August 8, 2019

Family Portraits; Saratoga Family Photographer

ok so here’s the big debate – a full portrait session versus a mini session.  Whats the difference?!  In my opinion – both have a very distinct purpose!

Mini sessions (also known as short sessions, petite sessions, minis) are a great choice when you and your family are comfortable with the photographer.  If your kids already know your photographer – they will be much quicker to loosen up meaning that natural images can be achieved in a shorter amount of time!  Often mini sessions have a theme or a time of year they depend on – here in Upstate New York they are usually around holidays or changing seasons.  Spring minis, Fall minis, Easter minis, Valentines minis – there are lots of options out there!  They also usually have a specific purpose – images for holiday cards, family holiday gifts or gifts for Mother’s or Father’s Day.

Lauren Kirkham Photography_family_0219

Full portrait sessions give families the option of a more customized approach.  Much more time and energy goes into planning the session from beginning to end.  First, location and timing are discussed – there are many factors that go into timing for your full session including temperaments of kids, the location and light present at the location – if its a wide open field often the best time of day is early morning or just before sunset… all things we discuss in our planning session!  Then we start talking styling – outfits can be such a stressor for families and they don’t need to be!  I love talking about color schemes and patterns for family sessions – you want to look and feel beautiful!  You’ll walk into your session knowing exactly what to expect as far as timing and the flow of the session from our planning meetings and prep tips!


For family sessions I have started offering films to accompany your portrait session as well!  Family films are only an optional add on with a full session as they do require more of a time commitment.  Don’t let the time commitment worry you though!! The additional time needed for a family film is always super relaxed – the best films come from the kids running around crazy anyway so there is no stress involved!!!!   Often we’ll plan some kind of activity for family films such as making cookies or documenting your bedtime routine, or whatever else we can think of!   I am so excited to be able to offer a short film as an add on to full family sessions – we are able to create something completely different in addition to your portraits and both have a beautiful impact! Check out an example of a family film here!


Lastly – a full session allows for significantly more time than a mini session meaning for more variety in a session.  This is an important factor when you consider how you want to display your photographs.  Consider whether you are looking for a large printed family portrait for your wall or a family heirloom album to have out on your coffee table when deciding between full or mini session.  A full session allows for much more variety in scenery and more time for movement within a session which tends to display well in an heirloom album.  If your end goal is one large printed family portrait then a shorter session may be what you lean towards.


So to recap – when you’re debating a full session or a mini session consider these things…

*Are you looking for a custom experience or a quicker already planned for you session (location, date, time is usually chosen already for the a mini!)?

*What is your end goal of the session? The answers are endless from albums to share with family and friends to wall art to holiday cards and gifts and this can help guide you to the right type of session.

*Are you hoping to add in additional services such as individualized styling or a family film?


Both a full session and mini session are great ways to create something beautiful to show throughout your home, and both have definite purposes!  It’s important that you talk with your photographer about what type of session you’re looking for – what you’re hoping the end result will be and how you can best accomplish that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


to receive The latest news, updates, and resources

%d bloggers like this: