If you specialize in portraiture, many of your regular (or hopefully new clients) are pressed for time entertaining and shopping. Offering mini portrait sessions are a fantastic way to keep them engaged with your studio and generate additional holiday income.
A mini session is basically a shortened version of a regular family portrait photography session. You’ll be able to capture some great family shots, spend a little time getting breakout shots of just the kids, get a few individual shots and perhaps a few candids. It is perfect for families who simply want some updated images for their holiday cards, Facebook, or frames. Mini sessions are not great for capturing lots of candids or incorporating multiple wardrobe changes and poses.
How Long A Session?
Getting clients to take time out from all the holiday festivities is tough. Making your services more accessible and client-centric is extremely important. Many studios offer mini sessions as short as 20 min and book up to 2-3 clients per hour.
Packaging the Offer
As any successful business person can tell you, offering various packages and price points will help cover every aspect of your client’s budget and give you reasons to upsell offers.
- Make sure certain offers include a unique product. For example you may want to offer holiday cards only with your mid-level package or make the premium package for families of 4 or more.
- Pets can be finicky and tough to work with. Although pets are typically considered one of the family, you’ll need to exclude them to eliminate any aspect of the shoot that may cause you to go over the preset time limit.
Logistics of the Mini Shoot Offer
- Where to Shoot – Ideally you’ll want to have your own studio. If you do need to go to a client’s home, charge a higher rate to allow for travel and the fact you won’t be able fit in as many sessions per hour as you would like. You may also want to partner with a local retail store who may have extra space in the store to shoot the portraits. Holding a special day with an appearance by Santa will really bring in business as well.
- Booking Sessions – Make sessions available on a first come, first serve basis. Have clients select their date and time and send via an email. There is great online scheduling software but it can be pricey and the point with the mini session is to generate extra revenue for your studio at the end of the year, not spend it!
- Timing – To keep the shoot moving and pack in the maximum amount of sessions per hour, request the family arrive at least 10-15 minutes prior to their appointment time so they can be prepared to be photographed exactly when their time slot begins.
- Require a Deposit – Send a contract for a signature and request a $100, non-refundable deposit to hold their spot.
- Have a live feed of your schedule online to make it easier for clients to book such as this photographer, Jennifer Bowen.
- FAQ’s Section – Including a FAQ’s session about the mini sessions on the landing page will cut down on the phone calls you’ll have to handle.
Bundle Session with Cards
Upsell items are used in all types of businesses and never were there such a perfect pairing as a mini-session and holiday cards to go with it. Printers such as Canon’s Selphy CP 900 (at around $100) are compact, wireless and print 4×6” photos in just 47 seconds. With a well-trained assistant by your side you can offer your client’s instant holiday cards. If you are located in a local business district or near a mall, offer to have them ready in a few hours while they shop.
Offering holiday portrait mini sessions is easier than you think and another way to build new clients. Be sure to collect emails from all your sessions so you can follow up with a New Year eblast promoting portrait sessions for special occasions such as births, graduations, anniversaries and more. You may even want to offer a 10% off coupon to entice them to book another session.