Your Choice: Newborn “Mini” Session vs. Newborn “Full” Session

I offer two types of newborn sessions to my clients: newborn “mini” sessions and newborn “full” sessions. Here is what you need to know when making a decision to book one over the other.

1. Duration: “Mini” sessions are shorter and last about 1.5-2 hours as compared to 2.5-3 hours, on average, for full newborn sessions. Please keep in mind that these time frames are average (for example, a “full” newborn session can only last 1-1.5 hour if Baby is very sleepy and we can achieve all the looks fast, whereas a “mini” session may go all the way to 2 hours and possibly even past that).

2. Main focus of the session: “Mini” sessions are designed as a special time to focus on Baby only so Mom and Dad sit back and relax during Baby’s first photo session while I work my magic photographing their little one to create beautiful memories of his or her baby-hood. “Full” sessions are split between photographing Baby and taking family shots and shots with mommy and daddy alone.

3. Number of setups: “Mini” sessions include 2-3 setups while “full” sessions include 4-5 setups plus shots with parents and siblings. A “setup” is either a (a) blanket for achieving poses similar to the ones in this gallery, (b) a prop such as crates, benches, or bowls as in this gallery, or (c) wrapped shots on blankets or furs or in props. There are considerations of pose transitions, prop transitions and sequencing when planning for either session, and they have a distinct rhythm and flow.

fairfax newborn photographer_014. Size of the proof gallery: Naturally, shorter sessions with fewer setups result in smaller proof galleries, and “full” newborn sessions on average yield twice more images in the proof gallery to order from. I guarantee about 20-25 images in the proof gallery for mini sessions, and about 40-45 images for full sessions.

5. Scheduling: Full sessions are longer and take more time to retouch and deliver to show clients. Consequently, they take up more time on my schedule and are more difficult to fit in last minute. I commonly pre-book “full” sessions for months in advance. Mini sessions, on the other hand, are much easier to schedule and chances are I will almost always find a time in my schedule to fit one in. In any case, I urge you to always drop me a line (just fill out a contact form here) to see if I am available for a last minute session. If you are interested in a “full” session, I may be able to fit you in if my other scheduled newborn clients arrive a bit before or a bit after their due date and I have an opening in my calendar.

6. Turnaround: Usually, since mini sessions are shorter and I have fewer photos to touch up and set up in the gallery, I deliver them to clients for viewing and ordering faster. This is not a formal guarantee that I write into my contract, it just happens naturally as a result of my business workflow

7. Commitment of time and effort: Overall, “full” sessions require a greater commitment of time and effort. They are longer, and they imply that both mom and dad arrive to the session, and bring along their outfits for photos, and that Baby’s older siblings cooperate (and that they can skip school on that particular day). Mini sessions are super easy on parents: usually Moms arrive alone with Baby (especially if Dads return to work; no need to worry about doing it alone to bring the car seat, diaper bags, or special items to the studio – I will come out to your car and help you out and to the studio), and they just sit back and relax or take a nap on my couch while I photograph their Baby. No need to pick and coordinate outfits, remember to bring makeup, or bribe siblings for photos. fairfax newborn photographer_02

When clients ask me whether they should choose a full or a mini session, my go-to answer is – “it is a personal choice, and I suggest you choose whatever fits better with your life and your priorities right now”. Many first time parents are overwhelmed, and it is natural for them to just want to focus on the baby (so, yes, I get many “first babies” for newborn mini sessions). Many second-, third-, and fourth-time parents also sometimes choose to go with a newborn “mini” because they are juggling older kids’ schedules and routines, and want to keep their newborn’s session separate from family photos. Many want the convenience of a shorter session, or they want to schedule another session for later when their spouse or other family members are available. Many know for sure that they want to focus on their Baby only and they want the special photo experience to be all about their little one.On the other hand, many first time parents are so excited about their sweet new Baby that they definitely want to be in the pictures with him or her. And for many families with older siblings it is easier to have me take a portrait of the entire family with the baby as well as of pairs and groups (parents with baby, siblings with baby, family all together), so they choose the “full session”.

Everybody’s reasons are unique, and different, and the reason I offer two distinct types of newborn sessions is to meet the needs of my clients.

If you are ready to book your newborn session, email me at with your due date, and of course also feel free if you have any questions, or any ideas to make your session special.

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