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Creating Brand Loyalty with Mini Sessions

Outside of 'what should I wear' it's probably the question photographers hear the most...

"Do you shoot Mini Sessions?"

Whether you're a seasoned pro... just starting to plan out your Mini Sessions for the first time... or you've never hosted them before, we're here to break down all of the ins and outs of hosting successful mini sessions time after time.

Photographer Lindsay Wiatt sat down with us to share just how she has boosted her business by offering limited Mini Sessions throughout the year. Lindsey has been a photographer in Oregon for over a decade, and has been hosting signature sessions like her watermelon and tulip minis for years. She limits her Mini Sessions to a few times a year, only schedules certain dates and times, and says the move is strategic.

"I never wanted it to look like I had a ton of them because then the people don't see the value."

Creating that value means not only spending time educating your clients and showing them the value in what you are offering, it means valuing yourself as a photographer, and the time that it takes to create a successful mini session event.

Mini Sessions are hard work. There are often additional factors like props and sets to take into consideration or location rental costs. It's also important to remember that mini sessions are not simply pint size sessions with your pricing slashed in half. (Or at least, they shouldn't be.) In order to stay profitable, it's important to know your own cost of doing business (CODB)  and set a goal that is bigger than your normal session fee.

[For more on just how to figure out your CODB, be sure to check out our live interview. with Heatherly Doan of Photo Life, on the Shoot & Share Facebook page]

"Usually I set a number. Say I want to make $10,000 on this mini session go. How many sessions do I need to book? How much time is it going to take? My personal goal is I always aim to make double my normal session, because we're working in an hour block- my regular sessions are an hour long. I want to aim for double that number in a mini session hour."

While many of Lindsay's clients now return year after year, she says Mini Sessions offer photographers a unique way to create brand loyalty with previous clients and turn first time clients into repeat customers.

"I'd say 60% are new and 40% are my mainstays. And those 60% usually first find me through a mini event and then the following year they then become a full session. It's kind of like a 15 minute interview. My favorite is when the family leaves and they're like 'my kid doesn't smile for anybody and they've been giggling and laughing the whole time. I'm booking another session!'

Each year she hosts only three mini session events: Tulips, Watermelons, and Christmas Trees. Her mini sessions aren't listed on her website and she keeps social media chatter about them limited on her main page, instead directing clients to a special Facebook group just for that specific session. For Lindsey creating excitement about her upcoming sessions starts months ahead of time by sharing inspiration boards, color palettes and little hints on social media.

"They can ask questions, they get outfit inspiration, so just really creating excitement around this big event. And then you have this big reveal. I'll usually do a quick 'go live' and people start snagging the dates up and we make it really fun and kind of exciting. So it's just creating that buzz around something because it's not something that you do all the time."

But getting to this point didn't happen overnight. Lindsey says she fully understands the uncertainty and even desperation many photographers go through in the beginning; feeling like they need to share everything to social media, take on everything and every client. And while she says we've all been there, dialing in her process and what she offered, and focusing on her style and brand, helped ensure that her clients wanted to return time after time. She even took time to revamp her social media to ensure her followers were seeing her vision.

" I then stopped for 6 months, posting everything... everybody gets a sneak peek. I was then only posting the look, the aesthetic, the styling that I was inspired by. That I wanted to put out with my brand. Not that I didn't love every person that showed up with their tennis shoes and play shoes and not completely put together, but I wanted to show people putting more thought into it. So now, my brand is really established. People know my look." 

That vision is what keeps her clients excited and coming back throughout the year. Lindsey says her business and mini sessions exploded when she stopped offering mini sessions year round. Many of her clients will book a full session when minis aren't currently available and will still come back for the mini session when it is. Her biggest tip: Make sure that you are creating connections and excitement with your clients that encourages them to come back year after year. Evolving your sessions between simple and something bigger year to year gives your clients something new to look forward to and allows them to keep traditions within their own families as their families grow and change each year too.

Want to know even more about Mini Sessions? You can see Lindsey's entire interview here.

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Pinterest Perfect Marketing

As a photographer you probably already post to Facebook and Instagram for your business. You may even have a Twitter account or dabble in Snapchat... But have you considered Pinterest?

No... not just to find inspiration for your upcoming sessions, and to help clients pick coordinating outfits... or to figure out what you're going to make for dinner tonight, but for your photography business. Have you leveraged it as a marketing tool?

Pinterest is arguably one of the most underrated platforms when it comes to marketing. It's a massive search engine and highly visual, which makes it the perfect place for a photographer to share their work, tips and tricks from their blog and other inspiration for their clients and perspective clients.

And it has another bonus. While posts on Facebook and Instagram have a fairly short shelf life and they typically show up in those algorithms for a few hours to a few days, Pinterest is the polar opposite. It was designed for longevity. On average a Pinterest post reaches 50% of its engagement after about 3 1/2 months, so it's not uncommon for a pin to be active for 7 months or more.

So how do you grow your exposure and use the free marketing options available on Pinterest?

Here's 5 ways to get started today:

1. Use a Business account. Starting your Pinterest account to a business account will allow you to access analytics and a business profile, as well as branding options. Pinterest gives you the option of creating a brand new business account or switch your current account to a business one. (See more on Pinterest business accounts here)

2. Create boards for your work, for various sessions types and to provide motivation and inspiration to your potential clients.

3. Use 'Rich Pins". This Pinterest feature is available on all accounts and allows you to add in extra information on your direct pins.(See more on Pinterest Rich Pins here)

4. Pin vertical images whenever possible. Vertical images stand out more visually and get more space in the overall feed.

5. Use video! Just like on other social media platforms, video is seen and shared more often. You can easily create videos that are ready for sharing on Pinterest in just a matter of minutes with Vivi.

See Vivi in Action on Pinterest

PRO TIP: When creating captions, what you write should reflect how people will search. People search Pinterest in the same way they do Google-- so using keywords here will make it more likely that your pins will come up in their search.

Consider the details in your captions.

For example 'Groom Photos: getting ready' or 'Newborn Photography: sibling poses.

Consistency is key no matter what platform you are using.

The good news is whether you on are Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook or somewhere else, that's likely not as often as you'd think. In fact, you'll likely see a drop in engagement if you post too often.

According to Hubspot pages with under 10,000 followers may actually see a 50% drop in engagement if you post more than once a day.

Most studies agree that once a day is optimal and you should post no less than 3 times a week on Facebook. Just like Instagram, even though Pinterest is more search engine than social media, it's still meant to be used socially. There are some important differences. Unlike Instagram, it's important to share and pin content from other users too. Think of this as a big group project or collaboration. You want input from a variety of people and places.

Consistency is still key here, so pin frequently, add new content often and a variety of images. Add value to your boards by pinning tips and tricks and lots of inspiration along the way.

Want even more ways to show up on social media? Check out this article!

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Social Content Worth Sharing

Are you setting the stage for a social media feed that is worth sharing?

Or are you sitting back and hoping that just posting ‘something’ will be enough for your followers to want to share your images with their family and friends?

We’re constantly getting emails... notifications...tweets and texts. It’s easy for some of those tags and mentions to go unseen. Your social media content should not only grab your audience’s attention...

... it should be the images they want to share before anything else. As a business owner and a marketer (yes, if you own your own business you are also a marketer!) it’s important to get your content to the right people at the right time. How do you do that?

Create excitement well before the session …

Your clients will WANT to share your images before anything else if they know what to expect and you get them excited for it. Sharing your process and timeline assures your clients of exactly when things will happen, and how quickly they can expect to see their sneak peeks and their final images.

PRO TIP: Get personal from the very first time you respond to a client inquiry. Use Warm Welcome to send a personalized video that includes a Vivi video tailored to the type of session they are inquiring about. If it’s a wedding inquiry and you know they are looking at a specific venue be sure to include a video from that location if you’ve shot there before!

Create anticipation…

Although some brides and grooms are now going ‘unplugged’ for their ceremonies, it’s still pretty common for most of the guests at a wedding or family and friends that are visiting a new baby to do so with their cell phone in hand. That means a very real possibility that part of their big day has already been shared.

While you can’t prevent every cell phone snap, you can quickly and easily get a beautiful set of images into your client’s hands before their big day is even over.

Here’s How…

1) Tell your clients you’ve got a surprise for them and keep an eye on their phone/messages… then get to work before you even leave the reception (or hospital if it's a birth... or any other venue/location you may be shooting at)

2) Grab the Vivi Mobile App

3) THEN… Create a Vivi Video fast! It takes just minutes.

Give your clients something to share before the ceremony ends or right after their new baby is born so that your images are the ones they’re most excited to share. Often clients will tell their families to hold off on sharing images if they know that at least some of your images will be done quickly.

Here's how to quickly edit and create a Vivi video from just about anywhere:

Step 1) Transfer your favorite images from your camera to your cell phone
Step 2) Edit your images via Lightroom or Photoshop Mobile
Step 3) Upload your images to the Vivi Mobile App (Get the iOS app ) (Get the Android app)
Step 4) Create a Vivi Video
Step 5) Share your video sneak peek with your clients!

* Tools of the trade to make this possible:

  • Vivi Mobile App
  • Lightening to USB cord and/or a camera with WiFi capabilities
  • Lightroom or Photoshop Mobile
  • Optional (Your presets)

PRO TIP → Creating a sneak peek within hours is a great way to build up excitement about what’s to come. Create a Vivi video highlight reel of their wedding day or their new baby to use as a birth announcement. Social media is full of gorgeous images and content… make yours stand out.

Creating an emotional connection with images set to music and put in motion helps to motivate your clients to print their images and to share with their family and friends... increasing your reach dramatically.

PRO TIP → Take it a step farther and add multiple videos into your packages. It will add value to what you're offering and help set you apart!!

Want to learn more about how you can create videos just like this? It's super simple and FREE to start!! Make up to FIVE Vivi Videos for free today.

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Looking to consistently find new clients like top photographers do without spending 3-5 hours a day?

You're not alone. We all know we can be doing more to build our photography businesses, but we also have busy lives filled to the brim and overflowing at times. So, we need a way to reliably grow interest in our services, without throwing away hours a day. We've seen social media work for a bunch of photographers, but how to we do it well? And by well, I mean... how do we get results? Engagement, shares, inquiries... bookings!

Well we have a few strategies below that will help. We've kept them simple so you can just start. And we know they work because we've taught them to many others and the results are the real deal.

Candace wrote us:

"Update. I've booked 3 sessions with full payment after my post this morning 🙌"

3 sessions from a single post? Now that’s the kind of traction that social media can get you (when done right).

Candace's process is simple. She posts killer Vivi videos of her photos (that take her minutes to create) consistently through the week with clear calls to action. Then she responds to her comments and inquiries.

Here's why her posts are working... Let's dive in.

A 3 step process for client-getting social media posts

Step 1
: Be consistent

You won't get very far by posting here and there. Your audience (even if it's tiny) only sees the posts that Instagram or Facebook show you... remember that algorithm you keep hearing about? Well it's super complicated and super simple, but there are basically two cycles you can be on.


You post a beautiful photo from your last session after a week or two without posting... because hey... who has time for social media with 3 kids or a full time job? And besides, the last post you put up only got 12 likes anyway. But you know that people are finding new clients with their posts so you feel like you should. You caption it something like "Feeling the summer vibes with this one." This new post doesn't perform any better than the last. That's discouraging... bummer... and you don't have another session for 3 weeks so what would you post anyway? 3 weeks later, same story. Same 12 likes. Same discouragement.

The less you post, the less Instagram puts you in your followers feed. Which means less eyeballs on your work. Which means less engagement. Which means even less people see the next post (darn you algorithm!) and the cycle continues downward.


You post a sneak peek from your latest session as a quick video that includes movement and music which creates emotion (more on this in #2). You caption it something like "Kristen slayed both dresses in her Fall Mini Session! Which one stands out more to you? The classy white? Or the vibrant orange? ... and hey... are you ready for your mini session? Click the link in bio to reserve your session before they're gone in the next week." A number of people like and comment their favorite dress... one even inquires about pricing on the mini sessions.

You post again the next day and the next, each with questions to engage your audience and calls to action to give them something to do. The algorithm sees the engagement and consistency and shows your next post to more people. Some of them engage too, so they show it to even more. And the cycles continues upward!

So yes, the best way to be seen and to grow is to post consistently. More chances for people to see your posts and more chances to find out which of your posts do best... and then keep doing it!

Being consistent is difficult, especially with our busy lives... that's why there are tools to help you out:
We created a crazy effective 30 day course to walk you through exactly what to post and how to post it.

Step 2
: Use video

It's no secret that the algorithm favors video. Just take a look at your feed today! If the people you follow feature videos, those are the posts you see most. Here's why:

1. Video is shared 12X more than photos or text. (more potential clients reached)

2. Video can convert visitors to purchasers 80% more effectively. (more clients booked)

A video is the whole meal... not just a a couple ingredients and it can really tap into the emotion behind your images. Your potential clients make purchasing decisions emotionally... so help them out.

And video can be super fast to create. Have you logged into Vivi lately?

Step 3
: Use CTAs and Tag your people

Tagging everyone in your video is a sure way to extend the reach and encourage sharing. And once you're in front of more people, use that description area to make a clear Call To Action (CTA) that encourages people to comment, inquire, etc!


If you're looking for more ways to optimize your posts to consistently find new clients... check out the 30 Days of Social Media Magic from Vivi. They'll hold your hand each step of the way to the most profitable month of your business! (and it's only $29 if you get in today).

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