In this post, I will share with you a bit about a photographer’s point of view on these types of sessions, some trade-offs when deciding between a mini and full session and most importantly some interesting feedback collected from my friends over on my Instagram Stories Polls. (Honestly, some of the answers surprised me - so glad I asked!)
What is a Mini Session
To start it off, all people polled knew what a Mini Session is, so it is no longer just photography jargon. But in case you are not aware, it is a photography session that is a smaller version of what a photographer’s full session would include. It usually has fewer images and shorter shooting time. The specifics can vary from photographer to photographer. Most typically I see them used for families around the holiday season for those lovely holiday cards filling up your fridge, but you could undoubtedly snag these for other types of sessions - engagements, seniors, milestones, etc.
Which Photographers Offer Minis?
Photographers I know offer mini sessions for a variety of reasons. (Photographer friends – tell me if you know of others!)
- To build their portfolios when they are starting. Nothing like a lot of practice to hone your skills. (The first year I did this, I nearly burned out in one week I took so many clients in a day. I would be happy to share more on this if you are interested – but let me tell you, I came out of that week a different photographer.) Photog friends, if you are interested, I listened to a great audio course on running minis over here: https://www.youareabusinesswoman.com/
- More seasoned photographers use them to give existing clients a cost-effective way to stay with them as their prices rise over time
- They have an existing planned shoot they are styling and want to be able to offer it to others to use the setup. (My Swing Minis were born for this entire reason)
82% of people polled had done a mini session before, and the number one reason was TIME and just the right amount of images.
Not a big surprise with our packed schedules, and more often than not, attending a photo shoot is not everyone’s favorite way to spend time. (Not for me, I never get sick of them. The experience of creating with people never gets old… but I’ve always been a photography nerd.) My guess would have been cost as the most significant factor. I guess you do learn something new every day.
The time factor is terrific if you want to knock them out and have them done.
However, use your best judgment for your family. Limited time is great if everyone is ready to go, shows up on time, and you only need a handful of images. Yes, us pros can work with even cranky kids, but I am always mindful my kids can take a minute to warm up and look away the minute the camera comes out. Our best sessions are when our photographers fade into the distance, and the boys have some time to play, explore, and forget what we are doing… that doesn’t always happen in 15 minutes.
Maximize Your Mini
Other ways to set yourself up for success:
- Picking locations that would be interesting to members of your family
- Making sure everyone is rested and fed
- Maybe even leaning toward to the outfit that is a little less uncomfortable
- Hey - what about an adult beverage of choice for Dad (Or Mom - there is typically one parent getting dragged along)
- Ice cream treats for everyone to celebrate when they are done to round out the event… and maybe even have them looking forward to next year
How do I Find Out About Minis?
Most people that participated in the poll found out about their minis on Instagram. (Of course, the survey platform was Instagram, so take that with a grain of salt)
Most photographers publish their mini sessions on social media, yes. However, most release their mini sessions to their email list first. So if you have a photographer you are dying to work with - get on that list and grab that seat. I know, I know. We are all email saturated, but it’s worth it.
When do I book Minis?
Most fall minis take place in October. Some begin in September and go into November. If you are emailing to book in December most professionals will do their very best to fit you in, but it’s challenging with all the other holiday activities, and printing/mailing turn around time. If you miss the window, grab a session in January and send out a New Years Card!
Look to book your session in late summer to get your best spots.
If minis are a good fit for you and you want to grab a spot with me, I’ve got my 3 locations up here (Scroll to the bottom of the page for dates, places, and sample galleries.)
Book your time slot here:
But mini or not.
A session with me or not.
Get in the picture, ok?
Your future generations thank you.