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© 2020 Nicely Captured

  • Sarah Nice

Mini Sessions: For Those on a Budget

Hi there! FINALLY we have some pretty weather. The sky is the perfect shade of blue and there's not a single cloud in sight. Looking out my window I see the warmest sunlight filtering over the trees and I can hear birds chirping a pretty song. Maybe if I just keep telling myself spring is here it'll magically happen.


This weather reminds me of mini sessions. I don't have these listed on the website because I book them very sparingly, and there's a good reason for that... They're located at my home!

The images used in this post are from a cake smash I did about a year ago for the Scianandre family and their youngest daughter Brooke. Her mother Kiera brought all of these props with her that day. I wasn't expecting it at all when she emailed me to book her mini. I just knew she'd have a cake and "some props." But what resulted was magical. I am sharing these today because it still remains one of my favorite sessions.

My backyard is quite large. I only photograph minis in the morning because the sun rises back there and provides beautiful back lighting. And more specifically, I only book these on Saturdays. A playground sits back there where my siblings and I used to spend our time. My dad built it himself from scratch and although we are all now grown, the three small swings that used to hang from it have been replaced with a much larger, adult version. It's quite peaceful out there when the weather's nice.


I encourage my clients to bring props to these more specifically than other sessions because it's much easier to park in my driveway and walk them the few hundred feet rather than carry them throughout Colonial Williamsburg, for example. And while you don't necessarily need to bring as much as Kiera did, it definitely helps add something special to your mini session.


On this day in particular, we didn't have that beautiful morning sunlight to which my mini session clients are accustomed. It was gray and dark. The sunlight filtered in and out of the clouds - which is rather annoying, keep in mind, for the photographer who has to adjust her settings to the new light each time - but overall, I think having the props helped. It took the attention away from the fact that it just wasn't as beautiful outside as my client might have expected.

Big sister Gina was a trooper, too. Although the spotlight was on her baby sister, she gave me some precious smiles and helped me keep Brooke interested.


Overall the swing area is very rustic in style. I encourage props such as blankets, throw pillows, flowers, and other decor. And be sure they all go together well with your outfits. There's nothing I loathe more than colors and patterns that just don't go together. It results in a very sloppy-looking session. Harsh, but true.


The goal is to not overdo it. You might be thinking, "Well, isn't this an example of overdoing it?" In this case I say no. It was specifically designed for a small child and gave the entire session whimsical, fairy-tale, nursery vibes. I loved it. But again, I'm also there to help place items where I feel they are most appropriate. I'm also there to tell my client whether something might not belong. Believe it or not, there were quite a few props we nixed altogether that day.

Mini sessions are located on my property in Toano, VA, just 25 minutes north of Williamsburg off of exit 227 on I-64W. These last 15 minutes after prop setup and cost just $125. With it you will get a 7-day online viewing gallery and download credits for 5 images of your choice. Book today!