The tried and true question that many families ask when thinking about hiring a family photographer.. What type of session should I book? Us photographers offer many different types of sessions, but the main choice if you’re wanting to book a family session is between a mini or a full session. I personally offer mini sessions one to two times a year. They’re a great option for a lot of families- but they also might not be the best route for you! Below you can read more of a breakdown on my expertise as a Bay Area Baby Photographer, and see what type of session is best for you!

A mini session would be great for you if: 

-your children are “older” (mid to late elementary or older). OR less than 1 year old (and not walking yet)

-your children aren’t super shy when meeting new people

-you just want that “one good smiling shot” for a christmas card, framed photo, ect and a few fun filler shots too!

A full session would be better for you if:

-you have little ones who are wiggly and need time to run around

-you want a few good smiling shots (in different locations) and a lot of fun lifestyle photos of you all too

-your little ones are in the independent stage (just learned to walk), or are very shy around new people

Although the above guidelines aren’t necessarily hard and fast rules; and even the best behaved kiddos have their days (heck, we as adults have our days too!). They are a good gauge of what would be a better option for your family, and what will provide you with the best possible outcome. I do try my best to make sure little one’s feel comfortable during family sessions, even if they don’t tend to be shy. But sometimes a mini session is just too short for kids to warm up to having their picture taken!
All that being said, we can make whatever session you choose work for you, but sometimes a full session will provide you with a better chance of great photos. This is just because of the duration of it! One of the most frequent things I hear from parents is that they don’t think they need to book a full session because their kiddos won’t make it that long. Although this is often true, know that we don’t spend the entire hour taking photos. Sessions with me are filled with pictures, but also breaks to walk, run, play, sing songs, and switch locations. Most full sessions last anywhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour, where mini sessions are a quick 20-25 minutes.

I do recommend you book a full session if:

-It’s your first time taking photos with a new family member

-You haven’t taken family photos in over 2 years

-You want more variety to your session in terms of locations and posing

In the end it’s up to you! But i’m always here to help you decide what the best route may be, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you are wavering between the two. I’d love to give some insight into what your best option might be!  


Rachel Howden Photography is a family photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area who specializes in family, newborn, baby, motherhood, and maternity photography in the Bay Area. Including Livermore, Oakland, Walnut Creek, San Francisco, San Mateo, Palo Alto, San Jose, Fremont, and Pleasanton. 


These photos help you to have a little sneak peek into what you will receive if you have me as your family, newborn, maternity, or motherhood photographer in San Francisco. If you want to see a full gallery from a session please don’t hesitate to ask- i’d love to share one with you! Are you interested in booking a session or learning more about sessions with Rachel? Contact me HERE.

If you would like to know more about investment for sessions, head to THIS page.