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How to Plan, Price and Market Mini Sessions + All New Marketing Kit

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The Holidays are almost in full swing and if you haven’t planned your Holiday Mini Sessions, don’t worry…it’s not too late! I started offering my first holiday mini sessions in 2009, I made all kinds of mistakes in those first two years. It wasn’t until year three that I started to feel like I had a handle on things, as the years  progressed I’ve refined my marketing, automation and pricing. Today, I want to share my best tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years!

Planning Your Mini Sessions

Step 1: What, where and  when. The first step is to get a paper and pen (or your favorite idea planning tool) and start dreaming up what you’d like to see transpire with these mini sessions. This is the fun part, but don’t get pulled in for too long, the part that actually makes you the money is in section 3.

You’ll want to ask yourself the following questions to plan for your event.

  • What are you going to offer?  Will this be a styled concept and if so, what will you need? Are you planning to offer products or just digital images? Consider what the cost and shipping turn around time will be. Don’t forget checking into props and material to be sure it’s doable.
  • Where will these mini sessions take place? I’ve used Christmas tree farms (with their permission), rented a studio space for a day and used fields with old barns. It’s amazing what’s available when you ask!
  • When will you be offering your mini sessions? Will you be doing them all in one day or spread out? I like to offer 2 days of sessions. If those both sell out and you feel you have the time you could always open another day. But be careful not to over schedule yourself, remember all of those sessions have to be edited! Also, have a contingency plan in place just in case weather is not permitting.



Pricing Your Mini Sessions

Holiday_Mini_BlogEmailBlast_900px_sampleIt’s time to plan numbers. You’ll need to determine, how many sessions you’re booking, what you will charge. Are you willing to open more slots if the initial spots fill? Are you sure??? Warning: Every year photographers get drawn into the idea of more money and lose their sanity in the process! Yes, ending the year with killer sales is awesome but not at the cost of your family, your sanity and all that is good. The holiday season should not give you strong desires to chuck Santa from the rooftop.

Step 2:  To determine how many sessions you’re willing to take on, consider the time involved for each session. A 30 minute slot, plus culling, editing, design, ordering and preppy for delivery. Based on your guesstimation of total time invested for each booking, how many mini sessions do you feel you can reasonably book without losing your head? Next consider how much income you would like to generate from your mini session event.  Finally, take your profit goal and divide it by the number of sessions you’d like to schedule. Ex. $5000 / 14 mini sessions  = $313.00

This gives you a ball park of where you could be thinking for your price tag but you also need to consider your cost for products, paying an assistant if you’re going to have one etc. as well as how this plays with your regular prices. Holiday mini’s should be a considerable savings from your regular prices. One of my favorite things about mini’s is that it gives old clients the incentive to book sooner rather than later and new clients the incentive to try you out!

With all of these ideas factored in, it’s time to determine your offering. Here are some things to consider:

The Holiday’s are busy enough, try to keep your time investment low! While through the rest of the year I focus on offering amazing products, at Christmas time…I’m all about fast turn around! To save myself time and the  back and forth as we plan/proof/approve products, in my mini sessions I only offer Christmas Cards, digital files and a digital greeting card (which is great publicity for me)! I have two price points. The difference between the two packages is that one has 25 cards with 4 to 6 images and the next has 50 cards with 10 to 12 images. Of course they can order more cards if needed with either option!


Promoting Your Mini Sessions

Holiday_Mini_Instagram_sampleThis is the most important step for your mini session success! If you want them to come, they have to know you’re here! So how do you get the word out and get those slots filled? Any great promotion needs to start with a great offer, have beautiful imagery and a compelling design. The goal is to draw them in so that they will read/review your offer and then of course, book you!

I like to take a 4 step approach.
First I launch (or release the news) to my current client base. I order 5×7 press printed cards and send them out to my past client list. Next I follow up with an email newsletter (using the same design from my card mailer) to those same past clients! My goal is to fill as many slots as possible with past clients. I make sure to give them a deadline before I’ll be announcing to the public!

When that deadline day comes, it’s time to start the next wave of marketing (step 3). This time to my full audience. My hope is to have a good portions of slots already filled so I can say something like ‘50% full’ – or – ‘only 6 spots left’. Nothing promotes action quite like scarcity! Now I will send out a newsletter to my full list, along with a blog post and social media blitz. That means I’ll post about the promotion on my Social Media outlets (like Facebook and Instagram).  Personal tidbit: As I built my client list, I’ve actually had several years where it never even goes to the blog and full list because my past client list filled all the spots – that’s a great feeling!


The Marketing Design – We’ve Done it For You!

Do not underestimate great design! We are so excited to be releasing a BRAND NEW Holiday Mini Marketing Kit! This kit has everything you need to successfully launch your Holiday Mini Session Events and we are so super excited to be making it available for you at our intro price of $14.00! ADD TO CART!

2013 Shay Cochrane
Intro Price
Christmas Mini 2 – Marketing Kit Includes:

  • Promotion Scheduler Printable
  • 5×7 Promotional Card for Current Clients
  • Skinny Address Label Wrap from Studio
  • Blog Announcement & Email Graphic for Full List
  • Christmas Mini Title
  • Promotion FAQ Outline with tips for Planning & Promoting
  • Instagram Template
  • Facebook Timeline Template
  • BONUS 1:  3 – 5×7 Client Holiday Card Templates
  • BONUS 2: Client Skinny Address Label Wrap


Christmas Mini Sample Kit Photography by Jessica Paxton and Amanda Star



  1. […] If you have time, you should definitely check out Leah’s full post here. […]

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