It's nearly spring time and many photographers will soon be (if not already have been) offering Spring Mini-Sessions. It's a great quick way for us (the photographers) to get quick sessions through the door and easy (and a more affordable) way for clients to steal a spot to freshen up family photos.
Sounds very similar to what a portrait photographer would offer at any given time. So, what's the difference between a regular portrait session and a mini-session?
Here's a quick run-down on what a regular session would typically look like once booked:
You (the client) would show up all glammed up to your agreed location at the agreed upon time and take some awesome shots of you (and your honey bunches/family). Maybe get changed for a more casual look, then move to a potential other spot of the area (typically at the same site) and get more variety in your portraits. This usually can take about 1-2 hours.
After the shoot is over, you get a full private gallery filled with a variety of images from your session.*
Here's a quick run-down on what a mini-session would typically look like:
You (the client) would select an available time/date slot from a predetermined list which the photographer as created. Some photographers predetermine the locations for these particular time/date slots, meanwhile, some photographers choose one location only.
Some photographers even predetermine a single day or weekend at one location solely for mini-sessions where they will shoot ALL DAY LONG back to back.
In the past in my business, I would have taken clients on different times/dates at different locations; however, things could change to maximize availability.
With signing up to get a mini-session done, you're more inclined to receive a much shorter session duration (hence, the title of a mini-session). I have known photographers to offer 10-minute mini-sessions while others offer a 30-minute mini-session. So make sure you know how long you have in your session, especially if you have little ones who run out of patience quickly or if you just need a little bit extra time.
Also, keep in mind that when booking a mini-session, your end product will usually be a smaller amount of images compared to a full regular session may offer.
From personal experience, for families who have young children, mini-sessions can be a great way to get the kids engaged for a shorter attention span; while some kids have shorter attention spans, it may take some times for the kids to warm up to the photographer, so perhaps a regular portrait session might be more of your family's style. Make sure you get to know which style works best for you and your family since you know them best.
As the photographer, my clients know they can always ask me questions about their upcoming sessions and whether a mini-session is a good idea for a group of 3 toddlers or if a 2 hour session for their grandparent's anniversary is too long for them. If you're working with another photographer, I highly suggest asking these types of questions. Trust me, it's so helpful!
*This particularly applies to the way I run my business. Be sure to ask what comes with your session with your photographer.