Miriam Pinkston © All Rights Reserved.
Sometimes clients are unsure about which kind of session to invest in and would like to understand the difference between a mini-session & a full session.
Before I go into the details, I want to give a little bit of insight into a photographer’s mind when creating their business model, the choices they make & the options that they offer.
In today’s world most people have either a great camera or a great phone to take amazing pictures and I love to watch this kind of artistic expression in those who share those images with us on social media and other places. There are also lots of photographers out there, who use their business to supplement their income or enjoy their hobby for a little extra cash and they feel comfortable to charge little for their time and give all their images in digital form, as a gift. I think that is wonderful, if that is what they have chosen to do and offer to their clients!
However, If that is the kind of photographer you are expecting or looking for, I want you to understand, that I am not one of them. I have learned through the 11 years of running my business that I cannot maintain my level of passion that I thrive on to create the images I offer, when I burn out in the process of creating the artwork you desire. It is not possible to maintain a professional level of business, when all you get to pay yourself is about $1.50 an hour & there is nothing worse than seeing your beautiful work as a Walmart print in someone’s home.
Why am I writing this first?
I am writing this first because when I get asked about my prices and I offer the information to potential customers, often the first question I get asked is when I might offer mini-sessions. I do offer mini-sessions at different times of the year and I enjoy offering them. But you will see that they are not a mini-version of a full session. If they were, I would not be able to afford to run my business. They are, however, a wonderful alternative to a full session, if it is the right choice for you!
My full session prices are tailored to my cost of doing business - equipment & gear, taxes, insurance, babysitting, expertise, you name it. They are fully tailored to you and the experience is not something that can be duplicated in the time-frame the mini-sessions allow.
Now, I do understand that investing in the experience of a full session can be a difficult choice to make, as often our budgets are tight, so I do offer seasonal mini-sessions to help those who very much want to work with me or to those who are looking for something very specific that a mini-session will satisfy.
In the rest of this post, I will walk you through the differences between a full session and a mini-session & what to consider while choosing which kind of session you want to book with me!
So, let’s compare.
Location: For timing purposes, the mini-sessions are offered only in one location, chosen for the purpose of the mini-session offered at that time. In a full session, we plan together where you want to have your pictures taken & we often move through several different locations in the course of the session. This allows for more comprehensive story-telling and gives the images a wonderful chance to capture your family more completely - embracing where you are in your story right now.
Time: A mini-session is usually set at 30 minutes. They are designed to take place consecutively and clients need to be available and ready at the time-slot they have chosen. Your children should be able to follow directions given, as there is much less time to create a relaxed and comfortable environment for them, given the time-constraint. Typically, adults, newborns, older kids, and couples will do great in this setting and choosing a mini-session would work perfectly. Younger kids, toddlers, and babies, however will most likely not allow for a mini-session to work in your favor, as they will struggle to do what you ask them to do, until they feel comfortable with the situation. This will only cause tension for the entire group and will not allow for the images you are wanting to create. I cannot offer more time in a mini-session. A full session allows for everyone to relax and enjoy themselves. During a full session, I am allowed to get a feel for the individuals within and the dynamics of your family - we build trust and I get to document the beautiful interaction within the group. We also discuss beforehand what is important to you and what kind of images you are looking for. In a full session I have the time to create on a different level than in the mini-sessions.
Product Offered: I do not give away my digital files. They are available for purchase, the same way as all other products are. When people ask why, I usually ask them, if they would ever had asked a photographer using film, if they would give you all the negatives… Full sessions are priced with some product included, some web-ready images for sharing, extensive post-processing, and a pre- & post-session, to ensure an amazing experience that is built around exactly what you are wanting. A mini-session includes up to 10 post-processed images to choose from and all product is available for purchase, after viewing.
My Promise: Mini-sessions are incredibly hard to make unique. There is a lot more directed posing and a lot less creativity & naturally created moments. The limited amount of time just simply does not allow for the “a true glimpse inside your family” kind of story-telling. If you are looking for a few poses, 1-5 good images to use for holiday cards or other seasonal monumental moments (birthdays, graduations, etc), then mini-sessions are the perfect option for you and I promise that we will check those goals off your list! I also promise that the quality of the images & the artistic touch I put on them will always be the same as those of my full sessions. If you are more like me, and you crave for your story to be captured in images that document the season that you are in right now in life, focusing on each individual, multiple family groups, and all together - as a character study of who you are - embracing the emotional & vulnerable beauty of your individuality that your family brings, then the full session is what you are looking for & I promise you will love the results!
This gives you a glimpse into the major differences between my mini-sessions and my full sessions. Contact me, if you have questions, are wanting my schedule for upcoming mini-sessions or are ready to book your next full session. I can’t wait to meet you!