Studios have misunderstood the shift in the market.
Less money to spend, more new exciting things to spend what money they have on and an increase in newbie wanna-be shooters are some of the causes that have gotten people out of the habit of having professional portraits made.
Studios have not yet I believe accepted the fact that in all their years of marketing their senior photography it is doubtful that they ever convinced a student or parent to have senior pictures made.
What they did was get a person who had already planned on having pictures taken (a habit, tradition began with the use of ego’s) to choose their studio for the work. That is not the same as getting someone to decide to have a portrait made.
The fix in 2014 to the senior photography market is learn how to persuade a person to have a professional portrait made of themselves and purchase photo prints. To convince someone to have a portrait made you have to discuss benefits not features. You need to appeal to their emotions and ego. They want to be remembered, not forgotten. Their graduation is a major accomplishment in their lives deserving respect from others as well as themselves. DIY efforts and part time disk only wannabees show no respect to the achievement. Cell phone shots and selfies are fun but they are also everyday routine parts of their lives. Everyday and routine are not in the same class as special achievement. These types of images are disrespectful of the students hard work.
In the beginning professional senior portraits were assembled into a beautiful piece of artwork, the class composite. If you get a chance to see some of these from 80-100 years ago they were truly beautiful pieces of art. These were displayed in schools for years showing later students those that came before them and had made the cut, got the grade and graduated. They accomplished something to be proud of and were remembered. We need to get this feeling back. Maybe we can’t do the class composite. We can however have the family preserve and enshrine this accomplishment in their own home showcase of honor. A picture wall with all the generations and achievements of the family.
As always, if this stirs up any thoughts or you have an idea to add or debate, please let me know. Comments and critique are welcome and appreciated. Everyone will benefit from your insight and contribution. Steve