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Differences Between a Full Family Session vs a Mini Session

Every fall season, this question comes up a lot: “What is the difference between a full family session and a mini-session?” Its a great question, and it comes up so frequently that I thought I could help answer it better for you in a blog post and try to help you choose what better fits for your family.

The primary difference between the two is the length of the shoot, the number of images you will receive and price.

When to Go With a Mini Session

  • If your family consists of adults and older children. Families that include adults and older children will have an easier time to take photos quickly. They usually follow directions easily.

  • If you only are looking for a few updated pictures. You will likely only need a few posed photographs to update the pictures in a selection of frames.

  • If you are limited on time or availability.

  • If you have a smaller budget. Minis come at a cheaper price because they are predetermined time slots with limited options. Meaning you will have little to no input outside of what you wear. So you should either like the setting and props, or be willing to compromise to accommodate your budgetary restrictions.

When to Go With a Full Session

  • If your family includes young kids. Sometimes kids can be difficult to round up and to make sit or stand still. A simple task like smiling can be near impossible for some kids. A full session will give young children the time they need to get comfortable and start playing.

  • If you want options. With a full session the photographer will have nearly double time to capture photographs. Most of the cases, this means they can get candid shots between posing, or take the time to test out any of your specific requests. In the end, you will have more different and variety shots.

  • If you want to choose the location. A mini session is typically limited to one location, only one set and sometimes with a select number of props. If you want to choose your own location/s and props then a full session will suit your needs better.

  • If you want more control over the session. If you want to have a say on the posing, if you have multiple locations in mind. All of this should be taken into consideration, because all of the above is nearly impossible to achieve during a mini. There simply isn’t enough time! With a full session, you will have the time to be more hands on, without feeling as strained for time.

If you're looking for a family or maternity shoot, just message me! I'm ready for you!

Contact me

Maria is a lifestyle portrait photographer in surroundings of Raleigh, North Carolina. She photographs children and their families on location. Lovely Little Diego Photography is a family photographer specializing in families and kids. To schedule your next session with me please visit the web or e-mail

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