Can you even expect Spring to come about for your photography business this year? Nothing is thawing out, new waves keep coming around. Waves of crisis, cold and fear, perhaps even despair. Many places are closing or already closed down and you’re getting tired of it. How can one imagine their future in an industry like this?
Everything works different now, the world is upside down. Some previously tried methods no longer function.
First, an overview:
- For some, Mini Sessions feel too cheap. That doesn’t have to be the case – they’re currently becoming very popular. They can become an important source of income, especially during this time of crisis.
- With Mini Sessions, you can win over clients who could opt in for regular sessions afterwards. From a marketing point of view, it costs you less to win over a client by attracting them with introductory shoots.
- Setting out with concrete tools, rules as well as some well thought-out time management will save you a lot of confusion and ensures a better atmosphere.
- Print products that sell best in Minis are now 40% off. See below for more details.
You can generate lots of revenue with mini-sessions.
Feelings aside, its all about the cash. About existence. „Minis are cheap and there’s little money to be made from them,” some might say. This does not have to be the case. Many make decent sale numbers with it!
Small doesn’t mean „cheap.” Ever driven a Mini Cooper? Small but far from cheap, is it not?
Ana Brandt put it like this: „It’s not about selling your soul and offering mini sessions at 60 EUR.” Otherwise you’ll break the market, work your way to death and lose your passion in photography.
Yet, it’s clear that the crisis made many folk more cautious about spending on anything non-essential. In practice, this means the average person will think twice about spending 1000 EUR for a large-scale photo session. 300 EUR is a different story, however.
Why is it worth offering personal photo shoots?
A little math: advertising costs money. Ever calculate how much it would cost you to get a client for a big family shoot? Let’s say it costs around 100 EUR for a big family, who then pay you around 1000 EUR. With mini sessions, the costs are similar, but you can expect four or five times the amount of clients.
You’re already doing better financially, but were not done yet. Instead of two large shoots, you have ten mini-shoots. This translates to ten customers who know you and have entrusted you. This also means that you now have ten potential candidates for regular shoots in the future, who will also spread the word of mouth for you. Word of mouth, which is currently invaluable - you know that.
In the first year, you invest in decorations and props for about three backgrounds. In the next, you’ll go for two more. This one-time effort pays off for years. Later on you only need to buy small additions since you already have lots to work with, from which you can build new, harmonious scenery.
Spring Sessions - Natalie Milde
Easter and Mini Sessions - Natalie Milde
No studio? Go outside, or...
A mini-shoot in the studio? Only an alternative. Tourists rent out apartments through online services such as Airbnb. Why shouldn’t a photographer do something like that as well?
Stay at home - we’ve had enough of that. Adults want to go out. Children want to play outside. A quick outdoor shoot in Spring would be particularly fun for the whole family. I say „quick” since toddlers are naturally fidgety, hungry or tired and the fathers often just want to get it over with.
Almost any place can be used for a short outdoor shoot, the sky’s the limit. Tulip garden, park by the river, industrial area, even your own car. It’s advisable to explore the area beforehand to check out the lighting conditions, disruptive factors and to obtain permission from the owner if necessary.
We have a number of outdoor sessions planned but its raining all day.
Photos in the rain can be nice, but let’s be realistic. We need a detour. It just naturally rains often in some places. You need to be prepared for this eventuality. There are two possibilities:
- You can opt for a partially covered location. Think open garages, park pavilions, a botanical garden atrium.
- Make the following note in your terms and conditions: If the first date is selected, the photographer will provide the client with alternatives. If the weather doesn’t turn out well, the customer can appear at the location at a later agreed time. The payment made in advance is non-refundable.
Illness, quarantine, accidents. It all happens. So what? What if you suddenly give the money back? The clients learn that they don’t actually have to show up if it doesn’t suit them and then you’ll lose time more often.
What happens when you say: „It has been contractually agreed upon that the fee will stay with me.” You keep your money, but you’ll also get a dissatisfied client. They wont come back and the overall opinion of you goes down.
There is an in-between. „Illness? Act of God? I understand. You’ll get a voucher that you’ll be able to redeem for another mini-shoot in the future.”
For a special or loyal client, you can make exceptions of course, but you need some clear rules regardless.
How should I advertise the introductory shoots?
We’ve already answered the where and why. How can you get your existing and potential clients to book short sessions with you? Which advertising works the best? If you need a short and concise answer, take a look at our checklist.
How do you sell photo products during mini sessions?
For Natalie Milde, who manages over 100 minis a year, the following approach proved itself: Your sessions are priced in the middle range, although not many products are included in that price. An attractive price brings in the interest of many. If you convey a lot of emotion in those pictures, you can sell a lot of files, prints, fine art prints, wall decorations, etc. as add-ons. In addition, it’s not uncommon for the value of the print products sold to exceed the price of the shoot itself.
Time’s tight, particularly tight with minis, so be very specific. Decide in advance which print products you would like to offer at mini shoots. Don’t offer everything available. Clients will need to make quick choices. We’ve prepared a few suggestions for you on how you can bundle the print products into an attractive set.
Fine art prints with envelopes and boxes, a small lite album, triplex, a passepartout box and a photo with a wooden frame are the print products particularly popular with Minis. Just so that you can start off the Spring with a high note, were granting a 40% discount on ALL these products. All doesn’t just mean samples, it also means everything clients order from you. 40% of the price stays with you.
So many sessions to track, so many payments to check, it’s too much.
Of course. It would be demanding to offer mini sessions throughout the year, non-stop. Think of the minis as a harvest. That time comes at the end of July. Just like farmers - a couple of weeks, toiling in the field, day after day - but then its over, and one can rest.
If the clients know that your mini-sessions offer won’t last forever, they’re also more inclined to take up the suggestion.
A photographer can have an even better situation harvest-wise than a farmer, since one can decide how long the break between minis should be. Some want to put as much as possible into one day and 5-10 minute breaks in between are enough. Others need a breather, some relief, and time to clean up or pick out the right images. Your clients will feel better about the session if they won’t walk past each other in the waiting room.
There are several tools available online that can help you manage booking, sending automatic emails or reminders and even help collect payments. For example, try out Zalamo or Calendly, a booking tool recommended by Luke & Ashley Photography, Check Cherry or UseSession, an application that is suitable for mini sessions and is popular with Ana Brandt.
A discount on photo products that sell is one thing, what use is this discount if there are no customers? You have to be smart about turning your business around. Thats why you’ll get the whole Spring package from us, which is:
- 40% discount on selected photo products
- Over 20 mockups
- 5 templates for social media posts
- 6 ideas for product packages to upsell at Minis
- A checklist with 7 tips on how to promote your introductory shootings.
- A to-do list for a successful mini shoot.