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Pros and Cons of Quickie Sessions vs. Full-Length Sessions

Written By:

Maryam Salassi

Jan 4, 2022

What’s the difference between a 30 minute Quickie family photo session and a 90 minute full-length session? As an Oakland family photographer, I get asked this question a lot!

The answer is basically that it depends on what you’re looking to get out of your photo session. In this blog, I’ll quickly break down the pros and cons of both options to help you decide which is best for you and your family.

Quickie Sessions

Quickie sessions are basically mini sessions – about 30 minutes long – offered in one location during the week. You may receive 30-40 photos from a mini session.

Quickie Session Pros

Quickie sessions are great if you’re looking for something quick and simple. They’re great for first birthdays, quick maternity sessions, a gift for the grandparents, or to update a photo or two on the wall. These sessions are more focused on getting a traditional family portrait, and because of the short time frame it’s more structured than a full session. Because these mini sessions have a shorter time commitment, even the busiest family can typically fit one in…as long as it works with your schedule, that is (more about this below!).

Summer Quickie sessions are a way to capture a specific memory: play time at the beach! These 30 minute sessions occur in Alameda and the focus is on playing in the sand, wading in the water, and snuggling under a pretty beach umbrella.

family of five on shoreline beach in alameda california

Quickie Session Cons

Because quickie sessions take place over a shorter period of time, it doesn’t leave much room to get especially creative with your images. It also doesn’t give kiddos as much time to warm up in front of the camera, so if they’re shy or cranky there’s not much time to warm them up.

My quickie sessions take place on specific days during the week with scheduled slots, and in Oakland. This means less flexibility for you and your family.

Full-Length Sessions

Full-length sessions typically last about 90 minutes and at a location (or even multiple locations) of your choice. You can expect to get anywhere from 60-100 images from a full-length family session.

Full Length Session Pros

More time in your session means more time for flexibility and creativity! You’re able to schedule a full-length session at your family’s convenience. Plus, we can usually mix in more than one location and activity, which makes for more genuine and fun images. Most of the families I work with choose to start at home, then head out to the backyard or a nearby park that they love so you get a ton of variety in your gallery!

Full-length sessions give the whole family a chance to warm up in front of the camera and show their true colors—especially kids! For me, these sessions are more focused on getting images of your family being themselves. It’s all about capturing those fun, candid moments and the little things that make this time in your life so special. I especially love these unposed and natural family photos because they feel so natural and authentic.

Some family photographers in San Francisco and the Bay Area even offer future perks or discounts to families who book full-length sessions. For example, once I’ve photographed a family, they get to join the Hi + Hello Yearbook Club!

Full Length Session Cons

Of course, full-length sessions are a larger investment, but the value you get is definitely worthwhile. In addition to your digital files you get to choose between a layflat album or a $550 print credit. Either way you end up with a tangible way to view your photos, and let me tell you, kids LOVE to see real photos!

As a photographer, a lot of work goes into a full-length family session. I spend time getting to know you and really learning about your family (especially your little ones!) to get the most natural photos I possibly can. 

I also offer split payments if needed, to help make the investment more manageable. Because everyone deserves to be able to look back and remember what it really felt like during this time in your life. Cue the nostalgia! 

This is just one decision you’ll have to make about your family photos. You’ll also want to consider whether or not you want to have an indoor or outdoor family session (or maybe a bit of both), if you’d like me to shoot film or digital (or a mix), what to wear to your family session, and how else you can prepare. It sounds like a lot but I will be there with you every step of the way and we’ll make some of these decisions during our get to know you call. 

If you have any questions about your family photos in San Francisco or the Bay Area, or if you’re ready to book your family session, let’s chat!

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