That’s right. I said it. I loathe family mini-sessions. Have I offered them before? Yes. Will I again? Probably not. I don’t like to say “never” about anything; I try not to speak in absolutes. In short, mini-sessions cramp my style-particularly my photography style. They are too short to achieve the natural, story-telling images I intend to document during a family session. There are many reasons why I loathe family mini-sessions.
- I’m not willing to commit to getting great images for you in 15-20 minutes, knowing that it takes some children longer to warm up.
- I don’t want your images to feel forced.
- Mini-sessions don’t communicate to you that our time together is valued.
- When you crave the experience and results of a normal family session, but expect the same from a mini-session, you will be underwhelmed and likely disappointed.
- It’s soul crushing to not deliver my best work, and chances are that more time together will produce better images.
- In my experience, mini-session clients usually aren’t repeat customers. And why would they be? There’s not enough time to form a relationship.
- The time constraints are stressful. What if the session is going really well, but our time is up and there’s another client waiting? Under normal circumstances, even if you’ve booked an hour with me and we’ve been photographing for 70 minutes, if the energy is still flowing and the images are happening, you can bet I’m not going to call “time” until there’s a natural pause.
- Since most inquiries about mini-sessions usually include something like, “All I need is one good photo of us all smiling at the camera,” I already know we’re not the best fit. There are many photographers. You should be able to work with someone that’s best for you. And believe me, there is ample opportunity. There are two saturated seasons for mini-sessions, and spring is just around the corner.
- I don’t like hearing children cry. It sounds like a joke, but I’m dead serious. When parents spend money on a family mini-session and their little ones aren’t responsive to being rushed through a family mini-session, and instead become downright disagreeable or even combative, parents get upset. And when parents get upset, children often end up in tears. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
With all this said, I realize it is possible to create beautiful photographs within a 15-20 minute span, but probability says, it won’t be at a family mini-session. Now, here’s what’s weird. You can take the same family, but plan to photograph for an hour with them and get different results. If there’s no rush, there’s no reason to get upset if your child isn’t into it right from the start because we would have at least an hour together.
What’s even more interesting, is that some of the best photos from that full hour session might have been taken within the first 15-20 minutes! What’s that you say? What’s this hypocrisy I’m spouting? No back peddling here, it’s just a totally different vibe when we have time together. My mission as a family photographer is to deliver potentially award-winning, documentary style photographs of you and your children interacting naturally with each other and the camera. So provide me with the opportunity to give you my very best!
Mini-sessions might be your favorite way to experience a family session, and if that’s true, please, continue to schedule those with your local photographer. I’m not here to tell you what you must do; I’m just sharing my experience as a photographer.