I'm not a clock-watcher.
You arrive. You're sweaty, frustrated and doing your best to seem poised and cheery, even if you want to scream, or worse, cry! After all, these are your yearly family photos and having a meltdown right now wouldn't help anything. Your children are tired from school, or perhaps they didn't nap. Of course they chose today to find hidden chocolates that somehow managed to live in the depths of the backseat...and of all the days it's everywhere. You're about to blow a cork. HELLO! HI! Mom of 4 right here and I've BEEN THERE; DONE THAT!
In the beginning I tried to stick to time-frames, really I did! I had made a few photographer friends and based on their advice, I structured my sessions based on time and images. This didn't seem to work for me! I would notice that my sessions would always tend to "warm up" toward the end. By the time it was over, my clients were coming out of their shells....moms were relaxed because their kids were *actually* cooperating. So I stopped watching the clock.
For starters, I don't normally book clients back to back. The only exception to this are my themed mini-sessions which require elaborate set-ups or cameo appearances such as the bearded jolly man, aka Santa. For everyday sessions, I don't like to book you up against another family and if I do, I try to leave a buffer. Sidenote: I once arrived with my family for a session with a photographer, only to see the NEXT family waiting on me to finish. I wasn't late, but they were early and let me tell ya - I couldn't relax to save my life! I'd like to try to avoid that anxiety because I don't want my clients to ever feel rushed like I did that day! Having an amazing session doesn't mean I blow my whistle 20 minutes in, simply because time is up. If you are booking 10 images with me, I might capture those images in a matter of minutes, or I may struggle to even get your child to relax and feel safe around me for 15 minutes! Either way, you're going to get the 10 images you paid for, even if it takes longer than the typical window of time because I'll be patient! I apply this mentality to all of my sessions. I want you, dear client, to also stop thinking about the clock and relax! If you're just the type of person who NEEDS to quantify your experience, here is a very basic, extremely approximate breakdown of session times. Mini Session - 20-30m, Full Session - 30-45m, Extended, Senior & Maternity - Approximately 1hr. However, personalities and number of folks in your party skew these times. None of these should be the cup to measure your session because we are measuring YOUR session based on the number of images you purchased. If you have concerns about timing, please let me know and I'd be happy to come up with a specific plan for your session!
One last point I want to make is that parents often think that booking the smallest session is the best option because they "won't sit still long" and the smallest session is the one that is the quickest. The opposite is actually true. Often, photographers need MORE time to photograph young children because we understand that they are curious, scared, nervous, frustrated and most of all - I'm a stranger to them! I always tell these mamas to book the number of images you want and I'll do the rest. Don't watch your clock, just figure out what you want and we will go from there. I fully expect your children to be nervous, scared, tired and all of the emotions that go into being a tiny human and I know you want it to be over quickly for them, but be patient because it's a process!