Book more photography clients with this step-by-step framework.
Hi, I'm Brooke! I'm a believer, wife, mama to two, Oklahoma photographer, and photography business coach.
I help photographers grow profitable full-time businesses from home.
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Are mini sessions a good idea for your photography business? Today I’ll be giving you everything you need to know about profitable mini sessions and how to make them work for you.
Many photographers think mini sessions are a good idea and then they end up not working. Maybe they only had one booking or it was a total flop. Hopefully today you’ll be able to see if profitable mini sessions are right for your business.
First of all I’ll answer the question are mini sessions a good idea. I believe the answer is yes. But do you have to run mini sessions to be profitable or successful? No, it is completely your choice if you want to run mini sessions or not. So if you’re someone who absolutely hates mini sessions then you don’t have to run them. But if you’re curious about how you can add them to your business successfully then you are who I’m talking to today.
Mini sessions can bring you new leads, new clients, and they can give you a boost of cash when you need it. So yes I definitely think mini sessions are a good idea.
But my big warning to you regarding mini sessions is to not become known for them unless that’s all you want your business to be.
If you’re wanting mini sessions to be something you do from time to time that helps with lead generation, helps you bring in new clients, and a way for past clients to come book with you again then mini sessions are a great idea.
The problem I see, especially if you’re trying to gain traction in your business, is that you’re constantly holding mini sessions or you’re constantly slashing your prices. This will hurt your business so much because you’re teaching people to wait for a discount or a mini session. Where if you only do this two to three times a year and space them out well then you’ll still be able to book clients at your regular prices too.
First of all mini sessions need to be related to your niche. So if you specialize in boudoir and you decide you’re going to run some family mini sessions I don’t think that’s the best business move.
Make sure the mini sessions you offer are directly related to the people you want to serve, your niche, your ideal client. You also don’t need to go overboard with a bunch of props or make it super expensive for you. You don’t even have to have a theme if you don’t want to.
For example, I used to run fall family mini sessions in September. I would choose a Saturday and Sunday and maybe one weeknight. And I would just do three or four families back to back and that would be my mini sessions. I would choose a really pretty open field and sometimes bring a chair or a couch or some piece of furniture. And people would book those. Why? Because they’re interested in mini sessions. I just want to encourage you that you don’t have to go overboard.
I really want to get your brain going here. The options for mini sessions are limitless and the more creative you get the better it will be for your business.
So a couple of ideas. I feel like the most popular mini sessions are holiday specific. So Christmas minis, 4th of July, Valentines Day, etc. This needs to be related to your niche. So how can you take a holiday and create a mini session that directly benefits your niche and your ideal client?
If you specialize in children’s portraits how can you go above and beyond and think of creative ideas for holiday themed minis? For 4th of July maybe a fireworks stand, maybe a red, white, and blue theme. For Halloween you could do a pop up event where people can have photos done and then go trick or treating.
The next idea would be location specific. A really pretty open field, beach minis, sunflower minis, a cotton field, etc. Choose a location that’s not usually available all year or that has something special or different about it.
Also consider how you can do a smaller version of your regular sessions. If you’re a newborn photographer for example you could host once a quarter on Saturday where you do a newborn petite mini session through a marathon. Let’s say you book four newborn sessions in one day and instead of doing your two to three hour sessions they come in for 45 minutes to an hour. It’s one setup and it’s just a smaller version of what you’re already doing. But you’re opening it up to people who might not be able to afford your full price. And you’re offering them something sweet and small that they might be more attracted to.
Other ideas would be a boudoir marathon. I used to book a hotel room and the hotel would cut me a prorated deal for day use. I would have people book their sessions from 8:00 to 3:00 for boudoir. There would be hair and makeup on one side of the suite and I was photographing on the other side.
So again, think outside the box. What can you offer that is a mini session concept that is also directly related to your niche and your ideal clients? The whole point of a mini session is that it’s profitable. It’s meant to be a cash infusion where you’re getting a lot of money up front. If you’re doing your mini sessions right you could make in one weekend what you would normally make for an entire month
You have to have profitable mini sessions. If you’re feeling burnt out and resentful and not making that profit then you’re doing mini sessions wrong. And I know you’re probably thinking I can’t charge that, no one will book me. I used to think the exact same thing. In 2014 and 2015 when I first started my business I used to host mini sessions and I’d only charge $35, maybe $75.
And it was not worth it.
I look back on that and know that I set myself up for failure. I used to think no one would ever pay me $100. Then I started charging $100, $125, $150. Then one day I thought what if I start charging $200, $250, $300 for a mini session compared to my regular sessions. So if you want someone to pay you full price and you charge $400 but your mini sessions are only $50 that is too much of a gap and you’ll never be able to connect the dots.
There is no right pricing or wrong pricing. You just have to make sure your holding profitable mini sessions. And if you’re not sure where to start go watch my pricing for profit training at www.brookejefferson.com. If you can’t find it just shoot me a DM on Instagram and let me know you’re looking for my free pricing for profit training.
Mini sessions are meant to be short and sweet and act as a teaser. If you’re doing 30 minute mini sessions and you’re giving them 40, 50, 60 images that’s not a mini session. You should be giving 15-20 minutes per client. If you’re doing marathons then these should be a smaller version of your regular sessions. So these are going to be a bit longer than 15-20 minutes but still not the full length of a regular session.
Let’s talk about images. For your mini sessions I would say give five to 10 images. Where many of you are leaving money on the table is not having an upsell strategy. What I would do is let’s say you’re hosting a mini session and they get five images for a 20 minute slot. And you’re doing this for three to four hours. Your goal is of course to take more than five images. So try to give each client three times more than what they already paid for.
For example, if you said five images then offer them 15 additional images for a total of 20. I don’t want anyone giving away more than 20 images for a mini session. And you need to have an additional price per image if they wanted to add more. And then you need to have a full gallery upsell. So if they want the entire gallery of 20 images then it will be X amount. You need to make sure that if they were to buy 10 extra or 15 extra that there’s a little bit of a discount on that full gallery upgrade.
And if I’m confusing you, don’t worry. Come into my Blueprint Program and I will teach you this method. I have an entire upsell strategy. How to do it, where to do it, all of that in the pricing module of the Blueprint.
Lastly I’m just going to create a mini session for you and give you a template that you can edit and customize to your business. Here’s what I want you to do. Pick a mini session idea and make it 15 minute slots. I’d put a five minute buffer in between each client to make sure your schedule stays smooth. You’re going to offer five images during this 15 minute session and you’re going to charge a minimum of $175. And if you want to up that price go for it. Then you’re going to upsell additional images for a minimum of $10 an image or a gallery upsell of $200. Again, you are welcome to increase these prices if you want to.
So what I’m telling you is if someone books your mini session for $175 and they end up buying all the images in the gallery for an additional $200 that’s $375 in your pocket from one mini session spot.
So that is how you can hold more profitable mini sessions. One last thing I want to put into perspective is some of you are trying to grow your business. You’ve dipped your toe into photography and you want this to work for you. You have goals that you want to hit and you’ve been binging my podcast. You see value in having a coach, a mentor, a program, and a framework to follow. I want to put something in perspective for you. If you follow this mini session template and you book three people on your mini sessions and they upsell to your full gallery upgrade then you could come join the Blueprint and pay for it in full.
I hear all the time, Brooke I want to join your Blueprint but I can’t afford it or I’m saving up for it. Go put this mini session strategy into play and you can join us paid in full. Then you can learn strategies like this for how to build a profitable sustainable business that won’t burn you out. My favorite thing is to teach people how to make full time income. Let’s actually do the math really quick. Let’s say you do the slots for $175 then you would need six people to sign up and you could turn around and join the Blueprint paid in full.
So if you’re thinking challenge accepted then go set this up. Get it on your calendar, get ready to market it, and we’ll see you inside the Blueprint. I hope this was really helpful and made you think of mini sessions in a new way, gave you ideas, and encouraged you to try this strategy in your business.