While I only offer mini sessions once a year, I think this is still an important topic to discuss. Throughout the year I get requests for mini sessions, but I feel that they aren’t always appropriate for most families. While it seems like it’s convenient, or it will save you money, in the long run I don’t believe that’s true. I’m going to make this in a list form so that it’s easy to read and simple to understand. Not that I think that my readers are incapable, but parents need things as quick and easy as possible these days.
Pros of mini session:
If you are short on time, my mini sessions are only 20 minutes. If you have a child that is wonderful in front of the camera (who you can count on every time), then you can get everything accomplished in a short amount of time.
They are discounted. I completely understand being on a budget and I do have some families that love my work, but have other things they are budgeting for. They wait for my mini sessions to come around and I love this option for them.
You get some digital files with the investment.
They take place outside of your home, so no need to worry about cleaning or tidying up.
They are a way of working with a photographer that you might not normally be able to afford or who doesn’t live in the same location as you.
They usually take place around the holidays, so it’s great gift to give to family members.
Pros of a full family session:
You’re going to get much more valuable time with your photographer. I had a family session where the child (a child I had photographed before) just wasn’t feeling it. He was a well behaved child who was just having an off day. Now let’s be honest, who doesn’t have one of those. The session ended up taking an hour longer than we had scheduled and it was okay because I had the time to spend with them. I can’t do this with a mini session when I have 7 other families scheduled.
There will be a consultation before your session. (This is where you can discuss wardrobe options, location options, etc.)
You will get a product consultation before your session. My clients don’t have to do this with me, but I strongly encourage this. This is where we will discuss what heirlooms make the most sense for you and your home. Will you be giving prints as gifts? Maybe a grandparent album would be a perfect gift for the holidays. Is there a room in your home that you’ve been desperately wanting to fill with photographs of your loved ones? You can send me measurements of the space you would like to fill and I can customize a wall gallery for you. There are so many possibilities and it’s so crucial to talk about this with those that don’t know where to start.
You won’t be getting the digital files. YES, this is a pro and not a con. Let me discuss why. Do you know what to do with a digital file? Where will you print this file? Do you know what size or how to crop it? Do you have a professional framer who will make sure every detail is thought out and that it will perfectly compliment your home? Will these files just sit on your computer and hopefully you’ll get around to doing something with them? When I first started photography I just wanted to photograph the session, hand over the disc, and be done with it. I started to notice that most of my families had no clue what to do with these files. I would talk to them a year later and the files would still be sitting on their computer. This broke my heart and it was my job to come up with a solution. It's not fair to call myself a "high-end" photographer if I'm not putting in the work. My goal, from start to finish, is to tell your story. I can't tell your full story if what I deliver just sits on a computer. I do sell digital files, but they are the last thing I want in my clients to choose.
We can do the session wherever you would like! This could be inside of your home, at the beach, at a beautiful park, at your favorite cafe…there are so many amazing options and I love brainstorming with my clients. I come to you, instead of you coming to me.
We’re going to build a bond. What I love about photographing families, that I don’t get with weddings, is repeat clients. I’ve also noticed that since I stopped just giving digital files and actually taking the time to get the perfect keepsakes in their hands, families have become much more loyal. It’s so important to me to build that trust. Your children will start to know me and I won’t be that “scary lady with a huge camera in front of her face.” I love when my repeat families get excited to see me every year. It’s such an honor.
It gives us the opportunity to have moments together. I’m going to have the opportunity to follow your children around and let them be kids. I don’t want a bunch of posed photographs. I want your kids running, spinning, laughing, playing with their pets, etc. This session will be about so much more than a few formal photos that we can put in a frame. This gives me the time and trust to tell your family’s story.
I hope that this helps when you’re trying to make your decision on what type of session is right for your family. No matter what photographer you go with, make sure you are choosing what’s right for you. If a full family session is something you truly want, maybe you talk with your photographer about a payment plan or buying products throughout the year, as you save. Maybe you forgo the mini sessions for a while and save up for that full session. Either way, do what’s best for your family.
The session bellow is a full family session. This family comes back year after year and I adore them. It’s incredible when you have people that “see” you and believe in your work.