Mini Sessions vs. Full Sessions: Which is Right for You?

Are you in the process of planning a photoshoot, but you’re not sure whether to go for a mini session or a full session? The decision between the two can be overwhelming, but fear not; we’re here to help.

Mini sessions and full sessions both have their advantages and disadvantages. Mini sessions are shorter and more budget-friendly, while full sessions provide more flexibility, variety, and time to capture the perfect shot.

In this blog post, we’ll dive deeper into the differences between mini sessions vs. full sessions and help you determine which option is right for you. We’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of each and provide tips for a successful photoshoot.

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, capturing family moments, or simply updating your portfolio, the choice between a mini session and a full session can impact the outcome of your photoshoot.

So, let’s get started and help you make the right choice for your photography business!

Mini Sessions vs. Full Sessions: Which is Right for You?

Mini Sessions vs. Full Sessions: Which is Right for You?

What are Photography Mini Sessions?

Mini sessions are short photography sessions that typically last between 15 to 30 minutes.

They are perfect for capturing a specific theme or occasion such as holiday cards, birthday celebrations, or maternity photos. Mini sessions usually include a predetermined number of images, which are edited and delivered to the client within a few days or weeks.

You might be interested in: 8 Steps to Successful Photography Mini Sessions: A Guide

What are Full Photography Sessions?

Full sessions, on the other hand, are longer photography sessions that can last anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.

They allow for more variety in poses, locations, and outfits. Full sessions are perfect for capturing milestone events such as engagements, weddings, or family portraits. They usually include a higher number of edited images, and the delivery time can range from a few days to a few weeks.

Pros and Cons of Mini Sessions

Looking to add mini sessions to your photography business (this course is for you!)? While they offer some benefits, they also have some drawbacks. In this section, we’ll go over the pros and cons of mini sessions, so you can decide if they are the right choice for you and your clients.


  • Affordability: Mini sessions are more affordable than full sessions, making them an accessible option for clients who may not have the budget for a full session.
  • Time-efficient: Mini sessions are shorter, making them a more time-efficient option for both photographers and clients. Photographers can book more clients in a single day, while clients can fit a session into their busy schedule.
  • Seasonal Themes: Mini sessions are ideal for capturing seasonal themes, such as fall foliage or spring blooms. Clients can update their family photos or capture the magic of a particular season without investing in a full session.
  • Client Acquisition: Running mini sessions can be an effective way to attract new clients. Clients who may have been hesitant to invest in a full session may be more willing to try a mini session, leading to potential future bookings.


  • Limited Time: The main drawback of mini sessions is their limited time. With only 15-30 minutes per session, photographers may feel rushed, limiting the creative options and resulting in fewer images for clients to choose from.
  • Limited Location: Mini sessions are typically held at a single location (tips on choosing a location), which may not provide the variety that clients are looking for. Limited location options may also limit the photographer’s creativity.
  • Limited Outfits: Due to time constraints, clients may only have time for one outfit during a mini session, limiting their wardrobe options and resulting in less variety in the final gallery.
  • Lower Investment: While affordability is a pro, it can also be a con. The lower investment in a mini session may result in clients valuing the images less than they would if they had invested in a full session.

Consider the pros and cons of mini sessions before deciding whether they are the right fit for your photography business. If you decide to offer mini sessions, communicate the potential limitations to your clients to ensure their expectations are met.

Pros and Cons of Full Photography Sessions

Are full photography sessions worth the investment? Let’s weigh the pros and cons to help you decide. On the one hand, full sessions allow for more creativity, customization, and time to build rapport with clients. On the other hand, they require more planning, preparation, and cost. By understanding these factors, you can make an informed decision that meets your goals and budget.

Pros of Full Photography Sessions:

  • Personalization: Full photography sessions allow photographers to take the time to get to know their clients, understand their vision, and capture their unique preersonality and style. This personalized experience can result in images that truly reflect the client’s personality and style.
  • Variety: With more time to work with, photographers can explore different locations, outfits, and creative ideas, resulting in a wider range of poses, candid moments, and artistic shots. Clients can choose from a larger selection of images, ensuring they get the shots they want.
  • Flexibility: Full sessions offer more flexibility than mini sessions. Photographers and clients can explore different locations, outfits, and creative ideas to capture the perfect shot.
  • Timeless Investment: Full sessions provide clients with a collection of high-quality images that they can cherish for years to come. They are ideal for capturing major life events, such as engagements, weddings, and family portraits.

Cons of Full Photography Sessions:

  • Time and Money Investment: Full sessions require a higher investment of time and money from both the photographer and the client. Clients may need to book well in advance and commit to a longer session, which may not be suitable for everyone. Photographers may need to spend more time editing and delivering images, which can impact their workload and income.
  • Potential Burnout: Full sessions can be physically and mentally demanding for photographers. Long sessions can be tiring, and the pressure to deliver high-quality images for each client can lead to burnout and creative exhaustion.
  • Weather Dependence: Full sessions are often held outdoors, which means they are weather-dependent. Rain, wind, or extreme temperatures can impact the session’s quality and result in rescheduling, leading to scheduling conflicts and potential loss of income.
  • Limited Availability: Full sessions require more time and effort, which means photographers may have limited availability for these sessions. This limited availability can result in longer wait times for clients and potential loss of business.

Consider the pros and cons of full photography sessions before committing to offering them. If you decide to offer full sessions, communicate the potential investment and limitations to your clients to ensure they are aware of the commitment. Additionally, make sure you have strategies in place to manage burnout and weather-related challenges.

Tips for a Successful Mini Session

If you decide to go with a mini session, there are a few tips that can help ensure a successful photoshoot. Here are some of them:

  1. Plan Ahead: Mini sessions are usually short, so it’s essential to plan ahead to make the most of your time. Decide on the theme or occasion you want to capture and prepare your outfits, props, or any other necessary items beforehand.
  2. Be on Time: Since mini sessions are time-limited, it’s crucial to be on time to avoid cutting into your session time. Arrive at least 10-15 minutes before your scheduled time to allow for any last-minute preparations.
  3. Relax and Have Fun: Mini sessions are meant to be fun and relaxed, so don’t stress too much about getting the perfect shot. Trust your photographer’s expertise and enjoy the experience.

Tips for a Successful Full Session

If you decide to go with a full session, here are some tips to help make it a success:

  1. Choose the Right Time: Full sessions require more time and planning, so it’s essential to choose a time that works best for you and your family. Consider your schedules, the lighting, and any other factors that may affect your photoshoot.
  2. Location, Location, Location: One of the advantages of a full session is the variety of locations you can choose from. Discuss with your photographer the best locations that fit your theme or occasion.
  3. Dress Appropriately: Full sessions provide an opportunity to change outfits and capture different looks, but it’s essential to dress appropriately for the occasion and location. Avoid wearing bright colors or patterns that may clash with the background.

Helping Clients Decide with Confidence

As a photographer, guiding your clients towards a successful photography session is crucial.

To ensure a positive experience for both you and your client, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. Use email templates for communication: Consider using email templates to use when communicating with clients (you need these vphotographer email templates). This will save time and ensure that all the necessary information is conveyed clearly and effectively. Be sure to include important details such as session type, date, time, and location, as well as any special instructions or requirements.
  2. Use a questionnaire to find out your client’s ultimate session goals: To better understand your client’s needs and expectations, consider using a questionnaire (like these!) that asks questions about their preferences, interests, and desired outcome. This will give you a better idea of what they are looking for and help you tailor the session to their specific needs.
  3. Offer guidance on wardrobe and styling: Depending on the type of session, your client may need guidance on what to wear or how to style themselves. Consider offering tips and suggestions with a Session and Style Guide to help them feel confident and comfortable during the session. You could also provide resources such as a Pinterest board or style guide to help them plan their outfit.
  4. Discuss location options: Depending on the type of session, you may need to discuss location options with your client. Be sure to provide recommendations and consider any specific requests they may have. If the session is outdoors, discuss the best time of day for lighting and any potential weather concerns.
  5. Provide a clear timeline for the session: Make sure your client knows what to expect during the session and how long it will last. Provide a clear timeline so they can plan accordingly and feel prepared.

Finding the Right Fit: Balancing Mini and Full Sessions in Your Photography Business

As a photographer, it’s important to offer both mini sessions and full sessions to your clients and help guide them towards making the best decision for their needs. Be sure to communicate the benefits and drawbacks of both options, so your clients can make an informed decision. Additionally, make sure you’re prepared to offer both types of sessions, including scheduling, pricing, and equipment.

If a client is still unsure about which option to choose, don’t hesitate to offer your professional opinion and guidance. You can help them make a decision that meets their needs and ensures a positive experience. Remember, a happy client is more likely to recommend you to others and return for future sessions.

Ultimately, by offering both mini sessions and full sessions and providing excellent communication and guidance, you can establish yourself as a trusted and versatile photographer who can meet the needs of a variety of clients.

Photography Templates for this Blog: Mini Sessions vs. Full Sessions: Which is Right for You?

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I’m Kara


Through my best-selling courses, thriving 1:1 tailored coaching experience, professional done-for-you business services, and powerful business templates, I inspire and empower photographers to take control of their businesses and realize that “Wow, I can do this!”

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Kara Hubbard, Business Coach for Photographers, Photographer Educator, Owner of Tografy, Ozo Coffee Branding

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Kara Hubbard, Business Coach for Photographers, Photographer Educator, Owner of Tografy, Whole Foods Branding

hi there!

I’m Kara Hubbard


Through my best-selling courses, thriving 1:1 tailored coaching experience, professional done-for-you business services, and powerful business templates, I inspire and empower photographers to take control of their businesses and realize that “Wow, I can do this!”
I do this by teaching photographers how to run their businesses and not how I successfully ran my own. I firmly believe that with proper business education and tailored resources anyone can build a life and business they love through the incredible art of photography.


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