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5 Tips for Making the Most of a Mini Photography Session

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We have all seen the adorable images of toddlers in silver wash buckets during summertime or posed with pumpkins around the fall season. Photographers will often promote that they are booking 20-45 minute “mini sessions”, which are often set around a certain theme.

But how can you as a busy mother on a budget make the most out of just 30 minutes with a photographer?

Mini sessions are all about maximizing time. Here are some pro tips to help you make the most of your mini photography session:

Know What You Are Responsible For

Communicate (even over-communicate) with your photographer on what items you are responsible for providing to the session. If it’s a cake smash, will the photographer provide the cake or do you need to make an extra run to the bakery? If there are props, would the photographer prefer to only use their props or are you allowed to bring your own? Should you bring snacks or toys to keep the baby’s attention?

Show up 100% prepared (and early!)

Usually when a photographer schedules a mini session, time starts ticking as soon as you arrive. And both you and the photographer want to make the most of every second. It’s always a good idea to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to the session start time. This will give you time to clean any snotty noses, lint roll any fuzzy sweaters, and make sure your baby’s clothes are straightened and fixed just the way you want them.

Try not to wait until you arrive at the session to dress your child (unless you are in the middle of snack time and worried about a mess!). If you must dress your child on site, be sure to arrive early to make the most of your mini session!

Let the Photographer Do Their Thing

While it’s super tempting to wave your arms and squeak toys and make sounds to get your baby’s attention on the camera, it is usually more of a hinderance for the photographer than a help. Too much noise coming from different places can actually be counterproductive to getting a great image. While all photographers have a different stance on this, it’s typically best to wait for the photographer to ask for your assistance in wrangling or catching the baby’s attention. At our mini sessions, we usually take some pointers from the parents on what makes baby laugh and what captures their attention best. We usually have a few small toys or noisemakers in our bag to help draw baby’s eye.

Basically, don’t stress that you won’t get good images! It can be super stressful entering a short session when baby is upset or won’t stay still, but hopefully you chose a mini session photographer who has experience with children. It’s super unlikely if the photographer has done this sort of thing before that you will end up with nothing you like. Photography is a lot about trust so just trust the person you hired knows how to handle the job (and then you can relax!).

Be Clear on Your Expectations

Great mini session photographers will be one step ahead of the game and make sure they know what you are looking for out of your mini session. Do you want solo shots of your child only? Are you bringing a sibling? Do you want any shots of the child with you or another parent?

Make sure if your mini session photographer doesn’t ask these questions that you are making yourself clear on your expectations so that you end up with the images you will actually be glad you paid for.

Respect Time Constraints

Mini sessions are just that — mini. While a great photographer will try to accommodate your expectations, it helps to be respectful of the short time your have with your photographer.

If you want to include some personal props, most photographers won’t object, but keep it within reason. It should be no problem to put baby in a special outfit or give them a special toy or blanket, but keep personal items to a minimum by bringing only your most favorite things.

In addition, it’s not a good idea to try and make a mini session about the whole family unless the photographer has planned or advertised the sessions as whole family sessions. Try to focus on just the kids or just one child, and book other sessions for another time. Or, just book a family session and bring everyone along!


Mini photography sessions can be so much fun and great value for anyone new to professional photography. They are a great way to get to know a photographer in your area without spending money on a full session with someone you aren’t sure you’ll like. Mini sessions are also a fun thing to sprinkle throughout the year as you can afford it or as you have time!