portrait session faqs
when should I schedule my session?
Family photos can be taken any time of year! Many people do fall portraits for their holiday cards and gifts, but springtime portraits are beautiful and full of color, and summer photos on the beach will be treasured for years.
Maternity sessions are best photographed between 32 and 36 weeks of your pregnancy. Earlier for moms having multiples.
Newborn sessions should be photographed when the baby is between 5 and 15 days old, meaning it’s best to plan for it while still pregnant, then let me know when you deliver and we will do it within the following week or two. If your baby is born premature, we must wait until he or she is sent home from the NICU and is strong enough for a photo session. The health and safety of the baby is always the first priority. Photos can be taken after the baby is two weeks old, they will just be more alert, and less sleepy and bendable.
E-sessions should be done at least a month or two before the wedding, and much sooner if you plan on using the photos for save the dates.
Head Shots, business portraits, actor's head shots, or LinkedIn profile photos can be booked practically last minute and are offered all year long. If you need photos for a special event, it’s best to schedule your session 2-4 weeks before you need them. This allows time for processing the images, placing your order, and getting the photographs to you.
when are the best days or times to schedule a session?
Sessions are by appointment only, and are offered seven days a week from 9:30am to 7pm, with the exception of major holidays. Saturdays and Sundays always book up first, especially between April and October.
Regarding times of day, for engagement sessions and families with older children, about 90 minutes before sunset is perfect. That way we have the warm, low evening light that us photographers refer to as "sweet light". Families with younger children are usually best photographed in the morning, because most kids are more content and cooperative earlier in the day. You know your children best, so choose a time that they are generally in a good mood and not prone to being hungry or tired. I usually suggest a 10:00 am start time for families with young children.
do you require a deposit to book?
The session fee is required to book your session, but no additional money is due until you place an order, after you see the photos. There is no minimum order requirement.
what forms of payment do you accept?
I accept cash, check, credit cards, Paypal, and Venmo.
what if we need to reschedule due to weather or illness?
Things happen! Kids get sick, rain ruins the outdoor plans... If you have already paid your session fee it will apply in full to the rescheduled session. If you do not show up to a scheduled session and do not notify me, I will not refund you. Please just let me know as soon as possible if you need to make any changes to the time or date, and I am pretty reasonable!
where will we take the photos?
I have a fabulous studio in Malvern at Historic Sugartown. It offers gorgeous, historical grounds outside, a stone ruin, plenty of foliage, and a studio set-up indoors with plenty of backdrops to choose from! There are also some great natural light areas around the inside of the building, making it a great option when the weather does not cooperate. If you don't want to come to my studio in Chester County, I am happy to schedule your session in a park or even at your home. Let me know what you have in mind and we will work it out!
how long will the photo session last?
Most sessions are about an hour. Extended family portrait sessions can be a little longer, and newborn sessions can last up to three hours, as I allow time for nursing or feeding the baby, diaper changes, and getting him or her into a comfortable, deep sleep. There is no set time, and no alarm that rings after 60 minutes. I follow the cues of the subjects and work around them.
what should I bring with me to my portrait session?
If you are coming for a newborn session, you should be sure to have plenty of diapers, bottles or nursing supplies, and a pacifier (if you are using one). A snack for mom and dad isn't a bad idea, since you'll have a few minutes to yourself when I photograph the baby. Feel free to bring any stuffed animals or special toys you'd like to include in the photos, and any outfits you have chosen. I have plenty of swaddles and diaper covers so extra clothing is not necessary. I also love to use a personal blanket, and it's even better if the baby's name is on it!
Family portrait session clients should be sure to have clean outfits for the kids and maybe a backup, just in case. If you bring bribery snacks, don't bring ones that dye their mouths colors or make sticky messes. Goldfish crackers, pretzels, raisins, or fruit snacks work great. A special toy of lovey is always welcome, but I do suggest leaving iPads at home or in the car.
Engagement session clients don't need to bring anything unless you want to change your outfits. You're welcome to bring a prop that suits you – like a guitar, nerf guns, or even your dogs.
Headshot clients should have at least one outfit they plan to be photographed in, and be sure everything is ironed or pressed.
what should I wear for my photo session?
Avoid large or crazy patterns that distract the eye from the subject’s face. Pin stripes or plaid are okay, but not for everyone in the photo. Use solids from the colors in one subject's outfit to create a unified color scheme and not overwhelm the photo with patterns. Outfit changes are allowed, and layering is always recommended to get a few different looks and keep you comfortable during the photo session. If you are wearing a collared shirt, please iron it first! Shirt wrinkles are difficult to hide.
are all the digital files included?
High resolution images from portrait sessions are not included with the session fee, but are available for purchase as individual images or the entire collection. See my pricing for specifics.
how big are the digital images?
I do not lower the quality or resolution of the images, nor do I deliver them with logos or watermarks. These images will easily print 16x20 and larger, and are a few megabytes each in file size. They will be delivered via download, and I suggest you back them up and make copies of the files for safe keeping.
are dogs or pets allowed to join in on the session?
Sure!! Dogs and other reasonable-to-photograph pets are welcome at portrait sessions. I ask that if we are anywhere besides your home that we have someone else present to wrangle the pup. This way when I am taking photos of you and your family without the dog(s), there is someone to hold them. If you are planning on bringing your pet to the studio, please let me know ahead of time.
ok, but what if my dog is crazy?
Most dogs are pretty energetic, just like most toddlers. Sometimes they do hilarious and unplanned things. These moments usually lead to some kind of great photo, and you'd be surprised– I only need cooperation for a split second to capture that one good image!
how soon afterwards will we see our photos?
Generally, I have portrait proofs posted to a password-protected website within a week after your portrait session. From your online gallery you will choose which images you’d like to order. Galleries are posted online here.
how many images will I see?
It really depends on how many subjects are in the photographs, how the session went, how many locations we photographed at, and how expressive the subjects were! There really is no set number, I will include all the great portraits, and remove any blinks, duplicate frames, or exposure tests. If you really neeeed a number, usually about 30 to 60. On the lower end for newborn photos, and the higher end for families and engagement sessions.
do you do retouching?
Yes. All prints ordered will be professionally retouched before ordering. Newborn images all require retouching to smooth out dry skin and baby acne, and most of that is done before you see the images. For all other sessions, everything is color balanced and ready to print when you see the proof gallery, and you can request retouching if there is a minor flaw to an otherwise great photograph. Retouching often includes removing blemishes, cuts, bruises, redness, fly-away or stray hairs, and any distracting objects in the background. In addition to removing the "undesirables," I also whiten teeth, smooth skin, lighten dark circles, soften wrinkles, and a number of other things to subtly perfect your images. I say "subtly" because I do not believe in photoshopping someone into a plastic version of themselves! Retouching should enhance an image and not be apparent. It should show off the greatest version of you.
how do I place my order?
Once you receive the link to your password protected gallery, you can choose your favorite images and contact me via phone or email to place your order. We will discuss print sizes and finishes and you can make any retouching requests at this time. I will process and place the order and you should have digital files and small prints within a few days, and about 1-2 weeks for canvas wraps or large prints. If you are responsive in placing your order quickly after you see the images, you can have the final product within two weeks of the session date, most of the time!
what products do you offer?
I offer an assortment of paper prints, both mounted and unmounted. Many clients love the canvas wraps, which are images printed on canvas and stretch around a 1.5 inch wooden frame. Additionally, I offer several types of portrait albums, enlargements, digital files (without any watermark or logo), and press-printed cards. Press cards are perfect for save-the-dates, wedding thank you notes, birth announcements, holiday and Christmas cards, graduation announcements, or even invitations to celebrations and birthday parties. See the pricing here.
Where do you recommend I print my own small prints?
If you purchase the digital files and are interested in ordering your own small prints and photo gifts, I highly recommend www.mpix.com. They are owned by the professional photo lab Miller’s, but they sell pro-quality prints and gifts directly to consumers like you. I can even upload your images directly to them for your ease of ordering. Just ask me!
I still have more questions!
Not a problem! I am happy to answer them. Call or email me and we’ll start a dialogue!