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Is a Mini Session the Right Choice for You?

Mini sessions are a great way to update your family photos in a very short period of time, and at a slightly lower price than a full photography session.  As a mother myself, I definitely see the appeal of capturing a small collection of portraits quickly and efficiently. If you enjoy having your family photographed, you may have considered whether a mini session or a full session is the best fit for you.  Mini sessions aren’t right for everyone, but they are a wonderful fit for some clients. Here are some things to think about while determining whether or not you and your family will benefit from a mini session.

What are your desires and expectations?

Mini sessions are great if client and photographer share similar goals and expectations. A mini session is definitely not for you if you have a very particular and extensive shot list in mind. Your time in front of the camera is limited, and it is typically impossible to work down a list and check off a particular set of pre-determined images. Despite the fact that I always consult with clients about their family and their hopes for our mini session (and I do my best to honor those requests! ), the sessions can often feel like they’re over in the blink of an eye. It’s absolutely OK to have a few requests and goals, but if you have a larger list, a full session would work better for you so that we can check off everything on your list.

If you only need a few high-quality pictures, have a small wish list, and are ready to go with the flow of a quick, unpredictable time frame, a mini session can be the appropriate choice for you. If you have a longer, more specific series of photos in mind and you don’t feel comfortable with the unpredictability of a shorter session to complete them in, a mini session might NOT be the correct choice for you.

Is this doable for your kids?

In order to get the kids I work with to warm up to me as fast as possible, I try extremely hard to be highly engaging and enjoyable.  Despite my best efforts, there will always be kids who simply don’t warm up in the time allotted for a small session. And that’s completely understandable! I’m a stranger, and for more fearful or shy children, it just takes longer for them to feel comfortable.  Other  children will struggle to participate because they have such high levels of activity and energy. For these children, a full session may be a better fit as it allows me to follow their lead, take frequent breaks, and ensure we get images that capture their energy perfectly.

If you’re okay with capturing your children exactly as they are—smiling (or not), climbing, wiggling, or doing everything in between—a mini session could work well for you. Or perhaps you have slightly older kids who are particularly calm and attentive who you know will have no trouble following directions during our brief time slot.

But if you are particular about the images you receive, or if you have a challenging or high-energy child (I have one of those!), a mini session may not be the ideal choice for you. But a full session may be perfect! With more time, we can work out the wiggles, get comfortable with each other, and play until everyone is showing authentic expressions for me to capture. 

The financial consideration.

A mini session can be a great option if you’re on a tight budget. They are also ideal for those shorter update sessions between your annual full sessions. Maybe you want a few images for a holiday card, or some updated images showing Johnny’s new haircut or Jenny’s cute gap-teeth smile. A mini session is a great way to memorialize those smaller milestones between your annual full session.

Are you able to be flexible?

Because mini sessions are usually scheduled back to back, being on time is crucial. This could be a source of stress if you struggle with punctuality (like me most mornings at school drop off!). Usually, photographers are unable to make up any time missed since there is another person whose spot is immediately after yours. As a result, if you arrive late you will forfeit those minutes and be unable to make them up.

If you’re extremely organized and certain that you can get your family out the door and to your session before it begins, a mini session could be the best choice for you. If you’re honest with yourself and realize it would be difficult to keep a very specific session timeframe, or if your children have more rigid routines from which you don’t feel comfortable straying, a mini session might NOT be the appropriate choice for you. In all honesty, I frequently fall into this category with my own relatives! Some kids are able to roll with the punches, and others turn into little monsters if they miss naptime or deviate from routine. Only you know your kids best, so trust your intuition on this.

Do you like the location and theme?

Mini sessions frequently have themes, especially if they occur at specific times of year. A Christmas session may appeal to you, or perhaps a Mommy + Me session in the Spring. Each different type of mini session will appeal to different clients, so make sure you like the theme, location, and props being utilized before booking, since these are largely not customizable during a busy mini session event

There are a lot of things to think about while deciding between a mini and a full session, and hopefully these points help clarify how to make this decision. For many reasons, I adore mini sessions, primarily because I get to work with so many amazing families. But there’s nothing like the customization of a full session, where we can take our time and craft an experience personalized just for your family.

Can’t decide if a mini session is right for you? Reach out using the contact button, and I’ll be happy to talk through your options with you.

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