How to Run Your Mini Sessions with Confidence as a Family Photographer

Mini sessions are so popular for family photographers during the fall season. They are a great way for many photographers to maximize their time and money in working with many families. The success of these sessions really comes down to how well prepared and organized the photographer is so that they can conquer these sessions! Every season in my business I rely on mini sessions to contribute a few thousand dollars to my bottom line every month. They can be extremely profitable when done right. So today, I wanted to share my tips to make the most of your mini sessions each season! 

Here are some of my best practical tips for making the most of mini sessions this fall season and beyond.

1. Prepare your families.

If you didn’t know, preparation is key to the success in so many areas of your business. Prepping your families is a big one for the success of their sessions. If you want your sessions to run smoothly, it’s best to make sure you have prepared your families the best you can on what to expect.

In my business, I send out my Prep Guide, when the family books as well as a week prior to their session. This gives them all the tips on what to wear, how to prepare their family and more. It’s also a great guide for inspiration on what types of photos you take so they are more prepared for what you may ask them to do. 

I also highly recommend texting your client the day of their session. Give them all the details they need in one text including the address, where to meet and a basic game plan on what to expect at the shoot. I always include a reminder about aiming to be 10-15 minutes early and how important it is for them to be on time. Texting them also gives them a more direct way to access you if needed for any last minute things that come up.

2. Keep your locations easy to access.

There is nothing more detrimental to a fast paced session than having to waste time walking too far for your locations. Choose a location that is easy to access for your clients and try to keep them generally in the same area to maximize your time.

A few years ago I did mini sessions at a tree farm. I didn’t realize it at the time of booking but the good “fields” that I was able to use were a pretty far walk from the parking lot. So, I made the mistake of meeting my clients in the parking lot and walking. Because of that, I found myself running back to the lot in between sessions which was great for exercise but terrible for everything else I needed to be doing that day.

The more you can maximize your time by keeping your family in a smaller general area the better. For tips on scouting great locations for mini sessions: check this out!

3. Set alarms to keep your sessions running on schedule.

Keeping mini sessions on schedule is so important. In my business, I like to set alarms on my phone and watch to notify me when I have 10 minutes left and 5 minutes left. This is a great seamless way to keep me on task and on pace. It will help you feel more prepared, not rushed when you’re trying to wrap up with each family. And don’t worry, they all know these sessions are quick!! 

4. Have a plan.

Due to the fast paced nature of mini sessions, having a plan for how you want things to go is an absolute necessity. Find a general posing workflow that you can use as a guide for your sessions. Know which groupings you will aim for and in what order. Have an idea of if and when you will switch scenery. Having a plan will help you maximize your time and keep you from freezing up trying to figure out what’s next at each session. While it won’t be perfect (and kids will be kids), you’ll have a flow you can follow no matter what’s going on. 

5. Seize every moment.

Contrary to the previous tip, make sure you are seizing every moment during a mini session. If you are starting with the full family but mom is getting the baby out of the stroller, take the opportunity to photograph the dad with the other child. Be aware of small windows like this to always be shooting and capturing. With limited time at these sessions, it’s important to seize every moment you can to maximize what you’re photographing. Remember your groupings and go for them. 

These are some of my favorite and practical tips I use in my own business when I run mini sessions. As with everything else, the more you do them, the more confident you will feel. Setting yourself up for success from the start with these quick tips will get you started in a great way! You can do it! 


about Danielle Blewitt

Hi, I’m Danielle. I’m a Pittsburgh, based family photographer and marketing expert. I help family photographers build and grow successful businesses using simple, organic marketing strategies. This space is designed to give you some of my best practical tips to implement in your business.

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