Mini Sessions…one of a photographer’s best business ventures and investments! A mini session can draw in customers who might not be ready for the investment of a full session, but once a new client gets a taste of the quality experience plus the product you provide, many times they continue to return as lifelong clients!
Mini sessions can be amazing ways to make a good bit of money in a few days or even in a few afternoons. However, don’t make the mistake of underpricing yourself just because the sessions are shorter. For example, If you typically charge $250 for a full hour session, but the mini session is only 10-15 minutes long, don’t just divide your full hour charge and charge $62.50; charge $100-150 per mini session and deliver fewer of the images that you provide for an hour session. This will make your full session look much more appealing as a better value for the future.
LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES, Y’ALL. Some mini sessions themes are great in your mind and on paper, but they can get quite expensive if you use themes with expensive props, and the labor involved can be extra intensive if you haul all the props to a specific location, set them up, take them all down, and then unload all the props again! I’ll never forget the July 4th summer mini sessions I did a few years ago. It was HOT here in Tennessee, and I had so many props! Once I calculated the purchases I made for the props and the time I spent doing all the leg work, I barely made any money. I learned this mini session lesson the hard way!
One important money decision for successful mini sessions is to reduce your overhead costs for the whole session by using as many (free!) sources of social media and email lists that you have available to get the word out about your times and locations.
Finally, one of the best mini session ideas and money makers are Fall Family Mini Sessions. Families love those fall color sessions! Financially, these minis are better for a photographer because local nature and foliage provide a gorgeous backdrop. (Think ahead though…you might want to take a crate or a blanket for the kids to sit on…but that’s easy!) Best of all, Fall Mini Sessions are the greatest in upselling for Christmas cards!
Here’s a quick, real-life example of a great mini session: last Christmas I took my 3 kids for Santa Mini Sessions and paid $75 for five minutes (yes, I sure did)! I knew the photographers and I knew they would do an amazing job. I paid the $75 because I knew their quality product and I also knew they had to pay for the studio time, the expensive Santa, and all overhead involved. It was so worth it! In short, a successful mini session doesn’t just happen: plan carefully and well in advance, use free promotions as much as possible, condense your props, and use your local scenery as much as you can, then mini sessions can be one of the most profitable projects and customer loyalty creation projects you have every year!
Magan Ward is a photographer, wife, mom of 3, and educator to fellow photographers. She has an unhealthy obsession with Chick-Fil-A mac and cheese, and has a bit of a love affair with dry shampoo – something she tried to avoid for years until the pandemic of 2020 occurred rendering her dependent upon the waterless revelation that saves her time, something now used to instead apply nutella to waffles for tiny humans.
Putting that Masters in Education to good use, Magan enjoys teaching her fellow photographers and online entrepreneurs the ins and outs of building a business that they love…and occasionally sprinkles in some encouragement for Mamas, because life with littles is just plum hard sometimes.
You can grab her free list of favorite tools for entrepreneurs here.