As a photographer, what good advice can I offer about mini sessions? They sure seem like a better deal, so why do people even do full sessions at all? I certainly think there are perks to minis, but there are also times when I think of trying to take a good photo of a rambunctious 2 year-old and 4 year-old in a 30 minute session and I shudder to think of it. It usually takes dozens of shots to get one where the children are looking at the camera, much less one of mom and dad also doing so at the same time. I’ve broken down some points to take under consideration. Hopefully it will make it easier for you to rock your family session, whether it’s a mini or full.
We should start by asking, what exactly is a mini session? Usually, a photographer can offer discounted pricing by setting a date, creating appointments every 30-40 minutes and knocking out 6, 8, maybe 10 sessions at one location, on one day. Mini session costs vary as much as photographer prices vary, but an average range
is typically $75 to $200, often with savings of at least $100 off the photographer’s full-priced session. Where a full-priced session will usually yield 25-35 final images from a 1-2 hour session, a mini session typically offers 20-30 minutes of shoot time and around 10-15 final edited images. The package may either include a few of your favorites or all 10-15. This provides savings to you and the photographer who can fill a day’s schedule with shorter shoots and cut down on travel and other expenses. Working with fewer image captures for each family streamlines the timeline of sessions from editing to client delivery. Voila! Photographers are able to make it worth the price cut. Additionally, some awesome community oriented photographers actually offer these as a way to give back and give some or all of the proceeds to charity. Rock on!
WHEN/WHY DOES IT WORK?
1. It’s cheaper (okay, stating the obvious here). You may have the budget for one big fall family shoot, but having mini sessions can stretch your budget to do 1-2 more photo shoots a year at different seasons. A lot can change in 6 months and this allows you to have your fall/winter photos and then a spring/summer set which can have a very different look and feel.
2. The work is done for you. The location is set, the photographer gives you a time, you show up and 30 minutes later your kids are in the backseat with their ipads, dad can get back to his football game before he gets grumpy, and you can check holiday photos off your long to-do list.
3. You probably didn’t need 25-35 images anyway. You probably would have bought your favorite 5-7 images and shared them online with friends and family. Maybe your favorite 2-3 will make it onto a canvas, frame or album, and you only need one good one for the Christmas card. Why not pay less for a smaller session?
4. You’re a small family. If you are just a couple taking your annual photos, you have a small family with very well-behaved children, or have a family that loves bringing out their inner supermodel, you can probably get the photos you need in around 30 minutes.
Cathy & Jenn of CatsMac Photography, Peterborough, Ontario.