Benefits / Resources / Articles
November 15, 2023

Planning Winter Mini Photo Sessions

Winter brings wonderful opportunities for winter mini sessions. Since business can slow in the colder weather, taking advantage of the holiday season can offer a much-needed boost to your photography business. Winter is also a magical time for engagement photos.

These brief, 15–20-minute photography sessions can help you attract new clients or solidify relationships with existing ones. However, they do require careful thought. From choosing the right location to delivering your galleries and building relationships with new clients, we’ll discuss how to make the most of the season by planning ahead!

Determine if Mini Sessions Will Fit Your Schedule

Consider how busy you’ll be already. If business is booming, can you devote a weekend to mini-sessions and then schedule adequate time for editing photos? The editing process itself might take a full week, depending on the number of mini-sessions you hold. And if you’re doing photos for holiday cards, remember that clients will need plenty of time to have their cards printed and sent. So, think about whether you have time in November and possibly early December for mini-sessions.


If you determine that mini-sessions are right for your photography business, block out editing time in advance so you’ll deliver photos to clients on time. If need be, brush up on principles for getting the color balance just right in winter photos. Then follow the steps we’ve outlined here to maximize your success.

Consider Your Audience

Who do you want to market your mini-sessions to? Some photographers use them as a chance to attract new clients, while others strictly offer them to current ones. Think about whether you’re more concerned with growing customer loyalty or gaining new clients. Also consider your specific audience: families with kids, couples, or people with pets, for instance.

Decide on a Theme

Do you want to focus on photos for holiday cards? Or do you prefer a broader “winter wonderland” theme?

Build a stash of props to match your theme, like a tastefully decorated tree and some presents. You could have mugs for hot cocoa and candy canes on hand as well. If you have a winter wonderland theme, keep extra mittens, gloves, and scarves on hand for clients to wear. Have props like sleds on hand as well. If you’re feeling really ambitious and there’s a lot of snow, recruit a friend to help you build a snowman!

Suggest Outfit Choices for Winter

Keep these points in mind as you plan for your photos.


  • A burst of color looks great against a snowy backdrop. If taking engagement photos, for instance, a bright red or blue sweater will really pop. 
  • Soft pastels and neutrals can also look gorgeous against a snowy landscape. 
  • If you’re taking photos indoors, make sure outfits will complement rather than clash with or blend into the scenery. Jewel tones like a deep cherry red tend to look great in these settings.
  • Navy blue, cream, and other neutrals can also pair well with such backgrounds. Deep forest green can look nice if people aren’t standing right in front of a tree.

Share these tips with clients, based on the background for their photos.

Find the Right Location

Here’s some food for thought as you plan the ideal location for your mini photo sessions.

Outdoor Winter Settings

You may have beautiful outdoor locations right in your area. For example, a local Christmas tree farm would offer wonderful backdrops—and you could partner with them to get the word out!

Here are some other ideas:


  • An outdoor ice-skating rink
  • A country cottage
  • A horse ranch
  • Snowy pastures or mountainsides
  • A bridge by a frozen creek
  • A frozen pond at a park

Or, just photograph families or couples running and playing in the snow! 

If it’s snowy and sunny, holding mini-sessions during golden hour can reduce glare and lend a subtle glow. If it’s typically cloudier, you’ll have more flexibility.

When choosing an outdoor location, consider the temperature and length of time you’ll be there. You may not be at your best if you’re outside freezing for 8 hours! Book smaller time blocks or look for locations with an indoor space where you can warm up and get out of the snow.

Indoor Winter Settings

You could also opt for an indoor location like a conservatory, partnering with them to promote your offerings. Conservatories often have beautiful holiday decor. Be sure to reach out well before the holiday season.

Or, consider one of these backdrops:

  • A cozy hearth with stockings hung above it.
  • A festive Christmas tree with presents beneath it.
  • A staircase decked out with garland
  • Photos with Santa or his elves

Look at rustic lodges, restaurants, hotels, ski resorts, and even community centers for ideal backdrops. Churches also might offer a lovely backdrop and want to partner with you. Alternatively, you could rent a studio space or create your own backdrop at your studio.

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box or get ideas from your current clients, too!

Market Your Mini-Sessions

Use these tips to get the word out about your offering:


  • Use word of mouth to advertise your photo sessions. Tell family, friends, and clients about them.
  • Place ads with local media.
  • Partner with a complementary local business that targets a similar clientele.
  • Opt for paid advertising on Facebook.
  • Feature your mini-sessions in your newsletter.
  • Announce your offering on Instagram (and any other social media channels you use).

As clients reach out to book sessions, find out the types of photos they want. Make a list of scenes to capture, then provide relevant advice on wardrobe. Require them to provide a deposit to secure their spot, too.
With these tips and strategies, you’ll exceed your clients’ expectations with your winter mini-sessions. You’ll help them capture treasured memories that they’ll look back on for many years to come. And in the process, you’ll build lasting relationships with your clients!



Jennifer Bowen Photography, “What to Wear in Family Photos


Brenna Heater, “How to Begin Prepping for Mini-Sessions for 2022


Brenna Heater, “Should You Offer Mini Sessions?”

Brides, “How to Get the Best Winter Engagement Photos

Iris Works, “The Ultimate Guide to Winter Mini-Sessions

JCPenny Portraits, “Best Colors to Wear for Family Photos

Joy of Marketing, “11 Tips for Profitable Mini-Sessions for Photographers

PPA, “Winter Photography Post-Production Tips

Tricia Victoria Photography, “5 Tips for Stunning Winter Family Photos