As we head into the fall and holiday season, many families turn to photographers for mini-sessions. Mini sessions are exactly what they sound like. Short photo sessions in a small time frame, offering fewer images at a reduced price than their regular 1-2 hour full sessions. Photographers offer these sessions for you, the client, for multiple reasons, but the main reason is to get as many clients’ photos taken care of in 1-2 days or weekends and get new clients through the door.
Fall is the photographer’s peak season, so shortening sessions and combining them all in one day is a great way for photographers to ensure all their clients are happy and receive images for holiday cards, family memories, and beautiful photos. In your town, I’m sure a large multitude of photographers offers different types of mini sessions at different prices. This time of year I see not only a ton of photographers posting on the mommy Facebook groups but also photographers promoting not only their mini sessions but also their full family sessions. Usually, this is the time of year when every family wants their photos done, and it’s a great way to keep up with family photos throughout the year, so finding a mini-session is the perfect way to do that. So here’s what you should know about Mini Sessions and what you can do to make sure your mini-session runs smoothly.
- Find a photographer whose style you like. – When searching for photographers make sure to keep your style in mind. Do you like dark and moody or light and airy? Is your home light and airy but do you want dark and moody photos because you like the look? Keep that in mind when booking, because you may want to frame these images and put them up in your home and on your walls. If your house is light and bright, try and find a photographer who complements that. Because when you print your images, (and you should print your images- read my blog on printing here) you want your images to complement your home.
- Be on time! I feel like this should go without saying but it’s very important that for your mini-session time slot you need to be on time. Mini sessions can run from 5,10 or 15 minute time slots, keeping very little time in between. There’s not much wiggle room between sessions, especially if your photographer is shooting their mini session outside during golden hour. Photographers are amazing, but they can’t make the sun unset. I rent a studio out for my Santa Mini Sessions, so I have to be in and out in that time frame. It helps the day run so smoothly if you are on time.
- Don’t ask when your photos will be ready until after the delivery date. I have been guilty of this as well, and I’m a photographer! But please do not ask your photographer the day after your mini session “are my photos ready yet?” This makes us want to deliver your session last. Sorry, but it does. Just know that you’re photographer is culling through thousands of images the very next day. I normally give a 2-week delivery date. So for 2 weeks straight I’m working on almost nothing else but editing my mini sessions. So if it has not hit the 2-week mark yet, just be patient. I promise your photographer is working on your images.
- Dress for mom. Moms, you are the glue that keeps the family together. So I always tell my clients who don’t know what to wear, “Dress for mom” Meaning, mom, you pick out the outfit you feel best in, and then dress the rest of the family around that. You should feel comfortable and beautiful. Try to avoid large logos, bright neon colors, and stiff fabrics. Flowy fabrics, dresses, and sweaters always work great. My favorite dress shops are amazon, baltic born and lulus. Then dress the rest of your family in coordinating colors. Pinterest is my favorite spot for colors. You don’t have to be too matchy, but complementary colors look amazing.
- Let’s talk pricing- Mini sessions are just that, mini. So you’re getting fewer images at a lesser price than this photographer’s normal session rate. A photographer charging 750.00 for 5 images for her mini session rate, may cost 2,000.00 for 5 images because that’s what she is worth. This is the chance for people who may not have the funds to pay for a full session with their favorite photographer, to be able to afford the mini-sessions she offers. I hear it all the time, “looking for a mini-session photographer who doesn’t cost an arm and a leg”. This makes every photographer cringe, because the photographers who may be new to the business and call themselves affordable, will snatch these people up. Almost always, I get 1 or 2 clients a year, who email me and ask if I could fit them in last minute because they hate the photos from that photographer’s mini-session. Now, I used to be that photographer too! I was once green and inexpensive, but I’ve grown, and I charge way more than I did back then because I run a business. I pay taxes, I rent my space, and I have to pay my bills so charging less than what I charge for my mini-sessions is what I can afford to pay off everything I do to set up for the day and pay myself in the end. Some photographers who are new are freaking amazing and charge little, but if you come back to them and they’re way more than last year, there’s a reason for that. So please educate yourself on this photographer’s normal pricing before gawking at their mini-session price. It may not be for you and that’s ok but for others, it’s a huge opportunity to work with a photographer they love who they may not always get the chance to.
- Day of your session advice- There are some dos and don’ts for the day of your session. Please read your contract. Some mini-sessions are non refundable because they can only take so many clients and have had to turn other people away. If you all of the sudden can’t make it, be prepared that you may not get a refund. I understand last minute situations come up and children get sick. If this happens notify your photographer as soon as possible. I normally have a waiting list. The earlier someone tells me they can’t make it, the more luck I may have of getting that spot filled and getting a refund. I have had past clients tell me” oh I forgot can you just move me to a later time.” Normally no. I cannot because I sell out. Don’t expect your child to be on their best behavior. Really! Don’t. I have been doing Santa Mini Sessions for 5 years now, and some kids don’t like Santa. I have some tricks up my sleeve to make it work, but just don’t expect your child to be perfect. It’s ok if they’re not. We will make it work.