Hey, friends, welcome back to another episode of the Business Journey podcast, I'm Rebecca and today we are diving into a much requested episode planning for fall mini sessions. This is one of those things. We did an episode like this in the spring and it was a hit. It was one of my most listened to episodes. People loved it. So I guarantee that you are going to walk away with some really, really great tips and guidance to planning your fall minis, because here it is. We're in July. Now is the time to start planning. If you have not started thinking about your families, now is the time, friends. Now, since we're in, you know, the peak of planning season, I wanted to let you know about an opportunity that I have that does not come around that often.  I am hosting a free live class all about mini sessions this week. OK, I have classes on Thursday and on Friday. So if you want to join, check out our live class. There will be a live Q&A at the end. If you have any questions about it, we're going to be diving into how to structure minis secrets to booking them out. I'm going to walk through my marketing system that I use to fully book over 100 hundred minis every fall. So if you want that this fall and you absolutely can do it, then join us for that free class. It's at Rebeccaricephoto.com/mini-class. I've used that link before and forwarded to something else. So it's forwarding to the live class now. I promise you like Rebecca, but you linked that, you know, a few weeks ago or whatever. No, this one is the live class. You can be with me real time on Thursday and Friday. So you're going to want to check that out. This only happens twice a year and so don't miss it. Like, if you want your families to be awesome, this class is for you. So go join us. Rebeccaricephoto.com/minis-class. We're going to dive into all the things you get a chance to ask, all the questions I will answer live there with you at the end. So jump into that. Now, today, we're talking about prepping for our fall mini sessions. I mentioned that now is the time to start thinking about those things. This is like the prime season to be planning your fall minis. So today I'm going to give you some very practical steps that you should start taking now, like today, this week, start doing these things, make it to do list, because this is going to get you where you need to be if you want to be booking out your fall minis. One of the biggest mistakes I see photographers make is they wait way too long to start planning for their families because by the time you start thinking about it, it's already too late. So now is the time to start implementing this stuff. Do not wait. You may look at the calendar like Rebecca. It's just July. Like, no, it's not just July. It's oh my gosh, it's already July. Don't wait, because the peak of fall mini session season and Christmas is September through November. And so every year I start booking my mini sessions in July and they do. Wonderful. We've already started booking. It's going great. I'm telling you, don't wait on this stuff, OK? Not to scare you, but just to really encourage you. Like, if you need a kick in the pants to get started, like this is it. Do not wait. Start implementing this stuff. This OK, so step one to start prepping for Fall Minis is to book your rentals now. OK, if you're planning on renting a red truck or a Santa for Christmas or any kind of rental, you need to be booking that now. In fact, I had my red truck booked months ago. I think we booked it back in like, I don't know, February, March maybe. I think it was February. We booked our red truck because it was in that high demand. So I'm telling you, whatever your rentals are going to be, if you're having rentals, if you're not, don't worry about it. But if you are, you need to be booking those now, your indoor studios, your props, whatever rentals you're going to use Bookham. Now, that is a great time to book Santa. All the things tree farm rentals for a venue, book it now. OK, the next thing that you're going to want to do is take your promo shots. So if you are setting up, you know, some kind of props. So for us, we do red truck Christmas minis every year. So part of that there is a setup, right ? A Christmas setup. So I think we already have promo shots from last year. But if you are doing a new set up or a new location and you do not have promo shots to use for advertising, you need to be taking those now so that you have them when it's time to start advertising. You may. Rebecca, it doesn't look like fall outside, like, how could I use this to advertise Fall Minis? There's a few things you can do for one, just go take the shots. I have a fall preset. I haven't talked about this preset a lot. I've had it for years and I should probably talk about it more. But I've got a preset called Fall BLIS in my shop. Rebeeccaricephoto.com/Lightroom-presets fall. BLIS is magic. You can put it on any supergrid or in July because no, you can add it to green space, whatever, add the preset to your image and it will make it look like fall. OK, so that's a really great way that you can kind of cheat the system. But go get your promo shots. Now, if you're shooting at a new location, ask one of your previous clients or whoever you can do a model call and shoot at that location because you need to have photos, advertise at that location. If you're doing a set up, you absolutely need to be using photos with that set up with a real family in it. OK, that's a really important step to advertising. Well, is having a real family in there with the real set up you're going to use? We shoot at an indoor studio every year for Christmas movies. And so we you know, thankfully, again, we have shots for that already from previous years. But if you don't reach out to the studio, ask them if you can do some kind of deal to come and get promo shots. Sometimes studios are lenient and they'll let you book like a fifteen minute spot just to get a few shots to advertise. Sometimes they'll give you some photos, advertise. It just kind of depends. But use this time now to start preparing and getting your promo shots if you need them. OK, it's a little easier now than it was in the spring because in the spring people were needing promo shots for flowers that hadn't bloomed yet. And so that gets a little complicated. But for the fall, for the most part, you can cheat the system and make it look like fall. So either way, go get your promo shots. A really great way to do this I mentioned a little bit is you a model call. So this is a great way to make money off of that session. If you don't want to do it for free, you can do a model call for a family. This is a great way to build your emails, too. You can post in a local Facebook group, you can have an opt in form and tell them you're doing a model call for them to enter. They need to, you know, fill out this form. It adds them to your email list. So that's helping to prepare for those families also. And then you can pick someone from there and do a full session with them, but only include five images for their time. Then you can up sell the additional gallery images for like two hundred dollars. And most of the time they'll they'll pay for it because they got a free session. And so they're like, oh sure. Like it's worth two hundred dollars because I had the session for free. So that's kind of a bonus. Take your promo shots now. OK, the next thing that you should be doing right now is start planning ahead. What I like to do is get a calendar in front of me, something that I can write on, whether it's like a calendar on my iPad that I can write on or, you know, a planner or you print off like monthly calendar sheets, whatever you need to do, put them in front of you. I would say like September, October and November. Yeah, August to August, September, October and November. Get those in front of you. And I want you to literally pencil in when you're going to do certain minis. So think Fall Minis and Christmas Minis. I want you to pencil in what dates you're going to do for each thing. So for us, we typically do one date of fall minis at each location. So we like to have like three or four location options. So we'll have, you know, four dates of fall minis. If you're like, well, Rebecca, I like I've never done mini sessions before. Four is kind of overkill. Just do one but pencil and write the date down pick when you're going to do it and stick to it. It's really important to look at like your family schedule and make sure that you have the capacity to do mini sessions whenever you choose, because it's probably not a good idea to do them on like a birthday weekend or something that you're going to be traveling soon or whatever, like make sure that it makes sense for your family, but pencil in when you're going to do all of your minis. So here's what it looks like for us. We will do four dates of all minis in September typically, and that's going to be at four different locations, one date for each location. We'll start some Christmas minis in October. We'll usually have like one or two dates of families just because there's always stragglers of people that didn't book for September and all of a sudden it's October and they're like, well, crap, I didn't book any family pictures yet. And so they don't want to Christmas background. So we still offer a couple of like. All choices in October, but that's when we really start doing Christmas Minis, so our red truck is typically in October, so we'll have three date options for that. And then in November, we push hard for Christmas minis, whether that's indoor studio, Christmas, minis Tree Farm, Christmas Minis, Santa, whatever you want to do. That's what we usually do in November. And I don't like personally to shoot past the first week in December because at that point it's really difficult to get photos back in time for Christmas cards because most of our clients are using these images for their Christmas cards. And I know that our turnaround time is typically like one to two weeks. And so in that time, we're not going to be able to turn them around fast enough if we are hitting close to like the middle of December. So you decide for you like when you want to stop shooting, but that's sort of what are like overview looks like. So step one there is to write all your mini states. Step two is to make sure that you leave enough space to reschedule if needed. So when I was shooting in Texas, the weather is always unpredictable. Texas weather is like the most ridiculous weather ever. So it could be, you know, 80, 80. Who am I kidding? It could be, you know, 98 degrees one day. And then it can literally drop to like the 30s the next day, like it's bipolar by far. So we need to reschedule for rain occasionally. I never reschedule for temperature, but I will reschedule for rain. So I make sure and leave enough room in my schedule to reschedule if we have to. Now, I do not set rainout dates when I book, right. I don't say, hey, you're booking for this date and the rainout date is this date. Like, I just don't do that. We shoot in such high volume. We typically do like 12 to 13 dates of minis that it wouldn't make sense to schedule rainout dates for all of those that would be chaotic. So we cross that bridge when we get there, when we have to reschedule. But I make sure to leave some breathing room. So I try to only shoot one day per week for minis. So I'll either shoot Saturday or Sunday. I don't try to book both. And then that way if we ran out on Saturday, maybe we can do them on Sunday or, you know, we ran out one week. We can move them to the next week on the open day. That typically works really, really well for us. So just make sure you leave some space, because one year I didn't this was a couple of years ago. I didn't leave enough space. And then in Texas, it rained every single weekend in October, like every one of my October, many sessions were rained out. It was crazy. So I found myself because I booked everything so tight, I was having to do like four and five hours and many sessions at one time because I didn't leave myself space. It was awful. So don't do that. Leave yourself plenty of space so that you can protect your family boundaries and things like that. You just want to do it wisely. So once you've set all your many states or at least penciled them in and left space for rescheduling, you're going to want to map out when to start advertising your mini sessions. So I highly suggest counting back six to eight weeks. That's sort of the sweet spot that all of my students have found, is that six to eight week mark is plenty of time to advertise accordingly and book out your minutes, because that's our goal. We want to book out. We're not here. It's like book a handful. We want to book all of your spots. So you have to give yourself enough time. You know, whatever date you say. Let's say it's like the second week in September is when you're starting to count back six to eight weeks and like write in your calendar that this is the day that you're going to start advertising. I open up bookings to my email list first and then I open up to the public. So that's on that day I would send an email to my list, have everything set up for them to be able to book. And then I would go to the public, you know, a couple days later, give my email list a chance to book and then go out to the public. So that is the planning portion, a plan ahead. It's super important to sit down and like write all the things out, because if you don't, you are planning to fail. Right. A mentor of mine used to say if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So that, I mean, plays a huge role in our mini sessions success that if you fail to plan for your minis and start now planning, then when it comes time to actually start booking them or start everybody's asking about many sessions. You've already planned to fail because you are way behind. You didn't take advantage of the slow season and things pick up really, really fast. So we're in July. You may already start feeling that. But once we hit like August and September, I'm telling you, bookings are going to come in out the wazoo because everybody in. Are mom are looking to get photos done, and so if you've never had a fall season. Holy moly. You know, strap your boots on because it's about to get crazy. So do all of the hard things first. That way, when we get into mini session season, you're ready to actually succeed and do well because you had a plan. OK, so little recap what you need to be doing right now to prepare for your fall mini sessions, book any rentals that you're planning on having, get promo shots using those rentals or at the locations or wherever you're planning on shooting, and then plan ahead, write out all your mini sessions, dates that you're potentially wanting to do, leave space for rescheduling if necessary, and then count back six to eight weeks so that you have plenty of time to advertise. It sounds like a lot friends, but is absolutely doable if you want to see, like, how this actually goes into play and you're like, OK, it's time to advertise. Like now what what is marketing actually look like ? I dive deep into marketing strategies for booked out mini sessions in my free class that I mentioned at the beginning. Be sure to go enroll. It's this Thursday and Friday. If you can't make it live, there will be a replay. But I highly suggest joining in live because that Q&A is like the most valuable part. It's so awesome. So you can enroll for that class at Rebeccaricephoto.com/minis/class. It's completely free. And I'm telling you, people leave my classes with pages and pages of notes, like if you thought this podcast episode was helpful and, you know, practical, you're going to love my class because we I mean, you're going to leave with pages of notes. We go into so much stuff. I give really practical tips because I want you to walk away, like feeling like your hour was valuable. And so go check out that class enroll. It's this Thursday and Friday. There are several times to choose from and you don't want to miss it again. This only happens twice a year. So if you're ever going to do any of my things, this is the one to do this free class. So if you have any questions about prepping for fall, minis hit me up. You can always message me on Instagram at Rebecca Rice photography. If you know somebody that this episode would be helpful for, please send it to them. I would so appreciate, you know, you sharing and you know, if you want to put it in any of your, like, favorite Facebook groups or whatever, like please share. I would love that. It would mean the world to me just because I want to serve and help as many photographers as I can in this season. I'm known as the queen of mini sessions. And so I want to live up to my name and really serve you guys the best that I can and serve as many people as I can. So that would mean the world to me. If you would share this episode, send it to a friend posted in a group, whatever, just to help get the word out, because it is time to start prepping for 40 minutes. So we're going to go ahead and close out. Hope this is helpful and we will see you hopefully this week at our free many sessions. So we'll see you then, guys. Bye.

Episode Transcript

23. Prepping for fall