Running a small business is no easy task. It's messy and thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. But no matter what, it's definitely a journey worth taking. As a mom of two littles, I know the daily struggles, and I'm here to walk this journey with you. If you're ready to feel empowered, encouraged and on fire for the things you truly love, then you're in the right place. I'm Rebecca Rice, a pizza loving hot chocolate drinking family photographer and educator. And this is the business Journey podcast.
Hey, friends, welcome back to another episode of the business Journey podcast. I'm your host, Rebecca rice. And today we are taking a stroll down memory lane. Looking back at my very first set of mini sessions, I want to talk about the good, the bad, the ugly, what I learned from it, and hopefully you'll be able to learn from it too. Before we get too far, I wanted to let you guys know about a free class that I have just for you guys. And it's all about mini sessions. So if you are wanting to run minis, maybe you've run minis before, and you're just ready to take them to the next level, then this class is for you. Falling Christmas mini season is upon us right now, which is crazy. But this is the perfect time to take a class to invest in yourself in your business. You don't have to invest any money because it's completely free. But you can invest your time and learn and implement these things. So we'll link the class below in the show notes. But in case you want to type it in, it's Rebecca rice So be sure to get enrolled for that. Let's jump in today. So mini sessions season is right around the corner. And I know we're still in June. And you may be like Rebecca, it's still a little ways off. Honestly though, it's not like my team is starts booking our Christmas minis in July July 1, which if you haven't listened to the last episode, where I talked through Christmas in July, you want to go give that a listen. But as soon as those are booked, we switch immediately to fall minis. So yes, we start booking our fall minis in July. We start shooting them in September. And so we shoot fall minis typically September and October. And then we do Christmas minis October and November. And so it may not seem like it. But now is absolutely the time to start getting things ready for fall minis. So I wanted to walk you through my very first set of mini sessions. I did them back in my first year business. I had been official business for about three months, whenever I did my first set of minis. And just a little background, I had zero client base. So the only people I had ever worked with before that were like friends or family and I had never worked with somebody that I didn't know before. And so the way that this came about the first set of meetings I did was a set of live bunny Easter minis the way this came about was I saw somebody posted a Facebook group. They were like, Hey, is are there any photographers doing live bunny Easter minis? And nobody was responding. So I was like, sure I am probably not the best idea. But that's how it started. And so I had never done minis before I had never I didn't have a bunny, I was like, Okay, I'm gonna find a live bunny, I'm going to do these minis, I ended up pricing them at $125. That was literally just an arbitrary number that I pulled out of thin air. Don't do that. So I did not run my cost of doing business. I highly suggest you run your costume business if you never have to figure out your pricing for your minis. I have a YouTube video all about that. So we will link it here in the show notes if you want to go watch that. But the minis ended up turning out pretty well. So I booked to 16 spots my very first try not knowing much of what I was doing. So I definitely learned a lot from that set looking back. So there are a few things that I want to share with you today that I did learn from those minis. So when I was shooting these, I did four hours of minis, so my minis were 15 minutes each. So I did for an hour. And I did I shot for four hours, with one hour for lunch. So I shot from like eight to one with an hour for lunch. And so it was a really long day. So the first like major lesson that I learned was not to book such a huge time slot. Because for me personally shooting for four hours is exhausting. I don't like shooting more than three hours at a time. When I was pregnant. I couldn't shoot more than two hours at a time. So you need to know your body and you know where your limits are. For me. My limit is about three hours. I really can't shoot longer than that. So that was an interesting lesson learned. One of my mastermind girls, we were just at our mastermind retreat In Florida, and she was talking about how she will do eight hours of minis. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, you are crazy. It's just not for me. But some people like to just do one date, shoot for eight hours and be done. For me, I
like to split it up. So I learned early on, I didn't like shooting such a huge amount of time. And that has been a driving force for how I book minis from then on. Another thing that I learned was working with animals is really hard. So I did these live bunny minis, we actually had two bunnies that were there on set, and they belonged to a neighbor of mine. So my neighbor was there, her sole purpose was to make sure that the bunnies were safe. And I also had an assistant there with me as well to help, you know, with the kids and things like that. And one of the bunnies like that our intention was to have both bunnies sitting in a basket, we didn't have any of the kids. The young kids especially did not hold the bunnies, I think I had like one or two of the older kids hold the bunny, but only with the owner's permission, and very close monitoring. But the goal was we were going to have these two bunnies sitting in a basket and have the kids sit next to them. Well, one of the bunnies right off the bat was not interested did not want to sit in this basket, didn't want to play with us. So into his cage it went. And so we shot the whole time with just one bunny, which way okay, we had one moment where the bunny tried to run away. And so we were like chasing this bunny through this park. It was fine. We caught the bunny. But it was just unpredictable. And so for you know, a lot of the sessions, the bunnies stayed in the basket, then the Bunny got tired of the basket. So it was like sitting under our stool or sitting in the little teepee that we had. And we had to you know, do our posing based around where this bunny was. And so it was really hard. I did bunny minis a couple more times after that. And we're at the place that I'm just like so over it. So we don't do live bunny minis anymore. It was just not worth it, in my opinion. Maybe it works for you, we actually found these like realistic looking chicks like baby chicks on Amazon, that we use that instead. And so it looks like a real animal, but it's not. And it just gives us a lot more control in that moment. So lesson number two, working with animals is hard. The third lesson that I learned was that it really helped to have that assistant with me, because the location that we were shooting was a good distance away from where our clients were parking. And so it really helped to have somebody there with me to walk our clients from their cars to our shooting location, so that I was not having to spend time doing that I was able just to shoot my sessions back to back because I don't leave a buffer of time between my sessions, I always shoot my sessions back to back. And people are like, how did you do that? It can absolutely be done. And so there's a lot of strategy to it. I talked about it a bit in my free class. So go check that out. But we you know, having my assistant there was really, really helpful. Now I don't bring an assistant with me to every set of minis, if you know our shooting location is close to where my clients are parking, then I really don't feel the need to have an assistant there. Some people just feel more comfortable having an assistant there helping to, you know, bring people in and usher them out and things like that. And so it's totally up to you. But for this situation, it definitely helps to have the assistant with me, I pay my assistant an hourly rate. And in the past I used I was a youth pastor for a long time. So I had some of my like one of my teenagers come along, and one of my high school students and that always worked super well. So you know, my mom has come along with me as an assistant occasionally, she's so cute because she loves helping me any way she can in my business. And so she always thought it was so fun to come and be my assistant and like watch me shoot, it was like a proud mom moment. It was so cute. Whoever you can get can be your assistant go for it. It's really helpful. And then the last lesson that I learned that I want to mention was that communication was key for us. So that was something going in that I knew at the start of my business wanted that to kind of have me stand apart, because I had worked with photographers in the past, just as their client that their communication was not good. And so I knew going forward, I wanted to make sure my communication was like onpoint top notch with that
every one of my clients showed up on time, they actually showed up early. Every one of my clients show up early, they were all dressed really beautifully. And I was super happy with how that entire set of minis went. And it was done very intentionally. So for one they all showed up early because of my famous final info email. So in that email, it's a part of my email templates if you want to check it out that's available in my shop. But that final info email, too basically gives my clients everything they need to know leading up to their session. So that email goes out one week before our session. And it gives, you know, specific directions to our location, it gives them parking instructions, what to expect when they arrive. And several last minute reminders and one of those, I let them know that our sessions are back to back. And they cannot be late, because we have sessions before and after them. And that if they miss their time, they forfeit their spot, and there will not be a refund. And so that's worded in their contract. So they know that going in, but I just remind them, and so all of my clients showed up early, which was wonderful. And then they were all dressed to the nines, and they had bribes with them. Because those are things that I talked about in my client experience Guide, which every one of my clients gets before their session with me. And that is also available in my shop, if you want to check it out. But basically, it walks my clients through what to expect before, during and after our session. It gives tips for getting the kids to cooperate, it goes through styling tips for the whole family, things like that. And so my clients have found it very, very helpful. And the fact that I was super intentional with my communication right off the bat, made a big difference in how I believe that first set of minis went. And so that was something that I have continued through all of my minis, it was one of those like, lessons that it worked, I tried something and it worked. And my clients have been thankful for it. They always you know, mention when we're in person, you're like, man, that email was so helpful, or I loved that guide that you sent. And so my clients, they rave about my communication, because it really does help me be set apart from other photographers who maybe don't have as good of communication. And so lots of lessons learned in that first set of minis. Overall, I feel like it went well. But it was really a foundational starting point for all of my minis afterwards, because I was able to take what I learned, tweak some things like not shooting so long and not shooting the five animals and take that into my future minis. So as you are prepping for Fall mini session season that is right around the corner guys. Then take these things into consideration and what does your client experience look like? What kind of ways are you communicating with your clients, and you can DIY or if you want to use the templates and guides that I have available. Those are all in my shop, we will link it here for you. My goal is just to equip you with all the things that you need to have successful minis because I am just a huge believer that mini sessions are one of the most profitable ways you can grow your family photography business. And so I'm really excited to hear how your minis season goes as you start booking them. So I've mentioned before that mini sessions is my absolute favorite topic. I could talk about it all day. So if you have any questions at all about mini sessions, feel free to DM me on Instagram at Rebecca rice photography. I'm very active in my DMs. So I would love to help answer any questions that you may have. And you know, just serve you in any way that I can because I love talking about minis I could talk about them all day. And if you have a question, odds are I have a blog post about it. So that's another great resource is you can go to my blog, there's a little search bar and you can just type in keywords, you know, like client experience or whatever anything about mini sessions and you'll find so many blog posts that I have, specifically about minis so I hope this episode was helpful for you. And I can't wait to see you next week for another episode. Bye guys.

74. A Look Back at My Very First Mini-Sessions (and What I Learned)