Why I no longer offer mini sessions? | Best Atlanta Family Photographers

Mini sessions- everyone offers them right? No worries- you can too.  If you know a photographer, and girlfriend, chances are you can name 15 of them right now-am I right? Offering mini sessions is a big deal- no matter where you live. Minis are offered typically to make some quick cash up front.  For this may be the perfect gig for some, like it was for me at one time, it isn’t really the life-long goal of a professional photographer.

I too, once offered themed minis or even mini sessions with no theme. I would offer discounts and every few months cram in as many families in one day as humanly possible. Don’t misunderstand me, the money was great and I never once had a complaint from a client. During this time in my journey as a photographer I still enjoyed my work but I was not living the dream.

I left my mini sessions feeling unsatisfied as a artist and in-antiquate as a service provider. I felt drained and sucked dry to be really honest with you. I felt like what I wanted to give back to my clients was lacking and I knew I needed to make a change. I began to avoid minis and still 2 years later I still get asked why I no longer offer them.

Well. here is a little insight into why:

Ok imagine this-

Months and months of planning, tons of money spent on props – money that to be really straight forward with you was not made back after all that was spent. Renting a venue for a day…    (so basically after the props + venue I made half if not a quarter of what I charged at that point) stressing over people paying… stressing over people sticking to their times and praying that they don’t just not show up.. (yep it happens) or being late…and throwing the entire day off… stressing over light… Ok yay they start arriving…. A quick snap of photos in 10-20 minutes each and they were off…,but- did we personally connect? (For me that is a HUGE part of my why- connection) How was their year? How is the new baby sleeping, how is dad’s new job, how is mom handling staying home with a 2 year old and a newborn now after years of working, how was their trip to the beach this past summer. Okay you get it. There was ZERO time for making a connection. For me- that is what photography is all about.  Just SMILE + BYE.. see ya next time you offer a cheap photo session just didn’t do it for me. Can I get an Amen?  

These mini sessions consisted of numerous conversations, but true connections never took place; for that one reason- time. We were not in the true essence of the moment and the next family rolled in before the one in front of them was finished with their small time slot and we all felt one feeling- rushed!

Having said all of that, I thrive on a story. I thrive on documenting individual lifestyles that my full session clients can treasure.

So let me give you a small glimpse into what my job looks like today and why I stopped offering minis.

Linda listen, I assure you that I do not just click a button on an overpriced camera and take your money and run. (no offense to those that do- but that is not the life I am about)

What goes into each family session I plan is so much more than my camera and editing skills. I spend about 15-30 hours with each client from their inquiry to the delivery of their finished product.  Now times that by how many clients I have per month… Girl… I am not sure how I get any sleep at all, how I parent or what my husband even looks like sometimes, but I thank God for every single second and every single person who reaches out to me and steps in front of me. I also could not do any of this without my Mama. Yes I had to throw that in… do you think for one second my masters degree in education mother does not proof read all my blog posts + keep my kids while I spend hours with my clients? hahah! Hi Mom! 

My clients and I plan the perfect location to fit their family, wardrobe for each and every single family member down to their kids socks- I kid you not!...We text back and forth photos of clothing for days, we talk on the phone/text and chat for what seems like endless hours about what they want to encapsulate during their session. I give them each a very detailed questionnaire so I can dig deep into their history and truly study who they are as a unit and individually. I encourage the parents to fill it out together to get them excited and to get them thinking about how much they love each other to begin with.  I juggle these things with each client sometimes at the same time on a weekly basis.  My clients spend weeks, sometimes months preparing for this experience. These mamas book hair + makeup appointments hair cuts for their kids/husbands, and they search for hours for the most beautiful clothing to wear during their session. My philosophy is if they feel like a million bucks during their session it will shine through in every single image! If mama ain’t happy… you know the saying… My people truly invest – not just their money, but their hearts in their stories with me.

For me, it’s mentally preparing myself each time. I study their answers to the special questions I ask, I memorize their sweet kids names’ plus all their favorite silly songs and quirks their mama hopes I don’t miss. I then get a game plan ready for if the kids hate me {spoiler alert: that never happens} and I pray for each family and myself before I ever get out of my car. I get out and squeeze that stressed out mama with a hug and shake the hand of that daddy who is truly nervous as hell, but he won’t admit it. I want to show them a view of their tribe that they have never seen. I pray to see them the way Jesus sees them. I pray to show them the love and patience of Jesus because you guys– Getting family photos is stressful, scary and down right crazy sauce. Some would even say it’s one of their least favorite thing to do ever. Luckily, I have had wonderful feedback from families who tell me I make the entire experience pain-free and that makes me beam from ear to ear! I hear that the dads even get excited to book their next session with me, because I do not add any pressure to their already stressful situation. Photo session days for families are wild. I know because I too have my photos done. The chaos before arriving can make anyone want to just throw their hands and not even get a photo of their kid who just won’t stop whining all day.

So with all of this being said, the reason I no longer offer mini sessions is because I want to spend time with you. I want to give you all I have to give.  I do not want you to feel stressed out and I for sure do not want you to feel rushed. I want to give you an experience above what most photographers can offer, because that is what I want as a client myself. I want to feel like I am the only family that photographer even has on her books and that is how I treat each of my clients.

Look, I know that having your families photos taken professionally is a luxury. Good photography is far from cheap, so I want to invest just as much into my sweet people as they invest in me. Your time has no value on it. It is the most priceless thing there is. Being a part of your growing family is such a gift to me. I love every single person who steps in front of my camera as if they are my own family. I have never ever been able to express in words how much this truly means to me without getting choked up. I am a big lover. I am a deep feeler, enneagram 3 and I just love without fail anyone who interacts with me. My soul just connects with my clients immediately. I know this feeling is supernatural and it is the most wonderful gift I have been given.  I 100% see souls- not bodies. I pray daily to see people as Jesus does. I see who you were, who you are and who you will be one day. I want to show you the best YOU!

 

Mini sessions are not for me and they are not for my tribe. If you’re anything like me, and the art of photography is running through your veins then you feel me on this.

I want to give you something more than 10 minutes of rushed chaos.

I want to give you an experience you can write home about…  and that does not happen in mini sessions.

It takes kids longer than 10-20 minutes to open up to a stranger. Dang people, it takes longer than 30 minutes for me to open up to a new person… let’s be real here!

Some of the most amazing, solid images I have captured of kids happen during the last 15-20 minutes of a full session.

So you be the judge are mini sessions really for you?

 

Sunset-family-session-atlanta-family-photographer-best-family-photographer-near-me

Reply...

Comments Off on Why I no longer offer mini sessions? | Best Atlanta Family Photographers