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by Mary Fisk-Taylor, M. Photog., Cr., CPP, ABI, API
Over a year ago we opened a new studio in Midlothian, Virginia. This new studio is a great compliment to our existing high-end portrait and wedding studio in Richmond’s west end. We wanted a new location that would be a fresh and funky space and would allow us to create fun children’s portraits and build a high school senior portrait business. We have been ecstatic with the
community’s response and success of this studio. We have also been pleasantly surprised with the two new business models that have grown from this portrait studio; we have managed to build an event and party division that we did not even expect.
Real Life Parties has been a fantastic way to make some extra income, but more importantly get potential clients in our door several times a month. We have embraced our birthday and special occasion party option as a marketing tool as well as a revenue source because it is not unusual for 25 or 30 kids and their parents to come through our studio on a Friday night or Saturday.
We offer three different Real Life Parties options, from our very basic event to a “Party Like a Rock Star” version which is a turnkey party that my clients love!! The investment level for the parties is not in everyone’s price range, however, we have managed to book one to two parties a month. I have advertised the parties on our Facebook page and a local Richmond mom’s blog. Both of these
marketing tools are completely free and have proved to be very effective. The rest of my party bookings have come from referrals from other happy clients.
All of the party collections include the use of our space and a 4×6 printed image of each party attendee or friend group. So, each child or teen goes home with a fun 4×6 image from the event of
either themselves or him or her with their friends. The larger event collections also include crafts, food, drinks and gift bags. We have our rock star collections which include a birthday signature portrait, custom portrait invitations, thank you notes and a birthday press printed memory book
after the event. We even have the ice cream man come to the larger events, which is a sure hit with the kids and adults!!
These parties obviously work well for birthdays, but we have also celebrated other events such
as cotillion after parties, graduation celebrations and bar/bat mitzvah pre-event parties. Regardless of the occasion we have some great families visiting our studio with their kids and teens. A member of the party staff greets them all and we keep a stack of complimentary Real Life session cards at the door for them to pick up if they are interested. To date we have been able to book over 22 portrait sessions from these parties, which is just the icing on the Real Life Party Cake!