Education: How To Book Mini Sessions That Stand Out

It’s that time of year again when the air is starting to feel a bit cooler in the mornings & we pull out all of our “pumpkin” flavored everything! Around this time of the year, photographers start to feel a bit panicky about the next few months because the demand for family photos suddenly spikes. Our inboxes are flooded with emails & our calendars quickly fill up. But what if there was an easier option than filling up every evening with just one family? 

Enter Family Mini-Sessions! Just a few years ago we started offering this service to knock-out as many families as we could in a short period of time. Our time is valuable friends! So why not set up your equipment just a few times rather than 30 or 40 times in the next few months? Set your schedule, put the word out & let people sign up with you! 

A lot of people wonder: does it actually work? Will people sign up with me? The truth is it may be slow your first year – ours was! BUT – try again. And to help you feel more confident, we are going to let you in on all the secrets that we have used year after year to make mini sessions not only a huge success, but a part of our business that people inquire about all. year. long! 

How To Book:

1. Have an easy system for booking & payment. 

  • This may seem like a “DUH!” but believe it or not, this is where we see a lot of photographers start off on the wrong foot. Stay organized & have a system for all of your clients to sign up! Create a page that your customers can go to & see all of your session openings. For ours, they fill out a form on our website with basic information & then choose their slot. 
  • In the past, we have had our clients bring a check made out to “Rainsford Photography”. This works great for us & but we also know plenty of photographers that have their families pay online before their session. Whatever works best for you & your company.

2. Reach back out to your previous clients: 

Each year, reach out to the families that trusted you at the very beginning & give them a discount. After all, they are the ones that first believed in you! This isn’t hard. A small email like this one can go a long way: 

Dear friends –

We can hardly believe that fall is around the corner! We have been hard at work this summer with our business & we can see the Lord growing & answering our prayers as we walk by faith! We are very excited about this journey we are on!  

Many families have asked if we are going to have Fall Sessions available this year & we are thrilled to say YES! Without your support many years ago, our business would not have grown in such significant ways. Thank you all for your trust & generosity in the very early stages of our business. 

We would love to honor our customers from our first few years before we open up registration to the broader public. This year we are raising our prices – but we are excited to announce that we would LOVE to honor you all with last year’s price. So instead of $_____, we would love to give you all your session for just $____. 

Registration will go public (give your date) & each session is first-come, first-serve. To sign up, please visit our website here! Once you have chosen the session that works best for your family, we will mark it FULL on our website & email you as confirmation. 

Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have questions! We look forward to serving you all again this fall! – The Rainsfords

3. Email the week of & give all the details in one place.

Once you have your clients booked, put them at ease & send an email similar to this one with all of their details:

Hello, __________! 

The weather is cooling off & it is finally starting to feel like Autumn! It’s the perfect weekend for our Fall Mini Sessions. We are excited to photograph your sweet family this weekend soon! Below is all of the information you will need for your session: 

  • When: Friday, Nov 3 from 5:00-5:30
  • Where: Location & Exact GPS Address
  • Park at:  Because parking is stressful with children!
  • Fee: $____ Please bring cash or check made out to (Your Company’s Name)

Please arrive a few minutes before your session time so we can start on time & give y’all a full 30 minutes. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns! 

Cheers! The Rainsfords

How To Run Your Mini-Sessions: 

1. Choose a spot that is quiet: You will have lots going on at your session & you don’t need any more distractions! Find a spot off the beaten path & make it your own!

2. Give yourself buffer room: When you book your clients, make sure you add in some time for transitioning from one family to the next. For example, we tell families to arrive a few minutes before their session begins. This allows for us to tell one family good-bye as they see the other family arrive & for us to start the next session on time!

3. Set expectations at the beginning: There is nothing worse than not understanding what you are about to experience! So put your clients at ease & say something short & sweet like: “Today we will start with most of the classic photos (while everyone is clean!), then move into some fun candids as well. If you think of more family combinations or ideas, please tell us & we will be sure to fit those in for you. Ready to begin?” *Flash a cheesy smile*

4. Be. Prepared.

  • Toys: Children need to see a rattle above the camera so they can know where to look. Keep it in your back pocket! 
  • Water: Buy water bottles from CostCo & have them available when the inevitable child says, “I’m thirsty!”
  • Treats: Bring small treats for the kiddos so they have something to look forward to after they take pictures!
  • Band-Aids: Small scraps & boo-boos happen. So buy a small package a band-aids!
  • Bug Spray: Bugs are the worst! Make sure to have bug spray handy!

5. IFart App: At long last – our greatest secret is out of the bag! Download the IFart App for kids to listen to when you can’t crack a smile. It gets every kid, every time & makes for the most laugh out loud moments. Now you know the secret to all of our great kid pictures 🙂

6. An extra set of hands! Bring someone who is interested in learning more about photography so they can watch you & get practice! This also ensures that you are not the only person doing EVERYTHING! Give your second shooter responsibilities such as: switching lenses, keeping track of the time, ensuring that you hit each image on your shot list, etc. 

 Luca & JP laughing at the IFart App. Go ahead & give yourself a listen - it's downright hilarious! 

Luca & JP laughing at the IFart App. Go ahead & give yourself a listen – it’s downright hilarious! 

How To Deliver: 

1. Choose an online system that is easy for clients: We upload our photos to PASS. Here, our clients can download the images they want. Easy peasy!

2. Under promise & over deliver: Advertising 15-20 edited images? Give them 25! Make sure to add in some black & whites as well.

3. Send a follow up thank you: Print 2-3 favorites that you love & send them a thank you note along with the prints! This really doesn’t take a long time & goes a super long way. Trust us – we have heard great things from this simple follow up!

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