For years, I’ve been offering free “Christmas Card Micro Mini Sessions" in November to families who book a full lifestyle session the following year.

It’s a win-win, really.  Families get that one photo that they need for their annual holiday card, and then can look forward to a full lifestyle session the following year.

But what exactly are the differences between a micro mini session and a full lifestyle session?  What is it that they’re looking forward to in the winter/spring that we won't do at these micro minis?  These are questions I’ve addressed many times in person, but never here on the ol’ blog.  So, here goes...


The free micro mini sessions are kids only - no moms or dads.  So, no family photos.  That’s an obvious difference.  Full lifestyle sessions include everyone that’s part of your story -- from mom and dad, right down to Fido or Goldie the fish.


The free micro minis are very goal driven.  We’re looking to get that one shot for the card.  We always get lots of fun extras, but the photos tend to be more posed and camera-aware. Full family lifestyle sessions, on the other hand, are about hanging out.  Following the whims of the most bossy kiddo in your family.  We play, we explore, we cuddle, we do activities.  We smush together for those posed combinations occasionally, but that’s only a small percentage of the time we spend at full sessions.  It’s more about telling your story.


The free micro mini session event is always scheduled over a few afternoons in November.  I jump between families and it’s pretty hectic.  On your full family lifestyle session day, you’ve got me alllll to yourself -- that’s when we usually become good friends.


I’ve got about four different locations for my micro mini session event.  They’re all pretty.  They’re all festive.  They’re all local to me.  None of them is your home-sweet-home. That says it all, in my book.


(Doesn’t really fit into my journalism theme, but an important distinction to highlight!) Micro mini sessions are 10 minutes long.  That’s it.  Full family lifestyle sessions average about 1.5 hours and can by anywhere from 1-2 hours.  It totally depends on how long it takes for everyone to warm up, how long it takes for everyone to get tired of me, and how much fun we’re having.


This is really the biggest difference, I think.  When we meet in November for your free micro mini session, our goal is to get that ONE perfect photo for your annual holiday card.  When we meander through your full family lifestyle session, we’re living your routines, your favorite activies, playing your family’s favorite games - capturing your story and freezing the moments you most want to remember.


These say it all, yes?

Micro mini photos:

micro mini session photos

And a small sampling of photos from an at-home full family lifestyle session this past year:

Does that clear things up?

Thanks for looking,



Jaye McLaughlin Photography specializes in documentary style lifestyle family and newborn photography in Westchester County, NYC, Connecticut and beyond.  I would love to begin planning your family photo session. View more of my work in my family portfolio HERE.  Check out some brand new sweetness in my newborn portfolio HERE. If you’re interested in a family, newborn or maternity session and would like to learn more, click HERE.  To get in touch, just go HERE, or email me or call me directly at jaye@jayemclaughlin.com or 914.263.0236.  I look forward to hearing from you!

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