Skip to main content

7 Steps to Baby Plan Success

Lesson 3 from: Baby Plans: Photographing the Early Years

Julia Kelleher

7 Steps to Baby Plan Success

Lesson 3 from: Baby Plans: Photographing the Early Years

Julia Kelleher

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

3. 7 Steps to Baby Plan Success

Julia takes you step-by-step through the topics she’ll cover in this class so you can develop a profitable baby plan.


Class Trailer



Class Introduction


What is a Baby Plan?


7 Steps to Baby Plan Success


Shooting Prep for the 4-5 Month Old "Smiling Stage"


4-5 Month Olds: Tummy Time and Headshots


4-5 Month Olds: Basket Shot


The Baby Plan Structure


Lesson Info

7 Steps to Baby Plan Success

So let's, kind of get to the nuts and bolts of what we're going to do in these next three days. I'm going to give you seven steps to baby plan success, and I know that sounds cheesy and corny, I don't like it, I like cheesy corny, but you know it and I hate to be so uh, you know how you like see on the internet, stubborn stretched to this five reasons you should that you know, it's like left and right like the major cities these days, but the reason it's closed is because it works because what it does is it takes your mind into a left brain mode we have photographers are unique budge because we use both sides of our brain are right brain is used for that creativity and to really come up with inspiration and ideas, but our left brain we work with an object, a camera that's so technical and button oriented and logical thinking our brains are wired for that we tend to be very balanced, left brain, right brain people, not always, but we tend to be pretty balanced that's one of the beautifu...

l parts that make us being good at business, you know, lots of true true, like organic artists, painters like that they suck it business because they have their left brain can't engage so they can't think logically about the stuff where it's photographers are brilliant at this and so that's kind of why I've structured it like this because I want to take your mind yes, we're discussing baby fans we're going to go into the right brain and get creative and fun with the babies but this is about business too and I want you to have a method that's a checklist that will we gotta go okay, I've got that done now I have none of that we've got that done I'm a list checker if I can call like I'll put stuff on my list just cross it out you've already done you do that so do you do that for you like you get something done and then you put it on the list so you can cross off I'm good that was all the way back I didn't it's it's such a silly thing but it's so it's such a feeling of accomplishment and so I really want you to feel accomplished at the end of this course is why you have these seven steps but you can check on going out and I done it done check move on okay because it gives you a sense of accomplishment it gives you goals and it gives you one two, three nothin which I think is so incredibly powerful so you guys ready to see the steps everybody excited, it's not that exciting, but that's okay, that's okay, you through the steps. Number one, we're gonna structure our plan. How many sessions we doing? What's a session fee. You know which sessions are we doing? Which age? In the stages. Okay, so that's, the basic thing you want to think about the structure? About how it's going to look over the course of a year. Number two, you develop your product line, I'm going to go into a little bit more, but you're gonna develop your product line. We're gonna start thinking about the annual product line, right? We're thinking about this whole. Yes. We have a structure of this session this session this session, but when it comes to product line development, we're going to step outside that and go. Okay? The whole thing is one. How are we going to create products for the whole all three sessions that create one look for the end of the year? Okay, we're going to price our product line, so not only do we have to price the individual items, but we have to think about maybe offering collections that get people to spend a certain amount. How are we going to incentivize and create a package structure that really makes people go, yeah, should spend more it's worth it. This much more money and I'll get this much more okay? We're going to talk about the different systems in ways you could do that. I'm going to tell you what I have done in the past and what we now are at that works for us, it will work differently for every single person out there that's the reason I'm going to tell you lots of different ways to do this so you can latch on to what works, how you think and because everybody that's the beauty of business and art is we all have different mind sets we all have different ways of thinking in different ways of making decisions. So what works for me isn't that still gonna work for you? But I'm going to teach you different ways to do it so you can go analyzing your brain and go okay, yeah, that would work or you may take two ideas that I've got run with it and combine it to make your own, but it has to be true and authentic to who you are because then you'll really be able to sell it and you'll be able to own it and you'll be ableto stick with it, okay um we're gonna talk about creating systems internally within your studio shooting system, I want you to have a clear set of shooting a shooting system shots you're going to get how many you're going to get and what looks and backdrops imposes you're going to get for every single session and that's going to stay the same for every single session no matter what you do grated can you wander off from that? Of course, but I want your clients to get a consistent product that's the same every single time so that every client who comes and does a four month session with you knows they're going to get what you've delivered for their friend suzie down the street hello client organization you've got these people with you for a full year, right? So we gotta be organized about it gotta keep them in the pipeline and make sure we don't drop the ball on anything sale system we have to have a system of sale so that clients spend every single time at the place we want them to spend correct, and I'm not going to go super heavy into that because I didn't entire course on that on creative live last february, so you can refer to that should you want to get really deep into sales but you need a good sale system file an image management workflow okay, how your file's coming in the camera where you putting him how you're organizing them, you've got a year to deal with this and products that every session that are going to culminate into a year and product you got to make sure you hang onto all this stuff, keep it unorganized place and back it up. We're going to talk about communications with your clients and how to create a system of communications that's efficient, easy and you're not typing out the same darn email every single time the same client comes through your door. Granted that's the simplest form of it, but there's other ways that you can come up with communication systems that are efficient, effective, okay, you're going to create maybe playing policies. Now. I know most of you who have operating studios right now probably have a set of policies, right? It's different for a yearlong client there with you an entire year? What happens if they ditch out on a session? What happens if they don't order in time in the next session is coming up. I have a client like that right now who? I think in the last two years. This is the on ly baby planner who has not finished baby plan. It'll happen, by the way, even if you have everything is bomb proof as you can possibly get it, and we shot the six month session. She still hasn't come back for the organ appointment that was in december. She still hasn't come back for the hors d'oeuvres appointment for that sick and granted it was my fault too because my son was sick you know how this kind of stuff happens that one client everything bad happens to do you know that one client like no matter what you do it just like snowballs oh yeah yeah anyway s oh it's a part of our fault but the one year session is coming up she still hadn't seen the images from the six month session so what do you have for policies to combat that and help you through that okay so the client remember how I have talked about the past about the sandbox you know this is my sandbox and you can come play with me in it but I have some rules that you have to take off before you come through the door because you can't stand it because I'll be really upset you know it's childlike behavior but it works I want to play with you we could build a really cool sandcastle together but you gotta be nice and not for standing me okay that's what we're telling our claims on dh creating collateral so if you're going to create a new line in your studio that's exclusive that has a different look maybe you want to create some marking pieces there some clatter both internal and external for the client that goes out of the studio to market that and to promote that and give it a different look but how do you do that while still aligning it with what you already have in your studio's your brand you don't want them to be so different that it looks like two separate business is okay and of course launching and promoting is the final step once everything internally has done, then you're ready to let it go out to the world don't do it before then, you'll you'll kick yourself okay, okay, so let's talk briefly how to structure we're gonna get very briefly we're getting more in depth this afternoon so the question is, which agents agents? How many sessions what's the session fee? What will motivate your client and what's best for your bottom line is really what you need to consider when it comes to step one of a set of seven steps system okay, so we're going to discuss which ages and stages you should do how many sessions I mean there's people out there who do maternity, newborn four months, six months, nine months, twelve months in the first year, a lot of sessions not in their averages go way down because of it, you know, not everybody I mean there's people out there who are rocking it with that kind of plan, but you're not going to have as many baby planners and your averages might be lower over long haul but you may end up making the same amount of money at the end of the year as I would with fewer sessions but higher averages I don't want to shoot that much I would rather shoot two or three times in the year make a higher average procession still make the same amount the end of the year but not be filling my calendar quite as much so that it overwhelms me okay, what about your product line what will you carry in your studio? This is where those of you who are about to either building plan or restructure it this is what you're really gonna latch onto in love when you start thinking in annual state of mind your whole perspective on your baby plan will change because now all of a sudden it's not about the product at each session it's about the product that they're going to get at the end of the year okay so it's not just about canvas and brag books it's about unique sellable different products that are incremental that build to make a year and think this means getting creative and thinking outside the box okay this means doing things that wow your client in ways they go wow no other photographers doing that that's really cute and how unique is that? How much that does that speak to what I experienced as a mother that first year okay, because the baby is not your client, mama is so you need to speak to mama with the products that you're delivering to her. Okay? Pricing your products. Okay, this is where you guys know I'm a heckler for how much money do you need in each session to survive? What do your cost of goods, how much value I'm going to give you a whole table, a table chart that you can fill that in fact, this is in the freebie a table chart that you can fill out and analyze products that you're considering carrying and ask yourself things like what's the perceived value what's my profit margin, how much time does it take to produce? What are the pros and cons of carrying it? I mean, it could be a simple as the lab's ordering process is a pain in the booty. I don't wanna deal with it, you know? I mean, there are products I won't carry because even though there they're low cost of good, they're high perceived value of the client. It takes me for an hour to order it off the client off the system that this lab has because and it's just too involved, I'm not going to do that for one product not worth my time. So I want you to start thinking about these things when it comes to developing a product line on what's going to be good for you good for the client and good for the profitability good for the relationship that you're going to continue to have with the client throughout one year okay, so think about product delivery differently create those systems okay, I always say this a system keeps you saying and it keeps your business consistent we're going to develop shooting systems, client organization systems, communications systems and file management systems that really wants you launch your baby plan nearly like I'm set up for about a thing I don't know what I'm doing okay that's how I want you to feel when you're done with this and then of course those policies okay, your policies have to account for the long term relationship stick to your policies even when you get that close to that client when you get a relationship with them that's deep you want to make sure you stick to that so the materials that you're going to promote your baby plan with how do you create all this and get it launched? This is a big task that has a lot of many steps in it you're gonna want to launch it on your website you're gonna want to create a promotion materials client education materials about your product line and how it works because once you have the annual state of mind, you have to communicate that to your client, right? Because they've never seen this before. They don't know what creating a product over three sessions means ho oh, I get a canvas that this session yes, and you get the next campus for the next test in the next camp, the next session and the final campus that completes the whole thing, you'll get that in the beginning so you can see how it goes, but trust me, I know you guys are confused right now, but I will show you what I mean here when we talk about products and you're going to be excited to see it because it's going to give you think, well, I hope you're excited because I hope it really gives you ah way too think about product delivery in a way that teases the client to finish dreaming that give makes I know all your minds are going right now I can't think about that. What can I do? What can I create? Okay? We're going to talk about the difference being printed and digital collateral like what do you need should you have printed? Should you have digital said you have both what the pros and cons of both, and then of course we're going to launch and promote it when the launch how to do it how to market it, converting currently born clients and talking it up one that's one of my single highest resource is of new clients knew baby panic clients is the, uh, talking it up in the newborn session and talking it up from before they've even come in for the session all the way through the ordering appointment and then providing them incentive to join at the newborn ordering appointment. Okay, um, hot, of course, create buzz in your community about your baby plan and pre qualifying your leads. Whitney english said something so brilliant I love her she's a great business person has actually has a really neat course out right now on howto launch a business of any kind, she said, don't put the system in place that starts something, put the system in place that runs something, and how true is that? We all are good at starting stuff. We're all good at starting our business and starting a website and getting all this stuff in place. But what about a system for maintaining that website and keeping it fresh? What about a system for communication? You're great at the initial communication with their client, but what about maintaining it over the long haul? And would it be nice to have a system so literally guys, what I want you to be able to dio is hand over the reins of your baby plan to someone else and be able to walk out the door and it'll run by itself. Would that be nice that's the goal? Because then I mean, obviously you have to shoot it I mean, you know what I'm saying? I say that with in an idealistic way because it is somewhat idealistic cause we're artists and ultimately we are what our client wants and that's a talk about insecurity breeding things anyway, I mean, here we are putting our soul out there on our work and saying like me enough to buy me you know, I mean that's a huge insecurity breeding thing in our industry a cz artists we struggle with that and it's very self worth challenging to say am I good enough to buy? But if you can get systems in place that create such so that you can really focus on your art and who you are as an artist and the systems will run everything, then it's it's less stressful there's not as much to think about it it's just a matter of tweaking, pushing things along the way to make sure everything stays in line and then you can hire people and let them run your systems okay, I know this seems like this out of reach thing right now but it's not that far out of reach mean I've been in business since officially since two thousand six full time since two thousand eight and um I hired belinda as my nanny initially in two thousand eleven she didn't come on board in the studio until two thousand twelve and she was only part time so in three years I've only had people working for me for in the last few years and so it's not that out of reach I mean it's gonna happen to you if you if you do this well and efficiently and grow a business in a way that's organized you know? I mean okay, so next we're going to shoot tummy time we're gonna do things a little out of kilter so I just kind of explain the scheduled to you a little bit every day we're going to shoot in the second segment of the day so we're going to shoot and I'm going to teach you to create systems in your shooting during that time slot and the reason I did that is because babies are best in the morning and those of you who have photographed babies in the past no that babies that first nap is usually kind of eight o'clock early morning so this next segment is like the perfect time period for little babies to come in and be happy because an overtired baby is not fun shift so we're going to do all of our sessions were going to shoot that four months tummy time stage in this next segment and then tomorrow on this segment we're going to shoot the six to eight month stage where they're sitting up unassisted and then on friday we're going to do the one year in the cake smash stage but I want to teach you the shooting systems within that second segment of the day and then otherwise those seven steps we're going to go through them logically and in order other than the actual shooting systems does that does that makes sense because and the reason for that was so we could get the babies in the morning so that I can increase my odds of having happy babies but now that I said that I'd probably just taste myself okay, so we have a little four month old baby girl I believe coming in we did have a little boy but he's he called late last night and he's not feeling good today so we just have one baby in this next segment so it might end up being a little bit short of a segment most babies on lee this age lasts about a half an hour at the most okay, so keep that in mind they're there attention san spanish shorter but we're going to talk about gear we're going to talk about props we're gonna talk about setups we're going to talk about white balancing and we're going to discuss, uh shooting the different poses of the different ages and what problems you're going to encounter this age like and how to deal with him okay? And then of course, after lunch we're going to talk about structuring a baby plan in depth and then later we're going to discuss consultations today and so that's kind of them the major schedule for the afternoon but jam packed lots of information the next three days I'm super excited share it with you all and so is any questions from the audience while we well, we wrap up here for the first segment well, thank you so much, julia it's so great to have you back. We have a lot of people in our chat rooms who have been with you before as well as recognize some of our folks in the studio audience so that's always a really fun to see. I did also want to say simply fam in the chaplain says thank you, julia, for presenting ideas that work across all genres so that was exciting to see like when we started out saying, who is this class for? So that was great a lot of the questions that are coming in I know are things that were going teo get in a bit but maybe briefly you could talk teo thiss user who says I love the benefits baby plans give me as a photographer but how do I explain the benefits of a baby plan to a client and that has seven votes by the way so there you can vote on the questions as they're coming in but this came through right when you were talking about that emotional bit about what it means to be a mother in that first year and how crazy it is so is does that sort of that emotional play come into when you are explaining the benefits to your client is this is a challenge with new moms because you're trying to get them to join the baby plans before they've even ever experience what they're about to experience in the first year the second time moms it's usually a little easier but then you always have a problem that they go oh well we didn't do it for suzy we probably shouldn't do it for johnny either, you know? And then you got about all that but for first you know most of my no I shouldn't think most haven't actually measured which how many first time moms I have versus second time it's probably pretty split but for first time moms the value it's so hard when I teach his crib lives class because so much of the content from each class transfers over to the next because in previous classes, I've talked a lot about purpose and marketing from your why and, you know, people don't buy what you do, they by what you believe and why you do it and so when you brand from and market from that perspective rather than capture the first year don't miss it kind of mentality, which is fine, but it's blanket marketing that people have tried in the past and doesn't have a unique spin to it when you mark it from that standpoint, I don't miss the first year, you know, capture all the stages kind of thing, that message is a commodity, everybody says that, you know, I mean, don't miss the first here, then you're relying on things like your customer service, the previous experience, how you look you're relying on other things to get your clients in the door, not the marketing at message itself. When you speak from when you promote your baby plan from a standpoint, you know, I have to admit that my tagline for my baby plan is the first year forever, so it is it does have that kind of capture and don't miss that kind of mentality, but the marketing message that we relate in the studio, as you know, we're getting a newborn client trying to convert them into baby plan is more along the lines of what I talked about earlier from the perspective of what it means to get through that first year as a mother like and I'm doing a whole segment on marketing to mothers like and we're going to talk about different ads out their commercials really good effective marketing messages that other companies have made to target mothers and that's our client right ours mothers so you know there's different ways to go about it with humor with sentimentality with the pride she hasn't our family with the experiences she's gone through there's so many ways that you khun take these beliefs and relate them to what you believe and put that into a marketing message that speaks from a different place that speaks from a place of wow you did it you're a mother now and you made it through the first year and through all the tears and the sleepless night and the the first cold and flew to the fever at two o'clock in the morning to the giggles and the last and the first time they smiled at you and all you know all these ups and downs roller coaster that you've been on in in that year of life that you're about to go on because his first time mom right this roller coaster you're going about to go on is the hardest and most beautiful thing that you'll ever do in your life and I know you don't know what it's like right now because you've never experienced it but all I can tell you is that it's magical and that its soul defining, you know, I mean, like, when you speak from that message and like, I will say that to a client when she's in the newborn and she's asking questions about the baby plan b like, you know, why should I do this? No, well, number one captured that first year don't miss it, you know, kind of thing say, well, for me and I usually speak for my own experience because, you know, I have a child, I've been through it, but those of you who don't have children can still speak to this message. You say something along the lines of, you know, I know this is the first time for you, and you don't really know what's coming in the first year, but you're about to go through a journey that is such a wild ride and at the end of it, when your baby is no longer a baby and is now a toddler, it's, life affirming and life defining and getting through that first year is such a right of passage that you made it. And yes, when you give birth, you become a mother, but when you get through the first year, you're a mom. You know what I mean? And so when you can speak to that message, your client goes, yeah, I do need thio because now it becomes about them, not about their baby, which you want to balance that message. You want to be about baby, of course, because it's their child, but it's also about mom and what she's been through, and you want to capture the journey of her, going from being a mother to turning into mom, okay, that makes sense. So that's the message I would go from, but what you need to do is dig deep inside you and be different for those of you who don't have kids it's going to be a different message for you, and it doesn't mean that you can't market from the same point of view that someone who has had kids does you have to dig a little deeper to understand that where that's coming from, I have to suggest that you talk to a lot of moms about their experience in the first year and what it meant to them, but just make sure you believe it. You may not have experienced it, but if you believe it, then that's okay, because the customer will buy what you believe.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Customizable BP Postcard Templates
Customizable Recipe Tag Templates
Customizable Stat Card Templates
Baby Plan Images
How The Baby Plan Works
Baby Plan Resource Guide
Baby Plan Success Checklist

Ratings and Reviews

Natalia Malinko

I just finished to watch this course. And I confess: I've been struggled all the time during the viewing to say already: I LOVE IT! So, I LOVE this course! Julia is so nice teacher, and photographer, and person. And she is so incredible organizator of whole child's photography business. She is amazing, so meticulous, so persuasive trough all and each one of the important points of this business. And she is just great in the part of studio´s shooting examples with the babies. This is one of the best and most valuable courses I found in Creative Live, thanks!

Dawn Potter

I've been so fortunate to be able to be a part of the Live audience experience with Julia. She is an amazing person, photographer and teacher. She does a fantastic job of explaining in detail, the steps she has taken that have helped her success as well as the steps that have set her back. We are so lucky to be able to learn from her experiences and to have someone who is willing to put herself out there to teach us and help us to grow as photographers. For anyone considering adding a Baby Plan to their portrait offerings, this class is a MUST have. Julia, you are #awesomesauce !! xoxo - Dawn Potter

Student Work