New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash

Tips & Tricks

Supercharge Your Spring With Motherhood Minis: 10 Ideas For Motherhood Photography Sessions

By Jamie Davis Smith on April 11th 2016

Spring is a great time of year to offer mini-sessions and boost your bottom line. It’s finally warm enough to hold outdoor sessions every day, flowers are in bloom, and golden hour is late enough that it’s possible to have several shoots in the early evening.

Many photographers suggest giving your mini-sessions a theme so that clients don’t book a shorter, less expensive mini-session as a substitute for a full one. Motherhood sessions are a great theme to offer with Mother’s Day around the corner. In Motherhood sessions, the focus is on Mom and her experience as a mother. A successful Motherhood mini-session can leave your clients itching to book you for a full family session later on.

MaeBurkeMotherhood-7Photo:  Mae Burke

Motherhood mini-sessions could be a great way to fill your calendar between now and the end of May, or to fill in empty session slots through the summer with gift certificates for these sessions given as gifts on Mother’s Day. Some photographers find that they like Motherhood sessions so much that they offer them throughout the year. For some inspiration, check out Mae Burke and her Moments in Motherhood:  Telling Mothers’ Stories Through Portraits breakout e-course at Click Photo School.

Below are some ideas for getting started with Mother’s Day minis and Motherhood photography.

12308111_1025969340757990_3053014986940302447_oPhoto: Paulina Splechta Photography

Nursing Sessions:  For mothers of very young children, consider offering nursing sessions. Many mothers treasure their time nursing their children and offering photography sessions focusing on this aspect of motherhood will be highyl appealing. Beyond Mother’s Day, a nursing session is often something mothers like to document one year of breastfeeding. Inspiration: Paulina Splechta Photography’s breastfeeding gallery.


Photo:  Mae Burke

Babywearing: Another important part of motherhood for many mothers is babywearing. Keeping their babies close is a huge priority for some, and a few even spend thousands on special wraps and carriers. Documenting the special way that many mothers carry their little ones make for special photos that will help remember the hours of cuddling they had with their child, and many mothers carry their children well into toddlerhood. Inspiration:  Tiny Sparrow Photography.

Playing:  If there is one requirement of motherhood, it’s being able to play for hours and hours, so it can be great to schedule sessions at a playground and document Mom playing with her children. If the idea of shooting in a playground gives you hives, choose a more laid-back location and bring a board game, bubbles, or books. For a more personalized session, ask Mom to bring along a favorite game or toy. Or keep it simple and photograph her playing tag, having a race, or giving airplane rides.

For a more personalized session, ask Mom to bring along a favorite game or toy. Or keep it simple and photograph her playing tag, having a race, or giving airplane rides. Mae Burke suggests asking Mom to stand next to you to draw out how a child reacts while interacting with Mom. Even if Mom isn’t in the pictures the photos you get will be exactly how she sees her child and she’ll love them for that reason.


Photo:  Mae Burke

A Few of Her Favorite Things: A big part of Motherhood is noticing things about your children that no one else does; Is it the way her daughter always crinkles up her nose when she laughs?  The way her son puts his head on her shoulder when he’s tired?   Is it her child’s deep belly laugh or freckles?  These details tend to get overlooked or have no place in a traditional family photoshoot but can take center-stage in a Motherhood session. So ask Mom what she loves most about her kids at this stage in her life and document it.


Photo:  Jamie Davis Smith

The Routine: The childhood years go by in a flash, so for a special experience, choose a routine that is meaningful to Mom and photograph it for her. If she has quite a young child it may be something like heading to the bakery for a cupcake; If the children are older it could be a mother getting manicures with her daughter and or talking over a drink at a coffee shop with her son. Seek to find out what is special to her and document it.

This approach may also offer opportunities to partner with local businesses for more exposure if you choose a universally popular activity. For example, you can book minis at a café, bakery, salon, or bowling alley and reach new customers through them.  Or, if you go beyond mini-sessions consider offering ‘Day In The Life’ sessions like those offered by Kirsten Lewis, or even an abbreviated version to try to capture the Mom’s current season of life in an honest way.



Photo:  Mae Burke

Candids:  Although most mothers love beautifully posed portraits, chances are the photos that are the most meaningful to her are the ones that show the love between her and her family. While it can be difficult to capture moments of genuine connection in a mini-session (or even a full session) there are ways to create these moments in a short period of time. The Moment Design approach to photography uses scripted prompts, or invitations, to draw out laughter and more tender moments. The Expression Invites:  Family packs contain 10 prompts to use during your Motherhood (and other family sessions).



Photo:  Jamie Davis Smith

Generations:  A great way to create a meaningful session for Mom is to include multiple generations of women. Many grandmothers visit around Mother’s Day making this time of year a great one to offer sessions that include as many generations as your client can gather. If grandma isn’t available, it’s always possible to offer a gift certificate for the next time everyone is in the same town.

The Expecting Mom:  Don’t forget all of those not-quite-yet Moms out there. Maternity  sessions, the path towards adoption, or even struggles with infertility can all be the subject of photography sessions. Think outside the box when considering what constitutes the Motherhood experience for your clients.


Photo:  Jamie Davis Smith

All About Her: The last time Mom was photographed by herself may have been her wedding day. Give Mom a new opportunity to be photographed by herself. She could get a new headshot, Facebook profile picture, or a new favorite portrait out of the session. To provide an experience for your Moms consider partnering with a make-up artist and hair stylist for a day of mini-shoots and offer some mimosas or other treats. Even if your Motherhood shoots will include her children, you can still offer a shot or two of Mom alone as part of your session. Most Moms don’t think of taking photos with their friends so encourage a group of gal pals to book sessions together and include a couple of group shots as part of your package.



Photo: Paulina Splechta Photography

The Newness: Although probably not appropriate for mini-sessions, if you find that you love Motherhood photography don’t overlook birth and newborn sessions as an important part of the Motherhood experience.


Photo: Paulina Splechta Photography

Everyone has a Mother so even if none of these ideas appeal to you, think about what made your relationship with your own Mom special. What were your favorite times with her?  Which moments from your childhood do you wish you had photos of?  Consider these experiences and how you can capture them for your clients.


Photo:  Jamie Davis Smith

However you approach Motherhood Photography you will set yourself apart and give your clients memorable images they will love.  Check out SLR Lounge’s tutorial on How to Capture Candid Moments or other workshops as part of SLR Lounge’s Premium Plan to learn some new skills that can help you get the best Motherhood photos possible.


CREDITS: Photographs are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Jamie Davis Smith is a contributor for the Huffington Post , Shutterfly, and The Washington Post, among other publications. She lives in Washington D.C. and loves to explore the greater D.C. area with her four young children and documents everything with her ever-present camera.


Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Rafael Steffen

    Great images shared for inspiring moments.

    | |