Before Your Session
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Q: How long is the session and how does it work?
A: Each session is as unique as the story we are telling, so it is hard to put a definite time to it. Most sessions last between 60 and 90 minutes, although yours may take more or less time depending on your special needs and requests. A single 4 year old, for example, may only take 40 minutes start to finish, while a large family may take upwards of 2 hours. When you book your session, please be specific about the number of participants and any special needs or requests; this way we can schedule an appropriate amount of time for you.
Q: What do you mean by "story?"
A: Your "story" is the essence of what we do. It could be as simple as the fact that you absolutely adore your new baby, or as complicated as you can make it! Your son's story may be that he plays hockey or enjoys singing. Your daughter's may be her American Girl doll, or her birthday slumber party. Your family story can include inside jokes, favorite activites and special relationships (i.e. "daddy's girl") or maybe just a special place for all of you! Anything that describes who you are is your "story" and that is what we try to capture.
Q: What should I bring?
A: We don't use prop kits and scenes. We do have a few items that are useful for specific stories, and we will let you know when you book if we have something appropriate. However, the best items are the ones from your own home: a baby blanket, a favorite book, a fishing pole, gardening gloves, even a much-loved stuffed animal. If your family plays Monopoly every single Thursday night, bring the game to your family session! These items help to tell your story and all are welcome. We recommend bringing only a few items, because it is VERY easy to lose your child under a mountain of props! Props should be used to accent the story, not overwhelm it. If you have any questions or are looking for suggestions, we're happy to help!
Q: What should I wear?
A: This is a tough one, but there are a few general rules:
1) For groups, coordinate colors and styles and minimize patterns.
2) Darker colors give a more formal feel, while lighter colors are more casual.
3) Dress from head to toe, don't assume your feet will not be photographed or that your son's dirty fingernails won't show up. Also, don't fear bare feet- especially on children; not only are they cute, but they look better than dirty shoe-soles!
4) If you are planning to change clothes during the session, please let us know beforehand. One change is usually not a problem, but if you want more outfits, we may need to schedule a longer session. Please note, however, that most small children have short attention spans and after the second outfit are usually not interested anymore and may break down.
5) Parents of infants and toddlers, please dress to be in a couple shots. Even if the session is not supposed to include you, sometimes children need mom or dad with them for a few moments, and sometimes these candid shots come out so beautiful that you will curse wearing that stained shirt for years to come!
While you can dress children in practically anything, we recommend avoiding overalls and jumpers on infants that can't sit independently (they tend to ride up around the neck) and tights on toddlers (elephant ankles!). For more specific suggestions, don't hesitate to ask.
For adult women, the choice of clothing becomes much more difficult because we are very self-conscious about our bodies. We can be afraid of the "double chin," the "flabby arms," the "tummy" and the "unsightly knees." You can avoid all of these things by wearing clothing that fits properly. Dark colors can be slimming, especially when worn on the lower part of the body and even a small heel can make your legs look fantastic! What's most important is to wear something you feel beautiful in, because when you feel good, you look good. Accentuate the features you love, and downplay those you are uncomfortable with, and if you still have concerns, let us know what body part(s) you are uncomfortable with and we'll take care of the rest! Don't let your self-consciousness keep you out of the photographs- you ARE beautiful!
During Your Session
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Q: What is it like? Will my child be afraid?
A: We work on location or in a small home studio environment using mostly natural light. If there is a need for addional lighting, we use continuous light rather than flash to make the experience safe and enjoyable for all children and adults. There are no loud noises or crowds. If you have a specific concern, we are happy to alleviate your fears and make accomodations, just reach out!
Q: How does the ordering/viewing process work?
A: After your session, we will take about one week to prepare your images and then we will upload your images to an online gallery for at-home viewing. You will be able to place your print/product/digital orders at this time. We can also create custom edits, collages, cards and wall art products if you so desire.
After Your Session
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Q: When will my prints be ready?
A: Most print orders are ready in one to two weeks. Orders including enlargements or other products generally take two to three weeks, and certain products can take longer. Please be advised that turnaround times vary throughout the year based on lab volume and other uncontrollables, like the weather. We recommend making sure you place Holiday orders sooner rather than later, as we cannot guarantee them after a certain date. We will call you when your order arrives and if there are any complications regarding it.
Q: How can my friends and family view/order prints?
A: Within a few days of your session your images will be available to view in your own private online gallery. Friends and family can place orders online using a PayPal shopping cart.
Q: What types of payment do you accept, and what is due at the session?
A: We accept cash and personal checks and Visa/MC (via PayPal - there's an app for that!). There is a $25 charge on all returned checks. For online and credit card orders, we use PayPal, and you don't need a PayPal account to pay with a credit card. Your session fee is due at the time of the shoot and full payment must be made for all products ordered at the time the order is placed. As a small business, we cannot place print orders COD. Thank you for your understanding.
Tips & Tricks
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1) Plan ahead. Take advantage of the chance to communicate to us exactly what you are looking for and what story you are trying to tell. Great sessions happen when we're all on the same page!
2) Schedule your session for a time when your child is well-rested and fed; this is especially important for infants and toddlers. Talk to your children to prepare them for the session, this will ease nerves and give them an idea of what behavior is expected of them. For school aged children, let them practice smiling in a mirror at home. If they can see the difference between their "real" smile and their "fake" smile, they will be more likely to use the "real" one. During the session, try to "go with the flow" and stay relaxed; this will help your children do the same.
3) Make a list of what products/print sizes you need for each family member beforehand. This will save you time during the ordering process and allow you to focus on the images instead of trying to figure out sizes on the fly. Plus, when you have a list, it is easy for us to make sure you are getting the lowest price possible!
4) Think about how you intend to use your images. We have packages for every need and every budget. Knowing ahead of time what you are going to do with them can help make the process smoother, and lower your cost!
5) When in doubt, call us! We will be happy to answer any session-specific questions or help you determine what package option is best for you.
6) Most importantly, keep your expectations in check. It's easy to have an image in your head of how the session will go, and exactly what each image will look like, and easy to be disappointed when things don't turn out that way. Don't try to cram too much into one session; children have short attention spans and only perform for a limited time. Babies cry, toddlers run away, teens pout. All of these things are normal, and all of these things are part of your child's story, he wouldn't be himself if he didn't do it! When you let go of the expectation and open your mind to your child just being himself, you will be amazed at the priceless moments you see, and the beauty in each of them.