I usually post all info for seasonal specials here on my blog, then tag the blog posts as Seasonal Specials. If this blog post is the only post you see about seasonal specials, that just means I might not be booking seasonal specials/mini sessions right now. BUT, keep reading, so you know when you'll see info about them!
What is a seasonal special? Seasonal specials are mini sessions and usually 15-20 minutes long. They cost less than my smallest session package, but they also include less images and my clients don't get to pick the location, or props. Also, there could be between 3-8 families scheduled back to back, otherwise known as a mini session marathon.
Why do I create seasonal specials? I started shooting seasonal special marathons during my busy months, to accommodate new and past clients, even when my schedule is busy. My weekends fill up fast at times, so I'll pick days where I can shoot 3-8 different families in one evening. The busiest time for me is the end of October through the beginning of December. That is when I really run out of time, so I schedule mini session after mini session to accommodate as many awesome people as I can! As you'll find out below, I book my seasonal sessions way earlier in the year than you might think, so don't miss out and try to book when I'm maxed out!! Of course, there are always cancellations, but sometimes I just run out of time.
Is a seasonal marathon enough time for your small children? Sometimes, depending on the kiddos, I need a few extra minutes to connect with your child(ren), in order for them to trust me (a stranger lol) to smile for my camera. If you think your family would need more time with me, it may be best to schedule something from one my session packages, on a day dedicated to only your family. If you have young children that are uncooperative (it's expected/understandable at certain ages!), I will get candids, but there may not be extra time to try to get the perfect shots. I will try for the perfect portraits, but lets be real, we can't be picky with this time frame!
On the other hand, 15-20 minutes is the max some child(ren) want to even be in front of the camera. This means, if you're okay with me trying to get at least one "perfect smiling shot", plus real life candids and smiles when I can get them, then this type of session could work for you. I can do head swaps in Photoshop, but *only* if the lighting is the same for the 2 images I use to create the perfect shot. For instance, if everyone is posing and smiling, except for one child, then the same child smiles in the next shot, but mom, or dad had to tickle said child and weren't looking at my camera... That's an instance where I can swap the child's smiling face onto the photo with everyone else smiling. If the lighting isn't the same and the child is in a completely different position, or if both shots are at different angles, it's not going to work. As for any session, I will do my best to get everyone to smile, BUT the real life captures will be just that! *As with any session, if your child is just not having it, I will do my best to get detail shots of their hands, ears and feet, plus candids. Both the parent(s) and myself need to just be patient and remember that the children can only be pushed so far. See also: my editing process.
P.S. One of my favorite shots of my little family is of my husband and I smiling, while our daughter is screaming between us! I love it because it was our real life when she was 3. The photographer made sure to get just me, just my husband, my husband and I, plus all 3 of us. The photos were great and we still have the photo of our daughter screaming on our wall! That is the type of scenario you can expect from me, unless I am able to work magic with Photoshop!
Outfit changes during a seasonal marathon? The only time I think this is a good idea for a marathon session, is when the whole mini session is for one person, like a high school senior. I don't have trouble getting a high school aged client to smile, so I can get a lot of shots in a small amount of time. If said senior is a quick dresser, an outfit change is totally fine, but changing out layers of clothes would be much quicker than full outfit changes. Also, I can't stress this enough: Please dress your children correctly for the weather... if it's cold, at least use layers! Want tips about what to wear? If so, click here!
The seasonal specials I usually shoot and when I shoot them:
Spring Sessions/Beach Sessions are shot from mid to late April to May, or sometimes the beginning of June, usually at a Yorktown location. They're typically shot on Sunday evenings and I take up to 3 families per beach session date. I usually schedule 3 dates for these, so there are more chances for clients to book.
Sunsets & Silhouettes are typically shot from June to August, at a Poquoson location. Since these are shot right at sunset, I only book 1 family a night and because of that, I book about half of all Sunsets & Silhouettes sessions on weeknights.
Cotton Sessions are typically shot every other year, in October, at a Suffolk location. I pick one date for these and book between 3-8 families. Cotton sessions are usually booked quickly and start booking in September, but bloom and harvest times for field/crop sessions can be hard to judge.
Fall Sessions are usually shot in November, after the leaves have changed, but they start booking as early as September. They're usually shot in one day, so there may be between 3-8 time slots to choose from. Fall sessions are typically shot at a Newport News location.
Outdoor Christmas Sessions are usually shot at the beginning of November, before Fall sessions are shot. I do this so my clients have plenty of time to get their Christmas cards printed and mailed. Outdoor Christmas Sessions book very fast and start booking as early as September. Outdoor locations vary.
Indoor Christmas Sessions are usually shot between December 1st and December 15th. They are shot in my clients' homes (within 20 minutes of Poquoson), in front of their own Christmas tree. Indoor Christmas Sessions usually start booking in November. I only take 2-3 families, since December is so busy for me (personally busy mostly). There may not be enough time for Christmas card ordering, like there is for outdoor Christmas sessions that are shot in November.
Other pages to check out: FAQ, What to Wear, My Editing Process.
Thanks for looking!!