What’s the Difference Between a Mini Session and a Full Photo Session?


Every year, my fall mini sessions sell out here in Charlottesville. It’s an event I look forward to each fall! And after doing minis for over 10 years, I’ve found that minis are really great for some families, and maybe not the best fit for families in different seasons of life. It all depends! I definitely do get the question about “what’s the difference between a mini and a full session?” so I wanted to answer that question, as mini session is upon us.

I’ll be announcing mini sessions in the next week, so if you want to be the first to know, be sure to sign up for my email list here. 



A Full Session may be for you if:

-You want an effortless and flexible experience. You want to choose your date, your time, your location and have the freedom to take breaks during a session since we will have more time to get to know each other and document your family in this beautiful season. Sometimes kids need time to warm up, so having the freedom to warm up and take our time together can take the pressure off!

-You crave variety. You dream of photos that feel unique to your family and the season you’re in, you want time to play together and document all the different and beautiful dynamics of your family.

-You need time to warm up. Listen, I get it! It’s not an everyday thing to be in front of a camera. You’d prefer a relaxed process where we have time to take breaks, switch things up and enjoy celebrating your family. Think of it as a fun date day with your family!

-You want artful, honest & relaxed photos. I’m still the same photographer with minis and full sessions, but just by having the full time we need, I’m able to work with your children and family to document what matters most to you beyond the timeless poses.

-You love film! I typically shoot a mix of film and digital for full family sessions – you just can’t beat the beauty of film in certain situations!

-You prefer a full planning process. If you want help planning outfits, location, timing and all the in-between, I’m here for you every step of the way.

-You hope to include your extended family & pets. Mini sessions simply don’t allow the time to include extended family and pets. So, a full session is best when wanting to include more than your immediate family!


A Mini Session may be for you if:

-You & your children warm up quickly! Since minis are fast paced, it makes a big difference if you’re quick to warm up and enjoy the process. Sometimes toddlers need time to warm up and feel comfortable, so it’s good to consider this when thinking through your specific needs as a family.

-If you’re looking for short, simple & sweet. I love mini sessions, and I love the timeless photos I get to create each year. But, if you’re wanting more natural & relaxed photos as you’ve seen in my portfolio, let’s chat about a full session.

-You’re a previous client, we know each other and just want some updated photos. I have many clients who return each year for a custom, full session, and we dream together each year. It’s such a joy! I also have clients who switch it up depending on their calendar, the ages of their kids and the season of life.

-You don’t mind having the location & date chosen for you. Minis happen on set dates, with a set rain date at set locations.

-You’re looking for something more budget friendly right now. If you’re looking for wonderful updated photos, and want to work together but on a smaller budget, minis may be right for you in this season!


Still not sure what’s best for your family? Please reach out! I’m happy to talk through my fall mini sessions here in Charlottesville, or my full sessions that I photograph in Charlottesville & Richmond, VA. I can’t wait to hear from you!



Amy Nicole Photography (Amy Cherry) has been a photographer for over 15 years. Amy is a family, baby & newborn lifestyle photographer serving Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia. She creates timeless, genuine and effortless photos for you and your family to enjoy for years to come. She offers on-location, at-home, studio and outdoor family photo sessions.

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I take a limited number of sessions each month (plus, I’m a bit of a planner and always account for possible weather and sick days!) I’d love to set up a time to chat with you, hear your vision and answer any questions! 

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