Make Mini Sessions Magical with Movement Photography

From newly-popular “mini sessions” to unfortunately brief portrait windows at weddings, photographers feel increasing pressure to deliver beautiful photographs in a compressed timeframe.

But how do you create a unique collection of images with limited time and a single location?

Movement takes even the shortest session from whomp-whomp to WOW.

Here’s how to do it!


#1: Play With Props

sp-motion-blogimage-112
Photo by KOPFKINOGRAFIE by CANAN MAASS

Balloons, confetti, hats and scarves, bicycles and rowboats… anything your clients can touch, twirl, or toss, can lend purpose and interest to a short shoot! When you’re able to plan ahead for a sure-to-be-short session, consider what props might suit your subjects, and incorporate those into a few photographs.


Pro Tip: Ask your clients what they’re into! Maybe they’re musicians whose guitars would be a fantastic addition to their photographs. (Playing and singing, anyone?) Sometimes the best “prop” isn’t a prop at all, but a prime player in your clients’ lives.


#2: Make A Joyful Noise!

sp-motion-blogimage-111
Photo by KOPFKINOGRAFIE by CANAN MAASS

Because photographs don’t capture sound, there’s no reason to be silent! Encourage your clients to play – sing, yell, laugh, HAVE FUN! Running along a bridge, trailing balloons, and hollering out over the water made this a perfect fun-filled moment – but this photo wouldn’t exist if the photographer hadn’t encouraged her couple to let loose and roam free.


Pro Tip: NEVER release balloons into the air when you’re done with them. They may look beautiful floating off into the wild blue yonder, but they are harmful to our animal friends when they land back on earth!


#3: Get Close & Connected

sp-motion-blogimage-110
Photo by KOPFKINOGRAFIE by CANAN MAASS

While some couples are at ease with PDA (public displays of affection), others get a bit more stand-offish when there’s an audience. Don’t leave it up to your clients whether they’ll relax and connect. Direct them into intimate moments that will photograph well! “Kiss him on the cheek,” or “Kiss one another very lightly on the lips,” or “Slowly brush her hair off her face,” are detailed instructions that allow for sweet photographs of connected moments.


Pro Tip: Words like “lightly” and “slowly” help convey the delicacy you need to make a good photograph. French kisses might be fun for the couple, but they don’t look good on camera! Use thoughtful language to guide your couple into touch that will look appropriate in a picture on a parent’s mantel.


#4: Start Some Silliness

sp-motion-blogimage-109
Photo by KOPFKINOGRAFIE by CANAN MAASS

Piggyback rides may not be part of your clients’ everyday interaction, but if they’re relaxed enough, they’ll probably be game to try for photos! Alternatives? Sitting in laps or an extra-tight hug can bring out genuine smiles and allow for a one-of-a-kind photo!


Pro Tip: If you suggest a pose to your clients that they immediately reject, smile and move right along. You never know why a pose idea might make someone uncomfortable, so don’t push the issue!


#5: Bravo for the Backside!

sp-motion-blogimage-108
Photo by KOPFKINOGRAFIE by CANAN MAASS

Photos from the front are the obvious choice, but some walking-away images can be a romantic touch – especially if you’ve enabled your clients to relax and connect in your presence! When you’re setting your scene, ask yourself:

“Where are they walking TO?”

Are they walking into the sunlight? Into the darkness? Into a wall? Consider their “direction” before you send them on their way.

“Am I making their butts look awesome?”

Unflattering bootie photos won’t make anyone happy! Butts look best when they’re small in the frame. Save your from-behind photos for distance shots where your subjects’ tushes won’t be the main attraction.


#6: Get the Giggles

sp-motion-blogimage-107
Photo by KOPFKINOGRAFIE by CANAN MAASS

Once you’ve gauged your couple’s personalities and connection style, you’ll probably have a few ideas of what to say to get them giggling! There’s nothing more natural than laughter in a photograph, but if you’re still struggling to lighten the mood, try one of these prompts:

  • “Lean in close, and tell her one thing you love about the way she looks today.”
  • “Move in forehead-to-forehead, and whisper in his ear what makes him the cutest guy you know.”
  • “Snuggle against each other, and think of something really, really… naughty.”

Okay, maybe that last one isn’t you. But if it is, you’ll at least get a grin!


#7: Connect With the Camera

sp-motion-blogimage-104
Photo by KOPFKINOGRAFIE by CANAN MAASS

These days, camera-unaware photographs (or photos that seem candid) are all the rage. Change it up with some play-TO-the-camera moments. (We LOVE this confetti photo… How much confetti do you think made it into the photographer’s lens bag?)


Pro Tip: Make sure throwables (like confetti) are environmentally friendly. Search for “Ecofetti” and you’ll find biodegradable bits that can be safely tossed outside – and you won’t need a broom!


#8: Run Like the Wind

sp-motion-blogimage-103
Photo by KOPFKINOGRAFIE by CANAN MAASS

Windspeed may be more suited for your kid-clients, but you get the point! A short jog while holding hands can make skirts flow, smiles break free, and hands clasp even tighter. Bonus points if you can capture your couple in a close-up shot, laughing and wind-blown and breathless.


Pro Tip: If a disability prevents your clients from running, consider an alternative. Dancing-dips, wheelchair-spins, and hearty belly laughs can capture the same kind of energy!


#9: Slow Dance

sp-motion-blogimage-101
Photo by KOPFKINOGRAFIE by CANAN MAASS

Nothing enhances intimacy quite like a slow dance. Pull up your couple’s favorite love song on your phone, and invite them to sway and twirl to the music. If they warn that they “aren’t very good dancers,” tell them not to worry – still photographs make everyone look like good dancers. (This is why we aren’t videographers, kids!)


Pro Tip: If you’re photographing a family, family dances can also be great fun! Instead of a slow song, play the family’s favorite road trip jam, and watch their energy soar.


#10: Create the Penultimate Moment

sp-motion-blogimage-102
Photo by KOPFKINOGRAFIE by CANAN MAASS

Take a step back, and invite your clients to do the same. Have them walk toward each other, ending in an embrace at a predetermined point. With a wide lens, creative composition, and clever use of light, you’ll have an iconic image, perfect for printing on canvas or framing for your client’s wall.


Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to experiment with the light. If you usually shoot with your subjects backlit, try a few photographs where they’re directly illuminated by the sun. Or what happens when the light hits them from the side? The same pose can look drastically different simply by photographing it in new lighting!


 

sp-motion-blogimage-113
Photo by KOPFKINOGRAFIE by CANAN MAASS | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How do you make the most of your short shoots? Tell us in the comments!

We want more than a “mini session” with you! Sign up for a lifelong relationship with ShootProof


You'll Also Love...