Preparing for your portrait...

I’m getting married. How do I choose a wedding photographer?

An excellent question! To begin, Congratulations! – A marriage is a wonderful thing and I wish you the very best. Planning a wedding can be both exciting and overwhelming, and choosing a wedding photographer can be among the more challenging tasks you take on. With the advent of digital photography in recent years it seems that everyone is a photographer. It's hard not to get drawn in to the temptation to pick the first photographer you find with a nice camera and a good price. As I mentioned above, it more than a nice camera takes to make a good photographer. Everyone has an uncle or cousin or neighbor that would happily take wedding pictures for you ‘as a wedding gift’ – which is great if your neighbor/cousin/uncle is a professional, but sadly that is rarely the case. In choosing a photographer I would start by looking at the portfolio of several photographers in your area (you can often do this online) – Do their images look professional?, Is their style consistent with what you are looking for? (I should add, its important that you are looking at a portfolio of wedding images – taking portraits in a controlled setting is very different from shooting images at a wedding where lighting is constantly changing, distractions are abundant, and the opportunity to get the perfect shot is fleeting).

Once you’ve narrowed it down to 3 or 4 photographers, visit them in person. Make sure your personalities mesh. Not every bride with get along with every photographer, and its important that your photographer meet you before your wedding day so he/she can get to know you, what you are comfortable with, and get a sense of your style and what you are expecting from your wedding images. Meeting in advance (whether a consultation or engagement session) can make a huge impact on the quality of images you get from your wedding.

Obviously budget is another factor that must be considered. Weddings can be expensive and a lot of decisions have to be made. I believe the national average spent on a wedding is floating between $25K and $30K right now. When allocating your budget for all the things you need to purchase for your wedding remember that the images you get from your wedding will last longer than any table decoration, invitation, fancy dinner, or bouquet of flowers – make sure you choose a photographer you trust and that you are getting images that you will be happy with, because you don’t get the change to retake them. The recommended standard is to spend between 10-12% of your total budget on photography, but you can increase or decrease this percentage based on your own priorities. 

Ok, I need to schedule some pictures. Where do I start?

You’ve come to the right place! Let’s start by getting your portrait (or wedding) session booked. Once you are on the schedule we can work together to make sure your pictures are everything you want them to be. Having a date set can also help you to get excited and prepared for your pictures. Give me a call at <phone>.

What should I wear?

This can often be one of the most stressful parts of getting pictures taken, especially family pictures. The decision to match or coordinate and in what color and making sure your choices flatter you, match your décor, and are not met with too much resistance from others in your party can be cause for great anxiety at times. We are here to help! Start with these simple tips:

·      Dress head to toe. Think of accessories, nail grooming, sock color, etc when choosing your wardrobe.

·      Layers are great. Adding a simple jacket or cardigan provides depth to your images and allows for some variation in your images when adding or removing layers.

·      Avoid logos and lots or writing. Patterns are great and an occasional word or words are fine, but avoid t-shirts with excessive writing or logos to avoid distraction in your images. This is especially important in family or larger group portraits.

·      Flatter your body type. You know what looks good on you, don’t go too far from your normal just because a certain style is “in” right now. Be comfortable in your clothes.

·      Coordinate don’t “match.” It is not easy to find the same color shirt in 27 different sizes and have them all be flattering to the individual people in your picture. Finding colors and patterns that complement each other with make for a richer and more satisfying final image. Gone are the days of having everyone in white shirts and blue jeans.

·      Sleeves always win over no sleeves. It most cases wearing clothing with sleeves is more flattering than sleeveless. Adding sleeves will draw your eye away from your arms and back to your face.

When choosing a color scheme, you can find a number of great suggestions on pinterest or at other online resources. Check out our pinterest board here: <link>

You can also visit your favorite department store or boutique and take a look at what is displayed on their mannequins. Many of these places will display outfits and layering options that are complementary. It may give you a fresh new idea that you hadn’t thought of before. 

For Newborn Sessions:
If you are planning for a newborn portrait session, bring baby in a simple loose fitting onesie and avoid tight socks or hats or other clothing items that would leave indention marks on their little bodies. You (mom and dad) should also dress for the occasion. Come groomed (hair, clean nails, makeup) and wear a simple black or dark colored shirt.

Hair?!! How should I do my hair?

Unless this is a wedding, bridal portrait, or other super special occasion you are dressing for, I would suggest styling your hair as you normally would. The day of your pictures is not the day to try something new. Pictures need to look like you, the real you. Men should get a haircut 5-7 days prior to their portrait, and shave within a few hours of the session.

How about makeup?

If you are light makeup wearer you may want to consider going a little thicker than usual. A good layer of foundation will help to smooth your skin and will look attractive in camera – make sure to blend it in well including down your neck and past your shirt line. Adding a layer of loose powder after completing your makeup job will help to avoid shine on your face in the final images. A little extra mascara goes a long way as well; just try to avoid too much clumping. As far as things to avoid: GLITTLER. You can use a little on your eyelids if we are shooting an individual portrait or fashion, but it won’t photograph well in larger groups. Also avoid any time of spray or body glitter when preparing for your portraits. It has an uncomfortable resemblance to dandruff when photographed.


During your session...

Wow! Your camera takes great pictures! What do you shoot with?

Thanks. I taught it everything it knows. J Seriously, a camera is only as good as the person taking the picture. And cameras have their limitations too. Having a good relationship and experience with your camera is key. Great photographs have been taken with simple cell phone and cracker box cameras. And my camera is perfectly capable of taking blurry underexposed images, or other images similar in quality to a typical point and shoot variety. The difference is not in the camera but in the photographer. I have had many years of history with my cameras, I know how to control them and they listen to me – we work together to produce beautiful images. But if you must know, I shoot primarily with a Canon 5D Mark II. I love me some Canon cameras.

Do you travel?

Absolutely! I love to travel, and to photograph people at new and exciting places. Travel is included with any portrait session up to 100 miles from Cache Valley and up to 200 miles for weddings. I am located in Northern Utah, but I have shot weddings in San Diego, California; Phoenix, Arizona; and Portland, Oregon; as well as some event work in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you are planning a wedding in a different state contact me for details. It may be more affordable than you think!!

What if I need to reschedule?

Life happens. Weather doesn’t always cooperate. I get that. In the event of an emergency or unavoidable force of nature we can work together to find another date for your portraits. Excessive rescheduling is difficult on both of us and may be cause for the loss of your deposit, but this is very rare.

How long will we be taking pictures?

A typical portrait session is around an hour to an hour and a half. Newborns are an exception with sessions typically ranging from 2-4 hours. Obviously weddings take a bit longer as well.

Can I bring a friend along?

Of course. Sometimes it’s nice to have an extra set of eyes and a familiar face to help you feel more comfortable in your portraits. This is especially helpful for senior portraits – having a friend, sibling, or parent along for the ride helps you feel more comfortable and get more natural smiles.


Your final images...

Can I get a CD of images with the copyright?

I do offer digital images with printing rights. Most of my portrait and wedding collections include the digital files. These are delivered on USB ‘thumb’ drives and include paperwork to allow for printing and sharing for personal use only. Digital files can also be purchased al-a-carte on a per image or full session basis. If you need commercial rights to your images, we can work out an arrangement to fit your needs. While clients may obtain reproduction rights, I will always retain the copyright to my work. If you need a commercial license for any images I’ve taken during your session, we can work together to fit your needs. 

How much do you charge?

A session deposit of $100 is due at the time of booking for portrait sessions and can be applied to the purchase of any portrait collection. Collections currently range from $199 to $599 for portrait sessions and all collections include a wall portrait (either mounted print or canvas) suitable for display in your home. Full service weddings start at $1499 with a $200 deposit required.

What type of payments do you accept?

I can take cash, check, paypal, and credit card [via ‘square’] payments. A $50 returned check fee will be assessed on any bounced check.

Can I get a discount if I just get the disc of images and not the wall portrait?

Actually, it’s just the opposite.  I highly value the printed image so much that I have discounted my portrait collections to reflect that. I find it sad to think that in this digital age so many pictures are taken and stored on CDs and hard drives never to be seen again – photo albums and framed pictures have been pushed aside to make way for facebook walls, instagram, and other online image sharing tools. I am just as guilty as anyone else in putting off the printing of my images until they are outdated and its time to get new ones – but I also LOVE to see those images on the walls in my home and I love to have my clients display my work in their homes as well. So yes, if you truly don’t want a wall portrait you can purchase the digital images al-a-carte, but you will actually be paying a little bit more.

Can you change the color of my shirt or take off 20 lbs.?

Ahhh retouching. There are a lot of very powerful tools available to enhance and exaggerate pictures, sometimes beyond recognition. When I edit your images I will do basic retouching, acne removal, and color enhancements. In some cases, at my own discretion, I will further clean up and enhance an image. My goal is to capture the perfect ‘you’ – Not a way over processed version of you. I edit with that goal in mind.  If your specific request in more in-depth (head swaps, clothing color changes, excessive slimming, etc.) than my typical editing process I can accommodate for an additional fee. I have changed people into aliens and zombies, removed pounds, opened eyes, swapped heads, erased people from an image, changed the color of objects and clothing, etc… - so, yes, it can be done, but it is often a very time consuming process. If you are interested in these types of enhancements let me know and we can work out a custom quote.

When can I expect to see my pictures?

Typically portraits are ready to view within 2 weeks of the date they were taken. Wedding pictures can take up to 8 weeks.