What's up, you guys?! So excited to have you back for another episode of Business Journey Podcast. Today, we were talking about something I'm pretty passionate about and it's the idea of mini sessions misconceptions. There are so many lies that people believe about mini sessions and I want to address some of those today because they drive me crazy when I hear them. Photographers will tell me that many sessions don't work and they'll tell me why. And I'm sitting there thinking, "Who told you that? Why are you believing these lies? Because it is not true." I believe wholeheartedly that mini sessions can be extremely profitable, especially when they're done right. When you follow a system in place, then they're great. They're awesome. The big deal is that you have to structure them right and take care of a few things on your end.

Today, I really wanted to nail down a few lies that people believe that get in the way of them booking out their mini sessions. So we're just going to dive right in because I really want to hit and nail down into each of these lies and go from there. If you're listening with us today, I did want to mention that I'm actually hosting a free mini sessions class coming up on the 24th and the 25th and I wanted to invite you to be a part. If you want to check that out, I will link it in the show notes. or you can go to rebeccaricephoto.com/class and you'll be able to sign up for a time to watch. I'm going live three different times and it's not prerecorded. It's really me live. I will have a live Q&A at the end all about a spring mini session. So definitely feel free to join us. I would love to have you there. If you're not able to make it live with us, none of those times work, go ahead and sign up for a spot anyways and you'll be sent a replay. You will not get a replay if you don't sign up.  You have to sign up to get that replay link. So let's go ahead and dive into the mini sessions misconceptions that hold people back from fully booking their mini sessions.

The first one that really gets under my skin is the idea that you have to charge super low because it's a mini. Now, when you hear mini it's talking about the amount of time, it's not equating to the price. And so if you're charging $50 for mini sessions, I'm here to tell you that that is not profitable. Don't freak out because we can get you to a profitable place. But fifty dollar minis are not going to cut it. Especially, if you're in this to make a profit. If you're not in this to make money, do what you want. Myself and the students I teach are here to make a real income from our mini sessions. You do not have to charge cheap just because it's a mini session. The way that I like to explain it to my students is that imagine a mini session is a bite of a cake. Now, I like cake, but only in moderation, so usually I just have a slice. It was just my son's birthday so we had his birthday cake so that's what i'm going to imagine, his green and orange birthday cake. We have this cake in front of us. Now, if we were to give somebody the whole cake, there's no reason for them to want anything else. They have all that they need. That's what a full session is supposed to be, right? That it's designed to be a full experience. That's why it's a full session. With mini sessions, I like to think of a mini as a slice of that cake that they're getting a taste of what our experience is for our clients, but they're not getting the full cake, which is fine. That's how it's supposed to be. They're paying a lower price now. It's not below one hundred and fifty dollars. They are paying a lower price than our are full sessions. They are going to get a shortened experience. So instead of an hour for a full session, they're going to get a fifteen minute mini session. And instead of all of the images, they're only going to get a handful. I teach my students the best amount to include is five images. So they're not getting the full cake and that's OK. You want them to leave a little bit hungry for more because your mini is designed to keep them booking more minis with you. Hopefully they book several through the year or point them to a full session next time if they were hungry for a larger experience. So you don't have to charge super cheap because it's a mini. Just to remember that it's OK that they're getting a smaller piece of the full cake. Charge accordingly. You want to include less, but you want to charge so that you still make a profit. The way that I teach my students is we stack those minis so that they are profitable, your mini sessions are not going to be profitable if they are one off mini sessions. And that's another topic. But all that to say, the fact that some people think you have to charge low because it's the mini is not true. You don't have to charge super cheap. I talk all about pricing. I'm going to talk a little bit about pricing in our free class if you join us and you can learn a little bit more there.

The second misconception that I want to talk about is the thought that you have to have a super large client base to book your minis successfully. I will be the first one to say that is absolutely not true. I when I did my very first set of minis, I had zero client base. I had never worked with somebody that wasn't related to me or that already knew me beforehand. I worked with lots of friends, lots of family, friends before I made my business official. At that at that point when I was official and I was ready to start doing minis, I had zero client base and I ended up booking out my minis. I think I booked 16 spots on my very first try, which was awesome. In the free class, I also have a bonus little spot where I teach you lessons from my very first set of minis. So definitely tune into that if you're curious about how my first set of minis went and what I learned, but it can definitely be done. You can book minutes with zero client base. It's all about marketing. Marketing is key. That's one thing that I really dive into really deep with my students is the fact that if you can market well, you can book minis. It doesn't matter if you have a ton of clients or not very many. If you can market well, you can book minis. So hopefully that's encouraging and not scary. And if you don't know how to market, I've got you. I can help you and hold your hand. In the free class we are talking a lot about marketing. I'm actually sharing three marketing secrets that work best in my business so you can join us there. That's that's the thing. You don't have to have a huge client base to book minis successfully.

Now, the third thing is that people think that you only get price shoppers when booking minis. There's this misconception, this lie, that floats around our industry that mini sessions are not worth it because you're only going to get price shoppers. That's not true. The reason most people are frustrated with minis and they feel like they only get price shoppers is number one, if they're priced too low, then they're only going to get price shoppers. And number two, they're not marketing well. So then they go and spread this lie around everybody that they know. "Oh, don't do minis. You're only going to get price shoppers." It's not true. I'm telling you from personal experience, some of my best clients come from mini sessions. They are my most loyal. They upgrade their gallery every single time. They will book any mini that I advertise. They are the sweetest people and they truly do value me as a photographer and they value the art of photography. So the reason that I'm able to draw these people is because they're not interested in cheap, they're not looking for cheap. What they're looking for is a shortened time because a lot of my clients are busy moms that just don't have time to spend a whole hour shooting or they have young kids and they know that their kids are not going to last an hour. So realistically, ten to fifteen minutes is as long as they're going to get with their great attention span. Don't fall into the trap thinking that you're only going to get people that are price shoppers. You can absolutely have incredible clients that value you. You as a photographer, as a person, they value your photography. They don't haggle you about prices and try to get discounts all the time. They usually purchase more than what comes with their session because they value photography and they're extremely loyal. They come back time and time again and they tell your friends about you. So that's the kind of client that you can be drawing with many sessions. I'm here to say it's absolutely possible. You just have to trust the process and take the steps to market well to price yourself appropriately. And those clients are the ones that will come and find you.

Lie number four. The fourth misconception I see a lot when it comes to mini sessions is that you have to spend hundreds of dollars on a cute setup to book out. You don't have to have a setup for mini sessions. And I don't know where this idea that you have to have a cutesy set up to do minis came from because you don't. Especially in a season like fall. Most of my families don't have a setup. I do have a set up for my Christmas minis, but my fall is just at a beautiful location and I structure my minis well. They're profitable. But I would much rather book mini sessions, then full sessions, because they're way more profitable for me. In the spring you don't have to have a cutesy set up, especially if you can just use the beauty of nature. I'm a Texas girl, so in Texas we have wildflower season and bluebonnets and there's just these beautiful fields of lush flowers. You don't need a set up. Nature is enough if you've got a place near you that has just a pretty spot for this spring, because we have spring coming up, use that. You don't need a super elaborate setup. If you do choose to use a setup, there are some minis that I do have a setup usually for Easter or something like that. That's a little bit more specific. Then you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on this setup. It can be simple, it can be tasteful, and you can reuse those props year after year. So to give an example, every spring up until last year because of covid and this year I'm moving, so I'm not doing them. A couple of years before that, I would do these live bunny spring minis and I had this really cute setup. I made a little teepee out of dowel rods from Home Depot and sheer white curtains from Target. I had a blanket. I had a couple pillows, some, you know, carrots, whatever, because there was a bunny there. But the whole thing cost me probably maybe $50 at most. I was able to reuse that set up a few times before I had to start replacing pieces just from wear and tear. You can definitely keep those props and things like that and reuse them time after time. If you know that you're going to be doing that kind of setup next year or you're going to do wildflowers or bluebonnets.

We we talked a little bit about this last week in prepping for our spring minis, but you can use those as promo shots for the following years. So definitely take a listen to that episode. If you haven't, I'll link it in the show notes, that's our last episode Prepping for Spring Mini Sessions. That is a really great way to be able to prepare for the following year, to have promo shots if you've never shot with a set up or in wildflowers or whatever.

I won't get too deep into that. Back to this idea that you have to spend a whole lot. You don't. There are plenty of places that you can find really cute props. Hobby Lobby, for example. I don't know if there's a Hobby Lobby near you, but for us there's a Hobby Lobby everywhere and they have everything in their store at some point for 50% off. They rotate everything, so just keep an eye on some of the props that you think you may like to use and wait until it's 50% off and then you can get some stuff there. You can also check for like thrift stores or marketplace on Facebook and find all kinds of really cute props to use that are inexpensive.

Don't go breaking the bank on some ridiculously elaborate set up because it's just not necessary. Another thing is that a lot of studios, at least in the Dallas area where I was located, actually set up seasonally. They have set ups included with their rentals. You don't have to bring props at all. There was a studio near me that does this really cute set up for Christmas every year. When I do my indoor studio Christmas minis, I don't have to bring a setup. It's already included in my rental fee. I just have to rent the studio and then we're free to use everything there. There's this really cute couch, Christmas trees and presents and whatnot to include in your session. There's this one studio that does a Valentine's mini set up. They do back to school. They do Mother's Day, all kinds of stuff. So look around, ask your local groups to see if there are any studios in the area that are including a set up with their rental, because that's a really great way to save money and you won't have to worry about creating this set up. I don't know about you, but I'm not that creative when it comes to things like designing a set up. And I would much rather have one already created for me and just use that. I know a friend of mine that she actually partnered with a planner last year for her Christmas minis. I'm pretty sure she was either a wedding planner or a party planner, so she would partner with them and they created the set up for her and helped her get ideas and all she had. I think she just had to go out and purchase the actual things. But she traded for a free mini session. They created the setup and she gave them a free mini session. That's a really great idea, too, is to reach out to local planners and see if they'll help you come up with a set up, if that's something that's not a strong suit for you. Either way, you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on a setup to make it cute and make it effective to fully book your minis.

So that is our mini sessions misconceptions that I hear all the time.

I did have a few questions come in that I wanted to address really quickly from my Facebook group. Maybe you're listening and you have the same question.

Sarah was asking, "How do you go about getting models for your advertising ? I'm a new photographer, so I don't have a lot of clients." 
That falls under like that. You don't have to have a huge client base. One way that I really love to get new models is to put out a model call. I've done this. I actually just moved out of state. I knew I was in Texas and now we're in Nashville, Tennessee. So back in November, we moved and I had to get photos of locations because I never shot here before. I actually ended up doing some fall minis here so I had to get some photos beforehand to be able to advertise those families before we moved here. One way that you can do is find a local Facebook group. I found a local mom group. A lot of the ones that don't allow advertising will let you do model calls. I know I've had people all the time tell me that their local mom Facebook groups won't let them advertise. That's fine. But if you're not selling anything and you say "I just need a family that will follow my style guides, you'll get free images for your time." and they'll let you post it. Give that a try. I like to post in those groups and do a model call. I'm very specific that I need them to follow my style guide because if I'm going to be using these images for advertising, they can't show up in a t-shirt and jeans.

I'm going to need them to reflect my style, my work, things like that. They agree to follow my style guide and then I give them a handful of images for free. Typically, I treat it like a mini session, so I give them five images and then I upsell the rest if they do want to purchase the full gallery. That's a really great way to get promo shots if you have no clients, is to do a model call and then go ahead shoot, upsell, do all the things and then you have promo shots. If you listen to last week's episode, I talked about what to do if you can't get promo shots because you don't have time to get to, you're not out of luck, it's going to be fine. It's going to be good.

So there you have it. There's our four mini sessions, misconceptions that I hear all the time.

Hopefully this episode is encouraging to you to know that there may be some roadblocks or some things in your mind that have been keeping you from doing minis that are just lies and they aren't reasons not to do them. I'm such a huge believer in minis. I know they can be profitable. I've seen it not only in my business, but in the business of hundreds of other photographers that I have been training and teaching over the years about mini sessions. If you have any questions at all, I'm always available via DM on Instagram @RebeccaRicePhotography, or you can join us at our Free Live Mini Sessions class here on the 24th and the 25th. There are a few times available. Just head to rebeccaricephoto.com/class. You can get signed up and we're going to have a live Q&A all about spring minis. You can ask me any question about many sessions that you have, and I will answer it there live for you.

If you're not able to make it live, you can still sign up and you'll be sent a replay so that you can still join in and still watch and hear all the amazing things. So with that, I'll go ahead and sign off for today. I hope you had an awesome week and we'll see you back here at the same time next week. Bye, guys.

Episode Transcript

03. mini sessions misconceptions