So recently, since I'm basically caught up with everything (never happens), I've decided that I'm going to do my absolute best to do at least one weekly blog about the sessions that I've had over the course of that week. I may get squirrelly and do more but for now, the goal is one per week. So I figured I would start this week! And I'm dedicating my first official, official blog to the Class of 2017 KSP Senior Models and how they are chosen. Something quite a few people have asked me about.
These 12 ladies have been so, so fun to get to know since they were chosen in January. Kyra, Mariah, Shelby, Emma, Megan, Layne, Sidney, Delaney, Haley, Taylor, Stephanie and Maddie -- all representing KSP from surrounding SD and NE towns. They are 12 of the most fun, dedicated, genuine young women you will ever meet and I am so proud to have them on my team this year. If you know any of them, be sure to ask them for the KSP senior ad card and they will hand you over a nice $50 discount. Uh yay.
The Choosing Process
So, I've had A LOT of people personally message me and ask me about how these wonderful people are chosen. Firstly, it's never, ever an easy task to deny someone who has put in effort. I hate it. But, to make the most sense for this program and to give every senior the time and attention I have come to be known for, we have to narrow down. If I could take 37 representatives (the number of applicants last year) I would. But I can't. So, our goal is to ultimately get to 12 schools or regions and go from there.
We go and get a fresh, new, sparkling map of South Dakota and upper Nebraska. I unfold said map on my table and then I map out where all of the applicants are from. By the end of the narrowing process last year, our map looked like it had traveled to China and back in the pocket of a nomad. But that's neither here nor there. We draw circles of overlap, create regions and sort applications. Quite a few schools were combined this last year because there were just too many. Then, ANY application, no matter who fills it out, that is left blank, in part or whole, is automatically disqualified. That happened this past cycle and I was really bummed. But hey, that's life. Follow directions, kids.
From there, we look at every single application. If I, Katie, know any of the applicants, if I'm related to them in anyway, (and hey, I'm from a huge family and I am related to half the state soo...) if I met them even once, if I shot their sibling's senior pictures, if they are friends with me on facebook, their application, along with all the applications from their school, go to panel.
The panel of judges is comprised of three South Dakota photographers who know me REALLY well. They know my business model, they understand the kind of people I want to represent me and my studio. All the applications are placed into a folder with their school's name and with just the first names of the applicant. Why? Because I never want the panel of judges to go on social media to see what someone looks like. (Not that they would.) This is NOT about appearances. It IS about role models.
Each panel judge ranks the applications from highest down. The applications with the most marks are then chosen to be KSP Senior Models. Of the 12 regions and schools that were chosen this year, 8 of them were chosen by panel. Wagner, Armour, Parkston, Scotland and Plankinton were 5 of 8 sent to panel.
It's never an easy thing to deny someone something that they REALLY want. Something they have thought about for a long time. And it's really not fun telling 25 people, "no." It's my least favorite part of this whole process. And it always make my heart a little heavy -- It's never easy and it's not a decision we ever take lightly.
Do you ever choose guys?
Absolutely! The first two cycles of KSP Senior Models had guys in them. But, nowadays, we don't have a lot of male applicants. But, if they do apply, they are always considered.
Hopefully this has cleared up any questions that may be floating around. And hopefully if you're reading this and applied, you now understand what a process it is and that we appreciate absolutely every single person that puts in effort.