The Baby Plan Dilemma ~ Guest Writer

It’s great to have Shellie Secretan of This n That Photography and the creator of the blog, All things Baby on Go{4}Pro again (you can see her interview here). When I decided I wanted to create a whole week all about newborns I immediately thought, ‘well, who better to go to for help writing than the gal who dedicated an entire blog to newborn photography inspiration?’ Pretty easy answer! As we continue through newborn week, today we are going to learn about The Baby Plan and break down the pros and cons so that you’ll be able to make the decision that’s best for your style.


Let me start out by saying- I don’t have a baby plan- I used to years ago, I didn’t like them so I stopped. I have heard so many arguments both for and against baby plans over the years, I have researched different types of plans, and have put a lot of thought into it.  This is what I have come up with…
Baby Plans are wonderful if,
#1 you are a large volume studio – you want to shoot a lot of sessions.
#2 you are trying to increase the number of clients you take – you are starting out or trying to get more customers.
They are not so great if you want to shoot low volume- and earn a lot of money per session.  People generally do not want to spend a great deal of money at every session over the course of one year.
There are exceptions to every rule of course- I have a friend who is wildly successful at baby plans – and her customers spend well at each session.  Mine never have, and I don’t want to shoot a ton of sessions every month, I am firmly a low volume studio.
If you are in the market for a baby plan, let me suggest the following things to you…
Come up with a product that is special to each stage –
At birth you always sell a baby parts collage.
At 6 month, the landmarks are them sitting up by themselves.  They are so smiley at this age- and stranger anxiety hasn’t hit yet- this has to be one of my very favorite ages. This would be a good time for a storyboard
At one year you could do a cake smash- take pictures of them walking or creeping along a prop. You could sell the parents a collage of the cake smash as well as an album containing images from each session.
Market the baby plan with those special products.  Don’t forget to shoot with the end in mind – if you are shooting for the storyboard for example, focus on taking pictures that will look good together in a storyboard format.
If I did do a baby plan- only the first session would be a full session, the others would be mini sessions (1/2 the session time).  6 month and 1 year are relatively easy ages to catch- the parents won’t buy as much as they did at the newborn session anyways, so I would keep it short and sweet if I were you.
In order to make it enticing to your clients to join, there needs to be a deal involved- sign up for three session and get one with no sitting fee for example.  Or get a free storyboard at the end of the year etc.  If you do that – be SURE you have an order minimum in place – or else you will end up working for nothing!
Because I choose to not do a baby plan, but I would still like my clients to come back for 6 month or 1 year images – I started shooting mini sessions.  Instead of booking a full session, my clients can book a 30 minute session.  At the end of the session they can choose 10 digital files.  It is a significant savings for them over the price of a full session, but it is much less work for me, and I am well paid for my time.  I LOVE them, and am so glad I started doing them.  It has been great to see so many of my clients back more than once a year.  I enjoy seeing them grow, and I can now shoot two sessions in the time it used to take me to shoot one!
Whichever way you go – with a baby plan – or not, just make sure that your business is working FOR you, and that you are having fun.  Nothing will kill your enthusiasm for photography faster than working too much, and making too little. :0)
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  1. Kalli says:

    This is fantastic! So far I am a no-newborn photographer. I tried with my little one when he was born, thinking it would be SO easy. And was rudely awakened. But this week has got me thinking about delving into it a little bit more. Thanks, Leah and Shellie!

  2. Spanki Mills says:

    ahhhh… great “food for thought” i have done the baby plan… but session 2 and 3 were never as fun b/c i was making NO MONEY!!! hmmm, my wheels are turning now! thanks for spelling it out for us!

  3. Kristen S says:

    Thanks for this post – and for doing a “newborn week”. I’m building my business right now so this came at a great time. Thanks for all the hard work you put into your blog…I check it out every single day!

  4. Adrienne says:

    Thanks Leah and Shellie! I’ve actually been thinking about starting a baby plan and this was definitely helpful!

  5. Carrie says:

    This is such great advice! I am definitely going to do some serious thinking about baby plans!
    Thanks so much for sharing with all of us! 🙂

  6. stacey says:

    i always did wonder about starting a baby plan… i’m too socially ingrained and all i could ever think of was ‘sears’ or jcpenney’ when i thought baby plan so i decided to stay away 🙂 great to hear it works for some though (and not others at the same time!) i suppose it’s like anything…you find what works for you and you rock it! 🙂

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