Business + Marketing

Holiday Portrait Sessions: One Photographer’s Approach

October 1, 2021

By Natalie Licini

Holiday season is my favorite—and busiest—time of year at Je Revele Fine Art Photography. Returning clients for my holiday family photo sessions know to book early because I have limited openings twice daily on Monday through Thursday. As you embark on your own holiday shoot schedule and planning, here are some helpful tips on pricing, marketing, product offerings, styling, session formats and the best methods and platforms for client communication.

Holiday Family Photo Sessions Pricing & Direct Mail Marketing 

A session reservation is $289 plus+ tax and includes a complimentary design appointment to plan for wall portraits, albums, image boxes and gifts, which are purchased separately.  

We offer same-day viewing and order appointments. Clients appreciate the convenience of one appointment for the photo session, viewing their images right away and purchasing their favorites. We have the privilege of designing custom holiday cards for about half of our clients during this time. This provides what I consider “paid for direct mail marketing” for my brand.

holiday family photo sessions include children together in fancy clothing and interesting backgrounds like this castle backdrop.

Printed Products 

We have incorporated the luxury Queensberry line of beautiful flush-mount albums and their 8 x 10 premier boxes which has enhanced our studio client average significantly!

[Read: How to Boost In-Person Sales with Photo Product Upsells]
Since the holiday season is very busy, we design our albums with Smart Albums software, which really speeds up the design process and allows clients to preview their album design and easily request changes. I offer these changes at no additional charge when selected at the time of their ordering appointment. 

holiday portrait sessions work well when using holiday colors for subjects, like this mom and daughter in red dresses.

Wardrobe and Styling for Portraits

For holiday photos, we recommend and help select two different outfits
for wardrobe: formal or semi-casual with fall or holiday colors. 

Some of my clients who are semi-casual might wear ribbed sweaters, skirts and tops or even slacks or jeans. Just make sure to communicate ahead of time and make sure they know to bring their own clothes. Give suggestions if they want them. 

Some of my formal clients might add in-house hair and makeup styling. Adding this service offer almost always means that they create a larger package because of the planning and preparation time that they invest in their session and the final outcome of the portraits.  

Full Sessions vs. Mini Portrait Sessions  

I do not offer mini sessions during this time because clients want perfectly posed photos with beautiful smiles regardless of the time frame allotted. Having a full session guarantees a range of portraits to select from and helps clients build a fuller collection with wall art and products. Portrait sessions may start as late as 4 p.m., but sometimes parents take kids out of school an hour early to have optimal time for the best lighting and preparation.   

[Read: Extended Family Portrait Sessions: Tradition Returns Amid Pandemic’s Losses]

Client Communication

For better communication with clients, we have incorporated text marketing through I have found that my clients have moved away from opening emails and prefer the instant connection through texting.  

Throughout the year, I build a holiday database on Buzzy Text, which makes staying in touch, communicating and delivering pertinent information seamless. I can even schedule out specific info and appointment reminders in advance as well as plan all follow-up.  

Every August, I send a mass text to my database that looks individualized to invite clients in for a special holiday session. I text out a promo image with a family photo and my logo to advertise the sessions and add a call-to-action in the text to give them a reason to reply! Text marketing has been a huge game-changer for my business.  

Another game-changer has been relying on the following key tips that will help ensure your holiday sessions are profitable:  

1. Send out reminders early to your best clients.  
2. Incorporate planning sessions to get moms invested in the final outcome.  
3. Show what you want to sell! I want clients to see, touch and feel the products.
4. Make suggestions and stay in the lead.  
5. Add personal touches with something that is customized to the client. Invest in each and every client and make them feel like your favorites. 

Natalie Licini is an award-winning photographer and global speaker who has a studio in a historic New Jersey castle as her flagship studio, Je Revele. A recipient of a multitude of international photography awards, Natalie gives back to the photography community through workshops, teaching and speaking engagements. She is also honored to be a judge at WPPI The Annual’s live judging event year after year.