Hi I’m Morgan! I’m a photography educator and Raleigh, NC newborn photographer and family photographer.
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A Longer Photo Session is Better for your Kids
This may shock you, but a longer photo session is better for your kids. I know you think your child will only last 15 to 20 minutes, because occasionally I’ll receive an inquiry that states something to that effect.
And while I understand where you’re coming from, I also beg to differ.
In my experience, the best family photos aren’t born out of time constraints and forcing magic to happen in a short window of time.
Here are five reasons why your child needs more than a 15 minute session:
I am a stranger to your kids.
Unless we’ve worked together before, your kids have no idea who I am. And while some kids are quicker to warm than others, I’d venture to say that they’re only going to get more comfortable with me as time goes on.
Not only that, but I get to know them and am able to interact with them in a way that speaks to their individual personalities when we have a longer period of time together.
If you’re limiting your session to 15-20 minutes and your child doesn’t get comfortable with me within that time frame, we’re going to be hard pressed to capture their actual personality.
Longer sessions are actually less stressful.
When you try to make the most of a 15-20 minute session, the result is usually a high stress situation. Because OMG WE ONLY HAVE 15 MINUTES TO MAKE THIS WORK!!!! EVERYBODY LISTEN! SMILE! DO ALL OF THE THINGS RIGHT NOW!!!!
When we don’t confine ourselves to such a short window of time, we put so much less pressure on our kids and on ourselves.
They want to run in circles for 10 minutes? Cool. They need a snack break for 5 minutes? Sounds like a good photo op to me.
We give them space and time to be kids; to be who they are. And isn’t that what we want documented anyway?
The good stuff happens after everyone has loosened up.
The first 15 minutes of a session are for getting everyone comfortable and used to what’s going to go down during this session time.
It’s only after we’ve gotten wiggles out and the awkwardness out of the way and everyone has loosened up a bit that we get to the really good stuff.
This is where the emotion starts spilling over. It’s where personalities come to the surface. It’s where we see the intricacies and bonds that exist inside of your family displayed in a really beautiful way.
It is incredibly rare that this type of depth comes to the surface in a shorter form session.
You leave no room for things to go awry with a short session.
What happens when you book a 15 minute session and your toddler has a 15 minute meltdown?
No really. Tell me what happens.
Let’s say it together: YOU GET NO GOOD PHOTOS.
Toddlers are unpredictable humans, and therefore, we can’t schedule their meltdowns or non-photogenic behavior (although wouldn’t that be nice?!).
And if some behavior we don’t love falls smack dab in that 15-20 minute window, it’s a really unfortunate situation.
When you’re working with a 1-2 hour window of time on the other hand, a 15 minute meltdown isn’t going to totally derail your session. Not to mention, it’s not *nearly* as stressful for you as a parent thinking your entire session has just gone down the drain.
A longer session can be enjoyable.
My guess is that part of the reason that you ask for the short session is because you’ve subscribed to the idea that family photos are a horrific experience. They’re just something you have to get through in order to get the beautiful photos on the other side.
This does not have to be your truth, friend.
Work with the right photographer who actually cares about you, personally and who your family is as a unit, and your family photo experience turns into just that – an experience.
And it’s personalized to who you are, what your life is actually like and what matters to you.
Family photoscan be an enjoyable experience; even one that you don’t want to end in 15 minutes.
A longer photo session is where you find more depth
A 15 minute session is typically a mini session, and mini sessions have their place in the family photography industry. They’re great for a simple updated family photo.
In my opinion, though, they’re not what you book when you’re looking for family photos with depth and meaning. They’re not what you book when you want family photos that speak to who your family is and tell your story in a really beautiful way. When you want family photos that go deeper, a longer photo session is better for your kids.
So when you say you just want a short session, think about what you’re actually ordering up. If you want the family photos with more depth, it’s going to take some time to dig in and get them.