I'm pretty new to Irvine and the West Coast. As both an entrepreneur and a mom, I value transparency in my work, family, and my personal life. To succeed as a senior portrait photographer in a very saturated area like Orange County, California, I need to operate both wisely and effectively, as well as stand out with unique qualities, that make my business different from the rest.
If you are looking for the Class of 2020 Model Call info you can find it by clicking HERE. If you are not sure about "modeling" keep reading this page because this post is meant for YOU! (Plus there's a pretty dope session featured on this page if you want to check it out!) xx
When it comes down to it, I'm just like any other mom who gets up each day, get my kids to school, and goes to work. I have a dream and I work super hard at it. I love my job and the purpose of my job. Without a doubt, empowering teens with exceptional imagery is what I was meant to do. So it goes without saying, in such a competitive industry, that I often see marketing tactics within our industry, that are sometimes misleading to our teen clients and I often wonder what impression it makes upon teens who might struggle with self esteem and labels.
One of the main subjects I would like to address, is the practice of Model Calls, Model Teams, and other similar senior portrait business practices. My own "model calls" are not meant for actual "models" in the sense of what one would normally think. Here, we support an all-inclusive vibe and they are meant for any teens that are interested and meet the grade level requirements for a specific call. In fact the term "model call" is just a name the industry has given this "call to action". I guess we could call them "real teen portrait calls" or "student photo calls" haha, but that doesn't make sense or ring as a term many would understand, because it's not a familiar industry term.
Of course, the idea of using real models to sell things is not new to anyone. It's a common practice that's been around forever and we see it more than ever, now, with instagram influencers flooding our screens every day showing off a dream life that may or may not be real. But I question whether the use of real models or the label of "model" for all of our social media platforms and websites may cause confusion and self doubt in some teens?
So what I want you to know, is that when you look at my images on any of my platforms: Facebook, Instagram, my website, (and eeeeeevery once in a while Pinterest and Google), with the exception of one girl, the seniors and teens on my pages are NOT professional models. You are truly looking at everyday regular teens living their best, hectic, everyday, high school lives while working part-time, saving for a car, applying to college, and studying for finals! Even the one client who actually is a real model, is living that same high school life, too, when she is not modeling!
So the next time you hop onto a senior portrait photographer's instagram and see model, after model, after model, in the captions, know that when you come to me, I can assure you, that you are coming to a vibrant, authentic, display of REAL kids doing their thang! And I captured those images by getting to know each and every one of them while planning and styling a custom senior portrait experience, just to tell their very own unique story. All are welcome and included, here!
I'd love to hear your own ideas, in the comments below, about what you think a "model call' could be called, instead, and how you view the industry term as a teen or parent of a teen. Would they rather have the hype and status of the word "model" or do you feel it causes exclusion and doubt?
In the meantime, if you have any questions at all or would like to learn more about my work with teens, as well as how our senior and teen styled photoshoots work, please do not hesitate to call or email and even set up a consultation to meet in person! You can view samples of entire sessions via our senior films located at the bottom of many of our blog posts (including this one)! And our galleries are located here: Girls Gallery, Them Gallery, Guys Gallery
Our Gold and Platinum senior sessions always include professional hair, makeup, personal styling, unlimited outfits, and so much more! If your teen is graduating with the class of 2019, be sure to BOOK SOON as graduation will be here much faster than you think! Each session takes roughly 2 weeks to process and approximately 6-8 weeks for all final product to be delivered. If you want all product in time for your graduation party, you will want to act now!
Featured session and film : Abby-Paige
Our featured session and senior film (below), this week, is Abby-Paige, who graduated from Smithson Valley HS and now attends USC in Los Angeles, California. I have been photographing Abby-Paige, (who goes by AB) and her family, since she was 10 years old. She is the epitome of girl power and strength, as well as a very humble human. AB loves horses, doggos, flying (she just earned her solo wings over the holidays), and as you can see in her video...her Jeep! AB can also be found playing volleyball, in her free time, at Santa Monica beach. Fun fact: AB comes from a family of pilots and also happens to be an expert marksman, who competes in long-range rifle. Her photoshoot took place 2 weeks after the Parkland shooting and it affected her very deeply, as she had to compete 3 days after the tragic event. We talked about it at her consultation, trying not to tear up, and she shared with me how important it is to not let guns get into the hands of the wrong people. AB you are a wise and wonderful strong young woman and I love your heart and spirit! I'm excited to see what else you tackle in life! xx
*Chele Jones is a published, and featured Senior Portrait Artist who moved to Orange County from Austin, Texas in 2018. She is best known for bold vibrant colors and authentically capturing the unique spirit of each teen she works with. Chele has been photographing high school seniors since 2006 and has created an empowering Senior Portrait Experience, giving each teen client an amazing special day to celebrate their achievements and document who they are during this last milestone.