If there’s one thing I love to do for my families, it’s to plan creative mini sessions! However, sometimes it can be hard to get bookings so I’ve created 4 steps you can take to book out your mini session schedule! Back in 2019 when I first launched my business, I thrived off of mini sessions and met the most wonderful people through them. Mini sessions are a great way to provide a great experience, as well as great seasonal photos, for a fraction of the time (& cost!). I’ve been running mini sessions since the beginning, and have recently had several other photographers ask me how I’ve been so successful with them. While every area is different, and of course cater to different audiences, I have found some patterns in each season that tend to contribute to a successful, booked-out mini session schedule.. Today I’m sharing 4 steps to fully-booked mini sessions, and while these steps are not a “one-and-done” deal, they will help you get started on the right foot!
Step 1: Pick a Bookable Theme
Picking a suitable theme for your mini sessions is a huge part of being booked out! If you pick a theme that isn’t desirable (or bookable), you’ll really struggle to schedule those time slots. But what makes a theme “bookable”? The main thing you need to be concerned about it making sure that whatever theme you pick is either something your clients would want to hang on their walls, OR it’s a must-have theme.
For example, my best selling mini session season has been this past summer doing mini sessions on the beach. No props, no distractions, just sweet families and couples enjoying the beauty of nature and each other! Some of my best selling mini session themes haven’t had any props, and if they did they were very, very minimal. A field of flowers or any beautiful location can make a stunning backdrop for your minis.
If you do decide to use props (because I mean come on, some of them are just too cute!), make sure the theme is a MUST-HAVE, CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT theme. Ice Cream Truck Minis sound super adorable, but more than likely they won’t book well at your ideal price point because moms don’t need professional photos of their kids eating ice cream. Something fun like unicorn or mermaid themed minis would book out much better this season because that theme is a lot more desirable and special.
Step 2: Make a Plan
I’m the queen of procrastination (ask anyone), so I’m really preaching to myself here. YOU CANNOT BE SUCCESSFUL WITHOUT A PLAN. Early bird gets the worm, am I right? One of the biggest mistakes I make time and time again is not giving myself enough time to advertise. A good rule of thumb and something that has helped me be successful is to give yourself 6-8 weeks to advertise so that you have plenty time to book out your schedule.
As mini session season is nearing, I like to go ahead and pick some dates to set aside for mini marathons and then count back 6-8 weeks so I’ll know exactly when to start advertising. Between deciding dates and pencilling everything in, I’m able to plan a time to get some promo shots to use for advertising. I am the first to admit I am not the best at planning ahead (this whole section is a suggestion to myself, really) and I haven’t done well with this is the past years. But today is a new day.
After I have promo images for advertising, I set deadlines for myself to know when I need to send emails, post to social media, etc.
Step 3: Market Yourself Well
Ugh… the dreaded “M” word. Marketing. Unfortunately, marketing is more than just posting to your business Facebook page and Instagram stories! *GASP* If you have a solid portfolio, you’ve given yourself an ample amount of time and you still aren’t booking, it’s more than likely a marketing problem. Here’s an easier way to think of marketing *without breaking out into hives: If you want to book more, you have to get in front of more eyeballs. Marketing simply means getting in front of more people!
A few ideas on how to market FOR FREE and avoid those pesky social platform algorithms: post in local facebook groups pertaining to the area you want to advertise; partner with local businesses; collaborate with other small business owners and SUPPORT them (community over competition, people!); build an email list; WRITE A BLOG to increase your SEO; make friends with other photographers and partner on projects; come up with fun ways to add value to your mini session experience; create a referral program; giveaways on social media! This is one of the easiest ways to give your post more reach.
These are all great ways to market your mini sessions in addition to posting on your social media platforms.
Step 4: Provide an Excellent Client Experience
The best way to create a community and not just book random clients is to go above and beyond with an excellent mini session experience. Whether it’s as simple as clear and timely communication beforehand, providing a style guide or questionnaire specifically for their session, or delivering their gallery earlier than expected, be intentional in the way you serve your community. Remember that these people are trusting you enough to pay you for your product, and that is an honor that should never be taken for granted!
I hope this helps you get on the right track to fully booking your next round of mini sessions. Check out some selections from my most successful mini sessions here.
Orange Beach Family Photographer
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