What's the difference between a mini session and a regular session? | 2019 Fall Mini Sessions with Saratoga Springs & Boston Family Photographer

Summer & fall are our most popular seasons for family portraits, and every fall my inbox is flooded with families looking for family portraits for their holiday cards and gifts. Trust me, I get it! It’s such a beautiful time of year in the Northeast, and everyone adores the fall foliage and the vibrant colors that we’re lucky enough to enjoy for just a couple of weeks a year. It’s the perfect season for your family portrait session!

One of the most frequently asked questions that I get from families is, “What is the difference between a mini session and a regular session?” So today, I want to clear that up for you and also give you the details about our availability this fall!

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Let’s start with what is included with each session.

Full Length Family Portrait Session
-client prep guide and wardrobe guide filled with inspiration for your session
-pre-session consultation over the phone or in person
-complimentary use of studio wardrobe for mamas and babies
-location of your choice within 20 miles of 12866
-up to 1 hour of shooting time
-includes immediate family up to 5 people ($25 per additional person)
-gallery reveal appointment after the session to select your favorite images for holiday cards, wall art, gifts, albums, and digitals
-two 8x10 fine art prints are complimentary with your session

Investment: $225 session fee plus your choice of products after the session.
Many different collections are available to fit all budgets.


Mini Family Session
-welcome email and wardrobe guide filled with inspiration for your session
-one specific location chosen by the photographer
-15-20 minutes of shooting time
-includes immediate family up to 5 people ($25 per additional person)
-images delivered via online gallery within two weeks of the session
-5 digital images available for download, with the option to add on additional images, cards, artwork, gifts, and albums

Investment: $275 - $375 depending on location and session type


Mini sessions are perfect for families that are looking for just a couple of beautiful portraits for their holiday cards and gifts, and maybe one or two for the wall. These sessions are short & sweet, and do not require much of a time commitment.

Our regular (full length) portrait sessions are my personal favorite because I love the opportunity to really get to know the families before & during our session, and then visiting with them after the session for their gallery reveal appointment to plan how they want to enjoy their portraits at home and as gifts. These sessions are longer and allow for more variety in the location and in posing, and we also have plenty of time for the kids to warm up to me and the location when they arrive because we are not pressed for time. If the kids need a break for a snack or a quick cuddle, no problem!

The full length sessions also include more help with wardrobe, including access to the studio closet and my help with finding the perfect outfits for your whole family! So many moms (and sometimes dads!) worry about how to coordinate outfits for the whole family. This is probably your first or second time doing this, but me? I’ve done this literally hundreds of times with all of the families I photograph each year. I’m happy to help make this easier for you so that your session is stress-free and that you adore your family portraits!

Full length sessions are perfect if you’re including Grandma & Grandpa and all of the grandkids because we will capture plenty of variety with all of the different groupings of people.

You also want to consider your plans for your images after the session. Do you want one framed family portrait on the wall? Or a couple for your holiday cards and gifts? Maybe a mini session is right for you!

Are you looking for a gallery wall in the living room, a few more in the office, and a couple in the hallway? Do you dream of turning the pages of one of our gorgeous linen albums filled with beautiful portraits of your family having fun? Definitely go with the full length session.

Here’s a peek at a sampling of images from a mini session and from a full-length session. This is not the entire gallery, it’s just to give you an idea of the variety in images included with each type of session.

fall family mini session, saratoga springs mini session, nicole starr photography
fall family mini session, foliage family photos, fall family photos saratoga springs, nicole starr photography

Let’s talk about timing.

I’ve been photographing families since 2012, and every year I hear families tell me how they really want to take their portraits in the fall when the foliage is so pretty. REMEMBER, IT’S THE MOST POPULAR TIME OF YEAR FOR PORTRAITS. DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!!

I stop photographing outdoors before Halloween, so plan ahead! By November, most of the leaves have fallen down and been raked up, and the temperature is usually too cool for little ones to be comfortable outside in just a light sweater. This is why we plan our sessions early in the season.


You want to book your session for September or early October if…

September is when we enjoy the beautiful days of early fall. It’s still warm outside, the sunlight is perfectly golden, and the trees aren’t quite so vibrant yet. If you’re planning on decorating your home with your family portraits, think of the color scheme inside your home. If you have a more neutral style or lots of cool colors (gray, blue), then maybe vibrant orange and red won’t coordinate so well like you would get from a late October session. However, a September session lends itself to more neutral tones and would look perfect on your walls! September (and early October) is also perfect for families who have little ones under age 2 who might be too cold outside in late October when the weather has cooled off. If it’s a family with just the parents and a baby, I’d recommend planning for a session earlier in the fall so keep everyone happy!


And mid to late October might be a better fit for you if…

If color makes your heart do a little happy dance, then you definitely want to plan your family portraits for October! The trees are bursting with reds, oranges, and yellows, and the whole landscape looks like the sunset. These sessions are always some of my favorites every year, and I love when the leaves have fallen down and the kids can have fun throwing leaves in the air and jumping in piles of leaves to hear the ::crunch::. Mid to late October sessions are especially great for older kids, or very easy-going little ones who might not mind the slight chill in the air.

fall mini sessions, boston family photographer

fall family mini session, foliage family photos, fall family photos saratoga springs, nicole starr photography

We’re opening our 2019 fall calendar on Friday, August 23!!!

This is when we’ll begin filling the mini session dates as well as our full length session dates. Our newsletter subscribers will have first dibs on their date & time of choice, and our calendar is already halfway full with previous clients already!

If you’re not on our mailing list, be sure to join so that you can receive early access to our fall session dates! There’s one for our Massachusetts families, and one for our Saratoga Springs/Albany families!


Did you find this blog post helpful? Then you are going to love this next one that is filled with tips on what to wear for your family portrait session this fall!

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What's the difference between a mini session and a regular session?  Tips from Saratoga Springs family photographer Nicole Starr Photography.

About Nicole Starr Photography 

Nicole Starr specializes in newborn, baby & family photography and has been serving families in New York and Massachusetts since 2012.  She has a portrait studio in Saratoga Springs, NY for families in the Capital Region.  Nicole also works with families year round at her Attleboro, MA portrait studio, and on location May through October in Boston and on Cape Cod.  Nicole has a clean and classic style, and the studio is filled with neutrals and luxe fabrics.  We use very minimal props to keep the focus on your perfect little baby.  Our sessions are relaxed and fun, and we’ll enjoy an hour together (or up to 3 hours for a newborn session!) laughing, cuddling, and capturing authentic smiles and belly laughs with your little ones.