To take some of that intimidating mystery out of your portrait session, I’d like to field a common hesitation people have to putting a portrait session on the books: How much of your time are you going to have to devote to this?

The answer to this question is not exactly straight foreword. It depends on your expectations for the images, as well as the techniques, location, equipment and props we use. But to make it a little simpler, think of it this way. Any time you hire a photographer for a portrait session, it will fall somewhere on a spectrum between entirely sentimental and entirely practical. Most fall somewhere in between. For most individuals and smaller business operations, a useful rule of thumb is that the more sentimental the purpose of the images, the more time it will take to create them.

Family Portrait Sessions

If you have a family of 3 or more and at least one of them is a small child, you can expect your session to last between an hour and two hours, or whenever the child decides the session is over. When working with children, giving orders and being rigid usually makes things worse. So care must be taken for the photographer to develop a rapport with them. Ultimately, this is unpredictable and can’t be reasonably rushed.

Engagement Sessions

Engagement sessions are among those that fall right in between practical and sentimental. The images are often used for save the date cards and invitations, but they are also a sentimental expression for themselves. In order for engagement sessions to find a happy medium between “look at us, this is what our faces look like”, and “this is us, this is what our love looks like”, we can’t rush through them. Your best and most authentic expressions from and toward each other come out more as you get comfortable with us. You can safely expect your session to take around an hour to an hour and a half.

Personality Portraits

If we’re creating images simply to capture your personality, for example something you might use on a dating profile, we’ll need to help you relax before we begin capturing images that really show your personality. It may take some time for your authentic expressions to really start to come out. But for most people, this doesn’t take longer than about 45 minutes to an hour.

Individual Headshots for Self-Promotion

Headshots try to balance an impression of approachability and confidence. Because of these requirements, with a few minutes of coaching, we can often go straight to working on those goals. However, when shooting individual headshots, we are also attempting to create a useful variety of images that can be applied to your different self promotion channels, which will take a little more time. Individual headshots generally take 30 to 45 minutes.

Group Headshots for Businesses

Headshots created for business groups are also aiming to express confidence and approachability, but are less tied to this goal. A group of lawyers may want to appear more confident than approachable, or a group of salesmen may need to be seen as more approachable or trustworthy than confident. When shooting group headshots, you can expect each individual to need between 7 and 15 minutes.