One of our most frequently asked questions for portraits is whether you should book a full session or a mini-session for their family photos. Like to many questions, the answer has a lot of different variables depending on your personal situation! So let’s break them down, shall we?
You might want to book a full family session if…full family sessions are typically between 45-60 minutes. This timeline provides a lot of time for variety. So if it’s important to you to have a variety of locations, lots of different individual breakdowns of groupings (say you have 3 kids and want each kid alone and each kid with each parent,etc), a potential outfit change of some sort for some/all of your group, and lots of down time to adjust/respond to kid or baby needs. For my sessions, the variety in poses is going to happen no matter what you book- it’s a major focus of my posing for there to be a lot of variety in a small amount of time. But that variety of poses can happen in multiple spots within our chosen location if you do a full session! You are more likely to get multiple types of “looks” to your photos, and also more likely to get more images of your family just being together– exploring, cuddling, playing. If you want more of a lifestyle, unrushed, unplanned feel- a full family session can give this to you most easily. It might also depend a bit on what you want to do with the images. If you want to do a big gallery wall, or a new album of family photos– a full gallery is really helpful variety wise!
You might want to book a mini-session if…mini-sessions are short, simple, and easy! We LOVE shooting them, and have mastered making them feel quick but not rushed. That being said, 20-30 minutes is short– which is also mini-sessions largest positive! If you have small kids, or a partner who doesn’t love photo sessions, mini-sessions are truly great. They are honestly over before you know it. We really focus on getting a lot of poses and variety in that short amount of time– but there won’t be the same variety (especially in locations) that you would get with a full session. Your gallery typically will be smaller than with a full family session (though we still typically send galleries of 30+ photos!), but if you choose to get yearly or bi-yearly photos, that is all you might want or need! These sessions truly are so simple and easy and with littles, sometimes that is just what you want!
My personal recommendation is that families should get yearly mini-sessions if they can…and then make sure to do a few fuller sessions at certain points. Maybe once you think your family is complete in terms of number of kids…and then again before your oldest really transitions into a teen and might not want to cuddle in the same for photos…and again before they all look like full blown little adults. I also recommend full sessions for newborns, and that you do an extended family session with both sides of your family one they seem mostly complete (read more about that HERE).
Now– if you want to do a yearly full session? You absolutely should! They are amazing and like I said, give a huge variety and a very full picture of who your family is at any given time. You do you, mama– full family sessions are such a gift to your family down the road. But if that isn’t in the cards (or is going to really frustrate your partner!)– no problem. Minis are certainly enough, and often easier with younger kids.
Interested in grabbing a full or mini-session with JGP this spring or summer? Our FULL schedule is released and sessions are going fast– grab one now!
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I'm Jill, a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Chicago and Central Illinois, and available world wide! I'm also a photography educator, wife to my favorite person on the planet, mama to 3 amazing kids and an energetic Aussie, and obsessed with statement jewelry and all desserts (especially fruit pies!).
As a past high school teacher, I have a major heart for education. After going full time in my business, I have built a business I love that gives me an almost 6 figure salary and allows me to be home part time with my kids. I dream for you to run a business that enhances your life and lights you up, and I believe I can help you learn how to do it with a little hustle and a lot of heart!
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You're in the right place! As a past high school teacher, educating others is my life's work and a HUGE part of my business! I have been teaching moms and hobbyists how to use their camera from first purchasing it all the way to coaching them into businesses of their own, and I'd love to help you as well, wherever you are (and whatever camera you have!).
I'm so glad you are here! Teaching Photographers and other small business owners how to run more joyful, successful, and profitable businesses is one of my favorite parts of my business! I specialize in working with photographers to make their goals a reality (or figure out what their goals should be in the first place!).