If you’re someone who loves getting family photos taken, you likely know the buzz surrounding mini sessions. Though many photographers don’t offer them because they don’t align with their brand and goals – which I completely understand – there are others (like me!) who absolutely LOVE them. As a mom of three, I completely understand the appeal to capture some beautiful, professional photos for a lower price point in a faster time frame. Mini sessions can be absolutely incredible both from a business and client standpoint, but they aren’t for everyone. Here are some considerations when deciding whether a mini session is right for you and your family.
What are your photo expectations?
If you’re booking a mini session hoping for just a couple good photos of your family, this is exactly what they’re intended for. If you have a very specific shot list in mind, though, a mini session is probably not the right fit for you. Your spot goes by pretty quickly, and it’s not usually possible to go down a list to check off a specific set of wants. Though I always ask clients about their family dynamic and goals for our mini session (and make honoring them my first priority!), these short spots can be unpredictable and crazy fast. Having a couple wants and goals is totally ok, but having a longer list just means that a full session will be a better fit for you so we can accomplish everything on your list.
A mini session might be right for you if you just want a few good photos, have a shorter wish list, and are willing to go with the flow of a fast, less predictable time slot.
A mini session might NOT be right for you if you have a longer, more specific set of shots in mind and you don’t feel comfortable with the unpredictability of a shorter spot to accomplish them in.
What are the personalities of your kids?
As a photographer, I try really hard to be very engaging and fun with the kids I work with so that they warm up to me as quickly as possible. Despite my best efforts, there are always going to be children who just don’t warm up in the time span of a mini session – and who could blame them?! In fact, my now three-year-old was once one of those kids. Last year when we took pictures around his 2nd birthday, I had to bribe him with candy hearts to get him to sit with his siblings for our mini session spot. I’m sure you can imagine the result – every single photo from our session showed him with candy hearts stuffed in his mouth. BUT, I totally didn’t mind. That’s what it took for him to sit with his siblings, and that’s who he was at that point in life, so we rolled with it. There are also going to be very high energy kids who just refuse to sit still, despite our best efforts. This is one of the many reasons I love lifestyle photography, though – I absolutely adore busy kids and chasing them while they explore.
A mini session might be right for you if you’re ok with capturing your kids just as they are, whether that is smiling (or not), climbing, jumping, or everything in between. Or, you have very outgoing, cooperative kids that you know will listen very well during our brief time slot.
A mini session might NOT be right for you if you’re really wanting more opportunity to capture the exact kinds of photos you want, or if you have a difficult or high energy child (I have one of those!) and are not confident that the shots you want could be nailed during a small time frame. Keep in mind that this is one great advantage of a full session! Kids have time to warm up, and we have time to burn off that energy and snag some amazing moments on your list.
What is your budget?
If you’re on a tighter budget, a mini session is an excellent fit. If a photographer you love is out of your price range, a mini session is a great way to get photos from him or her without completely blowing your family budget.
How flexible are you?
Mini sessions are typically stacked, which means that punctuality is SO, SO important. If you’re always the person running late to things (hello, me at preschool drop off and cheer pick up), a mini session might be a big source of stress. Typically, photographers are unable to honor any lost time because there is someone else whose spot is directly after yours. Therefore, you would forfeit your spot altogether if you’re late, or have less shoot time than the typical 15-20 minute mini slot.
A mini session might be right for you if you are a super punctual person and are confident that you can get you and your family out the door and to your session before it starts. And, if you don’t mind potentially having a spot at an off-the-grid time, like 2PM.
A mini session might NOT be right for you if you are honest with yourself and know that it would be tough to honor a very specific time slot, or your kids are on stricter schedules that you don’t feel comfortable deviating from. Truth be told, I fall into this category with my own family a lot of the time! Don’t mess with nap time, friends.
Does the theme or location match your style?
A lot of mini sessions have themes, especially if they’re held seasonally. If you’re looking for a family shoot that includes everyone, booking a Mommy + Me Mini isn’t the best fit. If you book a session at a Christmas tree farm, expect all your photos to have Christmas trees in the background. When you go to book a mini session, make sure you really like the setting and props being used so the session is in line with your vision and goals.
A mini session might be right for you if you like the location and/or props being used, and it falls in line with what you were hoping for in your pictures.
A mini session might NOT be right for you if you are really just looking for photos, in general, but don’t favor the setting and/or props that the photographer is advertising in the session. For example, wanting photos outside of a bluebonnet patch during bluebonnet minis.
There are so many factors to consider when choosing a mini versus a full session, and hopefully these points gave you a peek into some of the things to consider. I absolutely love mini sessions for so many great reasons, and I especially love the opportunity it gives me to work with so many amazing families. Are you thinking of booking a mini session, or is a full session a better fit for your family?