Have you been eager to try mini sessions but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’ve been there, done that, and just didn’t have the results you were looking for? After several years of success with mini session in my own studio, I’d like to share a few ways to help you maximize your mini session potential and help you to have successful mini sessions.

successful mini sessions

Finding your “Why”

Why should someone book a mini session with you? Deciding your why is a BIG part of the success of your event- it’s where the ball starts rolling. If you don’t know why your customers should book this type of session, they won’t either! There are 3 categories that determine the “why”

  1. Special price– Is this session special because the price point is considerably lower than your standard price?
  2. Special time frame– is this at a time you don’t typically offer or near a certain holiday or something that would warrant a need to book?
  3. Special set– Is this setup special and unique form a standard session with you that would cause your potential client to jump to book?

Your mini sessions need to be at least one of these categories to help ensure the urgency of booking. My business has done well with mini sessions primarily because my “why” is a combination of both special time frame and a special set. I typically do not offer weekend spots so that’s when I offer mini session events- I also make sure that my set ups for these events are pretty elaborate- far more styled than a standard session.

successful mini sessions

Setting the Stage

If your why is simply a discounted price, then you do not need to worry about this section, however if you are promoting a special scene or stylized mini session, here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  1. Get creative– Your set doesn’t have to be specific to a time of year or holiday. Some of my best mini session events have come from just a creative idea that sounded like fun!
  2. Location-If your set will be outdoors, look for areas that get great lighting throughout the whole time frame you will be shooting or you may need to be able to move your set around throughout out the day. Consider picking a location that offers posing options built right in: a fence to lean against, a big rock to sit on, or multiple natural “backdrops” within the same space.
  3. Props- After deciding on a theme, begin creating a list of props you will want to have. All props need to serve a purpose and ideally should be something you can have your clients interact with, sit on, lean against, etc. all while tying into the theme you’ve set. Keep scale in mind! If you’re doing a lemonade stand, for instance, be sure the size of it is appropriate for the age group you are marketing this session to. If you have a tiny sized stand for little ones and book a family with middle school aged kids, this will no longer work.

Practice with Your Set

I find it very important to set up some of the key pieces of my scene to get a feel for what is missing, if the scale of the objects is appropriate, and to get an idea of what else I may need to add to maximize the potential poses within my one set-up. Many times when I practice with some of the props I plan to use, new ideas are sparked after seeing kids interact with it all.  Not only do these practice shots ensure my set up will work for me, but it gets a list going for me on how I will use the space and objects to bring personality and fun to the session.

Shoot your Advertisement

While you may not have the entire set ironed out when you do your practice session, it’s the perfect opportunity to get some key shots that will give your potential clients a feel of what their session will look like! I try to shoot a series of shots that tell a story and draw you into the scene. Sometimes I will use a full shot- where you can see lots of the details of the set, or occasionally the shots I use are more of a tease of what’s to come.

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I typically decide what images to use for my advertisement based on how much information about the set or theme my clients need to have. For instance, when I did my “Come Dream with Me” sessions, if I hadn’t given them a clear idea of what my set would look like, they would have had NO IDEA what I was going for and may not have found the same urgency to book. On the flip side, my “Festive Fall” mini sessions clearly conveyed the idea of what’s to come by the name alone, so I let my advertisement photo leave a little mystery to it.

However you decide to shoot and advertise your mini sessions, the key is making sure it conveys the feeling of what your clients can expect the day of! If you shoot your advertisement photos outside in the fall with lots of fall color- that is what you need to deliver the day of. Be sure these images give an accurate idea of what they session will be like- even if you choose to use an image that isn’t the exact set.


Setting the Specifics

  1. Who’s your ideal client? -If you are looking to do family mini sessions, make sure your price, time frame, and props accommodate that. If your set is small, or backdrop and props are scaled to small children- you need to be specific on the age range and number of children the session accommodates. If you don’t set the specifics, you’ll find that things don’t go as planned. You want your clients to love these images, and props that are too small or for the wrong age group will result in less than impressive images.
  2. Price. -Setting your session fee will vary based on what you are offering and the area you live in, but don’t sell yourself short! If you are creating an elaborate set, your investment is heavy. Make sure you are covering your expenses and still turning a profit.
  3. Time frame- I prefer to shoot a full day of sessions in short time frames. For me, 30 minute blocks are best, but I tell clients that the session is 20 minutes. The extra 10 minutes allows for me to adjust props between clients and allows for wiggle room in the schedule.

While “Minis” may be short in time frame, the keys to a successful mini session business are well thought out and involve strategic planning. Start brainstorming ideas today, make a list, and find new ways to bring life to your business through special events. Good luck!