you’ve never had a session before and don’t know what to expect…
…so, I thought I’d outline the process when you book a session with me.
You’ve had a look at the portfolio online and decided to get in touch!
Whether by email or phone, now is the time we start to get to know one another. I’ll start by answering any questions you might have about the package you’ve decided to buy. Then it’s time to get our calendars out to schedule a shoot date. To secure your date, I need a signed client information and contract form and deposit, and once received your date is locked in.
I’ll follow up this initial conversation by sending you some paperwork. The paperwork states what services I provide to you as the client, the price of your package and important details of my process (turnaround times, studio policies, etc.). I prefer to email it to you so you have plenty of time to read through them.
Two of the most important forms that I’ll need you to attend to straight away are:
1. the questionnaire for you and the family to answer, and;
2. the what to wear guide.
The answers to your questionnaire give me an insight into your family. Your personalities, what you love doing together and more – little gems that will ensure I can capture your story in an authentic way. The what to wear guide will take the stress out of deciding what to wear to your shoot. I’ll give you a couple of days to mull this one over before I contact you to see if you need any help.
before your shoot
Communication is key.
I’ll be in touch with you before your shoot to discuss ideas and details, based on the questionnaire that you’ve filled in for me. I’ll also phone you 2 days before your session to reconfirm your session time and location, and answer any last minute questions you might have.
Before your shoot, I’ll also be doing my own preparation. My main goal is to make you feel comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera, because your session is meant to be fun! I’ll be thinking about how best to photograph you and the family – poses, props, lighting, to name a few. The day before, I’ll check that all my camera gear is ready to go, memory cards formatted and that I have a water bottle and snacks on hand. Plus one last check of what the weather will be doing!
your photo shoot
Before I even take out my camera, we’re going to have a chat – “How’s the weather?” and “Did you hear about….!”
When it’s time to start, I’ll let you know what to expect during the shoot. Because your photo shoot is as much about the experience as the resultant images.
All the while I’ll be checking out the location and light. Next, come the test shots – to check exposure and shadows, expressions and poses – before we start in earnest. It’s not a race, though, so while I’ll be keeping the pace moving, the whole shoot will have a relaxed and fun feel to it. With pointers on how to stand and what to do with your hands, I’ll be looking for the real emotions and spontaneous smiles – the elements that make your family who they are.
after your shoot
That’s when my work really begins.
I won’t be able to resist having a look at your photos! I’ll load them into Lightroom (my preferred post-processing software) when I get home and will immediately make a backup copy of the photos. It would be awful if something unforeseen were to happen and all the images lost – eek! I will also find one or two images to share with you on my Facebook page straight away.
I like to wait a day or two before going through and choosing the best-of-the-best photos. Why? This gives me time to get over the excitement of the session (because I get nervous and excited too!) and allows me to look at your photos with a critical eye.
Then the editing begins, which happens in intervals over the coming weeks. I allow 3 to 4 weeks for this process, as I am also working around my family and job as a Learning Support Officer. My editing philosophy is one of less-is-more. Your photos need to be realistic, especially as you are real people (not models in some high-end fashion shoot). I will reduce bags under eyes, whiten teeth, heal temporary blemishes, and remove distracting elements – but am always careful not to take an image too far. You don’t want to end up looking like a Barbie…
Your photos are then transferred to a USB. On your USB, there will be two folders – one labelled For PRINT and the other For WEB. The print images are large files ready for you to take to your favourite print lab and have made into gorgeous photo keepsakes for your walls. The web images have my watermark on them and are for you to share on your social media sites. You also receive a colour and black-and-white version of each curated image (unless of course it really doesn’t work for the photo). And it goes without saying, that I back these files up in a couple of different locations – just in case.
A phone call from me to say that everything is ready to be delivered, and then ta-dah!
So, there you have it – the steps from initial contact to delivery – anywhere from 4-6 hours, depending on the length of your session and how many photos I am delivering to you. WOW, right?!
In the comments, I’d love to hear:
Did you realise there was this much preparation involved in a photo shoot?