In-Home Photography FAQ's | Why Can't I Wait For A Mini Session?

In my business, I try to keep things simple. I’ve shopped for a photographer before, and – even for me, after 10 years in the business – it can be hard to know what you’re actually getting into beforehand.

In my first post in this series, I defined some important photography terms to help you understand the style of the photographer you’re thinking of hiring, and explained my own style a bit. You can read that here.

In the second post, I talked about what to wear for your session to help you feel most confident and relaxed (hint: it’s not a sequined gown). You can read that one here. The next installment was on how to prepare your home for your session (hint: don’t stress over a top-to-bottom remodel or spring cleaning). You can read that post here (and it's my favorite, because it's the thing most people struggle with). And last Friday, I shared secrets of how to have cooperative kids for your session (and no, I don't mean by hiring child actors to play your kids - YOUR ACTUAL CHILDREN). Today is the final installment in this series, and it's all about the difference between an in-home documentary session and a mini-session - so read on, because it's a point of confusion for a lot of photography clients.


1. Documenting life takes time.

While a mini-session is appealing based on the cost difference (and depending who you are, the extremely short time investment may be attractive), it is not a shortened version of a full in-home session. There are several crucial differences, the first being that it just isn't possible to document real life in a 15-20 minute time slot. It takes time for you to loosen up, forget the camera, and interact with your family naturally. A mini-session is GREAT for getting quick Christmas card photos, or a portrait to send to loved ones as a gift, or a photograph to hang over the fireplace, but it can't replicate the natural, documentary feel of an in-home session.

2. Home is where the heart is.

It would be great if mini-sessions could be done in your home, but with time constraints, travel time, mileage, etc, it just isn't feasible on my end. Mini-sessions are on-location only, which sometimes means a marathon day of minis at a park, and sometimes means mini-sessions in my studio. Either way, the setting (although beautiful!) isn't your home, and isn't where your family gets the most real and relaxed.

If you're doing a session with extended family and want a few good family grouping shots, a mini-session is absolutely right for you. I can get everyone together, laughing, and posed in different groupings before your cranky uncle has time to complain (and you can make your dinner reservations with time to spare). I don't want to sound down on mini-sessions; there is DEFINITELY a time and a place for them, and they can be the perfect option for your needs.

But if what you're after is your story, captured in timeless photographs, for you and your family to look back on and treasure in the years to come, an in-home documentary session is right for you.

Now offering family films. Tell your (ordinary, beautiful, irreplaceable) story.


Emily Lapish is a family and birth photographer in Chattanooga, TN, and loves long walks on the beach. In lieu of long walks on the beach, a long walk through Target will do nicely. To book a consultation or just to say hi, click here