One of the best and the worst parts of photography (like most things if we’re being honest) is the lingo! While I appreciate clear, descriptive language, it’s a bummer when meaning gets lost. I often have this conversation with prospective clients and friends asking what the heck everything means, so I wanted to write this post to help you figure out how to book your ideal photography session.
If the lingo is stressing you out and keeping you from booking your photography session, this is for you. Words like lifestyle photography, documentary style photography, editorial, film, portraits, mini sessions… what the heck does it all even mean?
Lean in close because I have an insider secret for you. Are you ready? THE RULES ARE FAKE. The club is not real. I’m going to very simply break it down so you can find your perfect match photographer and document this time.
I can get SAPPY so quickly. But really, truly, don’t wait to book the session. You don’t need to lose 10 pounds. No need to whiten your teeth, buy a new wardrobe, book the most expensive photographer. You just need a little help figuring out what your WANTS are, and then you’ll be well on your way to knowing exactly what kind of session you need to book.
These are ideal in a couple different scenarios. Usually, they cost less than booking a full session would, and you can get to work with some really talented photographers who otherwise wouldn’t have availability or offerings for portraits.
When booking a mini session, the most important thing to manage are your expectations. Usually time is limited, and other clients will come before and after you. This means that you need to be ready to go, on time, in your one outfit and location. You’re paying mini pricing (compared to a full session), so you’re usually getting 5-15 images.
This kind of session is perfect if what you’re wanting is a few photos to choose from for an announcement of sorts (graduation, holiday cards, new headshots for your business card or website, etc….).
If you go into it with managed expectations, you can find the perfect photographer to suit your needs and make the most of your mini session. My partner and I have made it a tradition to at least do one mini session per year. It’s so special for us to have our photos to look back on over the years!
These are oftentimes also known as lifestyle sessions. In my experience, portrait sessions are a lot more collaborative. You are usually booking more time, which also means more of an experience.
Generally, more time and more collaboration means more images and more variety in your images. You may incorporate more props, a variety of locations and maybe an accessory or outfit change.
If you’re wanting to tell a story or have candid photos and emotive imagery, this is most likely going to be your best bet.
Another huge difference is timing. Time is significant on a shoot. The duration and the time of day is substantial. When you book a portrait session, you have a lot more flexibility to shoot during the glowiest and most flattering time of day.
You can check out what a full session gallery from a portrait session looks like here.
Mini or Portrait
One session type is not more right than the other. It totally depends on what your goals for the session are. If you are trying to fill an album, or tell a story or get more candid and interactive shots, you’re more likely than not going to be much happier with a portrait session.
If all you’re looking for is a headshot, snap of your family, or wanting to make an announcement, then you will likely be very pleased with your mini session.
I hope you feel confident knowing how to book your ideal photography session! You’re never going to have this time back again. Photos are a huge part of our legacy and saving our memories. Don’t miss out on celebrating in photos because you were waiting for the perfect set of circumstances or because you didn’t understand the lingo.