Mini Sessions
Dec 2020

Christmas Mini Sessions: Ideas Families will ADORE!

9 min read

Christmas mini sessions are a huge hit with families who celebrate the holiday! Make your photos extra-magical with tips from our pros.


Holiday mini sessions are perfect for every holiday, every season, and every kind of family. In this article, we’ll focus on Christmas mini session ideas!

What are Christmas Mini Sessions?

Christmas mini sessions are short holiday-themed photo shoots, with multiple clients booked back-to-back to maximize the photographer’s time, creativity, and profits. The mini session format allows families to get print-worthy pictures that are fun, fast, and less costly than booking a lengthy portrait session.

“Holiday sessions are an opportunity for families to spend time together while I’m creating beautiful images of them, capturing the love and real moments!”

—Toronto portrait photographer Bruna Rico

Trendy Inspiration for Christmas Mini Sessions Outside

“I pick my mini session themes and props depending on current trends,” says photographer and educator Rebecca Rice. “Lately, red, vintage trucks are super popular, so my Red Truck Christmas Mini Sessions have been a best-seller!”

In this photo by Rebecca Rice, a mom, dad, and four young kids sit on the back of a red pickup truck that's draped with garland and decorated with a small Christmas tree. Christmas Mini Sessions: Ideas Families will ADORE!

Rebecca Rice

Where to Find Your Own Vintage Truck

If you want to go BIG and hop on the red truck trend, you might consider investing in a vintage truck, like Maine Tinker Photography did. “I use it every year!” owner and lead photographer Siobhan says.


#ShootProofPRO Tip:

The truck doesn’t even need to run if you’re only using it as a prop!


Instead of buying, you may want to rent a vintage vehicle from the owner. If your mini sessions are a financial success, you can consider a purchase later. But huge cars and trucks aren’t your only option!

Read on…

In two photos by Rebecca Rice, women sit on the back of a vintage red pickup truck. A Christmas tree sits in the truck bed behind them. In one photo, a blonde woman hugs her fluffy dog. In the other photo, a brunette woman of color holds her tiny daughter in her lap. Christmas Mini Session: Ideas Families will ADORE!

Rebecca Rice

More Ideas for Unique Christmas Props

  • vintage chairs or sofas
  • cozy blankets and quilts
  • colorful throw pillows
  • Christmas trees of any size
  • wreaths and garland
  • lanterns
  • string fairy lights
  • sparkly, oversized snowflakes
  • Santa hats
  • a handcrafted bench or church pew
  • wintery scarves
  • brightly wrapped packages
  • plush stuffed animals
  • giant candy canes
  • old steamer trunks
  • basically any and all Christmas decorations!
In this photo by Maine Tinker Photography, a mom, dad, two kids, and a small dog sit in the back of a vintage red truck that's parked in the snow. Christmas Mini Session: Ideas Families will ADORE!

Maine Tinker Photography

Location Tips for Your Outdoor Christmas Mini Sessions

If you’re lucky enough to live in a snowy environment, any available park or wooded area will automatically spark holiday joy! Encourage your clients to dress warmly for the weather—and to keep their cars nearby so they can stay toasty until their session time.

In two side-by-side photographs by Maine Tinker Photography, a red vintage pickup truck is parked in the snow. In one photo, a labrador puppy wears a red plaid bandana and sits calmly on a white blanket. In the other photo, two young kids jump about in the bed of the truck, which has filled with falling snow. Christmas Mini Session: Ideas Families will ADORE!

Maine Tinker Photography


#ShootProofPRO Tip:

Expose for the snow so you don’t blow-out the highlights!


Keep your holiday mini sessions simple with outdoor locations that don’t even require props, such as:

  • old red barns
  • Christmas tree farms
  • a colorful town square
  • alleyways strung with garland or lights
In two side-by-side photos by Nicole Nero Studio, snow falls through golden trees. In one photo, a family stands close together, smiling at the camera through falling snow. In the next photo, two kids hug while smiling at the camera as snow falls around them. Christmas Mini Session: Ideas Families will ADORE!

Nicole Nero Studio

Elegant Inspiration for Christmas Mini Sessions Inside

Whether you own a studio space or rent one for the day, indoor spaces are a great choice if you want to avoid weather delays.

“My simplest holiday setup is a gray couch with a wreath hung over it. It was a hit! My clients loved how simplistic it was—and very tasteful.”

—Rebecca Rice

In this photo by Rebecca Rice, a mom, dad, and young daughter sit on a pale gray sofa in front of a white shiplap wall that's hung with a large wreath. Christmas trees of various sizes sit on either side of the sofa. Christmas Mini Session: Ideas Families will ADORE!

Rebecca Rice

When shooting inside, Austin, Texas, photographer Logan Fahey suggests that you establish a health and safety plan.

“Will you spray props down between sessions? Can you provide hand sanitizer? Will you be wearing a mask?” asks Logan. “Think about these things ahead of time, and make sure your clients know what precautions you are taking so they feel safe.”

In this photo by Bruna Rico, a dad, mom, and young son sit on a white faux fur in a white room. Ropes of garland are hung behind them, and small wooden crates sit beside them holding gold ornaments. Christmas Mini Session: Ideas Families will ADORE!

Bruna Rico

Holiday Mini Session Posing Tips

A mini photo session is short by definition, so you’ll want to have a few go-to poses planned out in advance. Know where you’ll have people sit or stand, and prepare a space that works for even your largest family grouping.

Posing doesn’t have to be complicated, though. Bruna shares, “I like to pose my clients first, and then I ask them to tell each other jokes, give tickles, and share a big family hug!”

In two photos by Logan Fahey, people wearing pajamas are photographed in a whitewashed studio. In one photo, three PJ-wearing kids jump on a white-draped bed. In the second photo, a blue-wearing family and a silver-wearing family pose side-by-side against a white wall with their kids.Christmas Mini Session: Ideas Families will ADORE!

Logan Fahey

Be a Smart Scheduler

“I found my sweet spot for minis is to schedule 15-minute sessions back-to-back in a block of two to three hours,” says Rebecca. Don’t forget to add a five minute break between each session so you can sanitize, set-up, and rehydrate before your next family.

In this photo by Logan Fahey, a little boy wearing Christmas pajamas reclines on a white bed with a cookie and a red mug of hot cocoa in his hands. Christmas Mini Session: Ideas Families will ADORE!

Logan Fahey

Christmas Mini Session Packages & Prices

“My minis include five digital images with a print release, and I up-sell the additional digital images,” explains Rebecca.

To further boost your profits, learn from The Blumes’ savvy approach. They incorporate a gently guided presentation that always results in exciting sales and earnings!

In this photo by Rebecca Rice, toddler twins wearing Christmas pajamas sit on a white-draped bed with their arms around each other as they smile at the camera. Christmas Mini Session: Ideas Families will ADORE!

Rebecca Rice

Easy Ideas for Christmas Minis Marketing

“Use a real family in your promo shots,” instructs Rebecca. “Your minis are way more likely to book if there’s a real family in your photo instead of just a picture of your setup!”

Reward some friends or past clients with a free mini session in exchange for their permission to use their images for advertising. Choose photogenic people who take instructions well so you get the best marketing photos possible. Remember: your goal is to entice new paying clients!

In the photo by Rebecca Rice, two parents sit on a silver sofa, blurry in the background. In the foreground and in focus, a little girls sits on the ground holding a wrapped present as she smiles at the camera. Christmas Mini Session: Ideas Families will ADORE!

Rebecca Rice

Market to as Many People as Possible

“Posting to your instagram and business Facebook pages isn’t enough,” Rebecca says. To get your mini sessions in front of a larger audience, consider these marketing tips:

  • post to local Facebook groups
  • purchase targeted ads on social media
  • email your list of previous clients and inquirers
  • partner with a local business who can help promote you (like the aforementioned Christmas tree farm)
In this photo by Rebecca Rice, a family of color is photographed on a white-draped bed in a white brick studio. The parents are lying on their stomachs, facing the camera and smiling. Their young son and baby daughter sit on the bed with their parents' arms wrapped around them. A Christmas wreath hangs on the wall behind them. Christmas Mini Session: Ideas Families will ADORE!

Rebecca Rice

A Sample Marketing Timeline

“Give yourself PLENTY of time to market!” Rebecca says—and we can’t agree more! For the ultimate results, your marketing timeline may look something like this:

  • August: choose your photography backdrops, design your family Christmas setup, and photograph your models
  • September: create your promotional materials and launch your marketing campaigns
  • October: photograph your mini sessions on one or more days
  • November: hold your virtual sales presentations so prints and Christmas photo cards can be delivered in time for the holiday
  • December: deliver your clients’ products and handwritten thank you notes
In this black and white photo by Nicole Nero Studio, a young boy and young girl kneel in falling snow with their Boxer dog between them. Christmas Mini Session: Ideas Families will ADORE!

Nicole Nero Studio

Sprinkle Some Extra Magic on Your Minis…

Logan makes her mini sessions extra special by giving each client a little gift bag.

“Throw in some candy canes, chocolates, and other fun treats!” Logan shares. “I also include a ‘next steps’ card that tells them when their ShootProof gallery will be ready, along with any other details they should know.”

Want to shoot amazing mini sessions all year ’round?

Check out our resources for:

You’ll have a thriving new photography niche in no time!


Written by ANNE SIMONE | Featuring BRUNA RICO | LOGAN FAHEY | MAINE TINKER PHOTOGRAPHY | NICOLE NERO STUDIO | REBECCA RICE


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