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Planning and Booking Successful Mini-Sessions

By Stephanie Mills | Inspiration

Mini-Sessions are a fantastic way to give your clients short, specialized sessions. There are times when a family may be looking for a quick holiday card photo or just a new family shot, rather than a full session. Mini sessions generally run between 10-20 minutes and are a special price.

Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Location


Choose a location that has a lot of open shade and tree cover if you anticipate you will be shooting throughout the whole day. Visit the property at various times of day to make sure you can shoot photos successfully without having families staring right into the sun. You may want to consider shooting only early morning sessions or sessions 1-2 hours before sunset for that golden glow.

When thinking about outdoor locations, be sure to consider parking and, if within a large park, a clear way to direct clients to your spot!

2. Advertising


Create your advertising with basic information about dates, rain date if outdoors, price, products and how to book. Maybe add a few photos from other sessions to give clients a feel for the types of photos they can expect.

3. Scheduling

Use booking software such as a Youcanbook.me. Be realistic in determining how many sessions you can take on in one day. Schedule time for a lunch or snack and be conscious of scheduling conflicts (true story: I did mini-sessions at a location that had an unexpected road detour. I tried to alert everyone via email but some clients did not receive the email in time. This resulted in two clients missing their slot but because I had time allotted for "overage," I was able to get them in anyway).

4. Communication Is Key!


Be specific with your clients in regards what they can expect regarding their time frame, price, products or digital files they will receive and what ages you feel would be best for the mini session.

Some photographers stress that only children sitting on their own make good candidates for a shorter session, as newborns and young babies require much more time and specialized props and equipment. However, you may decide babies are welcome as long as their parents or siblings hold them.

5. Creativity


Consider props or multiple ideas for the sessions. A setup for the nearest holiday as well as a more neutral setting so clients get a range of looks within even a short session will attract a lot of families.

6. Short Sessions

Keep your sessions between 10-20 minutes. Most children do not have an attention span beyond that anyway and it is amazing how many shots and looks you can get in a short period of time.

7.  Punctuality


Arrive early and set up. Consider having a friend come along as a test subject to see if everything is the way you want it. It’s easier to fix things before you shoot than after. Get it right in camera rather than relying on post-production.

8. Enjoy the day!


Mini-sessions are tons of fun. You will walk away from mini-sessions exhausted but your clients will be happy and your portfolio will have a lot new shots to show for it!

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