually matters. 

I love being a part of that and truly being in charge of my own success and schedule.


I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer Helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

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