Planning professional photos and not sure what kind of session to book?

Common questions photographers often get...what is a mini session? How is it different from a full session?

And...which one should I choose for myself and my loved ones? Here's 5 reasons mini sessions are perfect for you (and 5 reasons they're not) to help you decide when booking your next photo session.

What is a mini session anyways?

A mini session is a short photo session ranging in length from 10-20 minutes, whereas a full session is typically 60 minutes or more. Mini sessions are commonly held for holidays like Christmas, Mother's Day and other special occasions. Some photographers even hold mini sessions at certain times of year, for instance in spring or fall. In Calgary, Alberta, studio mini sessions are common during the winter months or even early spring because let's face it, the weather here is pretty unpredictable. Full sessions are often done year-round and are usually outdoors.

Now that you know what the difference between sessions is, let's move on and I'll explain

why mini sessions could be perfect for you (and why they might not be)!

Why mini sessions are perfect for you

A beautiful authentic family mini session at Studio Boheme in Calgary AB by Love & Sunshine Photography.

With mini sessions, you get to sample a new photographer's work

This is fantastic if you haven't done professional photos in awhile, or haven't had a great experience with another photographer. With a mini session, you get just enough time to try out a new photographer, see what they can offer you, and decide how well you click for future sessions whether it be a full session or another mini.

Love & Sunshine Photography: Mom & baby giggles during spring mini session at Studio Boheme in Calgary.
Love & Sunshine Photography: Mom and baby boy cuddles during spring mini session at Studio Boheme in Calgary AB.

Mini sessions are great for young kids/babies with short attention spans

Just 20 minutes of session time! It's the perfect amount for those little ones with short attention spans, concentration disabilities, or loads of energy! If you as a mama are not ready to see how your littles will respond during a full hour session, this is a great amount of time to capture a handful of cherished memories without the worry of how they'll act.

Calgary fall family golden hour photos in Fish Creek Park, Calgary Alberta by Love & Sunshine Photography.

Mini Sessions are perfect if you only need a few photos to update your home or gift to your family & friends

If you regularly get professional photos and don't need a high number of images, mini sessions are perfect for you! They are commonly done on holidays like Christmas, so you can send out your annual holiday card to family and friends. Another popular time for mini sessions is Mother's Day-the shorter time is perfect for you, mama, to actually get in the shot and receive a few coveted images with just you and your little ones.

Mini sessions are perfect if you are on a smaller budget

Mini sessions are typically priced at a fraction of the cost of a regular session, depending on the photographer. This is perfect for those on a smaller budget. We all want (and deserve) professional photos, so this is a great opportunity for all walks of life to get some cherished memories.

Black & white image of parents with toddler during mini session at Studio Boheme with Love & Sunshine Photography

Mini sessions are perfect for you if you're not a fan of the outdoors

Or if you live in unpredictable weather patterns like good ol' Calgary, Alberta has and don't want to take chances with the weather! Because let's face it, if anyone is uncomfortable or cold, that's going to reflect in the photos. And if you're putting the money out there, it's fair to say you deserve the best photos. Mini sessions are short & sweet, so you get the beautiful photos before you realize where you are!

And now...5 reasons Mini sessions are not right for you

Beautiful authentic family maternity photos in Drumheller Alberta during summer by Calgary family photographer.

You have very active kiddos

This goes without saying, but if you've got toddlers and very active children, you are best to take your photos outdoors during a full session. This allows your active kiddos to run around and expend some energy, feel comfortable and allows the photographer to capture those natural connections and personalities. It's VERY hard to keep active kiddos still in a short studio mini session when they have no time or room to explore and use up some of that extra energy they have bubbling up inside. It often makes for stressed parents and uncomfortable photos.

Mother & daughter embrace during fall session at golden hour at Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary AB.
Little girl happily holds parent's hands during fall photos at golden hour at Glenmore Reservoir.
Family giggles during fall photo session at Glenmore Reservoir with Love & Sunshine Photography

It takes time for you and your loved ones to warm up

Shy or nervous? It may seem backwards, but I actually recommend a longer session for clients who feel this way about photos because the extra time allowed for full sessions allows the photographer to help you relax and be yourself. It's much harder to get rid of those nerves (which are totally normal by the way!) when you've only got a short mini session to make it happen.

Beautiful couple portrait during mini session at Calgary Alberta's Studio Boheme by Love & Sunshine Photography.

You value authentic connections & smiles

While authentic connections & smiles CAN happen during a mini session with a skilled photographer and open-minded family, they are much harder to achieve in just 20 minutes. With more time, you and your loved ones are able to soak up the time together and relax that much more, which in turn brings out the best connections and natural smiles.

Mountain mini session in Kananaskis by Calgary Alberta lifestyle photographer Love & Sunshine Photography.

You love utilizing your beautiful, natural surroundings

A studio mini session is not for you if you like the outdoors. Maybe you like adventuring around the location you're at, maybe you like different types of lighting in your images (for instance, the magical golden hour light), and you just can't achieve that with an indoor mini session. Full sessions allow more time to move around and catch the light in many different ways.

Beautiful summer family photos in pinks & greens in Calgary Alberta by Love & Sunshine Photography.

You like variety in your images

Whether it's variety in the environment or even a small outfit change, if you like a wide selection of images, then a full session is definitely for you. A mini session only allows for one location and just enough time for a small amount of photos.

Beautiful family welcoming new baby during a lifestyle newborn session in Calgary AB.
Mom breastfeeding new baby with daughter looking on during lifestyle session at home in Calgary AB

Extra: you have a newborn

Newborns require more time than a short mini session. Often you and the photographer will work around and through feeds, diaper changes and fussiness to get a good set of newborn images. That is nearly impossible to do during the time allowed for a mini session.

You've got the information, now it's up to you to decide which is best: mini photo session or full photo session?

I'm not here to tell you which is better because I honestly can't say. This information is simply here to help guide you and is based solely on my experience. I can tell you this...Each family and couple is different. Only YOU know whether a mini session is perfect for you...or if it's not.

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Hey it's me

welcome to my blog

I'm Marcella (pronounced Mar-Sella), your friend behind the lens at
Love & Sunshine Photography.

Lover of nature, travel, dogs & chai lattes. And most importantly, my family.

Creative by nature, genuinely loves taking and editing photos, and thrives on building relationships and capturing meaningful connections.

This is where I’ll share my latest sessions, photography resources, fave things, and perhaps even some inspiring info for running your own business.

xo Marcella

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