The difference between MINI sessions and FULL family photography sessions

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vertical family portrait of mom and dad laughing together with their 3 boys, dad holding the youngest on his shoulders

MINI SESSIONS

Mini sessions are very short portrait photo sessions. They are held as a day-long event at one location in Pittsburgh and families are scheduled into 15 minute timeslots throughout the day, so punctuality is important! As mini session rates are lower than full session rates, it is a great opportunity to try out working with me before committing to a full session. Typically your mini session fee includes a handful of digital files as well, so minis are very popular for birthday/Mother’s Day gifts and holiday cards!

During your 15 minutes I lightly direct your family in where to stand / basic activities, but my focus is really on capturing natural interaction between you as opposed to a more formal portrait. So your photos LOOK candid even though I am talking with and directing you! These photoshoots are easy, fun, and quick. (You can learn more about how I direct portraits here and check out the upcoming mini session schedule here.)

dad laughs at the camera while mom cuddles with toddler and kids run around

FULL SESSIONS

Full sessions INCLUDE mini sessions! That is, for every 2+ hour session you book I always offer 15+ minutes of directed portrait time. This means that for the majority of your photography session I will hang out with your family capturing natural moments without directing at all… but then once your kids are comfortable and have warmed up and the weather is perfect and we have found the ideal location here in Pittsburgh, we can also do a casual portrait shoot. Because we have the flexibility of time and can work around your children’s moods, you are really setting yourself up for getting beautiful natural photos!

And of course not only do you have more relaxed portraits, we have also captured your everyday story in pictures, too. Bonus. (You can learn more about how the unposed part of your session works here.)

So which is best for you??

If you’re not typically a punctual person, or you expect your family might feel rushed and stressed at the idea of arriving on time and performing within the 15 minute window, then a mini session might not be for you. Consider the flexibility that a full session offers!

If your kids are older and cooperative, and you’re just looking for a great group portrait or two, a mini-session is a great fit! Like with this sweet family of two pre-teen girls who were happy to smile for the camera and enjoy the experience with their parents…

family of four with two teenage girls laughs together surrounded by fall foliage.

If your kids are young or they tend to be shy around strangers at first, then I’d think more about investing in a full photography session. There is something to be said about how low stress these sessions really are.

Then again, I’m happy to chat about your individual situation and make some recommendations!

I’m looking forward to talking with you. 🙂

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