What’s the difference between a full family session and a mini session?

Families + Babies

chicago naples lifestyle family photographer

Every year, I offer my family clients a limited number of mini sessions. And these mini sessions book up fast.

Mini sessions are perfect for fall / holiday card photos, but when I offer mini sessions in the spring / summer, I often have clients wondering what is the big difference in mini sessions vs a full family session.

Lemme break it down for you.

Chicago Naples Beach Family Photographer

1. Full sessions are longer

A mini session is typically 20 minutes long vs a 45 minute full session. The shorter length of time is great if you are looking to get a handful of photos for a holiday card, milestone or one or two photos for your frames.

2. You get to pick your location for a full session

If you are dreaming of photos at your favorite park, a lake your family spends time at or your home, a full session allows you to select the location you want as your backdrop for your photos. If you don’t really care where your photos are at, a mini session is perfect since it is at a pre-determined location picked by Brittany Bekas.

Chicago Naples Lifestyle Family Photographer – St James Farm Family Photos-9
3. Full sessions galleries have way more photos to pick from

More time together = more photos. A mini session gallery typically is about 25 photos whereas a full session is between 60-75 images. So what does that mean, your full session gallery will have more candid photos and more variety in the combinations we capture.

4. Full sessions allow for more candid / in the moment photos and lots more combinations

A mini session will be the basics and will typically be more photos of your family looking at the camera smiling. If you love candid / in-between moments, a full session is likely for you because we have more time for things to unfold. When we have double the amount of time, there is more time for your kids to warm up to the camera, to have a silly dance party and to just be them. We have space to let things and moments unfold during a full session. With a mini session, we are trying to get the most important combinations and photos in a quick amount of time.

chicago naples lifestyle family photographer



Here are a few questions to ask yourself that will help you decide.

1. Are your kids shy and slow to warm up to people they don’t know?

If so, a full session will likely be the best one for your family. With a longer session, there is more time for your kids to warm up to me / your photographer, and to allow time for snacks / breaks and play time. With a mini session, you might be more stressed if your kids aren’t listening or cooperating

2. What do you want to do with these photos?

If you are using them for a holiday card, invitation or announcement, a mini session will likely be perfect. If you want to have a variety of images to pick from to hang in your home, create albums with or to share with friends / family, then a full session would be a better fit for you.

3. Where do you want to take your photos?

If you don’t really care where your photos are taken, then a mini session is perfect. You will know the pre-selected locations before you schedule your session. If you want to pick a location that is different from this location, a full session makes more sense.

4. Is your schedule limited?

If the mini session dates don’t work with your schedule / availability, a full session might be the best option for you as my weekday schedule tends to be more flexible than my limited weekend schedule.

5. What is your budget for your family photos?

If you need to save a little money, a mini session still allows you to update your family photos without investing in a full Brittany Bekas lifestyle experience.

Brittany Bekas – July 2020 Mazza Family Favs-19

If you’d like to book a lifestyle family mini session, make sure you are on my email list. My VIP email subscribers are the first to know about my mini session dates that sell out fast.

If you would like to book a full lifestyle family, contact the studio, and we will be in touch with all the information.

Looking for more tips on getting ready for your family session?

What to wear for your family photos

The Best Chicago Suburb Photo Locations for Family + Lifestyle Sessions

7 Places in Chicago with the Best Chicago Skyline Views

First time to the blog? Hi, I am Brittany, and I am a fine art film photographer specializing in lifestyle wedding and family photography. I travel worldwide photographing beautiful weddings, engagements, and families, and most of the time you can find me in Chicago, Naples (Southwest Florida), and Las Vegas. My light and airy editing style and candid, joyful photos are what I am best known for. Interested in working together? Contact the studio for more information.

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Hi, I'm Brittany.
Your extra set of eyes with a camera.

Florida, Chicago + destination wedding and family photographer for those who believe in eternalizing this season of life with storytelling images.

After becoming a mom and losing my own mom, I realized that the most cherished photos are moments (not the perfectly posed portrait). I'm here to let moments unfold and to document the true connection between you, your partner and your family.


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Naples, Florida + Chicago portrait photographer specializing in weddings, engagements, elopements + family photography.