The F Stops Here: I'm Not Really In The Business of Snapping A Few Quick Shots

"I just need a few quick shots for a holiday card/engagement announcement. It won’t take long.”
Clients will assume you’d jump at the opportunity to take a couple of photos; it’s easy money after all. The shoot itself won’t take more than 20 minutes from start to finish, right?


There’s more to it than just the 20 minutes on location or in your studio: you’re going to be spending time communicating with your client via phone and email, cleaning and prepping your gear, driving to and from the shoot, culling and editing the images, presenting them online or in person, ordering them from the lab, and packaging and delivering the final product.
What that client is really telling you is that they only want to buy one image.
Is that tiny sale worth your time and energy?
The other issue, besides the fact that you’re trying to run a business and cannot possibly be supported by $50 sales, is that your client equates your services to photographic fast food: cheap, easy, and not distinctive.
Is the photographic equivalent of a Quarter Pounder how you want your business to be perceived?
If your goal is to offer your clients professional-grade photography services - by using pro equipment, pro techniques, and pro business practices - the you should be committed to providing more than a few quick shots.

You can’t be Instagram.

What you can be is a resource for both full-service photoshoots and a very limited number of mini shoots. Prequalify clients interested in your full-service shoots with a higher session fee and minimum order requirement.
Your mini shoots should be offered at a less expensive rate, but limit them to a few times a year. For these limited offer mini shoots, schedule clients back-to-back in a single location, offer a limited amount of images (think 8-10) to proof, and bundle a portrait-and-product combo into the price to ensure you’re making a return on your investment. Sell these sessions to your clients as a supplement to their regular, annual sessions, because otherwise your clients will view these as a way to get a full-service session at a drive-thru rate. You’re not the McDonalds of photography.
The idea behind these mini photo sessions is not to make a huge sale, but to convert some of these clients into full-service sessions in the future. By combining these sessions into one day and one location, you’ll also be able to control the amount of work you spend shooting and editing, thus saving you valuable time and money.
Minimize your work and maximize your profit while still maintaining a reputation as a business devoted to quality and a superior customer experience. Just a few quick shots? That just doesn’t fit into your business plan.
Interested in adding a few mini sessions to your offerings? Check out our Mini Session Guide here and learn step-by-step instructions for the entire process, from lighting, to handling clients, time squeezes, and session workflow.
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