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Lemonade Stand Mini Sessions

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What is a Lemonade Stand Mini Session?

By Crystal Wilde

Lemonade stand mini sessions are practically irresistible to adoring parents. Make your summery props pop and your subjects sparkle with these top tips from our professional photographers.

A lemonade stand mini session is a short, prop-heavy summery shoot that parents book for their kids. Photographers can use the same setup and book multiple families back-to-back to maximize their time and minimize expenses. Families enjoy a fun activity and get professional pics for less, while photographers can earn a little extra easy income between bigger projects.

What to charge for a lemonade stand mini session

The photographers we spoke to typically charge between $150 and $250 for a lemonade stand mini session, depending on the exact package chosen. A shooting session could be as short as 10 minutes but no longer than 20, and don’t forget to schedule at least an extra 5 minutes between clients so you can answer any questions, have a gulp of water and reset your scene. Most photographers will provide between 5 and 10 edited digital shots as part of the package and one print release selected by the client. Don’t forget to upsell extra shots and prints. Most parents will find them hard to resist!


Posing tips

Lemonade stand mini sessions don’t usually require too much posing as the cute props and genuine excitement of the children will do the work for you. “I've found that when children first start their session, they're enamored with the props and want to touch everything,” says LA photographer Hannah Belle. “I usually give them 3-5 minutes to explore and photograph them as they go. Once they've had a chance to ‘get to know’ the set, I'll start officially posing.”

As ever with mini sessions your time is limited, so it’s a good idea to have some set poses in mind that will work for kids of varying ages.

Ideas to try:

  • Standing in front of the stand holding a lemonade (toasting if more than one child)
  • Leaning on the counter from behind
  • Sitting on the counter (make sure it’s sturdy enough)
  • Sitting on a wooden crate or an up-turned bucket in front of the stand
  • Sitting cross-legged in front of the stand
  • Drinking lemonade
  • Holding lemons
  • Throwing lemons toward the camera

Being too prescriptive about poses, especially with younger kids, might make things a bit strained, however. “I mostly play peek-a-boo or just let them interact with the props. This makes for much more genuine smiles,” says Katie Mills of Chasing Daylight Photography


Prop ideas

The nice thing about this mini is that your actual lemonade stand can be super rustic and simple as long as you have some cute props to dress it up. For Linda Napoli from Little Magnolia Photography Studio, the props are the perfect vehicle for fun. “Kids get really happy when they get to throw stuff,” she shares. “Artificial lemons are a great option.”

Some ideas for props include:

  • Mason jars (small ones to use as glasses and a large one filled with lemons or to use as a lemonade dispenser)
  • Straws (paper striped ones work well - make sure you have more than enough for every child)
  • A basket or a bucket filled with lemons (mix real with artificial or put some padding in the bottom of your container so it looks full)
  • A chalk board with “lemonade” and a price written on it
  • Summery props (like buntings and flowers)
  • Something for the kids to sit on (a crate, mini stepladder or a wooden bench, for example)
  • A backdrop (if not shooting outside)
  • Real, preferably chilled, lemonade for the kids to drink while you shoot

What’s the best time of year for a lemonade stand mini session?

Lemonade stands obviously scream summer, but the time of year you actually choose to shoot will depend on where you’re based. “I'm in Los Angeles and it gets hot during the summer, so I find that the earlier in the summer I schedule them, the more people will book,” says Hannah. No one wants to take photos and sweat in the heat!”

Bear in mind, however, that you’ll want the weather to be warm and clear enough to shoot outside with children in summery outfits. We advise photographers to begin their marketing efforts in April and hold their mini sessions in late May and early June.

What should the subjects wear?

The color scheme for your lemonade stand and props are likely to be fairly neutral — lots of untreated wood, white and, obviously, yellow. Most outfits will go with this setup, so tell your clients to dress their kids in something neutral, like white and denim, or something with a pop of color. 

As always, it’s best to avoid patterns unless it’s subtle and on-theme.“I LOVE when parents match a themed mini with a themed outfit,” says Katie. “I usually prefer subtle over loud, so a dress with a small lemon on it or a solid top with a lemon skirt.”

If you’ve had a lot of success with this mini for multiple summers, you might want to invest in a some accessories and themed outfits in various sizes. Kids can then borrow these for the shoot. A bit of dress up naturally adds to the fun!


Tips for getting a good shot

Working with kids always requires a little extra patience and creativity. Here are some top tips for getting the most out of your adorable but tricky subjects.

  • Set your shutter speed to a minimum of 1/250 to compensate for all their wiggling around
  • Take some candid shots of the kids exploring the set before you start directing them
  • Have some easy set poses lined up and do pull backs and close ups for each
  • Line down on the floor and play peek-a-boo behind your camera
  • Give them prompts, such as, “Give your sister a sip of lemonade,” “Show me your best dance move” or “tell me a joke”
  • Do close ups of their hands around the lemons or the glasses with their faces blurred in the background
  • As Linda suggests, get the kids to throw (artificial) lemons at you

The top piece of advice from all our photographers is just to have fun — but, there is one caveat: 

“Get a little silly but save the really silly stuff for the end,” says Linda. “You'll never be able to reel them back in once it gets too daft.”

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