7 Steps to Make Mini-Sessions Work for Your Photography Business

Let’s talk mini-sessions.  As a consumer and photographer, you either love ’em or hate ’em.  I waffled on offering these short-and-sweet 20-min mini sessions for many years, always deciding to do them then regretting it afterward because of the less-than-ideal resulting work/profit ratios.

But the last three years have changed my outlook on mini-sessions.  I think I’ve 1.) finally found a formula and system that works well for me and my business, 2.) It’s been both FUN and profitable (win-win!) and 3.) It’s not so much work anymore, probably partly because of #1 but also because of using film and not overshooting (and also eliminating a ton of post-processing), automation, and having a solid mini shoot workflow for consistent results.

If you find you’re in the hate ’em camp, but you want to figure out a way to generate a lot of money without much effort, give this a read.  Maybe it’ll spark an idea you haven’t used before or something entirely different that will work JUST FOR YOU.

how to make mini-sessions work for you

As a photographer, there are a few steps you can take to make mini photo sessions a success:

1. Choose a Location:

Decide on a location that works well for mini photo sessions. Look for areas with good lighting and interesting backgrounds. Public parks, beaches, and urban areas can all make for great photo shoot locations. I like to rotate my locations around and also find new ones to keep my mini-customers coming back for something different!

2. Set a Time Limit:

Mini photo sessions are usually around 15-30 minutes long. Decide on a time limit and let your clients know ahead of time. If I don’t have an assistant with me I set a timer on my watch before each session to go off 5 minutes before the session is over, so I know to wrap it up and get any last minute essential shots.

3. Pricing:

One of the most crucial steps in making mini-sessions work for you is making your pricing profitable AND enticing to your clientele. How do you do this? You start by looking at what you charge for a full 1-hour session then dividing that by the number of minis you will do in one hour. The session fee amount you charge has to equal the same or more than what you would normally charge in an hour. Then decide if any digitals or products are included and charge accordingly. Do you want an all-inclusive rate or do you want some unique add-on products available?

4. Communicate with Clients:

Before the shoot, communicate with your clients to understand what they want from the session. Discuss outfits, props, and poses they would like to incorporate into the shoot. Pro-tip: I’m a huge fan of automation!!! It’s a huge time-saver. If you’d like to learn more about the automations I use, give me a holler.

5. Be Efficient:

During the shoot, work efficiently to get as many shots as possible within the time limit. Pro-tip: have a tried-and-true workflow in place that you use for EVERY SINGLE MINI. This will give you the framework so you consistently get all the shots, but gives you a bit of wiggle room to be creative with poses and candid shots. Also, try not to overshoot and this will help you so much in the long run!

6. Edit Photos Quickly:

After the shoot, edit the photos quickly (time is money, afterall) and deliver them to your clients as soon as possible. A lot of photographers love to cut down on culling and editing time with Photo Mechanic. Also, if you shoot digital I recommend trying editing AI software. Once you get your editing style dialed in it can really speed up your process.

7. Advertising and Referrals:

Speaking of referrals and repeat business, don’t be afraid to ask them to tag you when they share on social media to generate awareness and hype! Also, remember to make sure they are all on your email list, because that is the list that YOU own, no matter what happens with social media.

By following these steps, you can make mini photo sessions successful for both you and your clients. Hope you found this helpful! Reach out at any time if you have any questions!



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Hi, I'm Kim Hildebrand!

Photographer & Online Business Educator

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Kim Hildebrand