If you’re not familiar with mini-sessions, it’s when a photographer hosts very short photography sessions, usually 10-20 minutes long, and delivers small image packages, typically around 5-20 images.
I’ve done mini-sessions in years past; I feel like they are expected from most family photographers. But this year, when I was debating whether or not I should put together a mini-session package, I realized that my heart wasn’t in it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that mini-sessions just aren’t the right fit for me and my photography style. Here are four reasons why:
Mini-sessions felt cookie cutter to me. When doing minis in the past, I started to feel like I was delivering the same images over and over again for every family. With a limited amount of time, I wanted to make sure I was delivering “holiday card worthy” shots. But that meant sticking with a predictable routine of safe shots and poses, and not tailoring each session to a particular family’s needs and personalities - which is the way I prefer to work.
I won’t get my best results in a mini-session. In order to capture a family’s authentic vibe and story, I like to give every family member the time and space to open up, get comfortable, let their guard down, and be themselves in front of my camera. The limited time of a mini-session didn’t allow me to work that way, unfortunately. I felt pressure to get unhappy babies, active toddlers, and shy kids to pose for photos that they weren’t ready to be in yet - not a great feeling.
Mini-sessions don’t tell the whole story. Every session I do tells a family’s unique story, whether it’s a documentary Family Story session or a more traditional Family Portrait session. I like to structure a session to include time for families to play, explore, and just enjoy each other’s company, which is really tough to do in a short amount of time allotted to a mini-session.
The details were missing. I love to capture detail shots during a family session - how a brother and sister hold each other’s hands, how a daughter squeezes her mother tight, how a shy little boy hides behind his dad’s leg. These natural moments always end up being my favorite shots from every session, but I felt like those details were missing from mini-sessions.
So here’s what I think. You should go big and book a full session. Yes, it’s an investment, and often a large one for a lot of families. I totally get it. But you will never regret spending the extra time and money to have a professional photographer document your family, capture your unique story, and preserve your family’s memories.
Enjoy some of my favorite images that I never would have captured within the limits of a mini-session.