1. Find the right photographer for you. Not every photographer is YOUR perfect photographer, and not every client is perfect for ever photographer. Before making any investment towards your portraits look carefully at websites, not just their social media pages, of pros you are interested in hiring. A true professional will have a detailed website with well thought through information pages and portfolio galleries. Call several photographers and have a detailed conversation with who you are considering of hiring. Ask about their education and their experience. Will they be the one photographing you or do they have other photographers on staff? Discuss what you are wanting out of your session, be open about exactly what you want. Do you want digital files, or a finished piece of art delivered ready to display? There are photographers out there for both options, some offer a combination. Are you looking for a set, all-inclusive type package or do you prefer to order a la carte style? What does the average client purchase and how much should you expect to invest? Can you see a couple of full sessions; look for consistency, variety, and quality across the whole session.
If you've looked at any of our website you've seen that I am a Certified Professional Photographer and not only attend conferences/classes but also instruct them as well. I mentor other professional photographers from Hawaii to Maine! Joshua and I work as a team, but I am the one behind the camera. Joshua is our lighting guy on location and keeps the ideas flowing for the business side of our studio. Our clients are families who want timeless works of art displayed on their walls, on their shelves, and on their tables. During your Styling Consultation we are more than happy to share several full galleries with you! Through our Create Your Own Collection ordering system our clients can pick and choose Signature Museum Canvases, Signature Albums, and Traditional Photographic Prints; we even include a special gift...but more on that further down this post. Our "CYOC" offers price breaks of set packages on certain heirlooms with the flexibility of a la carte. On average, clients will plan for about $1,800, but once they see Gallery they invest much more, our largest purchase to date is near $6,000. The people who hire us want physical heirlooms to love, hold close, and pass down. They want creativity, professionalism, and quality from a photographer who is educated and certified. Our clients are an equal mixture of blue and white-collar professionals who value the time we dedicate to their family's portraits.
2. Wear the right outfits. Your outfits should make you feel like a million bucks. If you are going on location, keep it in mind while shopping. For our style of photography, solid colors look better than patterns or large logos and graphics which will take attention away from your face.
-Professional photographers are taught to think in keys…like musicians. We have high key (pastels and whites), mid key (brights and middle greys), and low key (deep jewel tones, charcoal greys, and black). Like in music, mixing keys create a unpleasant vibe that distracts from the melody, the subject (aka you in this case), and causes tension in the art piece. We suggest our clients keep each outfit in its own key, but to add variety to the session plan an outfit or two in each key: high, mid, and low. Just like a music album contains songs in different keys for interest, each of our Signature Albums contain "chapters" flowing effortlessly from one outfit to the next.
- Well fitted clothes will slim your figure more so than flowy or baggy clothes. I know there are a ton of super cute flows shirts and dresses in style right now but leave those to date nights.
-Make sure your outfits are pressed and neat. Wrinkles and creases look sloppy and a few minutes ironing is much cheaper than asking me to "fix" them in Photoshop.
-The proper undergarments are something to plan as well. Nude colored is easier to remove in retouching if needed than bold colored or black. Strapless tops should be paired with a strapless bra, I hate to have to point this out, but there’s a reason for everything…
3. Have a schedule. Be on time, in fact plan to be early! If, like many of our clients, you are having hair and makeup professionally done, make the appointment with enough time to give your stylist flexibility to adjust if needed. Press your clothes and pack them the day before, it’ll be one less thing to do the day of your portraits.
4. Trust your photographer. You hired your photographer because you like their style. It’s becoming the norm for clients to create a Pinterest board for their session, you’re excited about your awesome session-to-be, so why not? Let this board be inspiration, but don’t allow it to dictate YOUR session. It’s ok to share it with your photographer, even invite them to pin on it with you, but, please, don’t make your portraits a copy each pose or set up on that board. Each photographer has a different way of creating for their clients. It can be from the way the session is shot to the way it's retouched. Our clients trust us to use our knowledge of equipment, posing, and lighting to make them look their best SOOC (straight out of camera). We use an arsenal of posing techniques, lens choices, camera angles, and lighting modifiers to accent loved features and hides the not so loved ones, customizing each of our sessions.
5. Keep your expectations reasonable. During the session, you’ll notice your photographer took a number of shots. Not every one of those is not a keeper. Again, trust your photographer. Trust to be presented the best of the best to choose your heirlooms. Many digital photographers tend to over shoot, the struggle of shutter happy syndrome is real! It can be a difficult to cull down a session, but each photographer knows what their clients are expecting to be shown. The images not shown are ones with blinks, too close to call look alikes, unflattering poses, or possibly an "oops" in the lighting. Typically, these are deleted during the culling process as the files are large and the cost to keep unworthy images is high. You should expect to see a gallery full of quality portraits, consistency, and variety. For our clients, we average 55-60 shots per 2-hour session with a goal of 35-40 final images to be presented during the In Person Ordering Appointment.
6. Put your heirlooms wants first. Clients of our studio are encouraged to make a list of their wants during the very first conversation. Then again during your Stylizing Consultation, you’ll see and hold the heirloom options. Between your Portrait Appointment and your Ordering Appointment you’ll have about one more week to plan for them: measure and take pics your wall spaces for Signature Canvases (we have a plug and play program to help find the size appropriate for your spaces), find empty spaces for smaller Traditional Prints to be displayed, and make room for your Signature Album for all your favorites! After you put your wants first, then make a list of gift needs for your family. Joshua and I know first hand the investment having professional portraits created, purchasing our heirlooms, and then prints for our family too. At our studio we have created a unique gift for you, we call it “Legacy Prints”, intended to be given to your family members. Collections of 5, 8, or 12, Traditional Photographic Prints include 1, 2, or 3 “Legacy Prints”, in your choice of either 8x10 or 5x7, of one pose already selected for your own collection of heirlooms.