Top 9 Things to Consider Before Booking Your Family Portrait

Many factors go into the success of your family’s photography session. Your Family Portrait will take time and patience. You must plan everything early to ensure that everyone will be there and dressed properly. With over 25 years of experience, Studio One Designer Photography has come up with a few helpful tips in getting the process started. Remember, when capturing your precious family in a portrait, you should take all of these factors into account if you desire the best portraits possible.

1. Where Do you Want the Session to take Place?

Do you want to come to the comfort of Studio One’s Studio or do we want to have an Outdoor (in your backyard) or In Your Home Session? If you plan on an Outdoor session, do we have a back-up plan (big enough to hold everyone) in the event of inclement weather? How many people are going to be involved? Their ages (small children mostly)? Does anyone have any health issues? (Hot & Humid weather is NOT good for someone who has heart, breathing issues or health issues and you should consider ONLY In Studio or In Home Sessions. If you are planning an outdoor, at your home, Kris will need to come and visit your home to make sure that the “space” required is adequate. You might think you have a nice backyard, but if you only a one 10 year old tree, that is NOT sufficient for what we need. Time of day is also a factor. What time you think might be the best, might not suit our photographic needs to create the perfect portrait for you.

2. Do we receive the Images on a CD?

The answer to that is no. We are in the business to create beautifully designed portraits that will last for a “lifetime”. Our “images” are copyrighted. We hold ourselves to the strictest professional standards when it comes to retouching, color-balancing, finishing and framing your “work of art.” Having photos printed at a “less than professional lab”, the same place you take your “snapshots”, does your family portrait and planning an injustice. We have seen “other” photographers, and we know that there are MANY out there, that just “shoot and burn” the images. This is not acceptable as a TRUE professional. You are paying for the service that makes each and every one of your family members the “best” that they can be. Retouching removes lines (bags) under eyes, blemishes, bruises, scratch marks, grass stains, mud stains, and fly-away hair just to name a few. We also offer the opportunity to NEVER settle for anything less than perfection! We have the ability (and have done this on numerous family portraits) to “switch heads” or in some cases, entire people, to make your image perfect. We understand what Photoshop can and cannot do.

3. What Will Our Family Portrait Cost?

Many factors should be considered when deciding what types of portraits you want. Consider the following…Where will your portrait hang? Now, how large of a photo will you need to properly view your image? Starting with these few questions will give you the answers you will need. Remember, in most cases, you will also need a frame, so you will need to add an additional 2 to 4 or more inches in that particular sought out area. Does your photographer offer packages and single portraits? How much extra does it cost to add another image to a package? When you ask upfront, you will have a better idea of what you need and what you want to invest.

4. Timing! When is the best time to book and how long will it take?

Ask yourself, when will you need your finished portrait by? Is this a gift for someone? If so, when do you need it? You need to take into consideration, also, when will everyone in your family be available? If it is your larger, extended family, you will need to give ample warning so nobody is left out. Typically families have children in school, college or in the military, and need to schedule their appointments in the summer or during Thanksgiving, Christmas or Spring Vacation. Okay, now once you know when everyone will be available, you have to think of the possible break outs your family may want. For example, couples (husband & wife; grandma & grandpa; significant others), the immediate “children” (grown adults or children), mom & dad with their immediate “children”, mom & dad with their children, their spouses/significant others and “grandchildren” (commonly referred to as your extended family), each “adult child’s family”, and “grandma & grandpa with the grandchildren. Of course we have other suggestions and combinations that are too numerous to mention! Additional “breakouts” do take time to do, so this must also be a factor in your planning. If you have small children, nap times are something again that you must consider. At Studio One Designer Photography, we have some clients that book out six (6) months in advance to insure that their particular weekend date is available. Surprisingly, most families book out two to three weeks in advance.

5. Always Seek a Consultation First!

A consultation, either on the phone or in person is extremely important. Advice on what to wear, for example, and what background you would like are very important factors in having your family photos created. Photographs, where family members have clashing colors, an overabundance of plaids, stripes, or patterns, rarely look good. Remember, solid colors are the best! Darker colors are more flattering than lighter and bright colors. Long sleeves work better than short sleeves, sleeveless or tank tops. Pants work better than shorts, capris, or short skirts. The less skin that shows means the more flattering your family photos will be. Decide upon a color theme. Three colors maximum, unless your plan on putting each family in “their” own color.

6. When Will You View Your Images?

At Studio One Designer Photography, in most cases, you are able to view your images immediately following your session, depending upon YOUR time availability. Doing this afterwards could take a minimum of one additional hour, but in most cases, it does take longer. If you need to view them later and with the use of a preview booklet, this will add an additional charge (session fee) to your order. The “preview booklet” will be ready approximately three to four days after your session.

7. After Placing My Order, When Will My Portrait Be Ready?

After placing your order and paying the required deposits, your order (after it passes our intense inspection) should be ready for pick up in approximately two weeks. Now, sometimes that varies because of the fact that maybe “something is just quite right” and we needed to have your order remade. This DOES happen. (OR if the frame you selected in on backorder)…some of these things are beyond our control. If that is the case, we will call or email you to keep you posted. We have received large wall portraits (30x40) folded in half (stop by the studio and ask Kris to tell THAT story)! When your order is ready, we will call to schedule an appointment with you (at your convenience) to stop and pick up your order.

8. What Will Your Payment Schedule Be?

At Studio One Designer Photography, we require the session fee to be paid in advance of the appointment. On the day you view your images and place your order, we require one-half of the balance to be paid to start your order. The balance is due when you pick up your order. This is our standard operating procedure. Be CAREFUL! Other photographers, in some cases, will charge you full price up front. We want to make your experience with us as comfortable as possible. We accept Cash, Checks, Money Orders, MasterCard and Visa.

9. Remember…always select the person you feel most comfortable with. By utilizing the above criteria, you should be able to find the best photographer for your family portrait experience. Good Luck!

10 Things to Consider When Planning your Child’s Photography Session

Many factors go into the success of your child or children’s photography session. Children’s Portraits take time and patience. You must plan everything from the time you select to what outfit to wear first. We have all seen good children’s photos and we have seen bad ones. Here is some advice for making your children’s photographs the best that they can be!

As a professional Children’s photographer, I have worked with parents who struggle to find out what others do to get their young children to sit still, smile and look natural. After 25 years of creating children’s portraits, I have this down to a science.

1. The FIRST thing you must consider is, WHEN is it a good time for the CHILD, not you! This is usually AFTER a nap and after your child has had a snack or lunch. Do not book appointments after 6 PM, especially if the child is at Child Care all day. They will be tired and will be more demanding of your attention. NEVER book an appointment AFTER a doctor’s appointment, especially if the child is going to be receiving shots!

2. If you plan on changing your child’s clothes more than once, plan on using the outfit you like the most first. Please dress the child from head to toe. Shoes, however, are not usually needed if the child is going to sit on the floor. (You see the bottom of the shoe, and that really isn’t the “prettiest”. We recommend bare feet…no socks.) At Studio One Designer Photography, Kris will “work” the child until he/she “drops”. (By that we mean, the child will let us know when he/she is finished.)

3. How long will my session last? This all depends upon the child. It could take five (5) minutes or an hour. IF the child is ill, PLEASE call to reschedule to another time. A sick child will not be in the mood to smile and will NOT be happy. At Studio One Designer Photography, we would rather you reschedule that come in and not be happy.

4. When will I be able to look at the images from my session? At Studio One Designer Photography, you will view your child’s images immediately following your session. You will also place your order at that time and pay the one-half minimum required amount to start your order.

5. When will my portraits be ready? At Studio One Designer Photography, the best case scenario, your order will be ready in two weeks. The only time it takes longer is if something doesn’t meet our rigorous standards and needs to be remade.

6. What type of backgrounds will Studio One Designer Photography use? We strongly suggest a consultation (at least a phone consultation) to advise us on what your wishes are. We have many different backgrounds, depending upon what you want.

7. Can I bring my own props? Definitely! We strongly advise you to do this to make your photographs more personalized! If you do plan on doing this, please plan outfits that go with the props you are planning on bringing. Pets are also welcomed. Please ask us first, because a newborn with a 100 pound dog is usually not recommended. We suggest doing photos like this when the child is old enough to sit up on his/her own.

8. After you “book” your appointment, we will snail mail to you a price list and clothing suggestions. This will include what to use and what not to use for outfits. The day before your session, we will call you to remind you of your appointment and ask you if you have any questions or concerns. PLEASE REMEMBER!!! If your child is ill, reschedule your appointment!

9. The day of your appointment, PLEASE do not practice saying “cheese”. Plan on arriving 15 to 20 minutes early AND do NOT dress your child in the outfit you want to use. We have a changing room at our studio. If you are planning on only using ONE outfit, PLEASE bring a few more along, JUST in case!

10. Finally, remember to stay calm during the session. Even if you feel like you want to rip your hair out because your child is not cooperating, you will be surprised on what we can accomplish! Many a parent has succumbed to tears while viewing their child’s images. Many saying, “When did you get that shot?” “I was there the entire time and didn’t see that smile!”