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Have you ever heard photographers marketing their ‘mini sessions’ and wondered what that means? A mini is an abbreviated session. A compact version, if you will. Where a normal session can include hours of shooting, many locations, 30 photos to choose from, etc., a mini offers a shorter time, a small number of edited photos to choose from and a lower price. Here are 5 ways that us professionals use ‘the mini’ to our advantage:
1. Theme – To do a successful day of minis, schedule a specific date, venue and theme and invite a limited number of clients to attend your ‘Valentine’s Day mini sessions’ or your ‘best friends mini sessions’. Limit sessions to the theme.
2. Keep it brief – keeping a session brief and restraining yourself from going overboard is key. If you promise only 15 minutes of shooting, keep it to 15 minutes. Planning your sessions around a theme (see tip #1) can help give the session focus and direction which will cut down on the amount of time you’re feeling things out or trying to get inspired.
3. Sets – Keeping with tip #2, setting a stage will help your clients (mine are usually children) to get in the swing of things quickly and keep you to your shortened session time. Sets can be photo-booth style sessions for Valentine’s Day, a faux (or real) bonfire for winter minis (complete with tree stumps to sit on, s’mores to roast and blankets to get warm) or a tea party set in the park for spring.
4. Results – offer a choice of around 5 or 10 finished products to choose from instead of the usual 20 or 30. You’ll probably get way more keepers, but keep your business brain on and don’t give more than they paid for! You could offer an add-on gallery post-session which would include more choices or something like that.
5. Tokens – You could include a product in your mini if you’d like. More of a token than an actual finished product. You want them to order afterwards to give you a profit. My tokens would be something like one digital web-sized (branded) image to share online. For my winter minis, I offered a digital e-card clients could email to friends and family or post online.
Mini sessions can be a great way to boost business in slower months, play with new ideas and give clients who wouldn’t normally go for a full-blown session the chance to try you out. But be careful not to do them too often or let them be a free for all without restrictions (remember – theme!) because then you’ll just be teaching your clients to wait for what they consider to be a ‘sale’ and that won’t be good for business in the long run.