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