This is a guest blog post from Courtney Venable of Courtney Venable Photography, regarding mini sessions strategies and suggestions for how to market mini sessions.
Courtney Venable is the owner of Courtney Venable Photography located in Indianapolis, Indiana. She specializes in child and family photography, and has been shooting for nearly eleven years. She is specifically proficient (and admittedly pretty great) at mini sessions. Over the past several years, she has mostly mastered the art of booking, preparing, shooting, and delivering galleries for all her mini sessions. She has taught several workshops and mentored other photographers specifically on mini sessions.
Mini Photo Session Packages
If you are a photographer, you either love them or you hate them, am I right? I have heard so many photographers say, “I don’t know how you do minis! I can’t even book them, and if I do, I dread them!”
I am here to tell you: booking mini photo session packages does NOT have to be that way!
So here I am, ready to spill all my mini session tea, if you will. Hopeful that my little tips and tricks will help you become a little more comfortable with them. Maybe you will even dislike them a little bit less or love them a little bit more.
Read on to learn strategies for planning, marketing, booking, and executing mini photo session packages.
I am telling you right now, that is the number one thing you MUST have if you want to be successful. As an Iris user, this is a pretty key component in booking and organizing my minis from the very start. Iris has actually been essential for my business as a whole when it comes to organization.
How to Market Mini Sessions
Marketing your mini sessions can feel overwhelming at times.
Where should you start? Is social media your best marketing channel? How often should you post?
The best piece of advice I can give you is this:. Be your own hype person!
I hype those mini photo session packages like it would literally be tragic if potential clients missed out on these packages. Go on your Facebook, Insta, stories, Twitter, whatever social media outlet you love (or all of the above), to let your clients know when you are posting, what time you are posting, what the theme is, and that it is first come, first served.
When you build anticipation and a limited-time-only mindset, when you say “be at your computer ready to book,” your clients will line up to fill your slots.
This makes getting one of those spots exciting. They are limited, and they should be excited if they get a spot!
Using relevant hashtags on your posts can also help you widen your audience. When people are searching for fall mini sessions or themed sessions, they often look to social media as an exploratory tool. Be sure to #harness the discovery power of this search function.
Creating a Booking Calendar
I then create a Booking Calendar in Iris. I pick a date, and I set up each time slot at twenty minutes with a ten-minute break between each to reset for the next crew. I add my workflow, which includes my contract, the invoice (paid in full, non-refundable, non-transferrable), a ‘thank you for booking’ welcome e-mail, and a questionnaire.
Once I have that set up, I post it all over my social media. Try to post at the time you promised in your hype post! Once they click on that time slot, I don’t have to do anything else, as the workflow is already set up to do everything for me.
One of the most important parts of my booking process is my questionnaire. If you don’t have one, make one! I promise it has been a game changer in helping my sessions run smoothly. Before a mini photo session package even begins, I know I have twenty brief minutes to get those sweet kids warmed up.
In my questionnaire, I ask the names, ages, favorite songs, favorite movies, a little bit about their personality, and any other important details I should know about them.
When I walk into that session, I know Claire loves princesses, her favorite is Belle, she is three years old, takes a little bit to warm up, and if you sing “Into the Unknown” she will be your BFF. Boom. I officially have a three-year-old bestie before the session even begins.
During each mini photo session package, I have a pretty specific pose flow. While I will 100% give them the candid photos, I want to make sure that I am able to get all my “expected” poses in that twenty minutes.
Make a list, but know that, sometimes, you must be a little flexible depending on how quickly your little friends warm up. I have most of my pose flow memorized at this point, but if you are just starting, bring a list! I promise no one will care or likely even notice!
Thank You’s and Galleries
Once I am done with the sessions, I have it set (again, as a part of my workflow through Iris) to send a thank you email and let my clients know when to expect their gallery, the process in which I will send their photos, and how much I appreciate their business. Some of this is mentioned in the welcome email, but it’s usually been a few weeks since that was received, so it is a good reminder.
Each client gets a gallery of usually around twenty edited images. They can choose ten of their favorites, and if they would like to purchase more, they can pick additional photos for a set price per image.
I ensure the download instructions are very easy to understand to minimize the amount of questions I have once I deliver them. I would say the vast majority of clients end up purchasing additional images. Bonus!
And that’s it, ladies and gents!
Like I said above, organization is key.
Not only am I organized and professional in my booking process, during my sessions, and my delivery, but people know they don’t have to worry about anything should they decide to book with me again.
Mini sessions do not have to be scary, tedious, or overwhelming. They can be fun and exciting and a great experience for you and your clients.
What’s more? Mini photo session packages can be an awfully big money maker! If you market your sessions effectively, not only will your mini sessions fill up, but you’ll be able to reach more clients looking for photographers for longer, more involved shoots.