A while back I wrote a post titled, ‘The Friends & Family Rate‘ I was so excited to see how many comments it brought out and how many opinions and great ideas were shared! Within those comments two gals (Krystal and Morgan) had some really great ideas! So I encouraged them to collaborate and write up a posts about their ideas together, and they did! How awesome are you gals?!? I’m so excited to share with you this 2 part article from Krystal and Morgan! Make sure you give them lots of thanks in the comments for their willingness to share!
I have always admired the idea that some companies have a friends and family day. This is the one day that the employees’ families can really benefit from their loved ones working for such companies. They are able to proudly hand over that glorious 20 percent off coupon at check out. It really got me thinking of how I can make sure that my friends and family feel like they have a day just for them. Then there is the inward battle and the endless questions to consider; how will I have the time to do pictures of all my friends and family? Will they appreciate what I am doing for them? How much do I charge them? Should I charge them? What about my clients? The list goes on and on. Then the idea came to me… mini-sessions.
Mini-sessions are a simple, easy, and great way to appeal to all of the friends and family that we have. We can provide them with a service and quality that we are proud of without overwhelming our family, business, and ourselves. They make traveling so much easier. You only have to travel once for multiple groups. This is a huge time saver. Make a plan to hold mini-sessions twice a year. Do it at times that will work for you and your friends or family. Late spring or early summer would be a great time. It’s getting warmer, greener, and isn’t quite peak season yet. You will inevitably have request for a fall section of mini-sessions. I know that it is hard to think about giving up one of those coveted fall spots, but if you could get all of the friends and family done in one night, then it is worth it.
What I have found works for mini-sessions is to give everyone that schedules an appointment, twenty minutes of shooting time. Give yourself ten minutes in between each session to make sure that you can regroup, reorganize, and prevent chaos from happening. Make sure that you only schedule as many people as you are comfortable with. The more comfortable you are with the situation the better everything will go. For me, I am really only comfortable with shooting a few hours before the sunsets. I know that there are many photographers that will hold mini-sessions during the summer from three in the afternoon until the sun sets. For people like me, who can really only do four groups in one night, you might want to think about doing two nights in a row or two Saturdays in a row. Really, it is what works for your schedule, and how many people you are trying to squeeze in.
As far as how many images you should edit or how much you should charge, it really is up to you. What works for you, your family and your business? You could charge the normal session fee for a mini-session and then offer a percentage off of product. You could also offer a percentage off of the session fee and then charge full price for product, really it is whatever you feel is fair. For me each session is different. It depends on how many people are in the group and how their session goes. I personally like to do about ten images per group. If there are more people in the group then I would edit more pictures. I have seen people edit up to fifteen images for a mini-session. There is also a great opportunity for batch editing. This can also be a huge time saver, but still provides the professional look you are looking for. I have also seen people limit the number of people that can be involved in a group for a mini-session, and charge an additional fee for any more people over the set amount.
Planning ahead and letting your friends and family know ahead of time that you are offering two mini-session days for them can really save a lot of time, stress, and awkward moments. You just have to make the decision that this is what you want to do and stick with it.