So how does this all work? - If you've never contacted a professional photographer before, you could be forgiven for being totally confused by the whole process. The questions you might have are: Who decides what type of photos we shoot? How much does it cost? What do I get for my money? Are there any guarantees? What are my options? Well let me try and clarify at least from my perspective.
Is this going to be expensive? - I am a professional - therefore there is an intention for me to make a living at this venture. So, just like any other professional, time is money and nothing is free. No wait - I'm not looking for sympathy but let me bore you with a little statistic that most other photographers would confirm - for every hour spent shooting with the camera, there is probably at least 5 hours spent on selecting, editing and preparing the final quality work. So if you only look at the cost in terms of time in front of the camera it may sound like a lot, but that is not how I would calculate my hourly rate. So with that in mind, let me see if I can answer some of your questions.
How long does a session take? - I usually say to allow 3 hrs for a full session - of which perhaps half to two-thirds will actually be in front of the camera. I usually plan for some chat at the beginning so we are clear on our objectives and parameters (even though we may ad-lib as we choose too).
Do I get my photos the same day? - No. There is a multi-step process here and no photos or images will be available on the day. Yes it is all digital these days, but I shoot in what's called "raw format" - think of it in terms of digital negatives - which means I get higher quality images but they require processing before I can hand them over. No reputable photographer should just hand over unprocessed images.
What size prints will I get?- Well let's clarify that now, there are no prints as such. What I agree to provide is digital processed/edited images. Since so many people make more use of images online these days, it makes sense to focus on that. The processed images will be available online for download but I will also burn them to a DVD for you (typically you will come back and collect that a week or two later). I provide large and small versions of each image so you don't have to resize them yourself.
But if you do want real prints, you will have two options. (1) Take the DVD of images to anywhere that allows you to print your own photos (Fred Meyer, RiteAid, Costco etc.) and select and print whatever you want; or (2) order prints in a variety of sizes from the affiliate services on my website. This printing service is provided by a 3rd party and I cannot take responsibility for their services - however, I have sampled from them using my own images and received excellent quality prints up to 24x36". Their prices are comparable to many other stores.
Most of your models seem to be wearing skimpy clothes (or less!) - Well that's true. Most of my published images are of professional models who used my services to help enhance their portfolios. However, I cater to all types of people and all types of session. It really is all about what you want to shoot. So no, you don't have to take your clothes off - honest! I especially want to do more work for business professionals, couples, seniors, social sites etc.
Do you come to my house for the photos? - Typically, I prefer to work in my home studio for two reasons. Firstly, it means I don't have to continually pack and unpack my equipment (I often use a full size backdrop system and up to 4 softbox lights). Secondly, there are too many variables in shooting in someone's home in terms of lighting, space etc. You will get better results if I work in a known, controlled environment. I do sometimes do some outdoor shoots even when you book a home studio session (we usually just outside at the end of the session for some variety) - but it always depends on the time of day and weather conditions.
Suppose I'm not very photogenic? - Well don't let the models' images fool you - not all of them are naturally photogenic! (No offense to any models I've worked with). It's all about working with what you have and together we aim to capture the best of you.
But what about this photoshopping I hear about? - As you probably realize, virtually every photo you see online or in a magazine has been edited to some extent. There is no such thing really as a straight photo - your camera is already changing things before you even see the initial image. Also, cameras do lie - at least they don't give the same impression as the human eye. Our eyes compensate for bad lighting, uneven skintones, non-symmetrical faces etc. What we see in real-life is no more real than a photoshopped image. So what I strive to do is correct the things that a camera does that makes us look worse - I fix lighting, smooth skin, diminish the more obvious imperfections. In short, I try to make you look like you'd look on your best day in the best of circumstances. What I don't do is make you look like someone else. If you want an image of Michelle Pfeiffer, I'm sure you can download them from the internet.
My short answer is, "I'm a Photographer not a Magician!". But yes, I can take a few years off without too much trouble ok?
How much is this going to cost then? - My prices are listed either on my website or on whatever ad you followed to get here. Bascially what you see is a session price - which includes the preparation, the shooting, the selection, editing, processing, uploading and burning of the DVD. I also invite you back to review the DVD if you choose (for maybe 15/30 mins) - it's all part of the service. I want to make sure you walk away satisfied, and be so happy that you will want to recommend me to all your friends.
And how many images will I get? - That is very dependent on how many shots we take, but it's not unusual for me to shoot 300 shots in an hour. Of those maybe 1 in 5 will be usable to some extent (throwing away the out of focus, awful light, bad pose, blinking etc. shots). Those unedited ones will be available online within a few days and you will be able to select maybe 20 to 30 or so of those as your favorites. I will reserve the right to substitute to nearest similar shot if one you select proves not to be usable (when I actually look in detail). You will end up with between 20 and 40 edited images. That may not sound a lot out of hundreds, but bear in mind there will be a lot of duplication in those initial shots and also that each image may take 5 to 15 mins of editing - that adds up to many hours of editing in total.
So do we just shoot straight for 2 hours then? - No, I think we'd both collapse long before then. I shoot what I call individual 'setups'. Each setup may be a different set of clothing, props, lighting. We will shoot whatever we can for each setup - typical 5 to 10 mins, then take a break and get ready for the next setup (change your clothes, reset lights, maybe upload some shots to preview). We will likely do 6 to 10 setups in a session depending on time. That way you will get a good variety of shots from one session.
So I heard that some people get these sessions for free? - Well that's true - I sometimes do what's called a TFCD shoot. But that's a special situation and only usually provided to other professionals (models). They give their time for free and I give my services for free. What we shoot is mutually agreed and intend to enhance both our portfolios. If you are an experienced or aspiring model - that may be possible but typically that's not available too often. Remember, you've come to a professional - and I have to cover my costs at least!
So who decides what we shoot? - You are the paying customer - it's your shoot - your choices. Our agreement will agree which images I can use in my portfolio if I choose (for non-commercial promotion only). So for instance - if you really want to shoot lots of boudoir we will discuss whether they are to remanin strictly private or not. If on the other hand, we come up with things I'd really like to use - maybe I'll give a big discount. But in general, whoever pays for the shoot sets the style and direction. I will always be full of advice - I want you to look good, and in turn want my name associated with good images. I will always reserve the right not to release any images if they do not meet a minimum quality level. I'd rather refund your money and write-off my efforts than release sub-standard work.
So how do we get started? - By contacting me directly - either email or phone and let's discuss what you want. I am very easy-going and a very good listener. Let's create some wonderful images together!
~~~ Ian ~~~