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.
Hello, friends, welcome back to the business Journey podcast. I'm your host, Rebecca rice. And today we're getting into all things model calls, I get tons of questions of like, how do I run a model call well, and so today, I'm going to be giving you my best tips for running a successful model call. Now, before we get into all the good things, I wanted to let you guys know about a brand new free class that I have just for you guys, we did this class live before and now we have it available on demand. For those that may have missed it, it is all about the six steps that you need to take to double your photography revenue. So if you're in a season where you're really ready to go beyond just taking pretty pictures, because the reality is pretty pictures will only get you so far, there comes a point that the way that you need to grow your business is through intentional marketing. And in this free class, I walk through the steps that you need to take to go beyond pretty pictures into having an actual true marketing strategy. So this class is completely free. And I know that it'll be really helpful for you. So we'll link it below in the description for you. But if you want to type it in it is Rebecca rice So go sign up, because it's on demand, you can go and pick whatever time works for you over the next couple days. And you'll be able to watch it there. So I'm so excited that it's finally available to you. And I know that it'll be really, really helpful. Okay, let's get into model calls. So if you aren't familiar, basically a model call is a way for you to grow your portfolio in a very intentional and strategic way, without having necessarily, you know, full paying clients. And so some reasons that people might run a model call is you're either just starting out, and you don't have a wide portfolio to work with, you're needing images to advertise with. Or in the case that this was me just a couple years ago, I was actually moving out of state. So I was moving from Dallas, Texas, to Nashville, Tennessee. And if you've never been to those places, Dallas and Nashville look very different. And so I knew, you know, I had a great Dallas portfolio. But I knew that as we were moving, I wanted to shoot in Nashville, that I needed to have an updated portfolio for Nashville. And so I set up model calls leading up to our move so that I had content to be able to blog. And so that I could show up on Google in Nashville, you know, have stuff to put on my website, social media, things like that. So it reflected my new city. And so whether you're just starting out, or you're wanting just to refresh your portfolio, a model call is a really great way to do that. Now, if a model call is not done, well, then it's really not helpful for your business. Because the purpose of a model call is for you to have like material that you can use to advertise with. There's you know, a right way and a wrong way for sure to do a model call. Because if you just put out there that you are doing free photos, sessions, anybody and everybody, I'm sure will come flocking, and it's not necessarily going to be helpful for marketing purposes. And so my first big tip for having a successful model call is to be specific in what it is that you're looking for. So for example, I knew when I moved to Nashville that I wanted specific locations to shoot at because I wanted to book you know, many sessions and things like that in those spots. And so I wanted to make sure that the people that were signing up for model calls knew I was choosing the location, they were not able to choose the location in this model call. Whether you're being specific about the locations that you're looking for, maybe you're looking for certain demographics of families, like families with three or more kids or families with just a baby or
You know, whatever it is that you're looking for, if you're wanting to incorporate more lifestyle newborns into your portfolio, then maybe your specific saying you're looking for a family that has had a baby in the last two weeks. Or maybe you want lifestyle newborns with siblings. So you have to be really specific in what it is what you're looking for, you know, had a baby in the last two weeks and has at least one or more brothers or sisters. options are endless, depending on what it is that you're looking for, to add to your portfolio. But the key is to be specific. Now, the next thing that you're going to want to pay attention to that makes a big difference is what is actually included in a model call. And there are a lot of opinions of how to structure model calls. But I'll tell you the way that I like to do it and why. So I structure a model call with what's included, like a mini session. Now the session is going to be a full session, we're shooting for 30 to 60 minutes as needed, just like a regular full session. But I don't want to just give away all the images. So I treat it more as a mini session, I tell them that I have five images included for their time. And then the rest of the images from this session, I do upsell to them. And most of the time when I run a model call and I upsell the rest of the images, the family buys them because the session was free. And so they don't mind investing in that little extra to be able to get all the photos, occasionally they'll walk away with their five. But a lot of times it's they kind of treat it as almost like a tip where they just appreciate you, you know taking the time to be able to do that. And they go ahead and pay for the the upgraded images. And it that is likely going to be less expensive than your normal full session fee. So it is like they're getting a discount. But it kind of gives them some say in it of if they want to purchase more or not. That's what I talked about is what's included, I also make sure to mention that they need to follow my style guide when selecting their outfits. Because this is a free session with five images included for free, I want them to know that they have to follow my style guide as part of the requirements for being in this model call. And that's super important. Because the way that your clients dress, because you're using this as marketing material, you're going to attract more people based on what it is that you post. And so I don't necessarily from my style, I don't want a family to show up in all t shirts and jeans or whatever, you know, to matchy matchy or whatnot, I want to make sure that what they show up dressed in is reflective of my style and also complimentary of my shooting style. So I don't want them to show up wearing black, I want them to be wearing you know neutrals, soft colors, pastels, because that's what is my brand. And so because I'm using this for marketing materials, I need the photos that I'm going to be getting to be consistent with my branding. So that looks good on my website. And it looks good on my social media and things like that. And that's definitely not like too much to ask from clients, I have a client experience guide that I send to every single one of my clients. It's my version of a style guide, that gives them some guidance in how to choose their outfits. And if you don't have a client experience guide or a style guide, yet, it's a PDF that I send my clients that I created through Canva, you can purchase mine, if you want my template is available at my shop, Rebecca rice, you can go find the shop there. Either way, I send them that style guide. And I make sure that they send me pictures of their outfits so that I'm not surprised when we get there. I want to know exactly what it is that they're wearing. Give them some suggestions if they need some suggestions, so that I make sure that this is something that I can actually use in my portfolio. The next piece to having a successful model call is I highly suggest using it as an opportunity to grow your email list. So this is what I did. When I was moving to Nashville. I didn't have any Nashville clients, I was completely starting from scratch. And I knew that I wanted to grow my email list. And so what I did was for people to apply for my model call, they had to fill out a Google form, knowing that they were signing up for my email list. And so they provide me with their name, their email, some basic information about you know them and their family who's going to be included in the session. And with a Google form. You can also have them like attach an image of their family. If you want to just like see what they look like how many kids they have whatever. It just helps kind of in the verification process of you know, they say they have three kids because that's what I'm asking for. So when they send an image
Did you know A photo of their family and they indeed have three kids, it's just like an extra little layer of protection for you to know that they qualify for what it is that they're signing up for. And if you're having model calls for several different things, maybe you're looking for a lifestyle newborn session, a maternity session and a family with three or more kids on the Google forum, you can have them check which one they're applying for. That way, you also know, okay, which spot do I need filled and things like that. And so you can collect emails, using that Google Form, I was able to grow my email list, I think I grew up by like, I don't know, 25 to 50 emails, the first time I ran that model call the first time, the only time I ran that model call. But it was a great way to then have people on my email list. So when I was doing fall minis that year, I had people to advertise to and the people that signed up for the model call, but didn't get chosen, still ended up booking with me from that model, call signup. So it's a great way to be able to grow your email list if you're looking to do that as well. And then the last like big piece that I would say, for running a successful model call is to use a contract. Yes, even though it's a free session, I highly recommend still using a contract so that everybody is clear on what the expectations are going in, you know, following the style guide. And what's included, they're only going to get five images for their time, things like that. That way, there's just no gray area after the fact if they're trying to nickel and dime you for things and Oh, you didn't say the full gallery was included and whatever. You don't want to have to deal with that. And you know, most of the time, you won't. But either way, you want to make sure that you have a contract in place to help protect you and really set expectations going into that session. And so definitely use a contract one that was written by an attorney, please don't DIY your contract, that's a great way to ensure that it's not going to hold up in court, if you ever do end up in court. And so there is a contract template written by an attorney also available in my shop if you want to go check that out. But successful model calls can happen and they can be super helpful for your business and your portfolio and just to have new things for marketing materials, or maybe you're doing you know, a set of minis and you need a model call for the mini sessions or whatever. They can be really, really beneficial. But definitely want to make sure that you're doing them well so that you're maximizing your marketing potential with those model calls. So if you have any questions about model calls, or like maybe you've done model calls and had like some weird situation, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram at Rebecca rice photography, you can always shoot me a DM and I'd love to help answer any questions that you have about model calls or any like weird situations you come up with. But I hope that this kind of outline of what I do for model calls is helpful for you. Again, whether you're starting out or you've been in this for a while and just are looking for a portfolio refresh. Or maybe you have just some extra time on your calendar, you want to help make yourself look like you're in demand model calls a great way to do that because it gives you content to be able to post so I hope you find all of this helpful for you. And I can't wait to hear the stories of you running model calls and being able to grow your email list and get amazing marketing material to use on your website and your social media and things like that. So I really can't wait to see you know what you take from this so short and sweet episode but I wanted to be able to get that into your hands so that you can be running your next model call soon. So again, if you have any other questions, I'm always available in my DMs I Rebecca rice photography. And with that, we'll see you back later for another episode. Bye guys.

98. Secrets to Successful Model Calls