I usually post info for seasonal specials here on my blog, then I 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 15-20 minute long mini sessions. They cost less than my smallest session collection, 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 seasonal specials? I started offering seasonal special marathons during my busy months, to accommodate new and past clients, even when my schedule is busy during peak seasons. My weekends fill up fast at times, so I'll pick dates where I can shoot 3-8 different families in 1 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 seasonal mini sessions to accommodate as many awesome people as I can! As you'll find out below, I start booking my seasonal sessions way earlier in the year than you might think, so don't miss out and try to book when I'm already booked up! Of course, there are always cancellations, but sometimes I just run out of time.
Is a mini session 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 than this blocked time with me, it may be best to schedule something from one my collections, 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 posed shots. I will try for the perfect portraits, but lets be real, we can't be picky with this time frame, but keep reading!
On the other hand, 15-20 minutes is the max some children "want" to even be in front of the camera. This means, if you're okay with me *trying* to get at least 1 perfect smiling shot, plus real life candids and smiles when I can get them, then this type of session could work for your family. 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 probably swap the child's smiling face onto the photo with everyone else smiling. BUT, 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 just not going to work. I'm really good at Photoshop, but I can only go as far as what I have to work with. Again, I will do my best to get everyone to smile, BUT the real life captures will be just that, real life! *As with any session, if your child is just not having it, I will focus on getting 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 images 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 outfit changes are a good idea in the middle of mini session marathons, is when the whole mini session is for 1 person only, 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 April to May, 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 and have a rain date up my sleeve, 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 per weeknight, or some Sunday evenings.
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 1 day, so there may be between 3-8 time slots and 1 date 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 and props vary from year to year.