Mini Sessions. Everyone wants them. They’re great for families that want a fast and easy holiday card session or a filler session once a year in-between their full family portrait sessions. My studio typically only offers them once a year and they book up FAST. The question we hear the most, from clients and photographers, is how to make a mini session successful? There are a lot of things to consider when signing up for a mini session, or as a photographer, deciding to offer mini sessions to your clients. I have put together the following 3 tips on how to make a mini session successful.
- As a mom of a toddler, I tend to get a little stressed just thinking about getting my little guy comfortable enough to show his true personality during our hour-long full family portrait sessions, never mind for a 15 minute mini session. Often times parents feel pressured to make their kids behave in a certain way during a photo session, which in turn, makes the child stressed out and less likely to act naturally. There’s also a ton of pressure on the photographer to capture a collection of 5 or 10 amazing and natural photos during such a short period of time at a mini session. My advice for both moms and photographers on how to make a mini session successful is simple; don’t push it. As a family photographer for over 16 years now, I like to tell my clients to briefly mention the session to their children about a week before. Tell them you’re really excited to meet your friend “Miss Jenni” at the park next weekend. Mention that I’ll be bringing my camera and I look forward to photographing them having fun together. The more your children think you’re into the mini session and excited for it, the more comfortable they’ll be that day. I would also suggest reminding your kids about the session again the day before. I have found it helpful (as a mom and an experienced family photographer) that prepping the children before hand helps, but pushing it adds more stress. I don’t usually tell the kids exactly how long it will take because they end up asking “how much longer” the whole time (think “are we there yet??”).
- Another photography tip on how to make a mini session successful is to be mindful when choosing the clothing for your family. In my experience, children (and dads) are much happier during a family photography session if they’re wearing comfortable (and natural) clothing. If you don’t typically dress your daughter in frilly tutu dresses and sparkly shoes, your mini session may not be the time to start. Same goes for dads. Perfect example … every year up until last year, I used to lay out all of our family photo outfits a few days before our session to be sure everything went well together, was ironed and ready, and most importantly, still fit each of us (don’t forget about shoes — they should match each outfit and be clean too). Without fail, every year my husband would walk down the stairs as we’re packing the car to leave for our family photo session wearing something entirely different than I had picked out. UGH! This year I decided to trust him (I mean, why not. He has great fashion sense. I was just being a control freak. Who me?!). I laid out my son’s outfit beside mine in our closet and asked my husband to choose something he would like to wear that went well with ours. That next morning he walked down wearing the perfect pairing and MUCH more comfortable than any other year. Apparently giving adults choices works just as well as giving children choices. Who knew?! 😉
- Last but not least, the best advice I can give on how to make a mini session successful is GIVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME. It seems like an obvious one, but I can’t tell you how many mini sessions show up late and therefore stressed out. If your mini session is only 15 minutes (and they’re usually back-to-back with other families) it’s imperative to show up early (not just on time) or you’ll be cutting into your session time. Photographers, I highly suggest telling all of your clients to arrive 10-15 minutes early so they have plenty of time to find the location, wipe breakfast off the kids faces, and feel relaxed and ready to go once it’s their turn. No one likes being late. It feels horrible for the client AND for the photographer. Moms, I suggest putting your session time in your calendar for 20 minutes before it actually is and tell the family the same. Frazzled is never a good look for family photos.
Mini sessions can be a lot of fun for everyone if you prepare ahead of time. I hope these 3 photography tips for how to make a mini session successful will help you plan for your upcoming family photo sessions.
Moms, if you have any questions about prepping for a family photography session, don’t hesitate to ask. Shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org You can also sign up here to stay up-to-date with our photography newsletter and inspiration (everything from pretty photos to my pregnancy journey. Warning, I’m an open book.)
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