I often get asked (especially this time of year) what the difference between a mini and full session really is?… Well I felt like a blog post might be the best way to answer that questions.
Truthfully not much… But they are different products so it still worth explaining. Yes there are obvious differences like, time. In this post though, I will break down the rest, so you can make the best decision for your family. Usually a mini session location is chosen for you. I am able to discount my services a bit by shooting several families in the same location on an advertised day. Full Sessions I try to pick a place that fits my clients needs. If you are looking for key pieces for your homes decor this is a detail you need to focus on. One of my clothing tips is to choose clothes that go with your home. Will you really want a red and green toned family picture above your couch for the next couple years? It is great to get that Christmas card image and looks so beautiful with the red, gold and green text BUT to that I say “There is always a B&W choice”
Our shoot itself is pretty much the same. My same personal touch goes into posing and editing your images. There are some photo pairings I don’t even attempt to get in a mini session and some I just won’t do and reserve those for a full session. Mini Sessions are a different product. Though my touch and style are the same but I can’t jam a whole Full Size Family Session into just 20-25 minutes and give you the same results. Some families fall in the routine of getting a Fall Mini session year after year and yes it fulfills the need for a Christmas card… but really you might be surprised at all the moments you are missing by doing such a short session. My full family sessions run 45-60 minutes. I enjoy working F-A-S-T, which is why my minis are successful. However a full session allows us to slow down, chat with your kids, get to know them for who they are right now. I can also capture you and your husband together and any other special requests you have. One of the biggest differences is a full session allows me to play with light, light in dramatic ways to communicate a message and feelings. Mini sessions are always booked close to those golden hours of light each day but it isn’t quite the same and riding the sunset out, until the very end :). Light has become a signature of mine and I love using it.
If I am being honest I want to give you a fabulous mini session, an image worth getting text messages from friends saying “I love your Christmas Card”… Mini sessions are a great TASTE to what a full session would be like. Now there are definitely kids and families whose session goes so smoothly that a mini is probably truly all they need and that is something I gauge time to time through the year. I try to be honest with clients on what will work best for them.
I have seen toddlers do outstanding in 20-25 minutes and realize we couldn’t have squeezed one more minute out of them… and others who take that long just to warm up and won’t look my way. There is always a warm up time with a photo shoot before we fall into a rhythm and that is different for almost every family. I really will help weight your options and give you my best opinion.
As far as workload: a mini is pretty much no different for me. I still render more images that I anticipate!… basically it saves me drive time :). This year I am changing it up a bit and allowing clients to buy all their products at the ordering session. The hope is they walk away with something that fits their needs better. Both sessions we meet in person to go over a slideshow and sample products. Both sessions I can display scaled images on faux walls or your actual walls to get a sense of what you are ordering. Mini session reveal appointments are set up at a local coffee shop (by appointment only) and a full session usually takes place in your home unless you are more comfortable not doing that (or you are outside my travel window). My method is the same for all sessions. A good rule of thumb is depending on family size and ages, a mini will get your about 20-40 proofs with an average of about 30 for most of my families. A full session is usually 40-70 images again depending on ages and size of photo session.
I truly hope this helps you pick the best session for your family. If you have any questions Just ask!!! Basically if has been awhile since you’ve done a full session, try it! I know you will be pleasantly surprised 🙂