Asterisk Answers | Mini Session vs. Lifestyle Session

Hey guys, Asterisk Answers here again! Spring is right around the corner and it's our 2nd busiest season for family sessions, probably because the colors are hard to beat with all the things blooming and the weather is so beautiful! It's like fall but with more vibrant, bright colors!! During this season I get asked what I offer pricing wise for family photos. I offer 2 packages, 1 is a mini session and the other is a lifestyle session. The main difference being the shoot time, the mini is only 30 minutes and the lifestyle session is 1.5 hrs of shoot time. That's a solid hour difference. Below I list 3 points to think of when choosing between the two.

1) What's your purpose in getting photos?

This helps round out why you're getting photos. For example, during the holidays it may be more about just getting a few good photos for the Christmas card, or 1 or 2 shots for a pregnancy announcement or maybe you just need to update your head-shots! But more than often it's about getting those milestone photos to capture how the family has progressed and grown. The first set of examples would be a better fit for the mini session, the goal with the minis is to have a quick, in-and-out session! There really isn't time for all the real-life, raw, emotional, interactive moments that happen everyday. More than likely your photographer has a short list of photos they need during the mini session and once they've got what they need, the time is usually up. Or whichever comes first. Either way, your photo shoot is over within 30 minutes. The full session however gives a bit more time for life to happen. The sweet snuggles and the unexpected giggles. Mainly, because the full sessions aren't rushed. There's -time- for those moments to h a p p e n.

Maybe for you and your family, the mini sessions make sense (which I totally get) but I would suggest throwing in a full lifestyle session at least once every 2 years. I promise, you won't regret it!

2) More time for a fun activity at your favorite place!

This is a big one. A mini session is about 30 minutes, which doesn't allow for a ton of activity outside of posing and getting the family together, even if you are shooting at your favorite location your photographer may not have the time to shoot at all your favorite spots. Whereas with a full lifestyle session you have about an 1.5 hours to explore your favorite location! You can do your session at home even (the great thing about doing it at home is that your photographer comes to you!) This helps everyone be comfortable in front of the lens and helps things be a little less stressful since you're not strapped for time. But most importantly you can choose a location that helps you all feel natural, that's the key to the full lifestyle session, there's time to be natural. But lifestyle sessions aren't just limited to the home, you can take the shoot to your favorite park bring some games and maybe even a picnic. Or maybe the library is your family's favorite place to hang out, grab your favorite books and let's go! The whole point in choosing a spot regularly hang out at or doing an activity that you guys love, is that it's real life. It's your life. If you're going to invest in a lifestyle session make sure it stays true to you and your tribe.

3) What to expect from your session, mini vs. lifestyle.

With a mini session you can expect about 15-25 fully edited images, but with a lifestyle session you can expect more than double that. A mini session is going to be focused on the posed images, since that's all your photographer will have time for. A lifestyle session allows more time for the posed and the messy, real-life stuff to happen. If you crave those sweet images of your family being themselves than a lifestyle session may be what you need, but if you're content with just a few good posed photos the mini session is a good route. All that really matters in the end is that you're making photos of your family, loved ones, life milestones, etc. a priority. You'll be so glad you did!