Mini vs. Full Photography Session

Family Photography

January 20, 2023

What should I book? Many clients aren’t sure what kind of session is best for their family and sometimes it can be hard to decide. In other words, I have made a one-stop shop to help with your decision-making process. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your choice between a mini-photography session and a regular photography session.

Full Session


  1. Wardrobe – First of all, a lot of people enjoy taking advantage of the creative clothing collection I have for kids’ fine art and princess sessions. There has been a lot of feedback that some mamas struggle to pull outfits together for family photos and it adds extra stress! Therefore, I will be pulling together Pinterest boards for your photography styling needs this year. I want to alleviate this extra stress and make it easier for you to put together a look for your whole family.
  1. Gorgeous lighting – The best light is at the end of the day. This lighting creates that gorgeous golden look in your photographs. Cloudy weather is also a great option, however, it is much more difficult to predict the movement of the clouds or cloud coverage on any given day. Therefore, that is not something you can plan on.
  1. Creativity – Some sessions focus on creating storytelling pieces of art. Those would be my fine art or princess sessions. In addition, I also document connections and relationships with my family photography sessions and I find that both of these sessions create the type of images people look back on with nostalgia and real emotion.
  1. Additional time – Some little ones need time to warm up or extra time to get genuine smiles. The extra time allows us to get a wider variety of lifestyle images and the extra time also helps me focus on getting all the details just right for a fine art session.
  1. Different types of shots – I can switch it up and use a wider variety of lenses for different looks. An example would be larger shots and some with a focused portrait and blurred-out background.
  1. MAGICAL locations – This is my number one reason to pick a regular session over a mini. I’m a sucker for good locations and scenery. I love flowers, colorful trees, cool urban looks, etc.


  1. More expensive – You’re paying to shoot in the best lighting of the day. I am capturing creative portraits and lifestyle shots of your family. The focus is often on creating storytelling pieces of art or documenting connections and relationships. That would include fine art, princess sessions, or family sessions. 
  2. Evening timing – These sessions have to be shot in the evenings as the sun is coming down. This can be a problem in the summer months as the sunset is much later in the day. Some littles go to bed quite early in addition to work schedules on weeknights.

Mini Session


  1. Less time – Mini sessions are typically timed out for 15-20 minutes. For instance, this can be good for kids with short attention spans. (I am very efficient at getting littles to cooperate for longer sessions as well. One reason people hire me is that I’m the Pied Piper of littles).


  2. Cute sets – Creative props and sets depending on the mini-session theme or season.
  3. Lower price point – This gives families the option to sign up for multiple mini shoots throughout the year. Some are just for kids and others are family mini-sessions available for the fall and holidays.


  1. Less time – It can be difficult to get what you want out of busy little ones. Some kids need time to warm up, or extra time to get the smiles you’re hoping to capture, and again, I’m very good in this area but sometimes it takes a minute.  It is also difficult to give each client the attention I’d like to because of the time constraint and I love catching up with my clients, however, this could be an advantage if you don’t want to chat lol!
  1. Very specific sets – Mini sessions are very specifically designed for the time of year or holiday season. Many people want a more natural backdrop for timeless family photos.
  1. Shot in “even lighting” – This means you’re not going to get that magical golden backdrop lighting. Second, I have to choose VERY specific locations that provide ample parking for a number of people. The sets have to be easy to walk to as well. While the SETS are creative, the locations can be a bit blander. I need the lighting to be good, and consistent, for a 2-3 hour period that covers all the sessions booked for the day. 
  1. Basic Shots – To put it in layman’s terms – I typically have to shoot minis with a lens that doesn’t always give you the magical creamy background and subjects in sharp focus. One big reason I can’t use that lens is that I have to stand back further from the set which makes it difficult to interact with kids, in the short amount of time that we have. The photos are still great – just a different look.


There is NO right or wrong answer here. I would like to hear from people about what makes sense for their families. There are truly pros and cons to all of it and you need to pick the session that makes the most sense for you! I look forward to hearing from you about your next session!


leave a comment