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Mini sessions and why I don't shoot them

You may have seen a number of photographers advertising mini sessions from time to time ... the advert can go something like this ..

Summer Special Mini Sessions Shot for 25 mins 2 images included Hair and Make Up  Opportunity to purchase more at a reduced rate. Price £99 

You get the idea, come see me for a short shoot, at a heavily reduced price.  The premise being that if the photographer can fill the day then it's worth it to them. Here's how a mini session may run

  • I pick a date where I can fit in at least 7 sessions; maybe organise a make up artist for the day if they are studio sessions.

  • I orgainse the studio for the day, or alternatively find an outdoor venue that can be used throughout the entire day ( not everywhere is suitable, lighting, footfall etc )

  • I organise a mock shoot to get materials to use in advertisingI offer the session on a social site ... FB, Insta etcSome times the offer is successful / other times it is not ... either wayI have to commit a whole day 

  • On the day of the shoot, clients arrive and we are rushed ... this normally leads to over runs, clients bumping into each other, waiting times as the over runs cannot be caught up. The whole day feels quite impersonal for everyone involved. 

  • At the end of the day I will upload and organise upto a dozen sessions, send a preview image to each, and then spend the next few days editing and sending the 2 images that are included to the offer. That's it, and I normally won't here from these clients again until the next time I might run an offer. There is an awful lot of I do this in running a mini session, and very little of we do this together ... For my style mini sessions are impersonal, do not result in great images nor do they give you a great and rewarding experience.   There are photographers that run mini sessions successfully and compared to a regular shoot they are a great offer just not one I want to necessarily provide . On the other hand here is how a normal session may run Let's first define a regular session.  Currently priced at £1500 for a full day, including 10 9x6 images, consultation, hair and make up and photo editing.

  • Client sees my work and we discuss the possibility of taking photos

  • I send a link to my online questionnaire, this is a starting point for .. the next stage. We discuss the reasons why the photo session is taking place, pencil in a possible shoot date ... normally 6 or so weeks from the day we first talk.

  • A private Pinterest board is set up for us to share ideas.  We each add influencing images to the board.  There are 2 rules 1. Anything goes, we discuss once they are there 2. They are to influence the shoot not recreate them. It's a collaborative approach where we will talk a few more times about the content of the board, the themes that arise.

  • I'll book the most suitable make up artist, from a selection that I work with, for you and your ideas.  I also source specialists such as glitter artists 

  • Coming up to the shoot, we'll have another chat, make sure everything is OK and if you have any questions

  • I'll order or purchase anything special we may need, previous items have included Cupcakes, Prosecco, Acrylic Paint and Dust Sheets, Balloons and Helium, Silk Robes and so forth, Children's bubbles, Bubble Bath, Vintage Telephones, Mixing Bowls the list goes on and on.

  • At roughly 10am you arrive for your shoot Experience.  I show you around the home studio space, introduce you to your makeup artist who is already set up, look through your mood boards and review the clothing you have brought with you.

  • Hair and makeup pamper you for roughly 45mins ... I plan things around the outfits, the mood boards and the discussion we are having.

  • At roughly 11am we start shooting ... a session normally takes the whole day, there's 5 or 6 different outfits, several studio set ups in different locations, natural light, artificial light, bedroom, bathroom etc

  • By around 3pm we look at the clock, wonder how the time has gone so quickly, get ready for the final set of images.It's maybe 4pm and we are packing up, saying farewell and taking selfies.  ( some sessions have gone on to 6pm )

  • I turn the studio back into a house, upload the images, send a sneaky peek or two.

  • You will message me a few hours later telling me how much fun you had, how excited you still are and so forthI'll edit the pics ... we have taken maybe 800 images throughout the day.  I aim to find roughly 10% to edit and show you.

  • A few weeks later, you come back to the studio for the reveal.  20 or so images printed for you to see and the remainder which can be upto 100 or so on the big screen to view.

  • The reveal is recorded ( if you let me ) and we discuss the whole experience from when we first spoke to today.

  • You choose the images you like and how you might want them, prints, wall art, books etc.The link to your gallery of water marked images is handed to you.All of the images are shown to you as thumbnails and you approve each of them for sharing or not and how .. social, face to face meetings, web site etc.You go home with some prints, and a big smile.

  • We are firm friends and we continue to talk for a very long time.

That is keeping things short.  See the difference, it's an experience, a journey to go on, that ends with a day you will never forget and will want to tell your friends about.

We work together to form ideas, shape the shoot and provide something unique for you and you alone.  It's all tailored for you, by you, with you. You are at the centre of everything that takes place on your day. It's not a lie to say that women and couples that have shot with me have completely altered their view of themselves, gone on to other things and have almost used The Way You Are as a launching point for career changes, self confidence journeys some have even applied to modelling agencies and are now signed models.  Many of these people started as .. I hate having a picture taken ..

All of that is not to say there are photographers who can do them and do them very well. It's just not my style.

There is no way in the world I can hope to offer this inside of a 25 min shoot, the emotions you will go through, the laughter that will happen, one of the best days of your life should be just that .. a whole day.  

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