Mini sessions are a good idea for a lot of different reasons, for one, it is a way to thank your clients for choosing you; two, it gives you an opportunity to make some quick moola when you need it; and three, if you specialize in just one genre, it gives you an opportunity to serve your clients with sessions you don’t normally offer; but my favorite reason is that it is a way to give an opportunity to those clients who’d like to book with you (and/or book more than one session a year) but can’t afford a regular session.
Sounds pretty good right?! So what could be the downfall? well…. a lot actually… no-shows, no bookings and TOO much work!
Here are 10 steps to making sure your mini sessions are worth it and you don’t end up waisting time, money and energy!
#1- Schedule it all on one day.
Offering mini sessions at different times on different days will end up costing you. You’ll probably find you can’t stick to a “mini” session and end up doing just as much work as you would a normal session! DO NOT skip this step!
#2- Schedule it all on one location.
Minis are not the time to go home to home or location to location. Clients don’t get to choose the location for minis, you do; only full sessions pay for that kind of time. Plus, this will save you time in post as all the images will be the same.
#3- Shoot only one pose.
Mini sessions are not about getting a ton of variety, they are about documenting a milestone, age, etc. Work on perfecting just one pose with great expressions! If clients want variety, then a mini session is not what they want to book.
#4- Make it cheap.
Yes, you heard me right! You will find it difficult to entice clients into a mini session (especially those which are holiday themed) if they are not significantly lower than your typical prices. *note: this will only be worth it [monetarily speaking] if you follow ALL of these steps and you are not already charging too little 😉
#5- Only offer Minis once a year.
If your clients think they can just do it later, they will most certainly postpone and/or cancel their appointment. Make it exclusive and a must have by only offering it once a year. As you build interest and are consistently running out of openings, only then schedule additional minis at a different time of year.
#6- Schedule them how and when is best for you.
Minis are a “special” and are non- negotiable. You will quickly come to despise minis if you allow special requests or changes in times you are offering. Decide what time of year is best for you and/or what you’d like to do and stick too it! If they don’t like it, they don’t have to book!
#7- Keep each session to no more than 20 minutes.
I know this can be challenging, but because you are only doing one pose it will work! *note: consider having larger groups pay for 2 slots if you think they will take longer than 20 minutes.
#8- Newborn Sessions are NOT minis!
Newborns must have a very controlled environment and TIME to work with their needs. Even though you MIGHT get lucky with a super sleepy baby, odds are you will not be able to deliver a quality product to your clients in such a short amount of time or you will end up spending close to the same amount of time as you normally would!
#9- Work with Dance Studios, Pre-Schools and Sports Teams.
These are great sources for minis that will be worth your time! Make sure you account for your time and expenses (like purchasing prepay order forms and printing costs) when setting your prices so you don’t end up making little or no profit. *Tip: I recommend Millers Lab for this type of mini. They have great resources and amazing software that will stream line things, saving you time and money!
#10- Keep it Simple Sweetie!
If you are anything like me, you tend to over do it. Try to keep things simple, from props to poses, to packages. Trusts me, it will all go so much smoother! Minis are not the time to try new ideas, its all business baby! ;D
Most of all, it is supposed to be FUN! If it stops being fun, you need to take a step back and re-evaluate your strategy. Don’t get discouraged and give up, pinpoint what’s not working and CHANGE IT! You are in control of your minis, after all, it IS your business right?!
Children’s Photography Instructor
Married and living in Roseburg, Oregon with 4 kids of her own, she is one of the most real, honest and down to earth people you will ever meet. It’s been said that Jenny has an uncanny ability to elicit great expressions out of any kid. She believes there isn’t a child out there that she couldn’t get a great photograph of. Her secret?? Patience. Determination. And an understanding and love of children.
Jenny’s confidence and passion spills out from her ‘Can Do’ spirit. She doesn’t believe being a successful photographer is a matter of what gifts you were born with, but how hard you’ve worked and how many failures you’ve overcome. Being completely self-taught has presented her with many challenges, but also an understanding for the needs and doubts among aspiring photographers. She never claims to be the absolute expert, but is willing to do whatever it takes to figure it out, and to help those around her succeed.
Jenny has earned recognition as an award winning photographer by the National Association of Professional Child Photographers, Shoot and Share Magazine and various other blogs and websites. When she’s not being a mama or photographing clients, you can find her filling her time with a variety of creative avenues like: refinishing furniture, redesigning/remodeling her home or cutting a friend’s hair.
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