The Portrait Session…
Why custom portraiture? Why not mass market photography? Why a specialist?
These are actually very simple questions to answer.
Custom portraiture ensures you and/or your family will have a beautiful portrait specific to your tastes and in a location of your choosing. Your beautiful home, a vacation home, your boat, a special park or hiking trail, a favored fishing or camping spot… The list is endless. Imagine your family portrait in such a special place. Each time you view your portrait, you’ll feel a joy of family, and memories of a very enjoyable location.
Our clocks only move forward. Our babies grow UP, we all AGE, and when when loved ones are lost, only your memories and portraits remain. A portrait keeps a memory alive in a way our brain can never achieve. Portraits are to the eye, what love is to the heart.
Only a custom portrait artist will take the time to execute the necessary research, planning and prep work to ensure you have an amazing portrait. Big box photographers will not travel outside the store, they aren’t focused on classic training or heirloom quality. Retail photography, when compared to custom portraiture, is the photographic equivalent of fast food in comparison to a wonderful fine meal. There is a time for everything, but you aren’t at the drive through window on Thanksgiving or Easter, picking up dinner in a paper sack.
Relationships, preparation, planning, and serious knowledge are the key to successfully creating amazing portraits. When creating portraiture on location, I take the extra time necessary to be sure I am knowledgeable about the destination. This attention to detail ensures my portraits will portray a unique vision, and pose little impact to my clients.
I meet ALL clients prior to our sessions, except where the group will be large, and some are from outside the area making it impossible. Additionally, I bring an assistant to sessions, as well as backup equipment (just in case we need any extra lighting, or experience equipment failure – can’t be too careful).
As an artist, I do not “shoot.” I take the time to think through, to plan, and create portraits, not pictures. There is a difference between creating a portrait, and taking a picture. I am a portraiture specialist, and passionate about my craft. Serious planning, extensive thought and research are a part of each portrait, regardless of whether the subject is one or many, animal or human.
If you’re busy, have kids, etc. I’m happy to have coffee, come to the house, sit with you on the sidelines of a soccer game, or poolside at the YMCA for our consultation. My promise is to create a custom piece of art that will absolutely thrill you, or your money will be refunded with no questions asked.
Consultation & Planning:
We will meet for a no cost consultation. This is the time we become better acquainted, and I can discuover your true vision over a cup of coffee or tea (or whatever). The visit lasts approximately half an hour to an hour, and while we become acquainted, we will cover the following types of questions, which will also help me iplan your session:
- Purpose- Is the intention of this portrait to be a gift, to hang in your home, or both?
- Location - Where would you like your portrait setting to occur? Is there a special place – something that really speaks of you or your family? (If you’re unsure, I have a TON of ideas!)
- Products and Services – I present my product lists and samples. We discuss appropriate sizes for the final portraits, and prices. We may need to visit your home and view the wall where you’ll display your portraits to measure and determine the most appropriate size. I promise you there will be NO high pressure sales. NONE. The home visit will last approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
- Past Experiences - Tell me about your past experiences having a portrait made. What did you like? What did you not like? Why? Do you have reservations about any aspect of the session? How do you feel about having your portrait made? If you’re nervous, don’t worry. We’ll be so busy having fun, you’ll never think twice about it!
- Pets - Would you like your pets included in the portrait, or would you like portraits of your furry (or feathered/scaled) family members? It’s important to understand any fears or naughty habits your pet may have. This allows me to be properly prepared.
- Display Location - Where will you display your portraits? In your office, home, or both? Knowing where the final portrait(s) will be hang is paramount to ensuring the PERFECT image is captured for the perfect place in the home or office.
- Clothing - We’ll discuss wardrobe. Don’t worry, you won’t end up in matching uniforms. Your style is as much a part of you as your voice, your laugh, or personality. It’s important to know, especially for family portraits, because color harmony in your garments allows a contrast that will naturally draw the eye to your family or group in a portrait session, not the clothing.
- Meet the Family/Pets - For family portraits, after the initial meeting, I prefer to have a second consultation in your home to meet your family. During this time, we’ll spend a quick half hour, I can meet everyone (so I am not a complete stranger when we conduct the session).
- Portrait Session – I am not a clock watcher… When I work with an individual, family, or pet(s), I work until we achieve success, and I also respect your time, as well as mine.
When working with children, or older family members, it is very important that the portrait session is smooth. Some family members will move quickly, some not so quickly, and some may never stop moving. It’s important my clients not feel rushed, or pressured because children are being children. Children get fidgety, older members tire quickly, and pets, well, pets are pets. This is one of the main reasons I am careful to have visited and know the area where we’ll have our session, whether a park or home. My quick home visit may involve me photographing the locations to use for the portrait (fireplace hearth, staircase, front porch) to help me with planning.
Once I have seen the location, I can give a very accurate estimate of the amount of time to expect for our portrait session.
For family portraits, we’ll create the main portrait. After that, I like to have “break out sessions”. In other words, I’ll group the kids together for one portrait, then create the individual portraits, have Mom & Dad together, and alone. This creates a multitude of options for the family, and also for gifts. Men love having a beautiful portrait of their wives and family, and Grandparents love having those family and individual portraits of the grandchildren, or kids as a group. The options are limitless.
Don’t be afraid to reschedule due to illness or the infamous Washington weather.
Proofing Session = The portrait session will be fun, however, the proofing session is going to knock your socks off! This is my favorite time!!! (Though I reeeeallly enjoy the sessions!)
The proofing session allows us to sit down, and enjoy a slideshow presentation of your proofs, after which we will review each image one at a time with a “keep/toss” selection process to narrow down the final images.
I will arrive at your home with my laptop and digital projector. This is a very quick and easy setup. Be sure to invite Grandma and Grandpa if you’d like! Make a party of it! We will spend about an hour in this process, sometimes more, sometimes less. As we review the portrait proofs, you may ask all the questions you’d like about retouching, etc. I can quickly adjust portraits to show dimensions as a final piece.
You’ll determine if the proof is a yes (keeper) or a no (toss) or a maybe. We’ll review all the maybes and determine their status (yes/no). When we’re through, we’ll review the “yes” proofs one last time. This process does not take a long time. Once we’ve sorted and your final portrait choices are ready for selection, we work to determine your primary portrait, and any others you may have on your list. I’ve created a checklist you can download, to make sure you don’t forget anyone!
Once selections are made, the order will be created. Payment is due upon ordering for all portraits, with payment options available.
Custom framing is available at a very competitive rate, allowing your family portrait to arrive framed and ready to hang.
My offered frames are from a company with over one hundred years of framing experience, an industry leader. These are top of the line, heirloom quality, solid hardwood frames assembled by master framers. I am so sure you’ll be thrilled with your frame I’ll happily replace the frame if you don’t like it – no questions asked. We can view frame samples, and if there’s something in the catalog you’d prefer, a frame sample can be ordered easily.
I’ve ordered my portrait(s), when do they arrive? How do I get them?
I will personally deliver your final pieces to the home for inspection and approval. From the time you select your portrait, to the time of delivery ( including custom framing), expect four to six weeks.
Will I receive printed proofs, or an online gallery? May I purchase my portraits on disk?
As an artist, I value my work, knowing that every piece of it leaving my studio is representative of the quality and beauty of my talent, education, dedication to clients and the industry – everything I stand for!
- Paper Proofs - Paper proofs are available for an additional fee only for weddings and large family portraits (where multiple families are involved in the same image).
- Online Gallery - For large family groups (reunions, etc.) where the family is not in the immediate area, an online gallery may be arranged in advance for a setup fee. The gallery will be available online for seven days. If the gallery is requested again, a 75.00 fee is charged to reload the gallery.
- Delivery – Orders will be delivered to the primary client, and may also be drop shipped to remote family members.
- CDs - Preservation files (full resolution) may be purchased on CD for any prints ordered.
What locations do you suggest?
Where are you happiest? What is your favorite place, what are your hobbies? Are you/your family happiest with your RV and motorcycles camping somewhere? Do you have a vacation home? Is the lake your favorite spot? Have you ever considered a portrait at Mt. Rainier, or Hurricane Ridge? We can easily work together to find a beautiful location, or incorporate a special location or activity into your portrait.
Will you travel?
Yes. I am available for travel outside of Washington State. Depending on the location, additional travel and lodging fees will be applied as necessary. Cost will be calculated and discussed in advance, and added to your session fee. For out of the area locations, all travel costs and session fees are due one month prior to the appointment. If travel is requested outside the U.S., all fees are due two months prior to the event/session. Travel fees are non-refundable.
Thanks again for visiting!