Should I book a mini-session or a full portrait session?

Newest grandchild and whole family at smolak farms

There are all sorts of reasons to book a mini session, and a few that I don’t suggest. The main difference between a mini session and full portrait session is the length of the shoot and the number of images you will receive in your gallery. So deciding on which type of shoot is right for you depends on your end goals. Read on for the differences.

When to book a mini-session

  • You are looking for a specific photo. Mini sessions are best if you are looking for a portrait session for a specific reason—think holiday cards, an announcement of some kind, to update a family photo, yearbook photo (but don’t want a full senior session), or headshot update.
  • You want updated photos. If you’ve taken a family or headshot photo in the last year or so you may just want an update but don’t need a full session, this is perfect for growing families looking to add to a gallery wall or get a yearly holiday card photo, or for someone looking to update their social media headshot.
  • You want to make an announcement. Minis are perfect for a pregnancy announcement photos or even a gender reveal. These quick sessions allow you to capture that moment to share with family and friends.
  • Anniversary photos. People photograph their family every year, but what about anniversary photos of you and your person? You take engagement photos and wedding photos but anniversary photos of just the two of you can be really important too. Investing in photos with your husband or wife years after the wedding can be amazing!
  • You just need a yearbook photo. I photograph tons of full senior sessions, but if you really just want a yearbook photo and do not want a full session with outfit changes or locations changes then this is the perfect option. This is also perfect for college seniors “cap and gown” photos to memorialize this moment in time.
  • You are limited on time or have a smaller budget for photos. Minis are budgeted because they are set time slots in one location, and include a smaller number of photos in the gallery. Minis are for people who are looking for more straightforward photos, because we often don’t have the time to get those more candid shots. The options are more limited but we can still create beautiful photos.

When to book a full portrait session

  • You have a family with 2-4 kids under the age of 5. For younger families I definitely suggest a full portrait session. Littles often take more time to warm up to the camera and allowing them to run and play in between shots helps everyone to get comfortable and find those candid moments of your family being you. We can also build in a little snack time.
  • You want options. If you want options and input on the shoot location, overall vibe, and outfit changes then the full session gives us all of that flexibility. You will help to choose location, we will walk around and find different backdrops to give you several different options for imagery in your gallery.
  • It takes you time to warm up to the camera. Most people take some time to warm up to being photographed. If you’ve ever been professionally photographed you might notice that you liked the photos toward the end of the shoot more than those at the beginning, this is probably because you became more comfortable being photographed as the shoot went on. If this sounds like you then a full portrait session is more likely to give you photos that you love.
  • You want an album or gallery wall from the photos. If you are looking for my style suggestions (including my 26-page style guide) and an album design or custom wall art then the full portrait session includes all of that. I don’t include personalized design services with minis because there is usually not enough imagery in such a constrained amount of time to make full gallery walls or albums.
  • You want an extended family portrait session. Minis are not designed for large families (over 5) or for lots of different combinations of photos so if you want to book an extended family session with different generations (I love these!) then a full session is for you!

So hopefully this helps to make sense of the differences between full portrait sessions and mini sessions. Both offer amazing opportunities for photos but they are different. If you want to be the first to know about mini sessions or my special weekend dates for full photo sessions (only offered a few times a year) then sign up for the Lexi Photography newsletter. Be sure to check out our portraits page and blog for more imagery and contact me today to book your session.

Boston pregnancy announcement photo with sonogram
couple smiling in Lynch Park rose garden
first baby portrait in the apple orchard at Smolak Farms

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September 12, 2021

I’m  Lexi


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