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How to Run a Successful Mini-Session - Location

Location. Location. Location.

Kara Hubbard 

So we've gone over the the whole picture of the basics to think about when building out your mini-sessions, now we're going to take each piece and really dive into it.  Starting with.....Location (duh Kara, we knew that already - cause we like - read the title and stuff....ya ya ya but a little expected suspense never killed anyone ;)).  


First things first.  My lingo.  When I talk mini-sessions I talk locations and then I talk stations.  

Location:  The point on the map that your client will meet you and said shoot will be held. 

Station:  The multiple points within said location that your clients will move between.

Got it? Good. =) 

Let's talk big picture first - location.

I know as well as any photographer that locations are often difficult to come by, let alone locations that aren't piled with picnic blankets, unleashed dogs, and wayward footballs.  The last thing anyone needs during a mini-session is for a parade of random dogs to tromps through your neatly laid out cream blanket leaving babies screaming, mothers hovering, and dads chasing.  Oh the horror (and yes it's totally happened to a client of mine)!

Shooting in these locations when you have lots of time is totally fine, however during mini-sessions you're under a VERY tight schedule and if you don't stick to it you're going to lose clients AND light.  

FIND a location that is secluded.  I don't care if you're shooting in an open field between a community college and a warehouse (another client).  If you can find privacy and have space to set up your stations you'll be golden.  

Some ideas for your outdoor mini-session location:

  • Property of friends or family
  • Park or open space 
  • Path or trail 
  • Farmers field or property 
  • Nursery 
  • Tree Farms 
  • Empty commercial or residential lots

Obviously if you're shooting on private property anywhere you need to have permissions, and even some open spaces and trails require permits these days. Wherever you end up, make sure you're doing it legally. The last thing you need is to get booted off your location by a park ranger or police in front of your clients! 

Now onto the fun part - the stations.

When I am organizing a mini-session for a client (and they have taken my advice on hiring an assistant - eh hem ;)) I split the location into FOUR stations with an additional 1-2 back-ups. Each station then has a specific set of poses - as outlined below.  

Station 1 - Piece of Furniture -- couch, bench, pew, chairs, etc. 

  • Kids on couch 
  • Family on couch

Station 2 - Open Space -- shooting your environment

  • Family standing
  • Parents together

Station 3 - Small Prop -- stool, bench, sled, etc. 

  • Kiddo individual
  • Children together 

Section 4 - Open Space 2 -- shooting your environment 

  •  Family standing
  • Siblings standing 
  • Alt: Mom and Dad with kiddos 

The stations are moved through fluidly with little to no adjustments to the set-up and props.  They are very close together, within 20-30 feet (sometimes literally two steps and a turn to get a different backdrop).  

I strongly suggest you keep moving through the stations in the same order as it helps relieve the stress on you as to "where do I go next?!?"  The only times I have had to reconfigure the station order with clients is when dealing with an uncooperative kiddo.  At which point we continued with poses where the child and parents or whole family together were the focus.

and there you have it

I hope you've enjoyed the post today on your mini-session locations and stations ;).  Don't forget to follow me over HERE on Instagram for all the updates! 

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