How to prepare for your Mini Session

Mini Session season is here! 

Time to gather up your loved ones, pick some cool outfits, and get ready to love on one another -all while getting some awesome imagery at a great price. Not sure on what to expect? Keep reading for some helpful tips on how to prepare for your mini session.

A father and his daughter sitting in a field at sunset during their family mini session.

WHAT IS A MINI SESSION?

If you’ve never done (or heard of) a mini session, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a miniature version of a normal full portrait session. They are quick moving sessions scheduled back to back, at one central location. These sessions usually last from 10-20 minutes in length, with a much smaller delivery of images and prints (usually 3-10). 

If you’ve never had professional photos taken, mini sessions are an easy, inexpensive, and fun way to try it out. It’s also a great way to explore a new photographer, quickly update a few wall prints in your home, or get a few new family shots for the holiday card.

And mini sessions aren’t just for families. They are great for couples, individuals, maternity, pets, anyone!

Now that you’re all booked, here are some tips to prepare for your mini session and make it as easy and fun as possible. 

Tips to prepare for your mini session

A mother, father and two young daughters having fun during their family photography mini session.

WHAT TO WEAR

Styling your session doesn’t have to be stressful. The most important thing to remember is to keep it authentic to your true style – bohemian, laid-back, preppy, trendy, edgy – and then maybe take it up a notch.

“But what if we don’t have a ‘style’?” Don’t worry! We aren’t all fashionistas. Keep it real. Don’t try to be something you’re not for your professional photos. Stick with your normal look and follow these helpful tips on how to make it work.

A good rule of thumb is to coordinate but don’t match. Choose one person’s outfit first (usually the person planning the session) and then style everyone around that outfit. Pick a 2-3 color palette with neutrals that flow throughout the outfits and mix patterns, textures and fabrics. Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration on what to wear for a family photo session. 

Family of four walking in a field at sunset during their family mini session.

Some other tips:

  • Most importantly – dress in something you feel comfortable and confident in. It will show in the photos

  • Dress for the weather

  • Layering is great for visual interest (scarfs, vests, light jackets, etc.)

  • Accessorize! Fun hats, suspenders, and chunky jewelry look great in photos

  • Make sure your clothes fit properly and don’t bunch oddly or ride up when you are crouching, sitting, etc. Make sure clothes are not too baggy or falling off shoulders or waists and that undergarments are not showing. (Unless that’s the look you’re going for.)

  • Avoid large logos, thin stripes and animated characters on clothes

  • Check clothes and sweaters for holes, pilling, stains, etc.

  • Avoid neon colors that may leave a color cast on faces and skin

  • Shoes! Make sure they are clean, scuff-free and comfortable. Avoid flip flops and gym/running shoes

  • Dress kids in clothes they are comfortable in and you don’t mind if they get a little dirty. There is a lot of running, playing, sitting, etc. during our sessions and we want the kids to have a great time!

Two young daughters hugging in a field of tall grass at sunset
Two young daughters hugging in a field of tall grass at sunset

GET A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP AND FILL YOUR BELLIES

Easier said than done these days, I know, but getting a couple of decent nights of sleep leading up to the session will do wonders – especially for the kids. Also, make sure kids (and Dads) aren’t hungry as they arrive. Snacks are always welcome! 

ARRIVE EARLY

Please plan on arriving 10-15 minutes early to your session to give yourself and your family plenty of time to settle in, walk to the meeting area and deal with any last-minute issues that may arise. Mini sessions are scheduled back-to-back and any amount of time that you are late will directly impact the length of your session. Please note that due to the nature of mini sessions, time cannot be made up and refunds will not be given for late arrivals. A good idea is to familiarize yourself with the location in your GPS to know the general travel time the day before your session. Please reach out to me if you have any questions about the meeting point!

COME PREPARED

Feel free to bring snacks and water for kids or a favorite toy that you wouldn’t mind ending up in the photos. Mini sessions happen so quickly that it may take a little one a few minutes to warm up to a new face with a camera, and sometimes a favorite comfort item may help. Also, we don’t discourage bribery for the kids. Maybe bring something special for them to have afterwards if they cooperate (a lollipop?) but don’t let them know what it is until they are done. 

A young girl at sunset smiling at the camera.

BLANKETS OR PROPS

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, I will not be offering blankets during our mini sessions. There is a likelihood that we will do some sitting during our session, so if you have a blanket that you think would work well (neutrals or patchwork often look great in photos), please feel free to bring it. Also, a special prop (maternity, anniversary, milestone) that you may want to incorporate is also welcome. 

A mother and her young daughter sitting on a blanket in a field of tall grass at sunset.
A young girl on her stomach in a field at sunset with her head in her hands.

DON’T STRESS AND HAVE FUN!

Don’t think of it as a photoshoot. Think of it as a few minutes of uninterrupted time with your family or loved one, hugging, kissing, snuggling, laughing, running, twirling…no work, phones or email. Just a few, sweet moments together. Relaxed families = beautiful photos.

We start right away with a few posed family shots, but quickly work our way to very easy-going family interactions with lots of candids, laughter and fun. No need for the kids to smile and look at the camera for every shot. Our goal is the capture the essence and love in your interactions. 

A mother, father and two young daughters in a field at sunset laughing and smiling.

A FEW HELPFUL TIPS DURING THE SESSION

Stay close to one another and always touch: hold hands, snuggle, hug, put a hand on a shoulder. Make as much contact as you can with your family. This will help show the love and connection you have for one another.

A father in a field at sunset with is young daughter hugging his head and kissing his cheek.
A father in a field at sunset whispering in his young daughter's ear.

You don’t always have to be smiling and looking at the camera. We will get those shots in the beginning or I will ask you to look when needed. But look at each other, or look into the distance…these candid shots feel more natural and are usually the family favorites.

A mother holding her young daughter in a field at sunset while her daughter plays with her necklace.
A mother sitting in a blanket in a field at sunset snuggling with her two young daughters.
A father being kissed on each cheek by his young daughters.

Let your kids run wild. It’s ok. They’re kids. Once we get a few posed images, let them be themselves. Try to avoid telling them to say “cheese”. Instead, tell them a funny joke, or anything you know that will make them giggle instead. Play with them, get goofy, snuggle, throw them in the air, chase them around…just play with them as you would normally do and let me capture these moments.

Dads, it will be over before you know it. And Moms, don’t worry. You look beautiful. And no matter how bad you think your kids behaved, I’ve seen way worse, usually in my own home. They did a great job!

A young girl in a black dress twirling in a field at sunset with her arms outstretched.
A father and his young daughters playing in a field at sunset.
A mother hugging her young daughter in a field while the daughter stares into the camera.
A mother hugging her young daughter in a field while they both laugh.

Remember that sometimes, kids do better for the camera when parents and caregivers aren’t looking. It’s ok to walk away for a minute to let me have a moment with them. That’s when I usually get my best portrait shots.

Young girl in blue striped dress in a field of tall grass at sunset, looking at the camera and smiling.
Young girl in black dress in a field of tall grass at sunset, looking off into the distance.

AFTER YOUR SESSION

After your session, I carefully choose all the best moments captured and carefully edit each image. Your files are immediately backed up and saved. As I edit, I may post one or two images on Facebook or Instagram as a sneak peek. Please follow me on Instagram and Facebook if you would like to be tagged in these posts. 

All final edited images (10-20) will be provided in a password protected gallery 1-2 weeks after your session. Your mini session comes with 10 final images to download. You will receive instructions on choosing your images upon gallery delivery. 

Once you choose your images, you will be able to download the files to share and print. Additional digital files are available for purchase individually or by upgrading to the entire gallery. Professional print packages are also available for purchase through the gallery.

***COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS***

Due to COVID-19 restrictions I will be masked during our session. I will not be able to touch to fix clothing, hair, or help with posing, but may instruct you to do so. Once I am at a safe distance, I may briefly pull down my mask to speak so that you can hear my instructions or prompts, or so the children can see me smile.

If you or anyone in your family is sick or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the two weeks prior to the session, please reach out to me and I will happily reschedule.

I’m so looking forward to seeing you! I hope this information will help you to prepare for your upcoming mini session and as always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have!

A mother, father and two young daughters sitting on a blanket in a field of tall grass at sunset.

A mother, father and two young daughters sitting on a blanket in a field of tall grass at sunset.

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