How to have Successful Mini Sessions
In this blog post, I will give some of my tips to have successful mini sessions. Mini sessions are my absolute favorite thing to shoot. They are a more affordable way for families to get their photos taken, but since I am doing higher volume I end up making more money overall than I would on full sessions.
When choosing a location, I love to either have a location with an amazing background like a flower field or bloom trees, or a location with a lot of open shade. Whenever I choose a location with an amazing background, I have noticed that the sessions book fast within a day or two. A lot of families are wanting to spend a day at a flower farm with their families anyways and having mini-sessions available are just a plus. Locations with a lot of open shade allow you to not need to schedule around certain times of the day. This is amazing for your schedule because you don’t need to leave gaps in the schedule to try and avoid high noon.
The busiest time for mini sessions are fall with families wanting holiday card photos and spring with all the pretty blooms. Slow seasons are the perfect time to prepare for your mini-sessions. Create a schedule, plan for advertising, and choose the location. Advertise with a lot of time in advance for people to prepare outfits and find time in their calendars. Typically 4-6 weeks is a good timeline.
Start with just one morning or just afternoon. It is best to avoid meal times or the most common nap time (12pm - 3pm). Add on time when the schedule books up. You don’t want to be hanging around or have to drive back and forth if there are gaps in the schedule. Time is money. :) When those fill up you can make a post saying you are adding more on and it shows others you are in demand.
15-minute mini sessions are my favorite. It is typically plenty of time for me to get all the shots I want and not have too large of a gallery.
I typically deliver around 40 images to choose from for a 15-minute session. I just moved to a new area where we don’t know anyone and have no clients. I have decided to test doing no charge for the mini session and just pay or the photos you like. So far, this has been working for me with most people buying all of the images. I know this isn’t the structure that most people would want to do and that’s fine. Haha I’m a little bit of a risk taker and feel like this is a high-risk, high-reward structure. I have gained a good amount of clients fast. If you don’t want to take a gamble of clients not buying images, I would suggest offering a very low amount of 5 max included with the session. That allows room to upsell your images.
Upselling is when you try to sell additional items after their original purchase. I use Pixieset and have all the upselling done automatically, so I am not spending any additional time. Once I deliver the gallery I can focus on my next mini-session. I apply a watermark to all my images and have downloads turned off. They can then choose the images they want add them to the cart and checkout.
The way each person prices will be a little different to be able to cover their cost of doing business (CODB). To find the CODB add in the total cost of all items you need to do business and divide it by all of the time you spend on your business. Some examples of costs would be gear, editing software, booking/payments software, props, etc. You want to include all time spent including shooting, editing, driving to the locations, and time you spend marking.
Here is a link to a CODB Calculator made by Cassie Clayshulte Photography.
I currently price my photos at $25 each, $150 for 10, or $250 for all, The only time I typically run into issues of people buying one is around holiday time. Even then, it is super rare someone only buys one, but I have had it happen a few times. I think this year, I might shorten my sessions around that time to 10 minutes or increase the prices for the photos.
The easiest way to market is by sending out an email list to your past clients or posting on your social media. These are already people that you know like your work. However, only a small percentage of your followers see your posts. Make sure to share your Instagram and Facebook posts to your stories to try and get more of a chance of being seen. Another way to get more people to see is to have people share or comment on it. You can ask a question in your post to get people get people to comment or offer a giveaway and ask people to like, share, and tag friends. I currently have been offering a free image for people who like my post and share it to their page. After the session is over I send out an email asking to them to send screenshots of their post, so I can get them the coupon code. This makes sure they didn’t delete it right after they shared it.
Share your post to Facebook groups that allow it. I joined every local Facebook page I could find. Some are parent-focused, area-focused, and local business owners. A few don’t allow business promotions, but surprisingly most do or will have a specific day of the week you can share. Look up all the groups and read their rules. I also comment my facebook page or website link on each post I see of someone asking for a photographer. Even if you don’t think that specific person would want your services another person might be reading the comments and find interest.
Doing Facebook or Instagram ads. Make sure not to boost your post. Go to the Meta business suite and create and add from there. That allows you to select your target population, so you don’t waste money on people that aren’t your likely clients.
Another way to try and get bookings fast is to create scarcity. By saying “only a few sessions left” or “limited sessions” people will want to book quickly before they are gone.
Partner with local businesses. Some good examples would be kid's activity places, dentists, pediatricians, salons, and spas, and local blogs. You can maybe put a flyer up in their office, agree to promote each other, or do a combined give away.
Hi, I am Sarah!
I am so glad you are here! I have a light, simple, and timeless photography style. I'm a maternity, newborn, and family photographer based in Greensboro, North Carolina. I serve families in the Triad & Triangle areas including Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point, Kernersville, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, and beyond. We have lived in NW Chicago Suburbs, Durham, & Boston. We love to travel and frequent those areas.