How Sarah Petty is Marketing to Student Athletes with Photography Slideshows

Moira West


For high school athletes, signing a letter of intent to go to a college or university carries a lot excitement. Senior photographer Sarah Petty has found a new way to market her business by creating special sessions for these athletes, helping them create a keepsake of their big decision and share their big news with the world.

For example, Sarah shared the video below of a track athlete who signed with the University of Southern Indiana. “She had kept her college choice a secret and this video was used as part of her social media announcement to the world that she had chosen her school.”

Style: Soft Focus
Song: “Shine” by Curious

We asked Sarah how she’s incorporating these new sessions for athletes into her business, and how she’s using video to get attention through word of mouth.

Sarah lays the groundwork for these sessions early on. When she photographs clients initially, she finds out “whether it’s in their plans to play sports in college or whether they have made their college choice.” Then she notes the information down in her client database so she can follow up later, when the NCAA publishes its signing dates for college athletes.

She added, “We just add those on our calendar and give a quick call to the client a few weeks before the signing day to ask if they will be signing a national letter of intent on that day and offering the session for them on that day.”

After the shoot, Sarah creates an Animoto video for the senior, like the one above, to share on social media. She’s found that the video leads to more referrals and makes the client happy too. “We have found that our clients expect images, but think it’s a bigger deal when we add in a video.”

Sarah shared that she saves these sessions as a bonus for her best clients. “I believe in treating your best clients differently. And this is one way that I can do that with an unexpected surprise.” It’s the surprise and shareability that help generate the buzz that sets Sarah’s business apart from other senior photographers in her area.

Do you have a creative way that you’re using your video in your photography business? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter by tagging @Animoto.