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Common Client Questions
WHAT: Client FAQs | WHEN: August 7, 2010
|Q: Do you offer gift certificates?
A: Absolutely! The gift of photography is one of the best things you could give a friend or loved one. I know I’m a photographer, so you’d expect me to say that, right? In all seriousness, though, what other gifts can you give that will have such a lasting impression and become more valuable over time?
Gift certificates are available in any dollar amount and can be sent in either electronic format or as a traditional card format with packaging.
Q: What’s included in the session fee and when is it due?
A: Your session fee covers your photography session, a pre-session consultation, and image preparation time after your session. This fee is due at the time you book a session, and it guarantees your date and time for your session. Unfortunately I’m not able to hold a date and time without a paid session fee.
Please note that session fees are non-refundable. However, in the event that you need to reschedule your session, they are transferrable to the new date.
Q: What’s a pre-session consultation, and why do I need one?
A: When you book a session, we will schedule a time for you to come in – generally a week or two before your session – to discuss all kinds of details including ideas for locations, clothing, things to bring, timing, the flow of the session, etc.. Most importantly this will be a time for me to get to know more about you, your expectations (if any), and what the most important things are to capture in your images.
In addition, we’ll go over all the products I offer in detail, and you can see, touch and feel all the samples in the gallery room. This is helpful for you because we can discuss ideas for where and how you might want to display the images we’re going to capture, and it’s very helpful for me because it helps me to know what images I need to photograph during your session. Win-Win!
“But what if I don’t live in town?” Not to worry; we can set-up a phone call (or use Skype) or video chat to cover the important details regarding your session. While this is not as ideal as a face-to-face meeting where you can tangibly experience first hand all the products I offer, it’s more than adequate for understanding what to expect at your upcoming session.
Q: How far in advance do I need to call to schedule a session?
A: If you’d like to commission a session, it’s best to call about a month before the time you’d like to have photography done. Spring and Autumn are my busiest times of the year, so you may need to call 2 months in advance during those seasons as they fill up fast. Having said that, I would encourage you to call anytime, even if you’re hoping to schedule a session only a few days out. Occasionally I have clients that need to reschedule, and as a result I sometimes have session times open up last minute.
Q: When do you schedule sessions?
A: For outdoor sessions, I generally like to start photographing a session about an hour before the sun goes down in order to get the best light of the day. For sessions involving younger children, I prefer to start about 90 minutes before sundown so that I have time built in to just hang out and have fun with the kiddos to let them get comfortable with me. This also gives us a little buffer time in case of an unexpected meltdown.
For indoor sessions on location, our start time is largely dependent on the type of environment the session will take place in and the available light we will have to work with.
Whether your session will be indoors or outdoors, we will discuss timing details at your pre-session consultation.
Q: How long will my session last?
A: The short answer is as long as it takes to get the images I think you’ll love. You can generally expect your session to last 60-90 minutes, sometimes a little longer for bridal sessions or sessions involving younger children. Newborn sessions can easily last 2-3 hours depending on the mood of the little one(s).
Q: What if the weather’s bad the day of our session?
A: What? Bad weather in Texas?? If weather does force us to reschedule your session, you will get the next available date/time that works for both of us. I generally keep a couple days free each month to use for just such occasions.
Q: What happens if I need to reschedule?
A: I understand that sometimes life happens, and even the best planning can’t prevent accidents or someone from getting sick. I do ask that if at all possible you provide as much notice as possible if you need to reschedule, ideally 48 hours and at least 24. I realize sometimes this is not possible, but the earlier you can let me know, the more likely I can contact someone who might be on the waiting list to take advantage of the open appointment time.
Similar to situations involving inclement weather, if you need to reschedule, you will get the next available date/time that is available for both of us.
Again, please note that session fees are non-refundable. However, in the event that you need to reschedule your session, they are transferrable to the new date.
Q: Do you travel outside of the Dallas area for sessions?
A: While I’m based in Plano, TX (north Dallas), I love to travel to new places, and I’m available to travel anywhere in the US and abroad for sessions and events. Of course, for any sessions outside the Dallas area, some travel fees apply. Please don’t hesitate to ask about travel fees to your specific location.
Q: How do I commission you for a session?
A: When you’re ready to experience custom photography and commission a session, simply fill out the “new client inquiry” form under the “CONTACT” menu, and I will get in touch with you to go over the details and schedule a date with you. Or you can also call the studio at 214-621-4264 to make an appointment. In addition, at that time we will also schedule an appointment for you to come in for a pre-session consultation before your photography session.
A non-refundable commission fee is due at the time we schedule your session in order to guarantee a date and time for you.
Q: Do you have a studio and/or do studio sessions?
A: I do all of my sessions on-location utilizing natural light in combination with artificial light from flashes and/or strobes when needed. While I’ve done some studio work in the past, more often than not I found the resulting images to be a little stiff and void of the natural expressions and authenticity I see in my clients when they are in a natural, comfortable environment.
There are lots of fantastic and diverse places to use as backdrops in the Dallas metroplex area, so whether you prefer something that’s more urban, grunge, modern, vintage or natural for your session, we can make it happen! Your home can also be a great place to create meaningful images as well, especially if you have little children as they are often most relaxed and “themselves” in a comfortable, known environment.
Q: What about clothing? What should we wear?
A: There are as many different thoughts about choosing the right clothing for your session as there are photographers. This is a stressful thing for a lot of people, but it doesn’t need to be. The good news is we will discuss clothing ideas and options in your pre-session consultation, but here’s a couple guidelines that I feel are important:
– Wear your personality. If you’re laid back and wear jeans and a t-shirt most days and that’s what you’re most comfortable in, dressing up in khakis and a button down shirt might not be the best clothing choice for your session. My goal is to capture images that tell a story of who you are, and clothing is a big part of that. 10 or 20 years from now when you look back on your images, hopefully they remind you of who you were at that time in your life, not somebody you were impersonating.
– Think of each person as a piece of a collective outfit. Try to coordinate each piece (person) so the entire outfit (the whole family, couple or group) goes together. This doesn’t mean that each person has to wear the same color and/or style. In fact, personally I feel images where everyone is wearing the same color and style is a little, well, hokey and dated. My passion is to capture you in an authentic and natural way, and let’s face it, not many families walk around on a typical day – or any day – wearing matching shirts and pants. It’s completely fine for each person to be wearing a different color (or variation of a color), different (subtle) pattern, different style and/or different texture as long as it coordinates with everyone else’s outfit. Again, not to worry, we’ll cover this in your pre-session consultation.
– When in doubt, bring options. If you’re not sure about an outfit or piece of clothing, bring it and a few other options, and we’ll take a few minutes at the beginning of your session to decide what will photograph best. On a related note, I also always encourage clients to bring anything (jerseys, hats, toys, stuffed animals, etc.) that has sentimental value or special meaning… we may or may not use everything, but it’s better to have the options and not need them.
Q: What products do you offer?
A: I am proud to offer a range of fine-crafted, superior quality products to display your images. These include (but are not limited to) wall portraits and desktop portraits in traditional and canvas finishes, wall-print collections, coffee table books, mini-albums, elegant hand-crafted albums, slideshows (DVD, web and mobile device formats), custom storyboards, image box collections, custom holiday & greeting cards/announcements, digital image files, limited custom framing, Facebook/MySpace images, etc. When you commission a session, we will cover all the product offerings in detail at your pre-session consultation.
In addition, if you have something unique in mind, I’m always looking for new ideas and options for displaying images, so don’t hesitate to ask; I’d be happy to put a customized quote together for you!
Q: Do you have a minimum purchase requirement?
A: No, I don’t believe in a minimum purchase requirement. I kind of equate it to a scenario where you’d walk into a restaurant and the host tells you they’d be glad to serve you as long as you first agree to purchase at least $100 in food. While I’m confident you will love your images, I would never expect you to commit to spending a certain dollar amount before having seen them.
Q: How long does it take to see my images after the session?
A: At the end of your photography session, I will schedule a time for you to come in about 2 weeks later for your viewing & ordering session. To help cure (or maybe fuel) your anxiousness and excitement to see your images, I will usually post a couple sneak peek images on the blog a few days before your appointment. The exception, of course, is bridal images unless you’re okay with your husband-to-be seeing you in the dress before your big day.
Q: How/when do I order prints/images?
A: I will schedule a time for you to come in to view and order your images about 2 weeks after your session. I will show you a slideshow of your images (moms – tissues are available [grin]), and I will also present to you – based on ideas we discussed in your pre-session consultation - a few recommendations for products that will show off your images in a stunning display in your home or business. There is certainly no obligation to purchase the recommendation(s), but I find it’s a helpful starting point in the sometimes-overwhelming process of deciding what to do with all your favorite images. We can also work on custom layouts in real time during your appointment.
Q: Do you post an on-line gallery for me to see the images first?
A: I don’t post on-line galleries before you come in simply because I want you to see your images and all the detail on a big screen that’s been professionally color-calibrated to make sure that they look amazing and exactly like what you’ll get in the final prints. Seeing your images for the first time in a small size that’s formatted for the web and on a monitor that may show significant variations in color from what the actual prints will look like is not an experience I want my clients to have. You and I will have invested a significant amount of time, effort and care to make sure your images are the best they can be, and that’s how I want you to see them.
In addition, I think the other benefit in doing in-person viewing & ordering appointments is that we can quickly discuss options, change out images, and refer to real samples in my gallery room to help you in making final decisions on what you’d like to order.
Occasionally I have out-of-town clients that travel to Dallas just for their photography sessions. In those cases where it’s not practical to do in-person viewing & ordering appointments, I will set-up a time to do a phone/Skype/video chat session for you to place your order.
Q: I have family members that live out of town. What if they want to order images?
A: No problem. After you’ve come in for your viewing & ordering appointment, I can create an on-line gallery for extended family & friends that may want to order images. This gallery will remain active for 1 week at which time all additional orders will be due. If all orders are not placed after that week, I can repost the gallery for an additional week at an additional fee of $75.
Q: How long do you keep/store my images?
A: Unfortunately due to the large file sizes associated with digital images today (and they’re continually growing), I'm unable to store all images indefinitely. Any images you order are archived on stored digitally for up to 6 months; those images that are not ordered are discarded after your viewing & ordering appointment. I know, I know... it’s difficult to know they get deleted, but I do offer options to purchase your digital images so that you can have them to keep.
Q: How long does it take to get my order after it’s been placed?
A: This depends on which products you order. Most items can be ready in approximately 2 weeks. Canvas gallery wraps and coffee table books generally take ~4 weeks. Legacy Series prints and custom-designed albums can take up to 6-8 weeks. Some items can be rushed for an additional fee (ask for details).
Q: Can I scan the prints I ordered and use them on my website or send copies to family & friends?
A: According to the US Copyright Act, legally this is strictly prohibited. I understand that people get excited about their images and want to share them with others, and you are more than welcome to either share any watermarked images I post on my website/blog or send a link to the website/blog that directs family & friends to the post with the images you’d like to share. Also, I’m happy to post the images to Facebook and tag them with your name so they’ll show up on your page.
According to the Professional Photographers Association of America of which I am an active member, “The Copyright Act protects photographers by giving the author (creator) of the photograph the exclusive right to copy, edit, and distribute an image by sale or transfer. These exclusive rights make it illegal to copy, scan, edit, or share photographic prints and digital media without the photographer’s permission. Violators of this Federal Law will be subject to its civil and criminal penalties. Be sure to discuss your copyright needs or questions with your photographer; reasonable requests may be accommodated.”
Q: I purchased the digital images. Are there any restrictions with what I can do with them?
A: When you purchase digital image files, you will receive a copy of the limited print reproduction release for personal printing usage. This gives you the right to print the files as often as needed and to use the images however you’d like for personal needs (scrap-booking, personal website(s), gifts for family and friends, etc.). This does not include the right to resell the images in their original or altered state, and it does not cover using the image(s) for commercial use (packaging, brochures, business website(s), advertising pieces, etc.)
As the original creator of the images, legally I will still own the original copyright to your images and – with your permission – retain the right to use the images for marketing and promotional purposes.
Q: What forms of payment do you accept?
A: Visa, Master Card, Paypal, checks and cash. Please note that if paying by check, I will begin all print order(s) after the check clears.
Q: Do you offer payment plans?
A: Yes. I understand that custom photography is an investment, so as an added convenience I am happy to offer customized payment plans that meet your needs. At the time you place your order, I will get a credit card number from you to keep on file in order to bill agreed-upon monthly installments to the card until your order has been paid in full. Once the balance has been paid, your order will be sent to production and ready for you to pick up shortly after that. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions about payment plans.