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How to Book out Your Mini Sessions

This time of year it’s good to have more of an inside to mini sessions and have some quality strategies. Rebecca Rice is known as the mini session queen and is sharing some of her biggest tips!

Getting Started with Mini Sessions

Rebecca was a busy mom, had a full-time job as a youth pastor, and photography was a side gig. She needed something to maximize the few hours she had to do photography, and maximize profits at the same time. This is what motivated her to start doing mini sessions. They could be 2-3 hours, and serve tons of families. Instead of doing individual full sessions that take up so much more time, and give her less time with her kids. 

So to maximize her time, she was somewhat forced into it with the limited time she had. But she is very thankful for it now, and now Rebecca shares how mini sessions can be profitable if they are done right. 

Mini Sessions Can Be Profitable

Mini sessions are a great way to be able to pack a bunch of sessions into one day, rather than full sessions taking up too much time. And it’s completely profitable, as long as it is done the right way.  

Oftentimes, photographers are hesitant that mini sessions can’t be profitable, and they are not seen as valuable. But you actually still can serve and give value to clients and give them the best client experience. 

Mini sessions are 10-20 minutes, which can easily be enough time to serve people well. You also serve your clients with emails leading up to the session. That way when the client shows up to the session they already feel loved. 

One way to structure it correctly: not to compare yourself to people that are shooting 50 dollar mini sessions. This is not how you are going to be profitable, and you need to charge for the value of your services. To choose a price, you need to run the cost of doing business. Pay yourself accordingly and cover your expenses. This will help you figure out how much to charge for your minis. 

Structuring Mini Sessions

Mini sessions should be 10-20 minutes long and back to back. You can pack in 4-6 mini sessions per hour. You’ll include 5 images, but deliver a full gallery of 20 images. This way you can upsell the digital images afterwards. You will do all of your upselling through automatic emails, through your gallery, rather than having to do it in person. 

People don’t usually need more than 10-15 images. But when you offer them only 5 images, it’s enough where they may still want more. So you offer them the opportunity to purchase more images, therefore increasing your profits. This can all be done with email automation, which helps you make more passive income from your sessions.


How to Position and Market Mini Sessions

Rebecca Rice’s ideal clients are busy moms, who value photography and know that kids won’t last for long sessions. So she poses her sessions in a way that is attractive to moms with little kids. That they can do a quick and short session, and get in and get out. They will come loaded with bribes and hit the sweet spot of the toddler attention span. 

Mini sessions are perfect for little kids, which helps her target her ideal clients. These ideal clients are not looking at the price, because they still get full access to the gallery and are only spending 15 minutes total. It is also perfect to market to dads that don’t want to do full sessions. Anyone can do it for 15 minutes, so mini sessions are perfect for so many people. 

Mini sessions are a time-saver and an energy saver. It’s definitely not a discount or a deal. They are not a money-saver. In fact, most of the time clients pay more for a mini session. But it’s more about convenience. You can pack a lot into 15 minutes. This is especially possible if you go in with a shooting plan!

When planning for a mini session, have a shooting list. Rebecca Rice has a list of shots that she gets with every family, and they stay in one spot. This is not a full session so you are not going to be moving around. You use one spot, and have combinations of images like the dad and the kids, the mom and the kids, etc. Changing up your angle and composition, it bulks up the gallery quickly. So once you know exactly what you need to capture, it can actually go very quickly and the 10-15 minute time slot won’t seem cramped. 

How to Book All Your Mini Sessions

Most photographers think that they just need to post on social media and then wonder why their minis aren’t booking. They think it’s pricing, but it’s not. It’s actually their marketing; they are not being seen! When just relying on social media, you can have a problem with the algorithms. Jasmine Star, a social media guru, says that only 4% of followers see your posts. So when you’re wondering why your mini sessions aren’t booking out, it’s because only that many followers are seeing your posts. 

This is why you need to expand your audience. You can partner with local businesses, like pediatricians, dentist office, etc. Find a way that you can give them an opportunity to share it with their audience. You can also share in local facebook groups, because they really do have their value. Go into the mom groups and post about mini sessions! Especially if moms are your ideal clients. 

You can also expand your audience with Facebook ads. Facebook has turned into more of a pay to play platform. But be sure to get some education on Facebook ads, since they can often get complicated. But, they can be extremely effective. You can target the ideal clients in your area and it’s all about getting in front of people that don’t already follow you. 

You can also use your email list, because these potential clients are all familiar with you. Rebecca calls her email subscribers her VIPs and always advertises her mini sessions to them first. That way, if she books out mostly to her VIPs, the less marketing needs to be done. You own your email list, but you don’t own your social media. And if social media ever shuts down, you still have your list and they are warm leads. And most likely they are eager to know when your mini sessions open. 

When to Offer Mini Sessions

Rebecca offers her minis seasonally, when ideal clients are naturally looking for them. This means offering them in the spring and the fall. She typically starts offering in the spring around Easter, when it’s leading into wildflowers. Since it is warmer, she doesn’t offer minis in the summer. Then picks it up in the fall, the very first weekend of September until the first week of December. She typically does one day every weekend, with her associates taking on a high volume of minis. 

People want photos at those specific times in the year, whether it’s to update the photos on their walls or for holiday cards. This also makes it easier to market since they are already looking for it. 

Plan Ahead for Minis

One of the biggest pieces is planning ahead. Give yourself time to book minis. It’s not realistic that you book in 2 weeks. Rather, you should give yourself 4-6 weeks to book. It takes time, and once you grow and have more followers and subscribers it will book quicker. 

This year, Rebecca booked completely from her email list now, but it took years to get to that point. It’s going to take time for people to see it and process it. Typically, someone has to see something 8 times before acting on it. So it’s important to give yourself that time. Also some people wait until the last second. So having opportunities for people to still reach out is important!

It is also a great opportunity to offer quicker turnaround time, and potentially return them in a week. You may want to tell people 2 weeks, so you can over-promise and return them quicker. For example, you shoot on a Saturday, but they will get their images by the following Friday. Since they are mini sessions with less images it is easier to finish in a shorter period of time.

Another way to keep things quicker is to outsource editing as well. This is a time-saver and keeps the quick turnaround. For example, you may have 6 minis an hour, and you shoot for 3 hours, this would mean 18 families. That is a lot of editing that can add up so you may want to  consider outsourcing editing.

Final Thoughts

Offering mini sessions is a great way to maximize your time, as well as maximize your profits. If you plan ahead, and market your sessions correctly you will see the benefits in your business!

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