What To Expect: Mini Session

Sep 6, 2021

Photographers have coined the term “Mini Session” but not everyone is in the loop on what exactly that means! I wanted to share some insight into what these sessions are all about and why they are so great!

What makes a mini session different?

Short & Sweet. Most sessions will be 20 minutes in length, which is ideaaaal for families with young kiddos, dogs, or spouses that hate photoshoots (we all know someone who hates photos). This is different than a portrait session which tends to be an hour or two with multiple locations and/or outfit changes.

Location & Time Specific. Many photographers will pick a date (or multiple dates) and specify a certain location and grouping of available times. This makes it easy and efficient for the photographer to get as many shoots done on one day as possible without having to travel to multiple locations. For me personally, I have shoots every half an hour, each 20 minutes long with a 5-minute buffer on each side for anyone running late, and I usually schedule 6 sessions a day. Fall is the busiest time of year with people wanting photos with fall leaves, shots for holiday cards, and Santa photos, but I also offer studio sessions during rainy months, and outdoor spring & summertime sessions as well.

Any & All Shoot Types Welcome. Mini sessions might be ideal for SINGLE families (note, these are not intended for extended family sessions that include grandma and cousins etc.) but these are also great for headshots, quick senior photos, couple sessions, tinder photos, best friend pics, dog photos, birthday photos, etc.

A Note About Edited Images. Your photographer may also offer a small gallery of a select number of images, and some will have the option to upgrade to all of your edited images for an additional fee. For me, you will receive all edited photos in the cost of your mini session. It was too hard for me to narrow it down to a small number like 5 or 10, so while my mini sessions may have a higher price point, you will be receiving all of your edited photos. They will be sent over in a digital gallery, and you will be able to choose and download your favorite images (or all of the images), and they are all hi-resolution files for optimal print quality at your favorite print shop, or you can purchase directly through me (I receive a commission for each order as well).

Most Affordable Option. Not only are these a great way to get a quick photo shoot to update your frames or gift something to family members, but it doesn’t break the bank either. By sacrificing location and time preferences, you are getting a great deal on the cost of your photo session. Win win! I also offer multiple shoot discounts, payment plans, and gift cards.

What does the shoot look like?

On the day of the shoot, you will arrive at your location and all you need to be ready for is to smile pretty! For my clients, I usually encourage them to bring props, like blankets (for any seated shots, or warmth) or maybe a letter board, balloon(s), possibly sports jerseys, anything that might make their photos even more special to them. These are quick photoshoots in one location, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add in a quick shirt swap or prop addition.

Loved that they used their mini session as a pregnancy announcement opportunity.

Make sure to arrive with plenty of time to find parking, if necessary, as well as to find your photographer’s location. I don’t always have my phone on me while shooting so you might have to do a lap to see a short gal practically doing yoga poses trying to get “the shot” (that’d be me). Some sessions take place in a studio and there might be a harder time finding parking. Most street parking in the city is free on Sundays so keep that in mind, as well as looking for “load/unload” signs and their times of enforcement.

How often do mini sessions occur?

Usually, I offer mini sessions three times a year: Spring, Summer, and Fall. I have started to add studio mini sessions to get more photos done in this PNW climate and keep us out of the cold, wet weather. In the past I have announced these on my Instagram page, but I am going to prioritize my mailing list in 2022 so people who want to be the first to know will be able to get that information first!

What sessions are NOT great for mini sessions?

There are certain situations when a mini session may not be ideal for your photoshoot! If you are trying to coordinate multiple families (your family, your brother’s family, your parents, your in-laws, etc.) this would be better to either schedule two mini-session time slots back to back or set up a separate 45-60 minute shoot with your favorite photographer. There are just too many moving pieces and family photo combinations to fit into a 20-minute time span. Trust me, it doesn’t work.

Other sessions that may be more fun as a longer portrait session: extended family photos, newborn & maternity photos, senior photos, engagement photos, or branding photos for your business.

I hope this helps give you an idea of why mini sessions are so popular and why they might be the perfect fit for your family! Keep an eye out for more tips for photo sessions!



  1. Kellian England says:

    I am looking to give a one of your mini sessions for my son and his wife for Christmas. They got married during covid and have no real photos of them together. They live in Shoreline and Traci locker gave me your name.

  2. […] Mini sessions are one of my favorite ways to capture families (or really anything!). They are quick, efficient, a great deal, and so many photos in such a short time. […]

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