(Above: Photo by Amy Pendle Photography)
Mini photo sessions are a fabulous way to gain new photography clients, build your client base, and make some great cash in the process.
Here are 5 tips you’ll want to follow to make sure your 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 theme. Themes are important in successful mini photo sessions, for several reasons. 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 offering cute props that match 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. You can make a lot of money and gain new clients in a weekend shooting Santa Mini Sessions. If you're on a budget, check dollar stores and thrift stores- you'd be surprised at what you can find there!
2. Have an assistant! 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. Enlist the help of an assistant. The assistant doesn't have to be an assistant photographer, or even someone who knows about photography. A friend, husband, 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. Other ways an assistant can help are greeting clients, issuing receipts, setting up props, and scheduling the in person ordering session.
3. Set limits on your 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 the clients to sign up for full 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 not the ONLY photography service your clients enlist you for.
4. Upsell, upsell, upsell! One of the main objectives in hosting mini photo sessions is to gain new customers who will book you for full-price photography services. 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 design and print a coupon for a special discount or offer pertaining 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 a beautiful studio welcome guide on hand, featuring your portfolio, list of photography services, and content that convinces the potential client that working with you is a win/win situation. The more comfortable and happy the client is 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 market your mini photo 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. 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.
I hope these tips helpful and that you are able to implement them into your next mini photo session event.