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How to Price Mini Sessions

8 min read

Mini sessions are bite-sized versions of your regular photography services. They’re popular options for Christmas card photos, family portraits, and seasonal shoots. Mini sessions can last 5 to 15 minutes (booked back to back), so you can give your clients a taste of what you do, and they don’t have to pay for a full session.

But do you know how to price mini sessions? Pricing mini sessions involve more than dropping the price of your regular photo sessions!

If you want to start offering mini sessions that are priced competitively and profitably, keep reading. Below we talk about researching mini session rates, calculating your cost of doing business, mini session pricing models, and more.

Get clients. Get paid. Get happy.

Research rates for mini sessions in your niche

Before you start throwing around possible prices for your mini sessions, do a little research and see what the going rate is in your niche. Photography pricing is complicated and varies greatly by market and niche. Other factors like location, season, and demand will impact your pricing, too.

Don’t get too carried away in your competitive analysis, as we don’t want you to overthink it, but just be mindful of what is being offered in your area and how you can set yourself apart in the market. 

how to price mini sessions

Here is a range of pricing we’ve seen from photographers in the United States (keep in mind that these rates vary a LOT, but we do try to promote session prices that are sustainable in growing your business). 

Will you find photographers charging $50/mini session? Absolutely. We’re not knocking people trying to get their names into the world. However, remember that running a business can get expensive, and we want to ensure you’re profitable. 

  • Family portraits minis: Session prices vary from $350-$1,500+ (remember, there are more people to contend with here, so it’s not unreasonable to add a fee for extra family members)
  • Pet minis: Anywhere from $250 and beyond
  • Holiday/themed mini sessions: we’ve seen ranges of $250 to $800+ (1 person only, usually a child)

The point is, mini sessions vary a LOT!

Knowing how much mini sessions cost in your location and niche is a good starting point when pricing your own, but don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to other photographers. Focus on taking care of your own business. That’ll ease some of the pressure you might feel to price mini sessions competitively.

price mini sessions

Calculate the cost and profit of your mini sessions

Speaking of taking care of your business, we recommend using your existing pricing and business numbers to calculate how much to charge for mini sessions. Your mini sessions should entice customers and encourage them to buy products but also turn a profit for your business.

See how to earn money with ShootProof

Step 1: Decide how much you want to make

Let’s say you want to bring in an extra $5000 each time you do mini sessions. This will depend on your business, but choose a reasonable number and go from there. Mini sessions can be done in one day or spread over an entire week. Many people run minis over a weekend. 

We see photographers opening anywhere from eight slots daily to upwards of 30 slots (if organized efficiently). 

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll give an example of a weekend of mini sessions with the financial goal of $5000 and 10 mini sessions per day, totaling 20 mini sessions total (at 10 minutes each session). 

Step 2: Break down costs

What does it cost you to run a mini session weekend?

Let’s give you some practical examples:

  • Props: $300
  • Gas: $100
  • Location fee: $100
  • Babysitter/client appreciation gifts/misc expenses: $200

Total cost to run your minis: $700 for the entire weekend (this will vary depending on how you run your minis)

You get the picture! Running these sessions will cost you money, so you need to make sure you’re making them profitable!  

So now we’ll take that $5000 and subtract the $700 it’s going to cost you, which leaves you with $4300 in profit.

For more, learn more about calculating your cost of doing business, or CODB.

price mini sessions

Step 3: Figure out how much you’ll need to charge each client

If you divide $5000 by 20 clients, you need to charge $250/client.

If you only book 10 clients, each client will need to invest $500. 

Remember, in our example, $700 of that $5000 is for expenses. 

Your net profit is only $4300. 

Consider charging more, and add prints and products to those mini sessions and you can easily make more profit. 

Check out how Deanna Decker runs her minis from start to finish and how she makes a HUGE profit. 

#ShootProofProTip: Remember, ten 10-minute mini sessions per day is one hour and 40 minutes of actual shooting, but that doesn’t mean it’s just one hour and 40 minutes of work! You have five minutes in between sessions to greet your clients, driving time, setting up your shoot location, plus editing and marketing. Keep in mind how much time you are actually spending on these mini sessions!

Here is a time calculator that can help determine the actual time spent at each session.

If you don’t book as many clients as expected, readjust your pricing accordingly!

Use mini sessions as a starting point to upsell with ShootProof

Try and think of all the ways you can upsell mini sessions with prints, products and full-length sessions! 

For example, you can offer custom holiday cards to families and couples who book a mini session from September through December. The cards will meet your clients’ needs and promote your photography business to potential clients.

Start your free trial with ShootProof

Even if your mini sessions come with digital images, clients can’t resist a gorgeous print product — if it’s sold well and it’s easy to buy. That’s why we built the ShootProof storefront, interactive online store that integrates with every client gallery. The ShootProof storefront will impress your clients with previews of print products like wall art, photo albums, announcements, and framed photos. 

Ready to see how ShootProof can elevate your photography business and help you make more money from your mini sessions? Start your free trial of ShootProof today!

Photos by Aubrie Cheyanne Photography