Why I Do Not Offer Mini Sessions
Mini sessions. Oh mini sessions. As a photographer you either love them or don't love them. It seems like every season there is some type of mini session offering and every time I see a photographer post about theirs I wonder if it's something I should be doing as well. And actually, I HAVE offered and done a few before, but have always ended up unsatisfied with the process and end result.
Isn't it funny how it works like that? How easily we can be persuaded to do something because we see others doing it? Especially when building a business is a constant process of defining who you are and what you want your business to look like.
It can be far too easy to get sidetracked from your own vision when you consume yourself with everyone else's.
So, here are my thoughts on why mini sessions don't work for me and my business. By the way, if you are a photographer reading this and mini sessions work for you and you love doing them, keep doing them! Nothing feels better than finding your sweet spot. Today, I am writing this for the photographer burnt out on mini sessions or the one unsure if you should do them, for those who have suggested I offer them, and for those of you who maybe don't understand why you should book a full session over a mini. I have gone back and forth on all this, but the truth is (which I have known all along really) that mini sessions are just NOT for me and I am actually happy about that.
There's never enough time. One of my personal and business values is 'quality time'. I love creating the space for my clients to be able to slow down and also love having conversations with them, getting to know them and hearing their stories. Mini sessions would never allow me to do that. I also believe the best moments are found in the more intimate, meaningful, and calmer settings which a mini session would only rush instead of patiently waiting for those moments to naturally happen. Also, what about life? Oh right, life. That. Things happen. Tantrums happen. Stubborn kids happen. Teething babies happen. Clients run late which then overlaps with the next client (Uhhh, stressful!). I can not give my clients the experience and care I want in such little time.
It kills business (at least mine). Okay, sure this is my own personal opinion, HOWEVER if my mini sessions were to look exactly the same as a full session would (because themed sessions wouldn't ever be anything I would offer) yet for only a fraction of the cost as my full sessions than why in the world would anyone ever want to book a full session with me? They would just keep waiting for me to offer mini sessions year after year and right there I have lost a potential full session client. Less is always more in my book and time is incredibly valuable these days especially now that I'm a mother myself. I'd much rather book less clients throughout the year to open up the time to be able to serve each of them REALLY well.
Only a couple of the sessions get good light. Typically mini sessions will run all day long, so for the photographer who doesn't work out of a studio like myself, only a couple of the sessions will get that beautiful, soft evening light and the rest will get a harsh full mid afternoon sun that WILL bring out all the details you might not want brought out. ;P And who wants that? No one I know.
"There is such power in evaluating the strength and weakness of what seems to be the norm." - Tiffany Farley
So I would love to encourage you, if you're a photographer and struggling to know what to offer and what not to, ask yourself what it is that you value, what's important to you, and what you personally would expect out of a session you were to invest in? And for those of you who have wondered which type of session is for you, here are some things to think about.
Invest in a full session once a year. Expect to spend money and make it a priority. The time you get with your precious babies now will be gone before you know it, so hiring a photographer who will take the time and wait on only the best moments (good things take time) that will highlight your special relationship with your babies will be SO much more valuable to you years later than just nice photo of the family to be used for a Christmas card for example. Some of my favorite, most cherished photographs I have with my mother are the intimate ones of her holding me tight. I feel her love for me through what was captured and I can see in my face that I felt loved and safe in her arms. Nothing I have ever spent money on could be as valuable as photographs like that one. What do you value? What do you want out of a session? Your memories are here today and gone tomorrow, so how are you going to document them?