The Truth About Mini Photo Sessions | Seattle Family Photographer

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I am Neyssa Lee a mother of six, who is planning obsessed, and uses photography to help you see the beauty in your own family’s chaos. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

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Hi, I'm Neyssa

So you’re considering having family photos taken, but thinking a mini session is all you “need.” Or maybe other thoughts and worries have crossed your mind. If you’re unsure, or maybe if you’re a true believer in mini sessions, this post is for you.

I hear all too often families give excuses why they can only do a mini session. However, I’m offering you three reasons you may not want a mini session. Just in case you’re feeling discouraged, I do think there is a time and place for mini sessions, so at the end of this post I have included the top two groups I think minis are perfect for AND the only three ways to book a mini session with me.

Ready? Here we go!

It takes you the same amount of time to get ready no matter how long your session is.

Selecting everyone’s outfits, getting everyone clean, dressed, and hair brushed and out the door takes the same amount of time no matter if you have a mini session or a full session.


The Truth About Mini Sessions, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer,  Lifestyle family photography, Family of six

A mini photo session may cause you more stress.

When you are limited on time and worried about getting that “perfect” shot, or the kids behaving, or arriving on time, or the weather, (and the list of worries that we’ve all had goes on), there is a lot more to be stressed about.

First, if you’re stressed, the kids feel it and will act accordingly. Whether they are shy or too busy, you’ll feel the pressure during your shoot as you feel the time ticking away.

Rescheduling a mini session is much more difficult for both ends because there are usually numerous families involved. Or some mini sessions will happen rain or shine, so you have to be prepared to get a little wet. A regular family photo session, it’s about what is best for your family, whether that is rescheduling when works best for you or moving to a different location.


The Truth About Mini Sessions, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer,  Lifestyle family photography, Beautiful Snoqualmie Valley family photo

“But my kid will only ‘behave’ for photos for 15 minutes anyways.”

I have heard this one A LOT. You could replace “behave” with “sit still,” or “cooperate” but the meaning is the same.

Having family photos taken is not about anyone acting a certain way at all. I never leave a session saying that kids behaved well or didn’t behave well for photos. It is about having fun together, loving on each other, and capture true connections within your family. This is done through a guided process, that a full family session allows time for.

A mini session does not allow time for your shy child to warm up to having photos taken, or time for your wild child (I have a few of these, so I know, trust me!) to get the wiggles out and settle down a little. (With regards to this, see the above mini sessions causing more stress applies here too).

All this is to say that so many people are surprised when they go to leave and their children are asking to stay and play. They don’t see the experience as having photos taken, but having fun at the park with their family.


The Truth About Mini Sessions, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer,  Lifestyle family photography, Photo of mom and baby

So who are mini sessions for?

With all the things above, it seems like I despise mini sessions. I don’t. I totally understand the appeal to them. They are often less expensive, shorter, and seem like the best of all worlds, fresh photos of your family, quickly.

But when considering mini sessions ask yourself the point of the photos. What are you wanting captured and are you willing to have the extra stress for them?

Now, I do think there are great times mini sessions work well. People that mini sessions work well for:


The Truth About Mini Sessions, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer,  Lifestyle family photography, Photo of a mom and four kids

Families with older children.

I’m talking pre-teens to teens. They don’t need to get the wiggles out and can snuggle in and follow prompts more quickly than little kids. However, full family sessions with teens are so much fun as they really start to let go through our time together.

Families who have had photos taken earlier in the year but just need a quick refresh.

If you have young children, they grow and change a ton within a year. Maybe you don’t want multiple full family sessions, but one full session and several months later a mini to just capture a couple details of your family. This helps a ton if you stick with the same photographer so that your children have a better chance at feeling comfortable in a short period of time.

Me personally, I have a full family photo session once a year and I take photos of my kids myself throughout the year. (I understand, being a photographer gives me an advantage here, but you can learn to take better photos, just follow my tips I offer through out the year!)


The Truth About Mini Sessions, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer,  Lifestyle family photography,  Family of six snuggled together

As a photographer, I offer mini sessions in three ways.

  1. A mini maternity session, available to families who are expecting a baby and book a newborn photo session at the same time.

  2. Milestone Sessions – available to families who book either a newborn or a one year full family session, must take place within baby’s first year.

  3. Christmas Tree Farm Mini Sessions – I offer one day of mini sessions at a Christmas Tree Farm in September. These spots are super limited and sell out from the Email Club each year. (Join below)

If you’re convinced that maybe mini sessions aren’t the best option, join me for a full family session. Worst case, you try it out and go back to minis. But I bet you’ll feel a weight off your shoulders when you try a regular family session with me this year instead!

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