Updated: Sep 16, 2021
by Nikki Santerre
There was a season very early in my business where I was afraid to admit aloud that I was offering mini sessions. Someone in my local market, whose opinion is trusted and valued, wrote a post reflecting their personal opinion about mini sessions and how they believed offering them might cheapen the value of their full product offerings. All that I knew that September, as I began planning my first mini-session-marathon, was that I was in my first year of business (and my first year of marriage) and I wanted to make some money for my family for the holiday season.
So, I launched my mini sessions in secret to a pipeline of people who had expressed direct interest in this specific offering (it happened to be former parents of my students as I was previously a teacher), and to my delight, they instantly sold out...within minutes.
Because of that initial fear of the opinion of others, I accidentally stumbled upon a marketing technique that I would use to sell out these sessions year after year.
After that initial round of holiday mini sessions, I was not only able to provide a Christmas for our family, but I was also able to upgrade my camera to the newest Canon Mark series model on the market that year. Not only that, but the quick turn around my clients received allowed them to instantly share their images on social media, meaning they were marketing for me to their own networks of family and friends (who would in-turn inquire with me to get on the email list for direct notification when the next set of mini sessions would be released).
Three reasons why YOU could be missing out on potential bookings and how mini sessions can benefit your business:
1. Establish a loyal client base
Using scarcity (these sessions are only available ONCE per year to a limited number of clients, first come first serve), and innovation (creating a client experience that sets you apart), you can create a loyal client base who returns year after year. By giving them an experience that differentiates you in your market, you can charge a premium for these sessions that are only offered once or twice per year.
2. Set your calendar with intention.
One of the benefits of being an entrepreneur is having control over setting your calendar and schedule for the year. Do you have a lull in your early Spring season before weddings kick off? That might be the perfect time to plan for a launch of Spring mini sessions (marketing Motherhood Mini Sessions ahead of Mother’s Day is an example that could be really successful).
3. Social Media Growth/Social Proof.
I doubled my email list after the first set of mini sessions simply because my clients marketed for me by sharing about their photos and experience on social media. When sharing about your minis on your own social accounts, be sure to tag all vendors and clients for resharing purposes. Tagging images with clients and vendors today allows for easier sharing than even five years ago, so take advantage of this to grow your reach in your market.
You aren’t the first person who has hosted mini sessions, and you won’t be the last, so it’s important to consider what you bring to the table that makes your sessions stand out from the rest. This will allow you to add more perceived value, and also price yourself higher. For me in my market, shooting hybrid film sessions helped, along with offering complimentary styling consults for my clients ahead of the session.
The styling, in particular, was a pain-point for my busy motherhood clients (most of which are working moms). By adding this service that only cost me a few quick emails back and forth, I was able to eliminate this pain point and add significant perceived value to the experience.
This may look different for every photographer, as we all have different ideal clients. I advise you craft an ideal client profile to know WHO you want to be serving and help market to that particular ideal.
Want to learn more about profitable mini sessions? Check out this 40 page guide with a step by step layout of my process here. All The Kindred Path newsletter subscribers receive a 20% discount with the promo code "KINDRED."