I avoided mini sessions for the longest time, preferring to stick with full-length family portrait sessions. I finally caved this year and began offering some 25-minute mini sessions at the Country Cove Christmas tree farm in Murfreesboro.
Reasons I didn’t want to offer Mini Sessions
I pride myself on capturing images of clients being relaxed and carefree. Sometimes that takes a while and I don’t like feeling rushed. I like to get to know families at a portrait session. I strive to take photographs that capture who they are and how they relate as a family at this point in their lives.
Sometimes, a child or teen, or an adult shows up at a session feeling apprehensive and self-conscious. Maybe a child feels shy at first. Or Dad has been conditioned by studio portraits to be flashing me an uncomfortable smile constantly. Maybe mom is super stressed because they were running late or someone spit-up on the drive over.
By after about 30 minutes of chatting, playing, and being goofy, I find that most people become relaxed and start acting more like themselves. Shy toddlers warm up to me. Dad gets it that I want him to play and interact with the kids. The stress has drained out of mom’s face as things seem to be going better than she expected. All this means that the second half of a one-hour session often holds my favorite images from a family portrait session.
Even more than that, a lot of my favorite images from photo sessions come after we are officially done. When we are chatting and strolling back to our cars. Often, this is when everyone lets their guard down and I notice something special and click a quick “last” photo that becomes one of my favorites. If I’m rushing from session to session, then this relaxed last photo doesn’t get to happen.
Why I decided to offer Mini Sessions Anyway
The biggest reason I decided to give in and offer mini sessions this year are because it had gotten to the point that I couldn’t handle October. Everyone wants photos in October and there are only so many hours in the day.
Mini sessions not only allow me to shoot the sessions in a shorter time, but also it cuts down on editing. I’m importing the photos all at once, culling them in one swipe, and blogging them all at once. Editing is the task I spend by far the most amount of time on. So while I still have to edit a lot of photos, the process is streamlined.
I’m able to shoot more clients and turn fewer people away during the fall portrait season. Also, I am able to offer them at a price that is easier on the client’s budget.
Mini Sessions are not for Everyone
I’ve decided that mini sessions work well for certain clients. Others should stick to full-size portrait sessions, at least at first. The four sessions I photographed this week give a good example of what kind of families are best suited to mini sessions. I will explain why each of them was a good fit.
Family of Three with toddler
Toddlers are my favorite. One of the reasons why they are my favorite is because they are so unpredictable and full of energy. I love that, but also it can mean it can take a while to get all the photos I’d like for a session. Nolan was full of energy at this session. But because it was just him, I feel like I was able to get enough photos that I’m happy with during the mini session. If there had been multiple children, I may have had a hard time getting the appropriate group shots in the short 25 minute time frame. I was able to focus primarily on him and didn’t have to divide my time between multiple kids. Also, I have worked with this family before, which helps a lot as I will discuss more below.
So a family of three is perfect for a mini session. Aren’t they the cutest? And I love the color of his shirt. Perfect.