Hawaii Family Photo Sessions: Which session length is right for you?

The most common question we get is whether your family should book a mini session or a full session. It’s a great question and every photographer sets these sessions up differently so it’s a good idea to ask, especially if you have a special goal in mind for your photoshoot! Your Hawaii Family Photo Sessions should be a length that works best for not only the age of your children but the type of images that you are hoping to capture.

Hawaii Mini Photo Sessions

Contrary to popular belief, a mini session is not simply a shorter version of a full session. A mini is designed to capture a small set of beautifully posed family images. Our photography team has a specific shot list that we use to guide these sessions to ensure nothing gets missed. They are quick and focused! Because mini sessions are shorter, there isn’t time for breaks or to deal with hungry and upset toddlers and babies should that need arise. Minis are ideal for very young babies (under 12 months) and well-behaved older kids ages 8+. Minis are also ideal for smaller family groups with teens or adults only.

I also cap my mini sessions at 6 people because over the years, I’ve learned that with groups any larger than that, the 25 minutes gets very tight, and things start feeling rushed and stressful, and we’re not able to get all of the shots we need. If you have a family of very young children and there are more than six of you, we’d strongly recommend bumping up to our Golden session.

Full-Length (Golden) Hawaii Family Photo Sessions

The best part about these sessions is that there is no time pressure. When booked for a single-family (and even with grandparents added in), there is time to get all of the important shots plus candid moments. They are perfectly suited for a single family to capture a handful of truly gorgeous images.

For toddlers on the move, that usually means we’ll have to work a little harder for shots so having the extra time from the Golden Session will come in handy. It also means we’ll have a few extra minutes of breathing room in case baby needs a break or a quiet moment with mom or dad before we keep going. In my experience, it is better to have the extra time for photos vs. potentially feeling rushed with a toddler on the move and only 20 or so minutes to capture all of the important shots!

If you know that it takes your children a while to warm up to new people and in new situations, a full-length session is recommended to ensure that we have enough of that warm-up time to capture true personalities.

Sample Hawaii Family Photo Sessions shot list:

Mini Sessions (or if two families are splitting a session):

  • Family (2-3 poses and backgrounds)
  • Kids together
  • Kids alone
  • Parents together

Golden Sessions:

  • Family (3+ poses and backgrounds)
  • Kids together
  • Kids alone
  • Parents together
  • 1-2 special combinations with grandparents (if applicable)
  • Kids with each parent (optional if time allows)
  • Candid moments

Legacy Sessions

  • Entire family group together (1-2 poses)
  • Each individual family
  • Kids together from each family group
  • Kids alone from each family group (optional if time allows)
  • All the kids/cousins together
  • Special groupings and requests
  • Candid moments


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