Mini photo sessions are a big deal. It’s inevitable at certain times throughout the year to see photographers everywhere promote their annual, semi-annual, and even quarterly mini sessions; and yes, Crystal Lily Photography is proudly guilty of this offering, haha! We host Mini Sessions That Give Back in Southern California (Los Angeles) and Central Florida (Orlando) a couple of times a year!
Questions come through my inbox about mini sessions and rather than only share my answers with the individuals who emailed or sent me messages, I thought it would be beneficial to bring you all the answers in a blog post.
Sooo here it is–mini photo sessions: why do them, who they’re good (and not good) for, and the reasons we photographers offer them.
First up: why do a mini session?
Mini sessions are great, because it gives you an opportunity to update your photos–whatever your reasoning may be–and they’re a much more economical alternative to a full blown photo session.
If there’s a photographer whose work you really love, but their complete sessions fall out of your price range, doing a mini session with them is a nice way to get quality photos at a great value.
Not everyone needs a full hour (or longer in some cases) to get the photos they’re looking for.
Maybe you need new headshots or photos for the annual holiday card. Perhaps your mom has been bugging you and your siblings to take family photos, because she doesn’t have any photos of you all together since everyone was living under the same roof…ten years ago, lol. Those are just a couple of examples.
Here’s who mini sessions are good for…
Engaged couples who want photos, without a ton of fuss. If you and your fiance want engagement photos, but you’re super low key and don’t feel the need for a full session; then doing a mini one is the perfect alternative. (Plus, you can redirect some of your savings towards keepsakes from your wedding, like albums and prints.)
Small families with six people or less. If I’m being honest six is probably pushing it, but it’s still do-able. If you’re looking to update the family album or have photos done for the annual holiday card, then a mini session is perfect for this purpose!
Individuals who just need a few photos for whether they be portraits, headshots, etc. can definitely benefit from doing a mini session, but here’s where we get into who these sessions aren’t good for.
Mini sessions are not good for…
People who want boudoir, lifestyle, or branding photos. Why? Because creating images to portray a vibe specific to one individual or brand takes longer than 20 minutes.
Could we get a few good shots in 20 minutes? Sure. But will they really capture the essence of what you want to portray? Probably not.
Boudoir photography is very intimate. Even if you’re someone who is completely comfortable being vulnerable in front of a camera, you’re still going to need time to warm up, find your vibe, and get in the right mood to create the images you want to see. You don’t want to feel rushed through something as intimate as a boudoir session.
Lifestyle and branding sessions are targeted to an individual and their audience. These sessions require specific details that are unique to an individual or brand. It’s one thing to take some headshots for website and social media use, but it’s much more involved when you need an entire gallery of images to portray who you are or what you’re promoting.
Finally, I do not recommend you try to bring your entire family of 10+ people to a mini session. (Photographers everywhere just spat out their coffee in laughter.) Seriously, please, please don’t book a mini session, tell your photographer that there’s only five of you, and then show up with your family, your sister’s family, and the grandparents.
These 20 minute sessions are perfect for small groups and they’re limited, because ideally, we as photographers would like to give you individual shots and of course quality photos of everyone enjoying their time together in front of the camera. The more people in a group, the longer it takes to set up a shot, especially if there’s small children involved. If you try to hoodwink your photographer, don’t be surprised or get upset if they tell you there will be an additional cost for extra people.
Why do photographers offer mini sessions?
Because we’re smart, haha! We know how important it is for people to have visual memories with those closest to them. Quality photography experiences are a luxury everyone deserves to have access to and mini sessions are a great way to connect with even more people while giving them something that’s often hard to put a price tag on. (Seriously, many photographers struggle with pricing and that’s the honest truth!)
And I’ll be extra honest here: mini sessions can also be the bread and butter for photographers, depending on their business model. You might be getting a deal, but on the business side of things, some photographers depend on them when other areas of their businesses are slow.
Ultimately, you can think of mini sessions as us helping each other. You’re supporting us while we support ourselves and our families; and we get to help you create memories that are essentially markers in time. When you look back at your photos, you will literally remember the time period and the stories that came out of it. As cliche as it sounds, your memories are priceless.
Interested in scheduling a mini session with me in Southern California or Central Florida? Reach out and let’s chat!