What to Expect: Studio Session

Jan 11, 2024

Studio Sessions, while made popular in the 90’s by Yen Luie and JC Penny, have made a strong comeback in the last few years and are especially great for those who live in the PNW. But these aren’t your typical studio sessions, these are what I like to call “Lifestyle Studio Sessions”. We don’t use harsh lighting or weird backdrops (however both are welcome!) but instead we focus on the simplicity of the studio and the beauty of your family in that space. There are so many pros for studio sessions: consistent lighting, shelter from the PNW elements, don’t typically have to be rescheduled due to weather, and contain the toddlers in one safe space. It’s all a win.

What are mini-sessions?

Short & Sweet. Most sessions will be 15-20 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, possibly with multiple locations and/or outfit changes. If you want a longer session, mini-sessions are not for you.

Location & Time Specific. Many photographers will pick a date (or multiple dates) and location and offer a range of available times. This makes it easy and efficient for the photographer to get as many shoots done in one day as possible without having to travel to multiple locations. For me personally, I have sessions every half an hour, each 20 minutes long with a 5-minute buffer on each side for anyone running late, and I usually schedule 4-6 sessions a day. I offer both studio and outdoor sessions. Outdoor sessions are typically done between April and November, with studio minis happening randomly during the more harsh fall and winter months.

Any & All Shoot Types Welcome. Mini-sessions are ideal for SINGLE families of 5 people or less (anything more takes a little bit longer), 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. Some photographers will also offer a small gallery of a select number of images (let’s say 10 images), and some will have the option to upgrade to all of your edited images for an additional fee. As for my sessions, you will receive all edited photos included in the cost of your mini-session. While my mini-sessions may have a higher price point than others, not only will you be receiving all of your edited photos, but 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), you will have both websize photos for posting and hi-resolution files for optimal print quality at your favorite print shop AND you get print rights. You can also purchase prints, gifts, and more directly through the print shop in your final gallery (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’s the most affordable option for photos. By sacrificing preferred location and time preferences, you are getting a deal on the cost of your photo session. Win-win! I also offer multiple shoot discounts, payment plans, and gift cards.

What does the session look like?

On the day of the session, you will arrive at your location and all you need to do is have fun and enjoy your time with your loved one(s). I know getting yourself and your family ready and out the door can be daunting and stressful, but I like to encourage playfulness, snuggles, and love during your session. You don’t need to bring anything but I always suggest if you want to bring something you can! Props like blankets (for any seated shots, or warmth) or maybe a letter board, balloon(s), possibly sports jerseys, or anything that might make your photos even more special to you. These are quick photoshoots in one location, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add in a quick shirt swap or prop addition.

I love that this family went a little fancier for their studio session!

Make sure to arrive with plenty of time to find parking, if necessary, as well as to enter the studio. I don’t always have my phone on me while shooting but I will typically text you instructions the day before or day of your session. 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 almost quarterly. I have started to add in these studio mini-sessions to get more photos done in this PNW climate and keep us out of the cold, wet weather. I give my newsletter subscribers first dibs by emailing them before releasing them on my instagram stories, so make sure to get on that list to have your first choice of dates and times!

Where are the studios?

I have a long list of studios I have used from Seattle to Tacoma, as well as studios I want to use in the future! For mini-sessions, I will book the studio and dates based on both my availability and the studio’s availability, then release the dates to all of you. If you want to pick your location, message me and we can make something work!

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 extended families or multiple families (your family, your brother’s family, your parents, and/or your in-laws, etc.) this would be better to either schedule two mini-session time slots back to back or set up a 45-60 minute shoot with me. There are just too many moving pieces and family photo combinations to fit into 20 minutes. Trust me, it doesn’t work. If you want to schedule a longer session, fill out my contact form.

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

Next Steps!

I hope this helps give you an idea of why studio mini-sessions are so popular and why they might be the perfect fit for your family! Whether it’s a mini session, a longer family session, maternity, wedding, etc. please reach out to me via contact form and we can get your event on the calendar!

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