It's that most wonderful time of the year again! Fall! Time to enjoy the change in pace, as the air cools down and the hot cocoa heats up.
Crisp leaves scatter on the sidewalks and thoughts of being thankful fill our minds. Fall. It's my favorite time of the year. It's also the time when I offer my easy and fun mini-sessions!
So what makes a min-session, "mini"? Doesn't that just mean it's shorter than a regular session? In a way, yes. It's definitely shorter.
Full sessions are usually planned for about an hour of time together, but very often we end up running longer. Sometimes the kids turn into piggy-backers and of course we need a photo of that! Sometimes there are outfit changes, especially with high school seniors. Sometimes the family pet decides to take off! And needs to be treated back into the photos. All of this adds time.
But with minis, we are limited to an exact start and end point. For me, that means 20 minutes.
And 20 minutes goes by fast! Like, really fast. Because of this, minis work very well for kids who are at least a little bit patient, and who warm up quickly to strangers. Minis are usually perfect for families with older children (school-age and up), who are done with nap time and ready to grin and explore our surroundings.
Does that means babies and toddlers shouldn't go to mini-sessions? Not at all! But it's definitely worthwhile to consider your kids' best times of the day when picking that little 20 minute block. And there are many things you can do to help minis work for your littlest family members.
First, remember that kids like to be active! To me, that's a great thing. I love watching kids play (I'm a mom!) and they are only this active for a short time in their lives.
It can really help at a mini-session if you let your little ones run a bit, to get some of that "I'm somewhere new wearing something new with someone new staring at me" energy out!
Second, it's always a good idea to show up early! Not only because you're in a queue, waiting for your turn and you don't want to miss a moment of your time slot.
But also, because then it gives your little ones a chance to explore their environment and relax a little as they grow more comfortable.
Which leads me into my third point. I can't say enough how important it is just to breathe! We all have moments when we need a little space, or some time to sort through our feelings. And sometimes kids (and parents!) need both right when it comes time to take family photos.. That's why my number one goal is to make sure you're comfortable, and enjoying yourself! Your kids will sense it if you breathe a little bit and begin to relax yourself. It'll help them too!
So yes, a mini is different from a regular session in that it's shorter, and there's not as much time to get to know each other and relax.
But also, a mini is different because it's designed for updating your family photo. Or getting a holiday card photo. And if we're lucky, a quick and beautiful portrait of each child. If what you're looking for is a good amount of family interaction, or those little moments where a child stops and picks some raspberries, or those playful moments that come when the pressure's off — then a full session might be a better choice for you.
One thing minis are really great for is trying out a new photographer. Every family portrait photographer is an artist. And we all create our art (your photos) in different ways. It's so important to find a photographer who "fits" you. Who makes you smile, feel comfortable and who gets along well with all the age groups in your family. Since minis cost less than full sessions, both in time and money, it's also a handy way to check out a photographer's style and approach to photo sessions.
I care deeply about the clients (friends!) I've met over the years. And I treasure family photos. I used to be a reporter, and I really like getting to know you, even during a quick mini-session. I'm going to do my best to bring out the relationships I see between you. To help you hold on to these beautiful days when your kids are growing and your world is changing.
Something as simple as a photograph full of warm happy smiles can do wonders to trigger those thankful autumnal feelings I mentioned at the start of this post.
There's always going to be some sort of chaos in the world. Whether it's a pandemic, an environmental disaster or a change in work or school life.
But also, there's always going to be something to be thankful for.
That's what I look for when I look through my lens. I imagine what you're thankful for, I cherish the chance I have to be part of your special day, and I do my best to bring out the light. Whether it's a mini-session or a full, I look forward to meeting you and sharing in your story for the time we have together.