August 10, 2022

Full Session vs. Mini Session

Which is best for your family?


Do you prefer a full session or a mini session and why? This is a question I asked my clients, friends, and followers recently and I got a lot of responses but this one question was answered in almost the same way by everyone and I'm going to share why everyone might be wrong! *Gasp* I know. First I'll explain the difference between and full session and a mini session and then I'll let you in on a surprising revelation that just might change your mind...

mother holds young daughter as they examine a sunflower petal in the mother's hand for sunset sunflower photos

Me and my daughter checking out a sunflower petal.

Pros of a Full Session


  • You get the full client experience
  • You get a more personalized experience
  • You get more time so that nothing is rushed. This also means more time for shy or grumpy little ones to warm up.
  • You get more photos in your gallery to choose from.
  • You get more variety in your gallery.
  • You get to choose the date, time, and location of your session.
  • There is more flexibility for rescheduling or if something needs to change last minute.


Cons of a Full Session


  • It costs a bit more (keep in mind you get more too.)
  • Little ones may get tired or "be done" before the session is over.

Pros of a Mini Session


  • They are short! Perfect for busy families, uninterested dads, or anyone with a short attention span.
  • They are easy to schedule. You know the date and times available and just pick your spot and show up!
  • You can test out a new photographer without investing much time or money.
  • They generally cost less than a full session. (More on this below)




Cons of a Mini Session


  • Yes, you may pay less but you get less in return. Your experience is not the same as a full session and things may feel a bit rushed or impersonal.
  • You don't have as much time to get to know the photographer or for me to get to know you!
  • If kids aren't behaving, there is no time to take a break and no do-overs later.
  • If it is a themed session or in a special location, it may not be possible to reschedule if you have to cancel for personal reasons.
2 year old sits in a little blue chair between rows of sunflowers and makes a silly face

My crazy and sometimes grumpy toddler (and husband.)

dad leans over edge of old blue truck bed to kiss grumpy 2 year old on the cheek in a field of sunflowers
dad walks away down a row of sunflowers with hislaughing toddler daughter thrown over his shoulder upside down

The Takeaway


Obviously this list is a little one-sided and I think you can see which session has more pros and fewer cons. It is possible I forgot some things on both sides but I really do feel that a full session is better than a mini session in just about every way. The value I provide in a full session is just so much more than I'm able to provide in a mini session! With that said, I do love minis and there is a time and a place for them and for some families, a mini is going to be best for them and that is OK! If that's you, awesome! I hope to meet you at a mini session sometime. And you can rest assured that I do my best to make all my clients feel appreciated regardless of their session type.

Now for the #1 reason moms say they want a mini session but should consider a full session instead.


The answer literally everyone but one gave for why they prefer a mini session to a full session was some form of this:


"My kids won't last/are too wild for a full session."


Which sounds like a really good reason and for some, it's 100% true. Don't feel bad if this is how you feel! However, and I alluded to it above in the lists, sometimes your kids might actually need more time, not less. Some kids are just shy or act out in front of the camera because they are nervous or uncomfortable or are just being kids. I love working with children and I have a lot of tricks I like to use to get them to be the adorable children you know them to be for photos. Unfortunately, a mini session doesn't give me a lot of time to work with them to get them to warm up to me and be comfortable in the situation. I do my best in a mini session but sometimes we just have to move on and it could mean missing out on some of the photos you want the most if the kids aren't cooperating.


So if you're tired of wrangling your kids for a 10-15 minute mini session begging for just one normal smile, allow me to suggest considering booking a full session. I promise it will end up being less stressful and I have some ideas for ways to make your full session fun and unique so that it will get your kids excited and smiling genuinely. If that sounds good, let's talk!

Let's connect!


Now, if your husband is the reason you need a mini instead of a full, I have tricks for him too but maybe we do a mini for the family photo and then a full Mommy & Me session for you and the kids. Insert laughing/crying emoji. I'm kidding...kinda. Seriously though, if you've got any concerns about your family in particular and you want to discuss it with me before you book either a mini or a full session, let's do it! I love chatting with anyone and everyone about all things photography.

Want to see more photos of me and my family from our recent trip to a sunflower farm?


Check out the gallery of a few of my favorites! We visited Red's Hay Farm in Ooltewah, TN.

father holding 2 year old daughter points out a sunflower in the middle of a sunflower field!
daddy snuggles his little girl in a row of sunflowers in Ooltewah, TN
2 year old girl in pigtails and white peplum top runs throw a field of sunflowers
close up of a 2 year old girl in a field of sunflowers near Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga family photographer, Christian Grant, with her husband and daughter in a field of sunflowers
cute little girl in pigtails and white peplum outfit in-between sunflowers
mother and daughter examine a sunflower petal in mom's hand in the middle of a field
close up of mother kissing daughter on cheek in a sunflower field in Chattanooga at sunset
mother holds 2 year old daughter above her head in sunflower field in Chattanooga
mom and toddler girl hug in sunflower field at Red's Hay Farm in Ooltewah, TN
father kisses his baby girl at sunset in a sunflower field
close up of toddler kissing her father at sunset for Chattanooga family photogapher
dad walks away  with 2yo daughter thrown over his shoulder backwards and upside down laughing with bouncing pigtails
father kisses toddler daughter's cheek in a sunflower field at sunset for Chattanooga family photographer
2 year old girl sits in a tiny blue chair in a row of sunflowers at Red's Hay Farm in Ooltewah, TN
father and daughter hold hands and walk away down a row of sunflowers at sunset in Chattanooga, TN
2 year old girl in pig tails laughs in a tiny blue chair in a row of sunflowers at Red's Hay Farm in Ooltewah, TN
2 year old girl laughs for her Chattanooga photographer mom in a tiny blue chair in a row of sunflowers
2 year old girl in pigtails makes a silly face on a tiny blue hair in a sunflower field at sunset
little girl sit in a tiny blue chair and examines a sunflower petal in a row of sunflowers
Pinterest pin graphic for mini sessions vs full sessions blog post
pinterest pin graphic asking "are your crazy kids the reason you need a mini"