How I Planned a Mother's Day Mini Session Event that Sold Out in 4 Days

04.30.2017

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you'll know that a few weeks ago I started planning my first Mother's Day photo event, Mommy and Me Mini Sessions at a rustic looking studio I stumbled upon in the Distillery District. 

I didn't want to offer just another mini session with a generic hanging backdrop in a small room. I had this vision of creating a dreamy and inspiring space with floor to ceiling windows and boho style furniture. A space where mamas and their darlings would feel special, with enough room for them to cuddle or dance around and have a beautiful set of photos to remember those moments by.  So, I decided to do something I've never done before and go all in with these photos. I wanted clients who signed up for the sessions to have an amazing experience.

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Yes, I realize I'm a photographer so taking family portraits is definitely not something I've never done before but for the first time, I decided to:

  • pre-book a full day at a studio (that didn't offer any cancellation refunds)
  • partner with a stylist who was willing to join me on this crazy adventure (now I'll have someone to be accountable to if I don't book any spots!)
  • do a casting call for test shots through Instagram (what if they hate the set or the photos turn out horrible?)
  • create a video trailer to promote the session (is this a terrible idea?)
  • run a Facebook ad campaign (is this an even worse idea? What if no one likes it or the ad ends up with a page full of negative comments?)

Those were the thoughts inside my head every step of the way. Typing these out, they don't sound so intimidating but trust me, I had my share of sleepless nights thinking about how I was going to make all this happen and most importantly, how was I going to fill those 12 spots? Well, here's how I did it, one step at a time.

First step, I wanted to show everyone exactly what they could expect at these sessions so we scheduled a day for test shots at the studio. With the help of the wonderful Julia Salk, the stylist who came on board, she built on this vision for the sessions and made the set come to life. The images from the test shoot turned out more beautiful than I could ever imagine and we shared these on our Instagram feeds, Instastories and Facebook pages. The moms we asked to model also happened to share those images through their Instagram accounts with such wonderful comments about their experience, which I'm so grateful for. From this first round of shares, we got 3 bookings! 3 down, 9 to go. 

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During the test shoot, I had taken a few video clips of the moms playing and cuddling with their little ones. The mister (it helps to have a partner who also produces and edits video!) used the clips to put together a one minute promotional video which turned out wonderful but was still missing something.

I thought, how cute would it be if we had a child talk about their favourite things to do with their mom? Answer - VERY CUTE. I have a good friend who would tell me all the time about these adorable things her toddler son would say to her. I asked her if we could have her son answer some questions to use as a voice over for this video. Before I could even set up a time or plan out the questions, she had already texted me some voice recordings from her phone! And they were perfect. Here's the final video we created:

With this video, I created a Facebook ad campaign to share with people outside of my Instagram followers and Facebook fans, then I held my breath. I still remember, the ad was posted on a Monday morning and that same evening I got a notification about a booking. A few hours later, another booking. I could not believe it. Then the next day 2 more bookings came in and 4 days after I started the ad campaign, we were fully sold out. 

When I think back to how the sessions booked up so quickly, I'm still in shock. In my mind, I had visions of the weeks leading up to the event where I'd be stressed out trying to email people, following up with them and trying to figure out how else to tell the world that this was happening. I had even prepared designs to print as postcards (Julia had kindly offered to hand these out in her area) but we never even ended up printing them. 

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So why am I sharing this? One, I'm so grateful that the people who saw our images or this video saw value in what I was offering and booked a session. Thank you and I'm so excited to meet you and your kids on May 6. We're going to have an amazing time!

Second, I'm so lucky to be surrounded by both talented and supportive people who all played a part in making this happen. A big hug and thanks to these people here:
Our stylist: Julia Salk
Promotional shoot moms: Melody Alagraa & Emily Wienmann
Promotional video editor: Ernest Chan
Promotional video voice over: Diala & Koa Winter

Third, I know that some of you who read my posts are also on a journey to start your own creative business. My hope for you is that whatever stage you are at, when faced with an opportunity to do something great, don't let your fear of failure stop you from even giving it a try. Go for it and it will be amazing. And if it's not, then learn from it and make it amazing the next time, or the next time after that. 

Is there something you've always wanted to do but haven't because you're afraid of how it's going to turn out? Tell me about it in the comments below and what your biggest fear is that's stopping you from doing it. 

xoxo,
Vivian


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