If you have been familiar with my work for the past few years or have worked with other photographers, you are likely familiar with mini-sessions.
In case you are not familiar, mini-sessions are short portrait photography sessions, usually somewhere between 10-20 minutes. They are designed for people who are looking for an opportunity for photos within a shorter time frame (maybe they have young children or an impatient spouse (ha!) or maybe, in some cases, to save a bit of money as photography is an investment. When I was first getting my business off the ground, I decided to also hold some mini-sessions. It would allow me to meet more people, hone in on my skill-set, etc. I met some WONDERFUL clients as a result as well as other fellow business owners who were kind enough to open up their property to me (i.e. Fredrickson's Tree Farm in Monmouth, Maine).
However, as time has passed and I have become a better photographer and my business has gotten a lot busier, I have decided to transition out of offering mini-sessions, and there are several reasons why. First, 10-20 minutes is really a short period of time. I often felt like that short time frame didn't give me enough time to get to know people, build rapport with young children who were maybe nervous (or frankly tired and needed more time to wake up if they fell asleep on the way to the session), or even older family members that just needed a few extra minutes to get comfortable in front of a camera.
Second, a compressed time frame doesn't always allow for time to get the most creative shots. Mini-sessions often feel rushed because they are back to back and that sense of urgency I found took away from my creativity at times. Often times, the candid shots during the in between moments are some of the best images that my clients like the most, so having more time allows for more images like that. I would rather give 110% to a 1 hour photo session, then hours of mini-sessions that often feel rushed.
And finally another reason why I have decided to move away from this model is out of respect to people who own businesses where these sessions take place (I always got permission of course!) or to the public visiting certain places in general. As much as mini-sessions allowed me to connect with a lot of people within just a few hours, it also took up space in locations (i.e. apple orchards, tree farms, state parks, etc.) which may impact other people's experiences. It's one thing to occupy a corner of a state park for an hour for a photo session and a whole other to occupy it for 4 hours.
With all that being said, however, I do understand that sometimes less is more. As a parent myself, I understand how challenging it can be to wrangle children and keep them focused on the task at hand (photos) for extended periods of time. So last year I decided to start offering 30 minute "short sessions." It has really been the best of both worlds for both my clients and myself. Clients who have small children for example, don't need to commit to too much time. However, there is enough time to get out snacks if all of a sudden someone gets hungry, or put on some bug spray because the mosquitoes decided to come out of hibernation, etc. etc. all with there still being time to capture a plethora of photos. Further, it also allows us to work together to get a variety of shots with different backdrops. In the end, my clients have a lot more photos to choose from (you'd be amazed at how different 15 minutes vs. 30 minutes is in terms of variety and quality of images) and I have more time to be creative and to help everyone feel comfortable. I do also offer longer sessions as well!
So, if you are wondering why you haven't seen any posts about mini-sessions this year, now you know! I have nothing but the utmost respect for my fellow photographers who offer mini-sessions. For me, however, as I have been working as a professional photographer for the past few years, I realize more and more that less is more and I firmly believe in quality over quantity. As artists, we have to do what works best for us and that can look a lot different from one photographer to another! And as a former educator, a School Counselor to be exact, I place a lot of value on developing trusting relationships and genuine rapport - this leads to the best and most memorable photographs!