It’s no secret that I LOVE mini-sessions! They have easily become the bread and butter of my business. There are lots of opinions about minis and their effectiveness, and one of the common misconceptions is that you don’t have enough time to serve your clients well in such a short amount of time.
I’m here to tell you that’s not true at all!
With a thoughtfully executed client experience, your clients will leave feeling valued and loved beyond measure.
In any work with people, communication is key!! One of the things my clients always say after our time together is that my communication was top notch. My goal is to answer all of their questions before they think of them. I have 3 major points of contact with everyone I work with:
All of my emails are sent automatically through Dubsado. I have automated workflows set up that help make this magic happen without taking extra time for every single client. Read “5 Reasons to Use Dubsado to Manage Your Clients” for more on that.
Excellent communication starts when they first inquire. It’s important to have a plan for what you’re going to say so they get all the information they need to decide if your mini-session is a good fit for them. The essential points are the date, location, price (and what that includes), and available time slots. They should also get a little taste of who you are as the person behind the camera. This first response is your first impression! Do whatever you can to make it a great one!
Once they book, your dialogue isn’t over! I send my Client Experience Guide that includes what to expect before, during, and after their session, styling tips for the family, what I look for in a location so they understand the decisions I make on-site, and tips to get kids to cooperate. (I don’t have this available for purchase yet, but I might put it out if I get enough interest! Let me know!)
The most important piece of the puzzle is my famous Final Info Email! In this email I include EVERYTHING they need to know about their actual session time. I write out the schedule of the day with time slots so they see that I’m booked out back-to-back. I make sure to make it very clear that there is no wiggle room, and emphasize that they need to arrive early to make sure they get to use their full time. I include any specific details about the location like where to park or things to look for, as well as some last-minute reminders for styling and getting the kids to cooperate. It is a lengthier email, but my clients LOVE it and appreciate the length I go to to make sure their session runs smoothly!
For more info on this, read “4 Key Emails to Send Mini-Sessions Clients.”
If you say that families have a 15-minute time slot, it is so important to keep to that schedule! I know if I went through the effort of getting my family ready for photos, I wouldn’t be excited to have to wait because my photographer was running behind. I think respecting people’s time speaks volumes for an excellent client experience!
Having a plan is essential in making sure you run on time! I have a list of shots that I get with every family. (I go in-depth about this in “My Mini-Sessions Shooting Workflow” ) I know I can get those shots done in our short time together, and I don’t have to think about what shots to do next. It’s important to keep an eye on the clock and always know how much time you have left. (Having an assistant can help with this!) A few minutes before the time slot is over, it’s a good idea to ask the family if they have any other shots they’d like to get. This way they are sure to get the shots they want and still stay in their time.
It’s your job as the photographer to remind the family when their time is up and end their session. If you communicated well, your next family should be ready and waiting to get started. A simple closing statement will do the trick! I usually say something like, “It was so nice to meet you guys! You should have your photos back within 2 weeks. I’ll be sending a link to your online gallery to your email. Thanks for coming out! Have a great week!”
Because mini-sessions are so short, a big complaint I hear from other photographers is that they feel like they can’t connect to their clients in that time. I agree that the time is short, but there are a few simple things you can do to add a personal touch.
Send a questionnaire. (More on this in “3 Reasons to Send a Mini-Sessions Questionnaire to Clients”) Before our time together, I send my new clients a short questionnaire so I can find out a little bit about their family. I include questions like:
I also ask if they have anything special about their family that they’d like me to know, like any special needs, a blended family, things like that. Before I started sending my questionnaires, I had been surprised a few times with children on the spectrum. I was able to go with the flow, but I’d prefer to know ahead of time so I can best serve their family. It’s also awkward when a blended family comes through and I don’t know ahead of time. I typically refer to the parents as “Mom” and “Dad,” and then have put my foot in my mouth when a kid calls their step-parent by their first name later. They may not see it as a big deal, but I’d rather make them as comfortable as possible the whole time.
Use the kids’ names. This goes a long way when it comes to building trust with kids! When you remember their names and use them when talking to them, they begin to feel more comfortable and open up with real, genuine smiles quicker. When they feel like they know me, they start to have fun! And as a parent, I know that if people treat my kids well, they’ll be on my good side. You definitely want this with your clients!
Play first, photos second. Getting photos done can be a scary experience for little kids! If kids are shy to start off, I always take a photo and show them the back of my camera so they can see it isn’t scary. I ask what their favorite shows are, we talk about princesses or sports, and of course play a little peek-a-boo! Remember that bit about winning the parents over? This one helps with that, too! A couple minutes of playing can go a long way!! (Read “How to Get Kids to Cooperate For Mini-Sessions” for more tips!)
This one is HUGE when it comes to creating an excellent client experience! Clients want to get to know YOU! My photos can be beautiful and all, but my clients come back time and time again because they love working with me. They know that I truly care about them and their family. They trust my abilities. They know I’m going to connect well with their kids. Those things come with me!
You may say, “But I’m not great with people! I’m an introvert!”
I’m actually an introvert myself!
If I’m being honest, meeting new people stresses me out. Having to carry on a conversation with people I don’t know well doesn’t come naturally for me. But when I stopped trying to be like other people and decided to just come as I am, I realized people are okay with that. They like me for being genuinely me!
There’s only one of you. You were made special in your own way with your own strengths and weaknesses, and those things are what makes you unique. Embrace your uniqueness, and people will book you for YOU!
To see some of my favorite minis, click HERE!
If you want to dive deeper into upping your mini-sessions game, check out my free 1-hour class: How to Market, Monetize, & Grow Your Photography Business with Mini-Sessions
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