I know, I know, it sounds pretty straight forward here, but read on!
First of all, what is a mini session you ask?
A mini session is typically a 15-20 minute session that scheduled back to back with other clients on one day. A photographer may see anywhere from 6-20 different clients in one day. These are often done around holidays, and sometimes they even have a theme i.e. Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, even lemonade stands. They are priced lower than a photographers normal rate because the photographer is shooting several clients in the same time frame, which makes them attractive because of their lower price. Many clients choose to do photos several times a year with whatever fun set up a photographer may be doing that suits their fancy, that's great! We love photographing you and your family!
That sounds great Amy! Why on earth would you not like that?
Well, it is amazing to get to meet so many new people in a day, it can be so overwhelming that if I'm honest, a lot of time I end up forgetting clients names before the day is even over. Does that say great customer service to you? I think not! That is not how I set out wanting to run my business.
You bring your kiddos to a strange person's home with fancy outfits on, bribe them with some sort of a treat after, introduce them to some lady they have never met before, tell them to go sit on this elaborate set up, expect them to ignore all the cool props that are just sitting there, begging to be played with, and tell them to sit still and smile for the stranger with the camera. Sounds easy enough right? Well... Sometimes it is! Sometimes kids have been properly bribed and they do sit still for their 15 minutes and smile for the funny stranger with the camera, but for a lot of kids, that's not the way it works. They get distracted, they want to play, they may need time to warm up to the stranger with the camera in order to show her a smile. That all is perfectly normal! So we spend our 15 minutes desperately trying to get a couple of okay shots and I'm sure when I send you your images you are a bit disappointed in them, I'm disappointed in them too! Then I tell myself, well we only had 15 minutes, and that just isn't always enough time! Some kids aren't best suited to a mini session, heck, some adults aren't best suited for a mini session!
So what is the solution here?
Well, I have been thinking long and hard about what to do here. How can I provide a better experience for my clients? One where I get to learn everyone's names, one where people learn mine, one where we are actually creating a memory together, and capturing real emotion, not just forced smiles! I want clients to look back at their images and say, "oh look at Sally's smile here... that's the one she gets before she bursts out laughing, its my absolute favourite smile of hers". I want to capture people being themselves, interacting with their family members, and creating memories they will cherish for years to come! Is this done in 15 minutes? Is this done at a strangers home? It can be for some kids, but what I want to do is create unique and authentic experiences for clients, that just isn't done in 15 minutes.
I know that people are going to be disappointed. I know this may mean I may lose some of my clients to other talented photographers who are offering these types of sessions, and that's okay, I will miss you so much, but when it comes down to it I understand.
My hope is that instead of coming to see me 2 or 3 times a year for a cute themed session that will end up on your fridge for a little while, or maybe even make the front of a card; that you will come to see me once a year or every other year even, for a full session, that is catered to you and your family, maybe in a place you like to spend time together as a family, maybe a place you haven't been before, or maybe even in your home in your living room or jumping on your bed! I want to create something unique for you! My hope is that instead of ending up on your fridge, that our photos will end up on your walls, or in an album, somewhere where you can cherish the memories that were made that day for years to come. My hope is to be able to provide a better customer experience, where not only can I remember everyone's names, but that we get to know each other a bit, and most importantly that we have some fun together making memories.
So with all of that being said, I will no longer be offering mini sessions, full sessions only. In the future this may change, I may find a cool location and decide to offer 30 or 45 minute limited edition sessions, but for now I want to focus on how I can give my clients the best possible images and the best possible experiences. I'm excited at the new direction I've decided to take my business in. It has been my absolute pleasure to work with so many amazing families and children over the last 3 or 4 years and I sincerely hope that we get to work together again!
Let's make some memories!