Mini Sessions: How to Choose the Perfect Location
Choosing the perfect location for your mini sessions can be somewhat frustrating. More often than not, you’re fighting other professional photographers, the weather, or even the light. Despite any frustrations that may exist, the success of your mini sessions will in fact depend largely on the location you have chosen.
First things first. The lingo.
Location: The point on the map that your session will take place.
Station: The multiple points within your larger location that your clients will move between.
ONE: Locations for Mini Sessions
Dependable session locations are often difficult to come by. Frequently filled with picnic blankets, unleashed dogs, and wayward footballs. We all know, the last thing you need during your session is for a parade of dogs to make their appearance in the middle of your neatly laid out blanket. That act alone will send babies screaming, mom’s hovering, and dads chasing – ruining any chance you had for a successful session.
Shooting in these locations when you have lots of time is totally fine, as you have the flexibility to move around obstacles. However, during mini sessions you’re under a VERY tight schedule and if you don’t stick to it you’re going to lose light, clients, and the ability to deliver a full gallery.
TWO: Do Your Research
If at all possible, find a location that is secluded. It doesn’t matter if you have to get utterly creative and end up shooting in a vacant lot between a community college and a warehouse (client of mine). 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
- Tree farms
- Empty commercial lot
- Empty residential lot
THREE: Get Creative
Not all locations are going to be picture perfect, and sometimes you’re going to have to think outside of the box and get creative. Like I stated above, I actually had a client host a mini session in a vacant lot between a community college and a warehouse because the light was perfect and she didn’t have to fight anyone other professional photographers for the location. No matter where you end up, try to find a location with these qualities:
- Private or non-distracting elements (no dog parks, swing sets, etc)
- Easily accessible for clients (especially if shooting small kiddos)
- Open shade and/or deep shadows
- Space to setup your stations
- Make sure you’re there legally
FOUR: Request Permission
If you’re shooting on private property, you need to have permission. Furthermore, some open spaces, trails, national and state parks all require professional photography permits. So, no matter where you decide to hold your mini session, make sure you’re legal. The last thing you want is to get kicked out of your location by a park ranger in front of your clients!
FIVE: How to Setup Mini Session Stations
One of the biggest tips, and something that is discussed in-depth in the Mini Session Business Course is the strategy of utilizing stations. Professional mini sessions are not to be run like any of your other sessions. You should not be spending 30-60 minutes with each client, nor will you find success in running a “client-led” or “free-flowing” session. Mini sessions are meant to be quick and easy. The end goal of mini sessions is to get a solid gallery in a short amount of time. With that being the case, the use of stations is necessary for your mini session’s success.
In general, you will setup four(ish) stations within your location. Each station will have an unique look, feel, prop, and/or pose associate with it. You will work your way through your stations systematically, photographing your clients in the same order, station, and pose, to keep organized. Once you reach station four, your client will exit, and you will return to Station One and repeat the system with your next client.
You Can Find More Mini Session Business Resources HERE.