You have questions; we have answers!
Q: I’m not comfortable in front of the camera. It’s hard for me to smile naturally when I know the camera’s there, and I only have 1 or 2 pictures of myself that I like. What will you do to ensure that you get pictures that I’ll like?
You know, you are not alone. As many as HALF of our clients tell us this during their initial consultation! And as we take them on as clients and actually photograph them, what we find is that all they really need is a photographer who can help them relax, take their mind off of being photographed, make the photography experience fun and enjoyable, and, if more than one person is part of the portrait session, get all of you interacting, in order to capture your emotions and the relationship and love that you share. In fact, that’s what we’re known for – capturing emotions and relationships. In addition, we also take the time to understand what it is that you do or don’t like about photographs of yourself, so that we can make sure to use the most flattering camera angles and lighting to enhance the things that you love about how you look, and minimize the things you don’t.
Q: Are you a “natural light” photographer?
The most strikingly beautiful pictures are beautiful because of how the photographer used light. Natural light can be beautiful, but often, natural light isn’t coming from the right direction, or isn’t the right intensity or color, or is too harsh to meet our artistic vision. We believe in using all of the possible light sources at our disposal, which we mold and sculpt in order to create the most strikingly beautiful imagery, and most often, this is using a mix of artificial and natural light sources, both indoors and outdoors. Irene works with a lighting assistant for most outdoor portrait sessions. In fact, when people contact us for the first time, they often say that they were drawn to us because our photography looks “different,” with “depth” and “3-dimensionality.” The depth and 3-dimensionality in our photographs comes from our unique lighting style.
Q: Do you have a studio, or can we do our portrait session at our home or at an outdoor location?
Your portrait session can take place almost anywhere, whether it’s outdoors, indoors at our photography studio, or at your home, if an appropriate setting for photography. That said, not every possible location is as photogenic as the next one; we’ll help you select the most photogenic location for the look or feel that you envision. While our photography studio is located in Germantown-Clarksburg, Maryland, we service the Washington DC metro area, including Arlington, Annapolis, Baltimore, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Leesburg, and beyond. During your portrait planning/design meeting, we’ll talk about whether there’s a place that has special meaning to you or an activity that you enjoy doing together that you’d like to incorporate into your portrait session. We can talk about locations that you have in mind, and whether they’re appropriate for photography, or we can recommend locations to you. We like to take the time to get to know you so that we can understand your likes and dis-likes, and customize the perfect portrait experience!
Left and bottom center: At our studio in Germantown-Clarksburg, MD; top center: outdoors in Northern Virginia; right: at the client's home in Great Falls, Virginia
Q: Can you photograph different “groupings” of people during our portrait session?
That's the norm! Tell us about the “groupings” you want during your portrait consultation. We normally like to provide you with as much variety as possible, so, for example, during a family photography session with mom, dad, and children, we will typically photograph: a) the entire family together; b) mom and the kids; c) dad and the kids; d) the children together; e) each child individually; f) mom & dad; g) mom by herself; h) dad by herself. If you have other groupings in mind or a different vision for your family photo session, then let’s chat about that during your portrait consultation!
Q: What should we wear for our portrait session?
We’ll talk about clothing options at your portrait planning/design meeting, in parallel with where you’d like to hang these portraits in your home, and the decor and colors in the room(s). In addition, we have a “what to wear” guide that will be provided to you after you've booked your portrait session.
Q: When is the best time of year for a portrait session?
This all depends on you and and your preferences, the age of your children, and tolerance to heat/cold. Portrait sessions can take place at any time of the year, including in the winter and in the snow! It all depends on how you’d like your pictures to look and your availability. During your initial consultation, we’ll talk more about your vision, and we can help you decide the most appropriate time for what it is that you’re looking for.
Below, left to right: Summer, Fall, Winter
Q: Do you offer portrait packages?
Usually, when photography studios offer “packages,” each portrait package includes numerous prints of a very limited number of “poses,” so in the end, you find that you’ve purchased a lot of what you don’t want, and just a little of what you do want. We, on the other hand, want you to have exactly what you care about most! Therefore, all of our portrait pricing is a la carte to enable you to create a custom collection of heirloom artwork that meets your unique vision.
Q: What is your pricing for portrait photography?
Portrait photography planning/session fees for newborn sessions (up to 3 hrs) are $325; planning/session fees for maternity, babies, children, families, high school seniors, and couples are: $225 for a full 1-hr session OR $150 for a 30-minute studio session OR $100 for a 20-minute studio session. An additional fee applies for large groups over 5 people and pets for the 30-min and 1-hr sessions. Newborn sessions and full sessions include a complimentary in-person planning & design meeting prior to your photography session. The planning/session fee does not include prints or products, which are available on an a la carte basis. Our baby photography plan clients receive multi-session discounts.
Q: How far in advance should I book a portrait session?
Our schedule varies each week and at different times of the year. Ideally, portrait sessions should be booked up to three months in advance of the portrait session date, especially if you’re looking for a specific date or a weekend date, whereas newborn sessions should be booked as early as possible. Many of our newborn clients call us as soon as they find out that they’re expecting a baby!
Q: What is the process for booking a portrait photography session?
The first step is for us to have an initial telephone conversation (consultation) about what it is that you’re looking for, so that we can both determine if we’re a good fit for each other, and whether we can help you. If we then decide to work together, then for full maternity, newborn, family, senior portraits, and couple's/engagement photography sessions, we’ll set up a time for an in-person planning/design meeting, when we’ll brainstorm about creative ideas, themes, props, clothing, and locations, and discuss the type of custom artwork that you’d enjoy, and if you have a specific place in your home just waiting for the perfect portraits.