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Mini Sessions
Mar 2024

How to Organize Family Mini Sessions

10 min read

Mini sessions are miniature versions of your existing photography packages and services. These 5 to 15 minute sessions can help attract new clients and guide you through the busy season. Above all, they’re fantastic options for people who want print-worthy family portraits at a lower price (and in shorter sessions before kids get too tired or unruly)!

With careful planning, smart marketing, and lots of organization, you can start offering family mini sessions to clients.

Get clients. Get paid. Get happy.

Plan Your Family Mini Sessions in Advance

First, outline all the details of your mini sessions. When will you have your mini session day? How many sessions will you have per day? How long will they be? 

Your goals will help you make your decisions. For example, if you want to work with more clients, you could offer 15-minute sessions with 5 minutes of wiggle room. That means you can book three clients every hour (9 am, 9:20 am, and 9:40 am). Compare that to 20-minute sessions with 10 minutes of wiggle room, and you’d only book 2 every hour (9 am, 9:30 am, 10 am). That’s a big difference. We recommend keeping minis from 5-15 minutes long. 

family mini sessions

Then, determine your pricing. Mini session rates vary based on location, and will depend on how you decide to charge.

Finally, you’re ready to think about the creative aspects of your mini session. Will you have a theme or concept? Is there a location that complements your idea that’s also good for shooting? For example, you might set up your Christmas-themed mini sessions in a nearby park, or a summer-themed mini session at a local ice cream shop or carnival. 

Market to Your Ideal Family Photography Clients

Now that you have the details of your mini session straightened out, it’s time to market your mini session day and get some clients. 

Timing is key when email marketing your mini session. If you want to offer holiday mini sessions the first weekend of December, you might send your first batch of emails out the end of October. You don’t want to email too early (and your subscribers will forget about it) or too late (and they won’t be able to book you). Aim to email your list at least six weeks before session day.

What should you say in your marketing emails? These mini session email templates can help. Keep emails direct and short. Make it easy for subscribers to book a session directly from your email. As you get closer to your mini session date, send more emails to encourage bookings before your schedule fills up.

Outside of marketing emails, try reaching potential family photography clients by sharing on social media. Curate an interesting mix of photos that show off your mini session work and behind-the-scenes of your business. Post consistently. Use the right hashtags so that your ideal clients can find you, too. 

Don’t be afraid to lean on others to market your family mini sessions. Extend your reach and find more clients by collaborating with influencers, other photographers, complementary brands, or local businesses. For example, you might shoot a mini session for a local influencer in exchange for cross-promotional content.

family minis

Organize and Prep for Mini Session Day

As shoot day approaches, do what you can in advance to make everything run smoothly. Ensure you’re using an easy-to-use booking system like Calendly, Acuity,, etc. Look for helpful features with the tool you choose, like integrating with Google Calendar or adding events to a different calendar app.

Speaking of calendars, don’t forget to send out reminder emails a few days before your mini sessions. With ShootProof, you can set up a Custom Date-Based Email Campaign for your chosen date and send it to your mini session clients, reminding them of the shoot location, time, and any details they need to remember.

Juggling multiple sessions in a day can be tricky, and time moves fast. Prepare a detailed schedule ahead of time so that everything runs smoothly. Make a list of who you’ll be shooting for each time slot. Run through how each mini session will go: welcoming the family, posing and guiding them during the shoot, and telling them what happens next when the shoot ends.

Also, make sure all your equipment is ready, charged, and in working order. You don’t want to face a technical mishap or realize that you’ve forgotten a lens after your mini sessions have already begun.  

Contracts & invoices for Pros

Create a Welcoming Environment on Shoot Day

Your mini session day is here! Before your first family even arrives, get to your location early to set up everything. Have a backup plan in mind in case of bad weather. If you’re shooting outside, decide on an indoor location or a covered park pavilion where you can still shoot. 

Know where your essential tools and gear will be, like spare batteries or reflectors. Keep props handy in a bag or bin nearby. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and run through a practice mini session. Do they have the info they need to keep the session moving along? Do you? Remember, every minute counts.

Once your families start arriving, give them a warm welcome. Discuss how the mini shoot will go, what they can expect, and how you’ll guide them as you shoot. Ask your client what they want most from their session. Maybe it’s one great group shot, or maybe it’s a variety of candid photos. Keep it short — and get to shooting.

organize family mini sessions

Make Family Mini Sessions Engaging and Fun

Kids have short attention spans. Some kids take time to warm up to strangers. You have to capture their attention fast and give them a reason to smile. Use toys that make noise, light up, or look extra cute to get kids to look your way. If all else fails, be silly and funny to capture their interest!

How should you pose and guide your families? That depends on your style and each family’s personality. You can’t go wrong with a little movement like jumping, dancing, or running. Group hugs, tickles, and telling each other jokes can help you capture natural smiles and sweet expressions. 

To keep your mini sessions moving, stick to the time you’ve allocated for each family. That wiggle room you built into your time slots can help if someone wants just one more photo, but be firm when you have to. Remind your clients that others are waiting on their mini session, too. 

Don’t forget to have an on-time policy for your clients as well. Being late for a session can derail your whole schedule. Consider making your mini sessions non-refundable and final from the get-go in your contract.

Follow Up With Clients Post-Shoot

Once the day/weekend has ended, and now it’s time to edit and deliver your client photos. With ShootProof, families can easily view their photos, choose their favorites, and buy the images they want to print directly from their custom gallery. You can even offer a sneak peek of their mini session to build excitement for the rest of the gallery when it’s ready.

mini sessions

But don’t let the conversation end there! This is an opportunity to build a relationship and book repeat business. Send a thank you email expressing appreciation for their business. Request feedback or a testimonial. Remind your clients that they can book you for a standard session (or even another mini session) in the future. Ask them to send potential clients your way, and offer incentives for those referrals.

In short, stay in touch with your past clients with personalized, consistent email marketing. You never know when they’ll book you again or get you in touch with another client.

Use ShootProof to Build an Efficient Family Mini Session Workflow 

Mini sessions may be short, but that doesn’t mean they’re “easier” than your standard sessions and services. One day of mini sessions requires thoughtful planning, marketing, organization, and selling post-shoot. To make your mini sessions profitable, you need to set expectations and communicate with your clients. 

Get started with ShootProof

ShootProof can help. With pre-built email marketing templates, customizable contracts and invoicing, and gorgeous client galleries that make delivery and sales easy, ShootProof is there during every step of your mini session day. Try ShootProof today for free and start planning your next batch of family mini sessions!

Photos by Juliana Wilfong Photography


Mini Sessions
Feb 2024

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