Valentine’s Day is one of my all time favorite events to photograph little ones. I love to include the hearts, the kisses and the hugs. But let’s face it, not a lot of people will book a full session just around Valentine’s Day. So you might want to consider doing mini-sessions, but before you do there are a few things you need to get lined up before pressing the shutter. Here are 5 tips :
1. Do Your Math
Mini-Sessions are all about the numbers from the pricing to the session timing.. You want to do a lot of mini sessions but at what price point do you make a profit ? Each market is different, do your research and start with a price point for the session that includes your time and a takeaway for your client. I like to include a 5×7 print, something tangible from the session. My hope is they will buy more but just in case they don’t, I know I still had a session at my price point. Because these are mini-sessions, I usually collect my session fee prior to the session.
Next on math, figure out how long your mini- sessions will last. Stick to this number for each client and make sure they are aware of the session time and schedule. I’ll get everyone involved and have the kids sometimes push my stop watch to start the session time. Not each mini-session will go well under a tight schedule. You’ll also need to figure out scenarios before your mini sessions. If a child does not co-operate, what will you do? Offer a reshoot? Bank it for Later? Are they out of the session fee? These are all things to consider before conducting your sessions.
Since these are mini-sessions you’ll want to market them in a way that let’s the clients know this is special and fun and LIMITED. This way you are setting the tone, that you are only taking a certain number of sessions and that this is maybe a once a year type of offer. If you offer mini-sessions constantly, they start to lose their appeal and are no longer special.
3. Do Your Homework
Education is key to mini sessions from yourself to your clients, everyone should know what to expect. I like to email helpful information to the clients before the session. It includes a map to the location, their time slot, and some links to clothing ideas and of course my cell phone number. On the day of the sessions, I print out a sheet of paper with family names, names of children and ages.
4. Make it Easy
Don’t try to do it all, having a helper on the day of the mini-sessions can make the difference between a great day and a bad day. I did mini sessions before on my own, but towards the end of the day found myself more worn out and scattered after running back and forth from client to camera. With your assistant, give them all of the information and have them help set the family /child up for the poses. They can help primp and pose your subjects and of course they are the spotter in case you miss something you didn’t see as well as the child wrangler. They can also greet the family when they come and then help them pick up and leave after the session.
Make sure they understand this is not like your regular sessions, that they will not be able to change clothes or take time for snacks or feedings. I typically, will persuade parents of newborns to schedule a full session. It is nearly impossible to do a newborn for a mini-session and you don’t want to set their expectations to a standard that you just can’t keep.
Pick a great location. I have done both outside and studio sessions. Studio is obviously more controlled but I enjoyed being outside just for some different looks. If you choose an outdoor location, include a map and make sure it’s easy to get to. Just because you found an amazing spot in the middle of the woods, doesn’t mean it’s right for mini-sessions if no one can find it.
5. Post Session
The back-end of the session is just as important as the first. You’ll want to streamline this as much as possible. Since it was a mini session, the number of images your clients should receive should be about 1/3 of what you normally offer. Make it as easy as possible as far as viewing and ordering. Give them expectations on the back-end as well, let them know they only have 2 weeks to order images after their gallery is released to them. Again, we are going back to the tip number one, it’s important to know your numbers when running mini-sessions.
I hope some of these tips well help you along your way in conducting successful mini-sessions.[Blog Post and Photography by Libby for Adoramapix]