Believe it or not, friends, the holidays are right around the corner. And if you’ve ever thought about offering Santa mini sessions in your photography business, this episode is a must listen. Maybe even listen to it more than once because my friend Lindsey Brooks, who our family personally uses for Santa photos and have for years. She’s going to walk you through her Santa session process, her mindset behind it as a niche specialist, high-end luxury photographer.
How do you also offer something like Santa Mini sessions when there’s so many photographers doing the same thing? This episode is a treat.
What to expect in this article:
- Meet Lindsey!
- How Lindsey Started with Her Santa Sessions
- What Does Her Santa Sessions Look Like Today
- Santa Sessions Pricing
- Marketing Tips and Strategies for Santa Sessions
- Santa Sessions Process
- Luxury Santa Session Ideas!
- Classic vs Luxury Sessions
- More Advice to Rock Your Next Santa Session
- Connect with Lindsey!
Tavia: I am here with my friend Lindsey Brooks to talk all about how to offer Santa sessions, how to fill them, how to run them. If you’ve ever thought about running a Santa session, this is the episode for you. Lindsey, welcome to the podcast!
Lindsey: Hi, friend! Hey Tavia. How are you?
Tavia: I’m good. I am so excited that you said yes to this conversation, because Lindsey and I actually have a really funny story that I want to share with you guys before we get into it. So, Lindsey and I met back in 2016. Lindsey is local to me here in the Oklahoma City area, and we both attended a baby summit put on by Kelly Brown in 2016 in Atlanta. And it wasn’t until we both had purchased a ticket to attend that event that we met each other.
And she’s like, “I live in Norman,” which is a suburb of Oklahoma City. And I was like, “Wait, what? We live like 20 minutes away from each other! How have our paths never crossed in the photography world?” So, it took going to Atlanta for Lindsey and I to realize that we needed to be friends and we were photographers in the same city. So, yeah, super funny.
And then not long after that, Lindsey started offering her Santa sessions, and I think the very first year that you offered them, I booked one. And have been doing them ever since. And so, we, my family has participated in Lindsey’s Santa sessions for five or six years now. And so when I was thinking about this topic, I thought, I know exactly who is the perfect person to talk about Santa sessions, and that is Lindsey.
Lindsey: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me on. I’m excited.
Overwhelmed? Try Building Your Business in Your Way!
Tavia: Yeah, me too. So, before we get into the Santa Sessions part, tell us about you and your business, your niche, all that good stuff.
Lindsey: Well, I have been in the photography industry since 2007, which makes me feel really old. But I was an interior designer just for a couple years after college. I majored in that. Never thought I would do anything but design. I worked in an architecture firm. I loved it, but I did not love being in a cubicle all day doing door details, things like that. I missed having any kind of connection with people and I missed, I felt like it wasn’t, I wasn’t having an opportunity to be creative.
So, I had always done photography as a hobby, and so I started shooting families that I worked with. I did our projects at the architecture firm. So, one thing led to another. I quit my job. I started doing photography full time. I did weddings, seniors, newborns, families – pretty much you name it, I was there with a camera, ready to just shoot what’s in front of me.
I did that for several years. I had a baby in 2008. I started thinking that I wanted to kind of niche down into newborns, not do so many weddings. And so, I kind of did that. I did props and different backdrops. I had a studio. I did strobes. I kind of did all of that.
But again, I was really just thinking about what everyone else wanted and what my clients wanted. And I would show up with the cameras, so I burnt out.
That to me, looking back, I didn’t know it at the time, but I see that my heart and my style, my personal aesthetic wasn’t in what I was doing. So, I really was just tired.
I think a lot of photographers burn out about that same time. I had my second baby. I was done with photography. I thought I wanted to be a stay home mom. But then, I had clients calling me, having second babies and wanting me to just do a session here or there.
In 2015 or 2016, I thought, “Well, maybe I’ll get back into it. I’ll do things here and there. I’ll do it as a hobby. I won’t just go crazy, but I’ll just do sessions here and there.” My marriage started crumbling a little bit. I just thought, “Okay, I need to kind of step it up. I need to get back into this. I need to run a studio, a business.” I just had that desire again to really kind of go full force back into photography. But I knew I had to do something different. I couldn’t do the same thing that I did for years before.
I think I met you in 2016, I did the baby summit. I rebranded in 2017. I thought, “I’m going to do this my way.” I opened a studio – it had beautiful windows, natural light, very light and airy, and neutral – what I would consider as more of an organic or authentic approach to newborn photography – not as many props, posing, and things like that.
This really spoke to my heart and what I love to do. When I rebranded, pretty much it’s all white and greens and very neutral, is this really going to be something that people are going to respond to? And it was. So, I just started kind of growing my business again. I just kind of had a clean slate. I started over.
Lindsey: But with that, I rented a studio in 2017. And my camera room had a little fireplace. It was like a cottage, a little old house. So, I thought, “Huh, I wonder if I could do Santa sessions? Here, with the fireplace and put up a Christmas tree and just kind of make it cute and cozy.” So, I did. I found Santa online and I don’t even remember where, but we hit it off. He was amazing.
I just did, 23 sessions in 2017. I think it was just one day, about 23 sessions. Very simple, not a lot in the background except that little fireplace and a few Christmas trees, and from there, it took off. I think it kind of has almost doubled every year since.
Filling Up Slots Using Her Already-Existing Client Base
Tavia: That’s incredible. And I think that people listening to this are like, “Holy moly…you’re like on a whim, do Santa sessions, and you booked 23.” That’s a lot. How did you find those people? How did you fill it up so much the first year?
Lindsey: Well, I already had a client base, so because I had done photography for so long, I had newborn clients and I had an email base.
I think having email addresses and having a really good, solid email marketing strategy is good. But I think for the most part it was current clients or just people that I knew.
I did do, I think, some Facebook ads that first year. I really haven’t since, honestly. That’s not really one of my marketing funnels, but I think I just did some targeted ads to families around the area of my studio. But I think for the most part it was current clients or just people that I knew. I did several friends, and like you, I think came. Probably half of them was just my friends and people that I knew.
Tavia: I love it because your set stood out to me as definitely like my aesthetic, what I wanted, because it was very white and I loved that because I am not a huge fan of the super colorful, busy Santa things personally. Was that intentional on your part? Were you seeing a gap in the market to be like, “I haven’t seen anybody doing Santa sessions like this.”
Lindsey: Yes. And I had to think back, I remember when I was in high school, I did photography as a hobby and there was a local photographer in my hometown that did Santa sessions and she did them at her home and she decorated it beautifully. She had a mantle, but she did them in her home.
I remember thinking back even before I had kids, “One day, I would love to do that, if I had a beautiful home.” I could have people come and do Santa sessions. And so, I think that was a seed that was planted a long time ago.
I don’t even remember her name now. She just did them in my hometown, but they were very tastefully done.
When I rebranded in 2017, my focus and my branding was really on evoking an emotion in photographs or seeing those details, seeing the things that we want to remember. So, I think with Santa it’s that magic. It’s when, a four-year-old sees Santa for the first time and their eyes just light up and they’re in awe. Now, of course, on the flip side of that, you have an 18-month-old who sees Santa and they scream, right?
That’s the magic of it both ways. Santa has been around for so many years. My parents have old photos of them with Santa that they put out every year from when they were children. So, it’s a tradition that we’ve all grown up with. And it’s something that I was super passionate about when I had kids. I wanted to have that Santa picture every year.
And there was a place in our town, that I think both of us went. I loved the photos that we did there. But it was still just okay – sit on his lap, smile, let’s take the photo, let’s be done. There wasn’t that connection. So, I really wanted to create that connection between Santa and the child and how the child sees Santa.
And then year after year, I have clients who they started out with newborns and then their child hated Santa. The first year, Santa’s pretending to be asleep with the baby, and then the next year the child’s screaming, and then when they get about three or four years old, they are just hugging him and loving on him.
And that’s the magic of seeing that progression year after year and watching your kids grow up and experience this.
That’s something I really wanted to create. And I think just creating a very simple backdrop, focusing on how the light comes in, how the light hits his beard and, all the different aspects of just their connection with Santa, but still focusing on the photography of it, but really, not so much all of the surroundings and the props and all of the things. It’s just that beautiful light, creating those gorgeous moments of connection.
I think that goes hand in hand with what I do with my newborn sessions and my family sessions. But with Santa, there’s just that added magic to it. I can’t explain it.
Tavia: So, you’ve got your first year, you’ve got 23 sessions, and then you said each year over year it basically doubled, which I think is a testament to the experience that you’re providing people, because that’s one thing that’s great that we don’t have as newborn and birth photographers is, “They’re not having a baby every single year and not going to keep coming back to you every single year, maybe every two or three years.”
But with something like this, you’re able to have probably most of the same families returning year over year. And so, what do these sessions look like today? How many clients are you seeing, revenue, if you’re cool with that – what does it look like?
Lindsey: Yeah. So, this year I always book in July and I feel so silly doing that, but it’s honestly selfish for the most part because it’s a good time for me to book. July is typically slow for me. I think across the board. It is for photographers. It’s so hot here in Oklahoma, so everybody’s miserable. So just the thought of Christmas and something to look forward to is kind of a breath of fresh air just to think, “Okay, it’s going to be Christmas at some point. It’s not going to be 20 degrees.”
This year I booked 163 total. This year, I’m doing two different types of sessions for the first time, so we’re going to see how that goes. But what I call a Classic Session, which is your typical mini session with Santa. It’s about 5-7 minutes. And then I also am including doing a couple of more days of what I call a Luxury Santa Session, which is 20 minutes with Santa. So, it’s definitely going to be a different experience. Those I booked 18, split into two days.
This year I booked 163 total. I’ve gone from 23 (2017), in 2018 I did 61, 77 (2019), 118 (2020), 143 (2021), and then 163 this year.
I’ve gone from 23, in 2018 I did 61, 77, 118, 143, and then 163 this year. So, we’ll see. I may be dead by the time. I may be calling you, “Tavia, come bring your camera and finish this for me. I’m done!”
Tavia: I’m never doing this again.
Lindsey: And I do every after every year and I’m just like, “Okay, next year I’m maxed out. I’m maxed out. I can’t do any more than this.” And then the next year I’m like, “Oh, I can squeeze a couple more in.” And then I do. I have a wait list. So, it’s kind of gotten to be it really has a life of its own. This year, I don’t know. I probably have 1 to 30 on a wait list, so we’ll see if I can.
And it just, I have that pull to do some more and then when I have new clients who are having newborns, I hate for them not to get a Santa session. So, I think it’s very important to me that my clients who book a full session throughout the year, those are my newborn clients, because I can’t survive on just doing Santa sessions. I mean, they’re great. They’re a great source of revenue, but they do not support my business.
I really do reward my full session clients by letting them book first every year I open Santa up to them before anyone else. And so, I do it kind of in phases of if you’ve booked a full session throughout the year, you get first pick, because I definitely want them to have the opportunity at least to reserve a session.
Tavia: Yeah, absolutely. So how are you pricing these? Because I know that’s going to be a question in people’s minds is, “Is she giving all of the files? How many images are people getting? What’s the cost?” What are those details look like?
Lindsey: So truly this is opposite of my regular business day to day – my newborn, my family business is more of a luxury business. I’m very service-oriented. I want to serve my clients. I want to do artwork and heirlooms, and I preach to my clients, “Print your photos, do something with them, enjoy them. Do not just do digitals.” I’ve never just been a what we call a shoot and burn photographer. Even when I first started in 2007, I did online sales. I didn’t do in person, but I did products. I sold prints. So that’s something I believe in. So, I do preach that to my clients from my regular sessions.
Now, Santa is different. They do get the digital files, but I also do fine art prints and ornaments and things, and I do really encourage my clients to invest in keepsakes that they can put out year after year because they do get digitals. I think each year, I’ve gone up, I think in about $25 increments.
I started at $125 in 2017, and then this year I charged $225. Plus, I charge tax and processing. So, I passed that along to the client to pay those processing fees just because they are mini sessions technically. So, I passed that along to them to do the tax in the processing. I think this year I charged $225 for the Classic Santa Session.
Tavia: So, they’re doing $225 and they’re getting digital files and then you’re encouraging them to make additional purchases of prints and different things?
Lindsey: Yes. Add-ons and they get five digital images with that. So, they choose five. I put them in an online gallery, I use Pic-Time and they choose the five that they want to purchase. And if they want to purchase all of them, which I do get, depending on the session, I make it 10 to 20 images that I edit and put in their gallery. So, if they choose to purchase them all, it’s an additional, I think, $100.
Tavia: Do you have an idea of about a ballpark average with those add-ons?
Lindsey: A lot of clients do choose that a hundred dollars add-on initially. So, I offer all of my add-ons up front and then I offer them after the fact as well. So, if they want their gallery rush, like I have a lot of people who want them for their Christmas cards, they really want to get those images as soon as possible. So, I started last year offering that as an option because I can sit at my email and I can get 20 emails of “When are they going to be ready?” People are excited!
But sitting down to reply to all those emails, I thought, “I could have edited five Santa sessions in the time I’ve sat down and had to reply to all of these people.” So, I just started saying, “I edit in the order that I shoot and it takes two weeks. I try to get them out sooner. But then if you really need them for your holiday cards, then this is the rush fee.” And I’ve started just charging for that. Again, that’s something that I probably wouldn’t do in my normal business structure, but it’s like these are mini sessions and you need to book quick. You need to get them in there, book early, get a morning session. These are all the tips, but if you want those, then it’s an add-on. You have to pay for that. So that really cut down on getting all those emails because it’s kind of cut and dry. It’s like people know.
Tavia: Yeah, you’re not getting them extra.
Lindsey: Yes, and I’m not going to put somebody in front of somebody else and then get mixed up in my order of editing. No, I don’t have time for that. I shoot Santa, I sit down, I edit, and I am an editing hole with wine and cheesecake for about a week after every time. So that’s what I require – a lot of cheesecake, a lot of wine and I got to get through the editing.
Tavia: That’s so good. So, you’re talking like $30,000 to $40,000 from these Santa Sessions, is that right?
Tavia: That’s incredible.
Lindsey: Yeah. I think this year, a little north of 40.
Tavia: That’s so great. That’s so inspiring, I think for people because they think about mini sessions and they think ‘weekend family sessions,’ ‘cheap’. So, to think that you could actually literally make $30,000 to $40,000 from, and not to say they’re not a lot of work because I know they are definitely a lot of work. So don’t go into this thinking, “Oh, this will be so easy and fun seeing friends,” there is a lot. Lindsey has mastered this slowly to get to this point, right? There’s a lot that goes into it, but how cool is it that mini sessions could have this potential to be this profitable? So, I think that’s just incredible inspiration for people.
Stick to Your Business Model
Tavia: Do you have any marketing strategies or tips for somebody who might be like, “Okay, I’ve done mini sessions before and I have a similar model to you and where it’s IPS or product-based, but we do these mini sessions.” How do you get the word out about these sessions, so that they’re just multiplying every year?
Lindsey: So, I think the important thing, and the thing that I have really made it intentional not to do, is to be a mini session photographer. Before I burn out, I got caught up in doing fall mini sessions, spring mini sessions, back to school mini session – all the things.
If that works with your business model and if that’s what you what in future family, that’s great. For me, it wasn’t. I felt like I wasn’t serving my clients in the way that I wanted to. So, my business model is I do IPS, I do full-service photography, I do a full-studio wardrobe, I do installation of gallery walls in my client’s homes. From planning the session to hanging your portrait on your wall, I don’t want you to have to worry or stress or be overwhelmed about anything. That is my business structure, and that’s what I love. That’s where my heart is.
For Santa, it’s so different. But there are so many similarities at the same time. Santa Sessions, they’re five minutes. They are in and out, they are quick, they are edited, put in online gallery, they’re downloaded, people do their Christmas cards.
For Santa, it’s so different. But there are so many similarities at the same time. Santa Sessions, they’re five minutes, they are in and out. But every client that walks in the door, I want to know their kid’s names. I see familiar faces. Sometimes, I remember what they asked Santa for the year before, or he remembers the children. So, there is that personal connection and that aspect of service.
But every client that walks in the door, I want to know their kid’s names. I see familiar faces. Sometimes I remember what they asked Santa for the year before, or he does even, he remembers the children. So, there is that personal connection and that aspect of service. Now sometimes it’s all a blur. At the end of the day, I don’t know who was there. I’m like, I have no clue. It’s all a blur because it’s so crazy.
Show Up to Your Clients’ Inboxes (+ explore other marketing strategies)
But I think as far as marketing, word of mouth, really serving my clients well, having them come back, having kids who already know me from having regular sessions with me – families want that. It puts families at ease. It puts parents at ease. There’s that trust factor. They trust me to create these memories for them. So, I think it’s very important to do what you say you’re going to do and provide the service, and deliver in a timely manner, and all of those things.
As far as marketing it’s a lot of word of mouth. Like I said, the email list is very important. I think just getting in front of your clients in their email inbox, that’s the only sure way that we can connect to them one on one.
Just sending those emails, building it up before booking in July. I usually kind of have a lead up to it. And everyone gets excited about it and I even have clients share their photos from years past, and then I get to share those and there’s just such an excitement surrounding the entire event.
But I do think it’s more of an experience. It’s not just about the outcome and the photos, it’s about the experience. And that is what I strive for in my business, as well, is just I want to provide people, my clients with a beautiful experience and something that is stress-free and that they can really enjoy.
Tavia: Yeah, and I think for Santa, like we’ve said, it’s about the tradition, right, of the year and year. But if people showed up and the experience sucked and it was like the, they wouldn’t come back. And so, I think that is so key is giving that client experience year over year, like what you’ve talked about. And I didn’t even know you raised your price to be honest. So, I don’t think the people pay as close attention as we think they do.
Lindsey: Probably not. I probably overthink it and stress about it a lot more than everyone else does.
Tavia: Yeah. We all do that, right? Can you briefly tell us how you run the day of, because I know that you do them back-to-back and they’re five minutes. So what does that look like? Because that has always been what has stressed me out about mini sessions and I am not doing five-minute sessions. I’m doing 20-minute sessions or 30-minute sessions. But it’s, “Well if this person’s late, then that’s going to make me run this and that and I have to put a buffer,” and all of this stuff. And so that is a huge reason I do not like mini sessions. I have done them and will maybe continue to do them. But I would love if you could share just a little bit about what that looks like the day of and like how you’ve overcome some of those obstacles that a lot of us face when we’re doing mini sessions of just so many people in sessions back-to-back.
Lindsey: Of course. And that’s the nature of it, right? And so, I think educating the client, sending those emails saying, “Hey, these sessions are short. It’s a short encounter with Santa, so please be on time. Please be early. Please be understanding if I’m running behind. That two-year-old age that is so difficult is sometimes they require a few extra minutes, sometimes they need to warm up a little more. So, if you have older kids, remember that time when your kids were that age, or if you have a newborn, that time’s probably coming for you. So, let’s all just be understanding.”
Some days there’s really no way to plan. There are times when I’m ahead of schedule. There are times when I fall behind. I think for the most part, every year I have a couple that they don’t want to have to wait a few minutes, but for the most part it’s just trial and error. It’s figuring out what time works for everybody.
In years past, I’ve booked multiple sessions at the same time and just whoever gets there first we do their session just so that we don’t fall behind and have to wait on anyone. This year, I’m doing it a little bit different where everyone has an exact time. But again, I find for the most part, people are early to these sessions or on time. So, it really does flow pretty seamlessly other than the occasional toddler that we do have to take a little extra time for.
Tavia: Yeah, and you have somebody there helping you like stay on track, right? I think that’s really important. Because I can’t imagine photographing and trying to text the next person to come in.
Lindsey: Yes. So, before COVID, I’ve moved studios since I moved studios two years ago. But before COVID, we had people come in, check in with my assistant, then go wait in their cars or wait in my studio in a different area. But it got pretty chaotic. Then when COVID came, that was a year that was so uncertain.
I didn’t even think that I would be able to do Santa sessions and I was struggling in my business financially. I mean, I’m a single mom and COVID took a toll on all of our small businesses, but I just thought, in my mind, “This is it. I’ve worked hard to get here, but I just don’t think I can financially have a business and feed my kids anymore.” It was a very scary time.
I will never forget, I called Santa and I said, “What do you think?” He’s the one I’m concerned about with his health and his age and everything. And I said, “It is completely up to you. And I understand wholeheartedly, if you don’t want to do these this year.”
And he said, “Lindsey, I think these kids need a little bit of normalcy. I can’t imagine not doing your sessions.” And I was like, “Are you sure?” I just cried. And he said, “Yes.” And so we did them. And that was the really the turning point. I can honestly, and I will tell him, I’ll tell everybody, Santa saved my business that year.
And I didn’t think anyone would book. I thought nobody’s going to book Santa with COVID, and they’re going to be scared, and there’s going to be so many kids. And they did! That year, I booked 118. And the year before, I had booked 77, so that was the year I added a third day. People really supported it. And I don’t know if it was because of COVID or in spite of COVID, but at any rate, it was amazing. And that kept me going. It really saved my business.
So, it was a cool story. We did temperature checks, but at that time we had people stay in their cars, and then we had each family come in. My assistant wiped down all the door handles. I wiped down everything between, we took a little extra time, we did temperature checks – so we took all the precautions that we felt were necessary to get through that, but it worked out well.
So, since then, I’ve just implemented kind of a “Text us when you get here, and stay in your car, and check in, and then we’ll text you,” that works better for everybody and it allows me to have that one-on-one time. And then my studio now isn’t really geared to have a waiting area or anything like that. So, as long as people are here, they’re early, they’re checking their text, it really does run pretty seamlessly.
Tavia: So, you’ve got somebody that is here that is doing all of the corresponding with people and checking the email and checking the text and all of that stuff, so that you can just focus on taking photos.
Lindsey: Yes. I have one person helping me and then I usually, I have a friend or two who are in and out. And honestly my friends always say, “Do you need help with Santa?” They love doing it. I have one friend that’s like, “This was the best day just watching all the kids and watching. It’s just magical. I wanted to cry.” It’s kind of fun. I mean, honestly, it’s a lot, it’s hectic, it’s crazy, but it’s so fun, it’s so rewarding. It’s worth every exhausted moment.
Tavia: That’s so great. I love it. And I’m selfishly, personally very thankful that you did it in 2020. Because I would’ve been so sad to have that missing year, and I had a missing year. I’m not the only one who felt that way, obviously.
Lindsey: Yeah, well, obviously. But I had no clue. I just fully expected the worst that year. And that’s another, we don’t know where people are at and what they’re going to think, so we just have to take the risk and put it out there and see what happens.
Tavia: Yeah. So, are you feeling pretty confident year after year? At this point, you’ve pretty much doubling it or adding a significant percentage of people. So, every year, are you banking on this? Are you planning on it? Are you pretty secure in it? What does that look like for you?
Lindsey: I think since 2020, last year, and then this year, I do feel pretty secure in it. Of course, that comes with a lot of pressure and responsibility. I sometimes have nightmares that something goes wrong or I get sick. It’s easy to reschedule one session, it’s a lot harder to reschedule 50 in a day, right?
So, there’s a lot of prayers. But I think at this point I’m excited about it. I’m excited about doing the luxury sessions this year. I’ve never done that.
Lindsey: Yeah, so this year I decided to offer a 20-minute session with Santa. So, last year and even maybe the year before, I noticed I had a couple of clients who booked two sessions for their family. They just wanted more time, and more images, and for them it was worth it to book two.
So, I thought, well, I wonder if this is something that would be received well, if they want more time, and it’s a chance for me to not feel so rushed. I feel like we do our best and really provide that experience and soak up every, moment of those five minutes. But my heart is in service and my heart is in creating a great experience for my clients.
So, I wanted to offer something that included all those add-ons that was a one full session that included everything. You could just book it and not have to worry about adding all the things on. And really almost kind of mirror what I would normally do for my full signature sessions.
So, I’m excited. I’ve got some great ideas and some things that I want to offer just to those clients and really kind of spoil them and pamper them. But I’m excited to see how those are going to be. I feel like in a way that 20 minutes may feel really long because I’m used to quick sessions, but we can fill it up and I think it’s awesome. It’s just another option.
Parents Can Join The Session
Lindsey: And then I’ve included where parents can get in a few photos as well. So that’s something I don’t normally do just because to have a full family with Santa, it just takes up more time and it takes the focus off the kids. I really want my Classic Santa Sessions to have that focus on the kids and what they think of Santa that particular year, and the magic of it.
So, with these Luxury Santa Sessions, I’m including mom and dad to be in those as well and get a few. So, there’s lots of little things included in those, but I’m excited. It’ll be fun.
Tavia: So they get more time with Santa and then extras, but what’s the price difference and what’s included? If you don’t mind sharing, because I know that will be something people listening will be wondering.
Lindsey: The Classic Session, which is the five to seven-minute session is $225 and then the luxury is $625. It’s basically for the value of it and the time involved. It’s a great value, but it’s an investment.
Tavia: So, are they getting all the digital files? Are you still doing upsells after that too?
Lindsey: No. They get everything. And then each child will get a small gift, and just little things like that to make it more of that luxury experience.
Tavia: So, I could see that becoming like a thing too. You’re so smart, Lindsey! Because that’s brilliant! Again, like your original scene, the sessions stood out in such a unique way with how they were designed and the whole thing, and this is just the next level. And so are you just really in-tuned with your clients to see these things like, “Oh, they want this or that. Because I’ve noticed people booking two.”
Lindsey: Yes, and I did notice people booking too. So that made me start thinking about it. And then I also have friends that do this all over the country, so we share ideas and bounce different ideas off each other.
And so, I have a friend in Connecticut and she’s doing this as well. So, having a collaborative effort, and I think especially in our industry, sharing ideas and just getting with other photographers, we’re so alone so much of the time that it’s great have that network of other photographers that are like-minded and that have a similar business structure to bounce ideas off.
Tavia: I love it. That’s so smart. So, just to kind of wrap up here, is there anything that you want to tell a photographer who is considering adding something like this to their business? Or, maybe if they already have Santa sessions and they want to ramp them up and start booking 50 of them a year, what advice would you have for those people listening to this?
Lindsey: Oh goodness. I don’t even know. Like I said, this has honestly just taken a life of its own. I had never in a million years thought that these would be such a hit. I thought they would be something fun to do around the holidays, something different, something I can do that was a mini session, but definitely specific that did not take the place of what I would do from day to day, which I think that’s super important, not to decreasing the value of what you do each day if you are offering heavily discounted sessions doing the exact same thing.
(When running a mini session, do something) …definitely specific that did not take the place of what I would do from day to day, not to decrease the value of what you do each day if you are offering heavily discounted sessions doing the exact same thing.
So, these are differentiated enough. With Santa, they’re very specific. But I never in a million years thought that I would have to turn down people and do a wait list and things like that. In a way it’s great, but it breaks my heart at the same time because I’m such a people pleaser. I want to get everybody in and then don’t, so yeah, it’s just taken on a life of its own.
I think just creating, a beautiful experience, really just communicating well is key. And sometimes I get busy and forget to send emails or I’m like, “Okay, what do I need to do?” But really have it, like now, I have this timeline and this is what I do in June, this is what I do in July. This is what I do and I have to make a checklist and be sure I have everything; be sure I have everything prepared and I get a good night’s sleep and all those things.
But they all add up. It’s everything that is important. And just really honing in on the experience of creating something that is special for these families.
Because these Santa photos may be sitting out for holidays for years and years to come. Like I said, my parents still have, black and white photos of them with Santa. So, creating that experience and that tradition.
Tavia: No, that’s perfect. And I love that you said it right at the beginning with differentiating the sessions from your regular sessions. I think that’s super important and something that I think people could take away from this as well.
Lindsey, this has been so informative. Where could people connect with you if they want to see your work and all that good stuff?
Lindsey: Yeah, well occasionally I’m on Instagram. I have a TikTok account, Facebook, mainly Instagram is where I kind of hang out. And I have a website. But yeah, pretty much all the normal things.
Tavia: Perfect. We’ll put that in the show notes too. I know this is out of your norm to do podcast stuff, but I really appreciate it because I didn’t let Lindsey say no. I was like, I know that you have so much to share on this. Please!!! And she graciously said yes. So, thank you so much, Lindsey.
Lindsey: Yes, you’re welcome. Well, it makes a difference because it’s you, because we’re friends. But you know, our personality, you’re so much geared to this and I’m just kind of this enneagram nine over here.
Tavia: I’ll do it. I’m just crushing it over here.
Lindsey: No, but I’m just, I’m excited to do it and I’m hope I didn’t ramble too much. If anyone has any questions, I’m game to answer anything, and I’m an open book, so I love to help.
You can connect with Lindsey in these links:
I mean, it’s kind of hard for me to not want to offer Santa Sessions after that episode. It sounds so good, right? I love the way that Lindsey talked about framing the sessions to be a niche offering that’s a lot different than your full price sessions. And something that she and I talked about after this episode is how a lot of those new clients come in for Santa Sessions, get to know her in her studio, and then we’ll then go on to hire her for her full-priced sessions.
So, really cool strategy there. I hope that you got a lot out of this episode. Make sure and connect with Lindsey over on Instagram and tell her thanks for doing this episode.
And remember my friend, if you have a passion, it’s not an accident because not everyone loves the thing that you love, even though sometimes it might feel like it, right? So, whatever your passion is, it’s there for a reason, and I hope that you will get out there and make it happen. Have a great week!