Family Portraits: Mini Session or Full Session?

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If you have children, use social media, and know anyone who is a photographer, then you have likely heard the term “family mini sessions” thrown around. (In fact, you may have heard the term from me!) Family mini sessions can be quick and less expensive than commissioning a full family portrait session. But they aren’t for everyone. Here are some considerations when deciding between a mini session and a full portrait session for your family.

What are your photo expectations?

Mini sessions are designed to get you just a couple good photos. Mini sessions are fast (15 minutes or less), are scheduled at a pre-determined time, and held at a pre-determined location. This means minis can be unpredictable and you have very little control over what photos you end up with.

A mini session might be right for you if you just want a few good photos 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 specific set of shots in mind and don’t feel comfortable with the unpredictability of a short time frame.

What are your kids like – really?

I try to be engaging and fun with the kids I work with so that they warm up to me as quickly as possible. But despite my best efforts, there are kids who won’t warm up to a stranger in the time span of a 15-minute mini session. They may not sit still, look at the camera, follow directions, or crack a smile. During a full session, I relish this challenge of engaging and playing with the kids, chasing them while they explore. For a mini-session, though, we may not have time to get the photos you were hoping for.

A mini session might be right for you if you’re ok with capturing your kids just as they are that day. 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 have an introverted or high energy child and are not confident that we can get the photos you want during a short time frame.

Are you punctual?

Mini sessions are stacked back to back, with very little time in between. Punctuality is key. If your family tends to run late, a mini session might be a big source of stress. Because of the nature of mini-sessions, I am not able to honor any lost time because there is someone else whose spot is directly after yours. Running 10 minutes late to a full 60-minute session isn’t a big deal; 10 minutes late to a mini-session and you forfeit your 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 dressed and out the door on time.

A mini session might NOT be right for you if you know that it would be tough to honor a specific time slot or if you think you may run more than 10 minutes late.

There are so many factors to consider when choosing a mini versus a full session for your family photos, and hopefully these points gave you a peek into some of the things to consider.

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