As a photographer I’m an artist but also a business owner.  This means I’m always looking to create beautiful photographs as well as ensure that all my clients have a wonderful experience. The experience my clients have with me and my team is just as important as the beautiful photos that I take during my sessions. My attention to everyone’s own unique needs and personalities at sessions includes expectant parents, families of all ages and stages, brand new babies, to even the occasional dog, so looking out for everyone’s experience at their session is something I take quite seriously!

One of the most important things I consider when creating my sessions is the length of time they will take. I receive a lot of questions about session length: “is that long enough?” “do you offer longer sessions than what you list on your website” “how come your X session is only this long when other photographers say it will be X amount of time?”. Well….

With hundreds of photographers in Ottawa you will find hundreds of different session offerings, each with their own unique details including how long each of their sessions are. I have been working as a full time photographer for over nine years now and have photographed over 4000 sessions and have found what works best for my sessions and for my clients and my verdict is…….

Shorter Really is Sweeter!

baby lifting their head up

But isn’t the longer and the more time the sessions take the better? 

I have structured all of my sessions, including their length, to make the session the best possible experience for my clients. Each client has their own unique needs and the length of time each of my sessions takes is based on my nearly ten years of full time experience.  Let me tell you all about how my sessions work!  

brothers hugging each other in front of sunflowers

Why are your sessions shorter than what I would expect?

I’m a planner! This is probably the biggest factor that guides my session design. I am a big believer in being prepared for everything I do so a lot of the work for each and every session is done long before we ever meet up with camera in hand.

I have a Session Coordinator working behind the scenes helping me with all of the planning and coordination that happens in the hours, days, and weeks (and even months sometimes!) before your session. When I’m busy shooting and editing I know my clients are in excellent hands and have access to all of the preparation and help they’ll need before their session. This means that there are no last minute questions or confusion, when your session starts we are all eager and ready to go! We don’t have to spend an hour together because I already know what photos are important to you, which means we spend our session focusing on the most important memories.  

mother and father with daughter on the beach

But if your sessions are short, won’t we miss out on important photos?

A big part of the planning is sending an extensive questionnaire to each and every one of my clients before their session so that we can start working out the details and styling before the session begins. We don’t have to take time during the session to prepare or for figuring out the details. By the time sessions begin I have my clients’ preferred poses planned, their child’s favourite Paw Patrol toys ready, and the maternity gown they’ve chosen washed and prepared for them. 

Once we’ve started the planning through the questionnaire and through any discussions my session coordinator has had in the lead up to your session I take all of the information and create a custom workflow for each individual session. This means I know exactly which backdrop I will be using for each shot or pose and even have the session planned down to just the right newborn headband and fabric colour. All of the planning we do before the session means I can create just the right look for every client but also maximize the time we have together with no time wasting. 

smiling young boy

But why does it matter how long the session is?

Children of all ages have short attention spans! We can try to fight it and stretch it out but there’s not much point (and it could get ugly!) as a child’s attention span is limited by their developmental stage and personality. Instead of looking at short attention spans as something negative I work with them instead of against them. I take best advantage of shorter attention spans by planning around what will likely be a short period of initial interest in my camera and myself. What follows will depend on the child but I’m happy to adapt and shape the session according to how they’re feeling on the day of the session.There’s always exceptions but based on my experience at over 4000 sessions I know those first few minutes of the session will almost always include some of the family’s favourite photos. Those first few minutes of a session can be a treasure trove of expressions and joy with little ones and I’m certainly not going to be standing around asking questions while these precious moments are quickly disappearing.  

For Holiday Sessions and my Memories Sessions (outdoor and themed sessions) I work with an assistant because I know we are working within a short timeline dictated mainly by my youngest clients. I know we could have just a few short minutes of a child’s focus so we work as a team to maximize our time together and make sure everyone has fun. A second set of hands helps ensure we create beautiful memories and also that the whole family’s needs are met during their session. 

Smiles fade. It’s important to me that everyone has a fun session. While we’re well aware that children have short attention spans it’s also true for most adults that the enjoyment at a session (or at anything really!) is highest when it’s not too long or drawn out. By keeping sessions on the shorter side smiles are more natural and less forced and everyone is keen to do it again next time. I love that my clients are excited to see me again for their next session and never want them to lose that sense of excitement for their upcoming session. 

parents holding a newborn baby

New parents are tired.   I spend many of my weekdays photographing babies within their first few days and weeks after birth. I remember all too well how exhausting that stage is, whether it’s your first baby or your 5th, so I am keen to make the session as short as possible so that parents can get back to resting and recovering. With my years of experience as a newborn photographer, and because of all of the preparations we have done in the lead up to your session, my newborn sessions have beautiful, large galleries without giving up hours of precious sleep to get them. Families are in and out of the studio within a shorter amount of time so that they can get back to what is most important: resting.   

But can I book a longer session?

I have a variety of session types and lengths for my family, baby, maternity, and newborn clients that I have designed to best meet the needs of all of my clients. If you really feel strongly about having a different session length please don’t hesitate to reach out as I’m always happy to create custom packages for clients based on their own needs. But don’t be surprised if I try to talk you out of a longer session because I promise you, shorter really is sweeter! 

I have spent almost a decade perfecting my artistic craft and my in-session skills.  I am a mother of three, a former therapist, and a former special needs worker and child care provider.  My sessions are short and sweet because I am a professional who works hard to hone her skills and ensure that my clients valuable time isn’t wasted.  Clients invest in sessions with me because of my experience AND the beautiful photos that result from our time together.