The Secret To Creating Baby Plans That Work: Newborn Photography

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How to Create Baby Plans That Work

As a newborn photographer it’s obvious to all of my friends, family and clients that my most favorite subject to photograph is those brand new, fresh from the womb, teeny tiny babes.  I could photograph them day in and day out.

But I’ll be honest, seeing those sweet little infants return months later- over and over as they grow throughout that first year, is so much fun as I get to know them and their families more and more with each session.

I changed my business model about 5 years ago to {almost} exclusively shooting newborns.  During this time I’ve tried several different “baby plans” in an attempt to provide milestone photographs for my clients and their babies.  I’d like to share with you what has and has not worked for me and hopefully you’ll get some fresh new ideas to try for yourself, your business and your clients.

THE PRE-PAID BABY PLAN

I’ve seen this done several ways and even tried it a few different ways myself.  The most common way is to offer a plan that includes the newborn session as well 2-3 other sessions throughout the baby’s 1st year. Most photographers charge a set fee that includes each session, a print (or more) from each session, and possibly even a product at the end of the year that combines photos from each session.

This plan was the least effective for me.  Most clients would invest in more than the included photos from the newborn session, making it well worth my time,  but then with the other sessions (4 months, 6 months, 1 year), the investment was typically much smaller, sometimes not more than a photo or two in addition to the included investment.  I implemented this plan earlier on in my business and hadn’t figured out the art of up-selling or really being a sales-woman at all.  This plan was basically a flop for me.

THE BOGO BABY PLAN

Or in my case, instead of “buy one get one”, I offered the 3rd session booked within a year for free.  Nothing more. Nothing less.  At the newborn session (or if they asked about baby plans while booking the newborn session), I would simply let my client know that if they booked 3 sessions in the first year, the 3rd session fee would be free.  I let them know that the best times to come during that first year were for newborn photos (before 2 weeks), once their baby could sit but not crawl (around 6 months), and then again at 1 year to celebrate baby’s first birthday.

The idea behind going this route was to offer an incentive for the clients to come back, but not to come back so often that the need or desire for purchasing prints was gone.  The other benefit of this plan was that it was relatively low maintenance.  While this plan worked better for me and my selling style (or lack of), there was no “call to action” or “book now” incentive.  So while it was a good offer, it often got put on the table and then forgotten about.  People get busy and if they’re not already committed to a session, then it will often get put off or pushed back until it’s too late.

THE BABY CLUB PLAN

This plan takes the ideas of both the previous plans and combines them into what seems to be, the closest to perfect plan that I’ve tried.  Here are some reasons that this plan tends to work better than the previous two:

  1. The newborn session is not included in the plan, however clients that have booked their newborn session with me get a discount when signing up.
  2. There is an initial fee to enter the club.  This fee covers the session fees for the next 3 sessions throughout baby’s first year. I also include a DVD slideshow at the end of the year which will include all of the *images purchased* from their 3 sessions.
  3. The DVD slideshow, which is included in the club entrance fee, will only include images that they’ve already paid for throughout the year.
  4. I recommend that my clients come in when the baby can lay on their tummy and lift their head for a longer period of time (around 4 months), then again when they are sitting but not yet crawling (around 7 months), and then again at 1 year.
  5. Members of the club are able to purchase from a special pricing menu in which both the digital and print collections are smaller than collections in my regular pricing menu.
  6. I welcome mom, dad and siblings to be part of one of the sessions, but suggest that the session that will fall during comfortable outdoor temperatures, be the one we set aside for family photos.
  7. I offer year-end incentive gifts to those clients that spend a certain amount at each session – again, I try to make this amount reachable for my clients and not overwhelming.

As a photographer, I take pictures of my kids ALL.THE.TIME!  With my last baby, I took pictures of her every day for the first 2 weeks, then at least once a month for the next year.  I do yearly sessions with all 5 of my children on or around their birthdays.  And in-between all of those planned mini-sessions, there are the frequent snapshots.  I know and value the importance of capturing our kid’s milestones, changing features, and everyday life.  I wanted to create an option for my clients that was do-able so that they could have the same. The Baby Club Plan seems to achieve those results while still being a good option to offer from a business stand-point.  Hopefully these suggestions will help you to create something that will work for you and your clients as well!

Amanda Andrews is a newborn and baby photographer based in the Boise, Idaho area. She has been in business for 7 years now and has been specializing in infants for the past 5 years.  When she’s not at the studio, you’ll most likely find her hanging out with her hubby and 5 crazy kids! You can see more of her work on her website, or follow her on Facebook.

 

 

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2 Comments and 0 Replies



  1. 1
    Jamie says:

    This article was super helpful! Thanks!

  2. 2
    Chris says:

    This is so helpful. Thank you.

    I have one question. You said you offer a year-end incentive gift for those that spend a certain amount at each session. Can you be a little more specific? I’m not exactly understanding.

    Thanks!



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