Mini-Session vs. Full Photo Session : What’s the Difference?

October 27, 2021

It’s that time of year when families are looking for updated photos! The kids are back in school, Fall is in the air, and the holidays are right around the corner. A lot of families now love to print holiday photo cards on various sites like Minted, Tiny Prints, Artifact Uprising, or through their favorite photographer. But FIRST, you need updated photos!

I get a lot of questions all the time about what the difference is between a mini-session and a full photo session so I thought I’d create a little post about it for you. Read below for the main differences:

four siblings hanging out on couch laughing

1. Mini-session length

One main difference is mini-session length. Mini-sessions are typically 15-20 minutes long without any breaks. I see the main purpose of a mini-session is to get a quick set of updated photos of the family, perfect for holiday cards and photo gifts for your loved ones. The style leans more towards portrait sessions vs. more candid or natural lifestyle sessions. Full photo sessions can range from 1-2 hours with breaks and include many more photos with more variety in your gallery.

family of six hanging out together

2. Mini-Session location

A second main difference is location. Mini-session locations are typically chosen by the photographer, whereas full custom sessions are chosen by the client. A photographer may offer several different days and locations for mini-sessions that you can choose from, and other photographers may only offer one round of minis per year in one location.

candid lifestyle photos of a family of six inside

3. Mini-session price

Because mini-sessions are a shorter length of time and offer less photos to choose from in your gallery, the session investment is typically less than that of a full custom session. If you have a favorite photographer whom you’ve been following and would love to work with but has been out of your price range, a mini-session investment may be a great way to get in front of that photographer’s lens and ‘try them out’.

4. Mini-session pace

Because mini-sessions are so short and sweet, the photographer is often working faster with you and your kids to get the images needed for your gallery. If you prefer a more laid-back approach, or if you have a child that is very shy and slow to warm, a mini-session may not be for you.

family of six cuddling together outside

5. Mini-session products

Because mini-sessions are shorter and offer less variety in your gallery, they are often absolutely perfect for updated family photos, holiday cards, and gifts for grandma and grandpa. If you are more interested in creating a family wall gallery in your home or printing a yearly album, a full custom photo shoot will offer the variety of lifestyle images you are looking for. This includes more candid images, headshots, and creative photo collaboration with your photographer.

I hope this helps you in your decision to book a mini-session or full family session. If you’d like to get on my email list to be the first to know about upcoming mini-session dates and locations, please click the link below! As always, reach out if you have any questions!

mom and dad posing with daughters at photo session

Get on the list!

Kim's popular 30 minute minis sell-out quickly.  If you want to be in the know about her future mini dates and get first dibs on the best times and locations, click the link below!

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