Marketing to Seniors,Reputation Management and Reviews

How to Plan a Senior Living Community Photo Shoot

close up of person holding camera

A photo shoot is an opportunity to capture the images that tell your senior living community’s unique story — a story that’s created by residents, by staff members, and through the distinctive features that make your community special. It’s also an investment. That’s why you want to partner with a creative agency that can guide you through the process and provide the senior living community photography that captures the spirit of your community and furthers your marketing goals.

The success of a photo shoot depends largely on rigorous planning and preparation. Knowing the steps involved — and the roles you and the creative agency play in the process — can set you up for a winning experience. 

6 to 8 Weeks Before the Photo Shoot: Discovery

Six to eight weeks before your photo shoot, you’ll have a discovery meeting with the creative agency that’s directing the shoot. Ideally, both of you will have done some homework to prepare for the meeting. At Attane, we audit your existing website and marketing materials, compile a list of stand-out features, and research your competition so we can come to the table with ideas and suggestions. But we also want to hear from you. You’re the expert on your community and a photo shoot will be more successful when you share your insights.

Here are some questions to answer as you prepare for a discovery meeting:

What Will the Photos Be Used For?

Your website? Mail pieces? A general brochure? Social media campaigns? The purpose of the photos can dictate the format, so answering these questions will help you identify the kinds of shots you need. For example, if you want photos for:

  • Local listings: You need shots of your community’s entrance and exterior, plus eye-catching interior and lifestyle photos.
  • Social media: Square formats work best, especially those with the subject in the left or right two-thirds of the frame, leaving room for text overlay.
  • Websites: Photos with horizontal — or landscape — orientation are versatile and more effectively fill the width of the screen. They’ll also need to be framed so they work with text overlay.

What Story Do You Want Your Photos to Tell?

  • Do you have a current marketing campaign you want to work from?
  • Do you have examples of senior living community photography that you like? Don’t like? Knowing what you like can help you identify the message you want your photos to convey.
  • Are there new amenities or recently completed projects you want to highlight?

 What’s Unique About Your Community?

Consider your community’s unique selling points. Do you have pickleball, music therapy, or an affiliation with a university? Show off the features that set you apart.

What About Bringing Children into the Shoot?

Images of residents hula hooping or blowing bubbles with kids add a youthful, fun-loving vibe. 

Is Your Community Pet-Friendly?

If so, fur babies bring a lot of joy to photos and spark a response in viewers. 

What Are Residents’ Favorite Outdoor Activities?

Photos that capture residents gardening, golfing, or walking paved trails showcase the active lifestyle in your community.

What if You Take Your Photo Shoot out on the Town?

Images of residents enjoying nearby museums or beaches, or shopping local boutiques show the active lifestyle extends beyond your campus.

Can You Reframe Standard Photos of Amenities?

You could try underwater shots in the pool or host a themed Happy Hour to capture your lively social life. 

What Stunning Interior Spaces Would You Like to Show Off?

Photos of residents enjoying a chat in a well-appointed lounge or reading in a well-stocked library spotlight your community’s luxuries. 

Can You Get Staff Members in on the Act?

Team members happily engaged in their work can convey warmth and friendliness.

Can You Make the Viewer’s Mouth Water?

Good food goes hand in hand with the good life. What are the most visually appealing meals that can highlight your community’s culinary expertise?

4 to 6 Weeks Before the Photo Shoot: Planning and Touch Points

Because this is a collaborative process, the next several weeks will bring multiple opportunities to touch base and fine-tune plans. This helps ensure a smooth-running photo shoot that delivers the images you want. Touch point meetings may cover:

  • The shot list. After the discovery meeting, the creative agency will create a shot list identifying the images they want to capture. Together you can review the list to make sure it reflects your goals and vision.
  • The schedule. The agency will create a schedule to ensure that each scene location — the fitness center, dining venue, pool or resident garden, for example — is available, tidy and camera-ready at the appropriate time. You’ll want to confirm there are no scheduling conflicts with classes and events.
  • Necessary preparations. As details are finalized, you and the creative agency will meet to discuss the arrangements you’ll need to make to get your community and resident models ready for the big day.

1 to 4 Weeks Before the Photo Shoot: Getting Ready

In the weeks before the photo shoot, you’ll be focused on the tasks that will help ensure your community is picture-perfect. Responsibilities typically include:

  • Recruiting models. Depending on how many days your photo shoot lasts, you’ll need 25 to 50 residents who are willing to be photographed. You want to have enough models so that no resident appears in more than two scenes. Choose candidates who are active, enthusiastic about your community, naturally smiley, and familiar with the activity being photographed. Keep diversity in mind, as well. 
  • Gathering props.  The agency may supply some props, but will also likely offer suggestions to help set the stage for great photos. If your photo shoot includes the pool, for example, white towels with no visible logos will reduce visual distraction. In the art studio, new easels will ensure that models are more photogenic, sitting up with their faces visible, rather than bent over a table.
  • Cleaning and arranging locations. Make sure the rooms where scenes will be set are clean and orderly, with trash cans tucked out of sight. Consider the landscaping in outdoor shots. Is it well-maintained, blooming and attractive?
  • Coordinating food photos. Consult with your culinary team to make sure the food will be ready and the tables set at the appropriate time.

On Picture Day

It’s time for the photo shoot! The crew from the creative agency is on campus, they’ve walked through the shot locations to gather last-minute information, and they’re ready. With schedule in hand and all the prep work taken care of, the crew can work very efficiently. They’ll take care of lighting and other details, including styling residents before the shoot, and directing them during the shoot.

You can help by designating a staff member as a day-of-shoot liaison. As someone who knows the residents and the community well, this person can help manage last-minute surprises and engage with residents, putting them at ease.

Your Partner in Senior Living Marketing

At Attane, we’re passionate about making sure you have professional-quality senior living community photography that tells your story and attracts new residents. With expertise, diligence and attention to detail, our creative team can partner with you to create an effective marketing strategy. Reach out to us to learn more about photo shoots, video shoots, or any of our senior living marketing solutions.

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