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A Photographer's Complete Guide to Profitable Mini-Sessions

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If you can't tell already, 

I LOVE mini-sessions! 

Kara Hubbard

So, I thought I would put together a complete step-by-step guide to make sure that you have the tools you need to run a successful mini-session. After all, my ultimate goal is to see your photography business thrive! 

Since mini-sessions are meant to be done in such a short amount of time, usually about 20 minutes, they are inexpensive for your clients, and time-saving for you! You can pack an entire day or weekend with back-to-back 20-minute mini-sessions and make a huge profit. (Okay, Kara, we get it, you love mini sessions, tell us what we need to know already!) Okay, here is my step-by-step guide to a successful mini session: 

Step 1: Choosing a location 

Every photographer has their go-to location. However, EVERY photographer in your area probably has the same go-to location. When it comes to mini-sessions, shooting in a super public place can be risky. Mini-sessions need to be kept on a tight schedule, and flying footballs, dogs, or nosey park patrons could cause sessions to take longer than necessary. My biggest advice when it comes to your mini-session location is to choose a more secluded location. Even if that location is an empty lot between a Wal-Mart and a vacant parking lot, as long as you have the run of the land, and you can freely set up your props or backdrops, you’re good to go. Here are a few ideas for outdoor mini-session locations:

  • Property of friends or family 
  •  Park or open space 
  •  Path or trail 
  •  Farmers field or property 
  •  Nursery 
  •  Tree Farms 
  •  Empty commercial or residential lots

Obviously, no matter what location you choose, make sure you do your due diligence before your mini-sessions and make sure you have permission to photograph on the property. There is nothing more embarrassing than being kicked out of a location in front of clients. 

Step 2: Pricing 

So, pricing obviously depends on your market and your level of experience. If you’re an experienced photographer with loyal clients, and you’re willing to invest in an assistant (more on that later) you should have no problem charging your clients $175-$250 per session. Let’s say you charge around $200 per session. That’s $800 an hour! 

Step 3: Booking 

With an assistant (don’t worry we’re getting there) you’ll be able to book your sessions extremely close together, so you’ll have a new client or family ready to go every 15-20 minutes. I know that sounds scary, but I promise you can pull it off! Pick a day, or even an entire weekend, and book your sessions back-to-back. Be sure to stress to your clients how important it is that they show up on time.  Tell them to arrive for their time slot 15 minutes early, that way, you won’t have late comers ruining your strict timeline. 

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Keeping your mini-sessions super short is the key to making a large profit, AND getting that perfect family shot. Let’s be honest, most kids are not excited for photo sessions anyway. They have to be still, look in one direction, and constantly smile. You’ll be LUCKY if you get 15-20 minutes of attention from kiddos, especially the younger ones. So, keep your mini-sessions short and sweet. It’s beneficial for you and your clients! 

Step 4: Hire an assistant 

Finally, here we are. If you haven’t caught on already, I HIGHLY recommend that you hire an assistant to help with your mini-sessions. A reliable assistant is the key to keeping your mini-sessions running smoothly. I know, you automatically think to yourself, “Why waste the money, Kara, I can do it all by myself,” but I PROMISE you, hiring an assistant is totally worth it, and, if you charge $200 per session ($800 per hour) you can definitely afford to hire a photography assistant. An assistant’s job at a mini session is to: 
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  •  Greet your clients  
  • Pose your clients    
  • Watch for the weirdness (clothes, positioning, fingers in noses)    
  • Get the smiles   
  • Watch the clock   

  • Keep it moving

So, when you’re looking for an assistant, be sure to hire someone who isn’t afraid to get silly in order to make your clients smile. Assistants should be organized, vocal, and ready to get weird if it’s necessary. If you follow any of my advice from this post, please let it be this one! Hiring an assistant is the best way to make a huge profit off of your mini-sessions. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Step 5: Gallery Delivery 

Ready for this one? When it comes to mini-sessions, you should be giving your clients all of their images. Yep, you heard me right, all of them. 

Mini-sessions are completely different from regular photo sessions. Mini-sessions are meant to be just that, mini. You shouldn’t be spending nearly as much time on them as your regular sessions. Your time is valuable, so the most cost-effective option is to give your clients all of their images rather than deal with the back and forth of choosing images for each client, which would be really time consuming.  Since each session is only 15-20 minutes, its worth it to just deliver all the images, and your client can choose which photo suits them best. 

Well, there you have it. Five steps to running successful and smooth mini-sessions. I’ve followed these steps myself, and I have made HUGE profits from a weekend of mini-sessions, and you can to! Still need a little more help with your process? Let’s chat! 

Want to dig even deeper into mini-session success? Click HERE to sign up for my Mini-Session Beta Course for ONLY $100! 


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