WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT WITH MY PHOTO SESSION, & WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
We will be working through three distinct phases for your shoot, and how extensive we get with each depends on what you are wanting to do and what your budget is:
a) PRE-PRODUCTION: this is the phase where we discuss your shoot, the images you are wanting, and do all of the necessary planning and preparation. This might include scouting for location(s), gathering props, discussing wardrobe, hair & makeup if applicable, planning lighting setups, and gathering necessary gear, for example. This is the “blueprint” stage where we discuss, think about, and “design” your photo session so that we both have a clear and agreed-upon understanding of what you are wanting for your images, and develop a solid plan and schedule to carry that out. On very simple shoots, this phase is fairly minimal and can be done over the phone, texting, or private message via social media. On much more complex and elaborate shoots, this might require several meetings, scouting trips, and gathering of necessary components.
b) PRODUCTION: once we’ve planned and done all of the designing and preparation, then we shoot in camera and perform the actual image captures. This phase can include very extensive and elaborate sessions on multiple locations with several wardrobe changes; or, could be a simple studio headshot session with just one look but with a few different poses. How extensive this is comes down to simply what it is you need. Once we have the shots done in-camera, we will need to do some editing in Photoshop. No offense! It’s simply the digital version of taking your photo “negatives” (called raw files) into the “dark-room” for processing.
c) POST-PRODUCTION: this is the selecting, editing, and retouching phase where we make the most of the first two phases. First, the best image or images are selected as candidates for the “finals.” Next, I retouch and edit the best of those. How extensive I get with editing and retouching depends upon your package. Finally, we discuss any tweaks that you might want to the edits – depending on whether that is part of your package – and if it is acceptable to me I will take care of it. The work during this phase is the culmination of the three, and results in the delivery of a final product that you can be proud of. On simple images such as headshots, it may be that I simply edit the best images myself without much input from you at all. In other packages, I may deliver “proofs” either via an Internet platform for you to review privately, or perhaps we might have a meeting at the studio where we go over the images together while viewing them on a laptop.
So, as you might expect, all three phases are critical to getting good results, and why each is so important. This is dependent upon the nature of your imaging needs as again, packages vary in how much time is really necessary for each phase.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR & WHERE WILL MY SESSION TAKE PLACE?
This depends upon what you are going for. As an example, if you are wanting a professional portrait showing you in your working environment, then of course we will need to take the photos on-location where you work. Or, if you are needing a traditional portrait or headshot, that can be done in studio. As to what to wear, I can guide you if needed, on what is best for you to accomplish what you are going for, but avoid possible issues. Sometimes, what might seem “normal” or acceptable outside of camera does not work so well in camera. Examples might include some color combinations, or mixes of patterns, and things of that nature. It is entirely up to you where we shoot your portraits. I can certainly offer suggestions and guidance, once I know what you are wanting as to the “look” or “feel” of your photographs. If we shoot in studio, we can discuss what kind of backdrop is best for you. If we shoot on location – whether indoors or outdoors – we will need to discuss what angle is best, what to show in the background, and how best to arrange or manipulate the space if necessary. I may need to scout the location to make sure I have proper space, or things such as looking for any problems with the lighting conditions or other possible distracting elements. If you don’t have a clue about any of that – then that’s okay too! That’s what I’m here for. I will discuss what I think would work best and give you options to choose from.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY?
As you might imagine, prices vary widely for sessions – depending upon the amount of time I spend in the three phases I mentioned above. It basically involves my time, my equipment, my costs, any assistants, and if for any reason some special gear is required or if I’m required to travel. But to give you a basic idea … a simple professional headshot session done in-studio with 5 finished edits can be as low as $125 … whereas basic wedding ceremony packages that cover the venue, getting ready, the ceremony itself, the wedding party, and the reception with 100 finished edits start at $2,250. More elaborate wedding with video packages are higher. There are all manner of types and styles of sessions, packages, and pricing between those ranges (such as family portraits, traditional full-length portraits, senior portraits, creative portraiture, environmental portraits, and so on … ), and there are add-on options for each as well. So, once we discuss your needs and I understand more clearly what type of images you are wanting, as well as how many people are to be in the photographs (family portraits and group sessions are a bit higher than individual portraits), then I can give you a precise quote on what your session will cost and exactly what you will be getting for that price. Or, if you have a budget, we can discuss what I can produce for you in that budget range.
WHAT GOES INTO SETTING YOUR PRICES?
As one might expect, I’m not simply grabbing a camera and “firing off a few pics.” Just like any business, there are very real and calculated costs involved just to be viable. These include studio rent, utilities, insurance, and office supplies, to the more obvious equipment, such as cameras, flash units, and support gear used to take the photos. Then of course, there’s the computer, software, internet services, and technical equipment that are used to edit your photos. Finally, there’s my labor, skill, professional expertise, experience, and creative ability that goes into making your images for you. You are hiring me as a professional image-maker to get the special images that you are wanting. I have pricing tables that I use that guide me in costing out session packages, but they can be adapted or combined with other packages to create a hybrid type of session that meets your specific need if a standard package doesn’t fit, and gives you added value. I take very seriously, getting you the professional level, high-quality images that you need and I try to hold down costs as low as I can.
WILL I NEED TO PAY ANYTHING UP FRONT?
How your session and visuals are paid for with regards to timing of the payment(s) depends upon the scale and timeline of your particular project. Lower cost / shorter time-frame projects can be paid for on the production date (the day of the session). Mid-sized photo projects are often done on a split payment basis, with 75% of the cost paid on the day of the session, and the balance upon delivery of the final images. Larger projects (such as weddings), require a deposit which must be paid in advance (usually 4 months before the wedding date) in order to book the date and retain me for that time. You will be given a specific date where your deposit can no longer be refunded. This is due to the fact that you are reserving the date, and it is not available to other potential clients wanting to book me for that time, and is a standard practice in the industry. Contact me for details if you need further clarification.
HOW SOON CAN I EXPECT MY FINAL IMAGES TO BE READY?
Turnaround times from Production to Post-Production and Delivery vary. Headshots can be ready in as few as a couple of days, whereas wedding sessions can take 4 to 6 weeks. Check with me if a need to rush your images for a specific deadline is needed, and I will do my best to accommodate your needs.
WHAT ABOUT CONTRACTS, RELEASES, AND LICENSING?
Depending upon the scale of your individual or family project, a contract may be required. Contracts are always required on wedding sessions. Also, contracts are a standard operating procedure for all business and corporate work that I perform. The need for a Model / Property release varies, and depends upon the potential for commercial usage of the image(s); so, it simply depends upon the nature of the shoot and usage of the images. Model / property releases are, of course, required for all commercial work. Licensing will be outlined in your contract, and is normally non-exclusive. I reserve the full rights to all of the images that I create and produce, and may not be used in any form without my expressed, written permission. Exclusive licensing of your images may be arranged if you wish, for an additional fee (per image). Images may also be purchased for commercial usage, and will be licensed specifically as to derivative, display, distribution and reproduction allowances. As this is a rather technical area and can be confusing, feel free to discuss with me the options and what is available to you with regards to how my images are used.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to answer.