I'm a free spirit who loves Jesus, traveling, and telling stories. I'm fuelled by black coffee, thai food, and my hubby's snuggles (they're the best.) I'm obsessed with national parks, twinkle lights, and making people feel valued and worthy. Welcome friend.. I'm so glad you're here. :)
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As a photographer I get a lot of inquires asking me what my rates are for quick mini 30 minute sessions. And I get it. Lot’s of photographers do them. They’re mega popular, especially around the holidays. However, as my business has grown, I’ve focused on digging deep and understanding my “why” behind what I do and why I do it. It led me to personally make the decision to not offer mini sessions, and whether you’re a potential client reading this or a fellow photographer thinking, “UM… why not?” I wanted to shed some light on the reasoning behind that decision.
There’s two main reasons I’m not fond of mini sessions and don’t offer them to my clients (and never really have.) The first reason is that I don’t believe they send the message that you’re valuing your time. I know my couple sessions are valuable. From the service I provide to the final edited images I send out, I strive to make every aspect of what I do a high end, adventurous, and FUN experience for my couples. I KNOW my worth and the importance of what I am able to offer my couples, and I don’t ever want to short change that. I started realising a lot of inquires I got were wanting the full experience of my adventurous couple sessions but with a cheaper price tag, so they would inquire with phrases like, “How much do you charge for a quick little 20 or 30 minute session?” I finally realised this: My work IS unique, special, and worthy of the full investment because I’m able to give so much intentionality into each and every couple who comes my way. To me, mini sessions don’t offer that same valuable experience so I decided to not offer them. I decided I’d rather have couples that were all in or not at all.
The second reason I don’t do mini sessions is because of how I specifically handle my photoshoots. I’m a storyteller at heart, and I know a HUGE reason of what draws people into my work and makes them fall in love with the images are the stories I’m able to visually capture. I get a lot of comments saying, “I feel like I know this couple just from how you captured them.” I LOVE comments like that, because I’m VERY intentional in doing that. I fully believe in order to get those raw, vulnerable, candid, passionate images I have to know who the couple is that I’m shooting. From the moment someone inquires, I’m asking questions about their story, their heart, and their dreams in order to get to know them on a deeper level than just “photographer” and “client.” If at all possible I meet my couples beforehand for drinks or food (or bring a 6 pack to our session!) before I ever take that first shutter click. I intentionally get to know them as friends because the second they view our time together as 3 friends casually exploring a mountain or trail, they open up and magic happens. I’m no longer a hired professional, but a dear friend who came along on their adventure and happens to have a camera in hand. With mini sessions there just simply isn’t time to get to know each other on a real, raw level. Therefore, the work I produce during a mini session, to me isn’t worthy of what I know I’m capable of.
Whether this opens your eyes as a potential client on why I don’t offer mini sessions, or as a photographer gaining new insight into why I do what I do, I hope you learned something from this post! This is purely my explanation of a personal business decision, and in no way a condemnation on you if you offer mini sessions or love them! Photographers do them for all different reasons, and I totally respect that! If you love them, rock on. If you don’t, I can relate. The amazing thing about entrepreneurship is that everybody is different and everyone does things in different ways. And I think that’s incredible!
So tell me, what are YOUR thoughts on mini sessions? Do you like them? Do you not? I’d love to hear your guys’ thoughts in the comments below!
Lindsey Roman is an adventurous, destination wedding and intimate elopement photographer based out of Oahu, Hawaii but travels worldwide. She lives for outdoor adventures, intimate moments, and candid images. Her style is raw, passionate, and authentic. She believes in chasing sunsets, laughing too hard, and most importantly: capturing genuine moments that evoke feeling over perfectly posed photographs.
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I am a firm believer in the saying "you get what you pay for" and I agree that couples would be short changing themselves if they didn’t book the full experience with you. With that said, I do not have a package that includes mini sessions. I offer them twice a year, once a couple of months before Christmas and once in the springtime sometime before or after Easter. I do them to get people / families interested in a full session with me. During Christmas this year I was able to book three full sessions based on the client’s experience with my mini sessions. It is a great way to give people a small taste of who you are. But I get it. Eventually I will stop doing them too, but for now, I will keep the twice a year model. Isn’t it cool how we all can be unique in how we deliver services to our clients? 🙂
Lindsey, I loved this post! It was so interesting hearing your perspective on it and it totally makes sense! I still offer mini sessions except they’re still an hour long, so it’s not quite as bad. I could definitely see myself implementing this later down the road though!
This post definitely shed light for me on who you are as a photographer and what you value! It makes me want to come to hawaii for a sesh right nowwwww. But I’m stuck in the midwestern/MN snow! This was a great post Lindsey! Thanks-Lindsay
This is great. Honestly it says it all and this is EXACTLY how I feel with my clients. I love everyone I work with dearly, whether it is simply one time or many over years. I have found many people think the same way and I know it is not always intentional and I use to get offended by it but now I have just learned that not ever potential client is "my" client. I think there are so many people out there today who love the pictures they see but do not truly understand the value behind the work that goes into them. Like you said, you spend hours of your time even before they are in front of your camera (which Is something I should do but never seem to yet haha) but its frustrating to see someone go, hey can I just get like 2 picture? How much is it for 20 minutes, I only need a couple shots. I think this is one of the most frustrating things being in the photography industry today is the fact that the consumer does not see the editing time, the time you spend with them and getting to know them as a cost. I love capturing people and their stories but if you’re looking for a quick bargain on some pictures there is a difference between someone who tells a story and someone who snaps 5 pictures for $50. I have started telling most people no when it comes to mini sessions due to the fact that when I would offer then at half cost for half the time they would show up late (always a good 10 minutes late) and half their session would be done. I agree, you cannot feel rushed as a photographer and expected to get something magical out of a rushed time and especially when its cut shorter by someone showing up late. Plus I feel like most of these people are "sales shoppers" where they tend to go to someone just on price and whoever is "having a sale". Great read though and glad you said this!
4 Comments on The Reason I Don’t Offer Mini Photography Sessions…