photography mini session tips

(Above: Photo by Amy Pendle Photography)

5 Tips for a Successful Photography Mini Session Event

What is a mini session in photography?

A photography mini-session is a portrait photo package, shot in a smaller time frame, and at a lower price than regular pricing. It usually lasts for 30 to 45-minutes per session.  These photography mini sessions are a great way to offer clients a small samplingof your work. Plus, these types of sessions are a less risky way for clients to sample your services and help you reach new clients in the process. 

Photography mini sessions are a fabulous way to gain new photography clients, build your client base, and make some great cash in the process.

Some things you will need to consider is how much to charge for a photography mini session, how long your mini session should be and also consider some photography mini session ideas to get you started. 

How much should I charge for a mini photo session?

Pricing for photography services can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the location, duration of the shoot, the level of photography experience and expertise of the photographer, the type of event or session being photographed, and the level of editing that will be included.

One way to determine a fair price for a mini photo session is to research the going rates for similar services in your area. You can start by looking at the websites of other local photographers. You may also want to consider your own level of experience and the value of your time, as well as any costs associated with the session, such as transportation, equipment rental, or props.

Once you have a sense of the going rates in your area, you can set a price that reflects the value of your services and allows you to cover your costs and earn a profit. It's important to be transparent about your pricing and to clearly communicate any additional fees or charges to potential clients before booking a session.

How long should a mini photo session be? 


5 Photography Mini Session Tips 

Here are 5 tips you’ll want to follow to make sure your photography mini sessions run smoothly, and that everyone has a great experience. Keep these tips and suggestions handy, and watch your mini photo sessions reach their ultimate potential!

1.  Pick a photography mini session theme.

Themes are an important factor when it comes to having  successful mini photo sessions. First of all, the theme gets your clients excited, and gives you the opportunity to show them a great time. Secondly, having a theme makes the day run more smoothly. With a specific theme assigned to your sessions, you can avoid confusion about the type of photos that are being offered. When choosing your theme, think of popular holidays, or special times and days that people like to book photo sessions for. Add to the fun by including a cute setup that matches your theme. For Back to School photos, you could have a chalkboard and chalk (for each child, you could write or have them write their name and grade and use that as a backdrop for their portrait), maybe even a small desk and a pile of vintage books. For Christmas, decorative ornaments, Santa hats and a small Christmas tree, etc. If you're on a budget, check dollar stores and thrift stores- you'd be surprised at what you can find there!  

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 2.  Have a photography assistant at your event!

Mini photo sessions are a ton of fun, but they are just as much work as they are play, and it takes a lot to run them well. To alleviate some stress on the day of get the help of an assistant. The assistant doesn't have to be an assistant photographer, or even someone who knows about photography. A friend, spouse, basically anyone who is willing to help can have a copy of the schedule, everyone's names and contact info on a clipboard, helping you keep on schedule so that you can focus on the photography side.  Other ways an assistant can help are greeting clients, issuing receipts, setting up props, and scheduling the ordering session.

3. Set limits on your photography mini sessions.

Be clear about limitations and expectations. This way, there are no surprises. Your time is valuable, and while you want to have fun, you also want to set boundaries to avoid confusion and to ensure you don't get taken advantage of. Keep the sessions short (approx. 15-20 minutes per client). Make sure you are clear about how many photos are offered and everything that is included in the session. Take payment before the session, not after. Explain that refunds are not offered, that scheduled times are firm, and that promptness is appreciated. Limit the frequency of your mini sessions; once or twice a year is ideal. Remember, the goal is to get participants to sign up for full priced custom sessions, not to encourage them to wait for mini sessions, which can be viewed as a sale in their minds. You want your mini sessions to give a sampling of your amazing photos and what it's like to work with you during a more customized sessions.

4. Upsell additional products and photography services

As I just mentioned in the previous step, one of the main objectives in hosting mini photo sessions is to gain new photography clients who will book you for full-price photography services.

But before deciding on pricing, you might be want to know the answers to the following questions:

Photography Mini Session Pricing: How Much Should I Charge for a Photography Mini Session?

If you're wondering how much to charge for photography mini sessions, there are some factors to consider. Some of the things that may affect the price of a mini session include the level of your experience, the location of the shoot, the length of the session, the number of edited images that are included, and any additional services or products that may be offered.

It is generally a good idea to research the market in your area to get a sense of what others are charging mini sessions.  Then consider your own level of experience and the value you offer.

If you are looking for a rough estimate I would say to charge anywhere from $100 to $300 for a mini session. However, this can vary significantly depending on the factors I mentioned above.

How Long Should a Mini Session Be?

In general, a mini photo session is typically shorter than a full portrait session and may last anywhere from 15-30 minutes. 

During a mini photo session, the photographer will typically focus on capturing a specific theme or concept, such as headshots, family portraits, or even personal branding photography. 

The length of the session can be influenced by factors such as the number of people being photographed or the complexity of the set-up and lighting.

It should be sufficient to capture the desired images, but not too long to be exhausting. Keep in mind you will be doing several of these sessions back to back.  The goal is to get as many people thru these sessions with the ultimate goal of booking a higher priced custom sessions later. 

There are several things you can do to increase your chances of turning mini session clients into loyal customers. One thing you can do is  to give them a coupon for a special offer that applies to your full-price photo sessions. Highlight on the coupon that this special is just for new mini session clients, so that they feel like they are a part of a very exclusive offer. Another way to promote your full-price services is to have some printed copies of your welcome guides on hand, featuring your portfolio, list of photography services, and content that convinces your potential client that working with you is a win/win situation. Be sure and provide the best client experience at your mini sessions, because the more comfortable and happy they are with the mini session, the more likely they are to book with you later on! Finally, sending your mini session clients away with a promotional magnet, pen, or something similar that they will see and use often will keep you at the front of their minds.

5. Use social media to promote and advertise your photography mini sessions.

Spread the word with an online graphic that provides all the details. Share on Instagram with relevant hashtags (such as the city you live in, #minisessions #portraitphotography, #photographyspecial, and the type of session, such as #backtoschool and #schoolportraits, etc. Share on Facebook, and consider posting a boosted ad there as well. You can choose your target audience by age, gender, and area, which can be very helpful. I don't always recommend boosted posts but for something you will need to run just a few days I think it's a great way to get some reach on your post. Start out by boosting it to your FB page fans. Don't spend a big budget on this. Make sure to tag friends and family in your social media promotions, and ask them to share posts and help spread the word! You can also post physical flyers on community bulletin boards at public places such as libraries, community centers, etc.

7 Photography Mini Session Ideas to Inspire You:

There are many different ideas for photography mini sessions, and the type of shoot that is right for you will depend on your niche.  Honestly, just about every type of photographer can  benefit from these types of sessions. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Family photos: Mini sessions are a great opportunity to capture updated family portraits, especially during the changing of seasons or during holidays.

  2. Headshots: Mini sessions can be a quick and convenient way to get professional headshots for your business or personal branding.

  3. Maternity or newborn photos: Mini sessions can be a great option for capturing special moments in the early stages of parenthood.

  4. Engagement or couples photos: Mini sessions can be a romantic and easy way for couples capture special memories with their significant other.

  5. Holiday or seasonal photos: Mini sessions can be a great way to get festive photos for holiday cards or to commemorate special occasions.

  6. Pet photography mini session: Mini sessions can be a fun and playful way to capture memories with furry friends.

  7. Product photography: Mini sessions can be a targeted for business owners, or e-commerce owners to take photos of their products.  

There are many other ideas for photography mini sessions, and the best option for you will depend on your specific goals. Always keep in mind that the photography mini session is not the end result but rather the thing that gets clients thru the door!

I hope these tips helpful and that you are able to implement them into your next mini photo session event.  

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Mini Session Template and Additional Resources:

Photography Mini Session Template

10 Reasons Photography Mini Sessions May Fail

14 Photography Mini Session Ideas and Inspiration

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