How long does a photoshoot take?

August 11, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

How much time you spend in front of the camera depends on the type of portrait photography you are doing, whether there is a shot list of specific images you’d like to create, or if there are different locations or sets needed… and to some extent, whether you’re working with professional photographers that know their equipment, lighting, and posing. It's always a good idea to allow enough time before and after your portrait session as a buffer to lower that stressor, as it will show in your final images.

Mini photoshoot sessions are the quickest, and a lot of photographers offer them, especially in the early fall for family photos or later for Santa sessions. These run typically 10-20 minutes on one specific set.

Regular photo sessions are generally better for professional headshots and family photo sessions. I call them Simple Sessions, and they take about 30 minutes or so, depending on the number of people involved… and potentially their ages. One person for business purposes, one or two simple backdrops in my photo studio, with no wardrobe changes can be in and out fairly quickly. Start adding people, especially small children, and it takes more time, not only to prepare the sets but to get the best shots for your final images (e.g., who blinked or looked away this time?). This is why it costs more for more people: coordination and extra time in the editing process.

Then there is what I call my Signature Portrait Session. These photo shoots include the talent of a makeup artist and hair stylist to help you look your best. This service adds up to an hour to the beginning of the shoot day, but it’s so worth it. Typically, these full sessions involve multiple wardrobe changes and are great for engagement photos, fashion photography, bridal boudoir… anything beyond a simple headshot. The finished product for these sessions are collections of images, such as an album or wall art gallery, not just one or two pictures. Usually, you’ll spend perhaps two hours actually being photographed, but I always ask that you allow extra time the day of the shoot, as these can last up to four hours if we start getting creative! After that length of time, however, we are all too tired to get anything great out of the session anymore.

I also ask for up to four hours for Personal Branding Sessions as we have a lot of content to create. It’s always a good idea to have your social media plan in place with a detailed shot list. We’ll take care of specific photographs you have in mind first to allow time for changes as the shoot day progresses. I also like to take care of the people photography before any product photography, so no one looks rushed or tired in their final images.

These are my particular timeframes, based on years of experience with the dynamics of the human element. Any time you add locations or set changes, travel, extra people, wardrobe changes, etc., you are adding time. A professional photographer will make the most of the time you give them, ideally at a level that allows them to effectively create connections for better portraits, but efficiently, so you can get on with your day. 


Women are multi-faceted, and I love helping them share images that show their authentic, beautiful, confident shine! How do you want to be photographed? Let's meet over coffee and talk about it. Contact me: text/call 434-226-0365 or email [email protected]... or schedule a Zoom meeting online HERE!



No comments posted.