What is a standard portrait session?
Everyone has different needs from the images out of their shoot, and I understand that. My goal is to get you precisely the images you want, and because of that not everyone's photoshoot will look the same. To get you a rough idea of what to start with and an initial price point I provide information on a simple studio portrait session, but please, don't feel confined to this style of shoot. If you have ideas for something different I'd be happy to figure out a way to make it happen and can adjust a price estimate accordingly.
A studio session with me typically lasts around 1.5 hrs, which provides me more than enough time to capture a range of fantastic portraits. That provides time for approximately two outfit changes, a backdrop change, and a lighting change. I don't like to "hard cap" my photo sessions, so we may well end up shooting for longer, but if you want a large variety of backdrops or lighting styles, or want to shoot an entire wardrobe collection we'll need more time than a standard session, which I'd be happy to account for in an estimate.
Studio sessions with me are very low-key. Typically it's just me and you, (with possibly one assistant). We play some music and take our time to chat, get you comfortable in front of the camera, and make some amazing portraits.
How many images do I get?
I typically include five fully-retouched, high-resolution digital files in a standard estimate, but if you know how many images you need I will adjust for that in the estimate. I find five to be a good number for most clients.
After the shoot I send you a gallery with a generous selection of images from the shoot and you get to choose your favorites. If you decide you want more images from your preview gallery than we accounted for in your estimate you are welcome to purchase à la carte images at the rate given in your estimate.
Can I have the non-retouched photos from the
shoot for free?
No, I do not give away digital photos from the shoot, even if you don't want retouching. I strongly recommend retouching for your portraits. I emphasize quality over quantity in every aspect of my work and consider retouching to be an essential part of creating a finished product. From my experience, a handful of the highest quality images is typically more than enough for most of my clients' functional uses, but while I prefer to release fully-completed images, I understand if you are excited about the photos and want to have access to more without paying a retouching fee. If you insist on having additional images but don't want to pay for retouching please inquire about rates.
Where is your studio?
I rent out space from a number of different studios in the city, depending on what is available. Most of these studios are located in the East Williamsburg/Bushwick area of Brooklyn. Depending on the reservation policies and booking fees at an available studio I may require an upfront fee to hold your session date.
Can you do a studio session in my home or business?
Of course! Unlike many NY photographers who rely on a studio for their lighting, I stock a full set of lights, backdrops, and other production equipment needed to bring a shoot to you. Depending on how much equipment I need to bring I will likely need you to cover my Uber and possibly an extra assistant, so I like to estimate these jobs based on the scope of the project.
The biggest factors to consider with using your personal space are size and backdrop diversity. Full-length portraits require a lot of space and tall ceilings in order to get the camera and lights into the right positions. If you have an exceptionally large space with lofted ceilings this might be possible, but most standard offices are better suited for half-length portraits to headshots. And while the studios I rent typically come stocked with a diversity of background paper colors, for a shoot on-location backdrop decisions must be made ahead of time and may be subject to additional purchase fees.
What should I bring to my session?
A your clothing changes (plus maybe a few extra options) and your favorite playlist.
Can I do my own hair and makeup?
Yes, but I recommend you go to the professionals. If you're more comfortably doing your own hair and makeup and want to go that route, come to the shoot already prepared. People typically get nervous about the camera capturing their flaws and put on more makeup before a photoshoot, but this is the exact opposite of what you should do. All of your portraits will be fully retouched, and blemishes are easier to remove when not obscured by too much makeup, so go light.
Hair is especially important to get right. Considering the time and financial investment of a photoshoot it would be a shame to have the images spoiled by a bad hair day, so it's worth spending the extra for a professional. I sometimes partner with an affordable hair stylist who can do your hair ahead of time and be on-set during the shoot for touchups. If this is something that interests you, please inquire and I will check for availbility and pass along rates.
Do you have wardrobe recommendations?
Ultimately for a portrait your wardrobe is part of who you are, so I don't want you to show up in something you would never wear, but there are a few rules of thumb for styling a quality portrait. My philosophy is that for portraiture, in contrast with fashion photography, clothing should call as little attention to itself as possible. Simple textures and solid colors accomplish this. Avoid bold flashy patterns and, in general, heavily saturated colors. (My personal exception to this is red. I love bright, saturated reds.) A range of options from light to dark is useful to have available.
Try to show up to the shoot with your clothing as clean and wrinkle-free as possible. At most photo studios there are steamers to get out minor wrinkles (I'll be sure to let you know in advance if there won't be), but we don't want to waste valuable shoot time fixing wrinkly clothing.
I have an idea of what I'm looking for based on other images I've seen. Can I send you reference images?
Communication is key to a successful shoot, especially if you have a narrow vision for what you're looking for. Anything you can do to communicate that vision to me is appreciated. If you send me references to my own images that gives me the most context, but any photographer's images will work. If you do send reference images, try to say specifically what you like about each image and make sure the collection has as narrow a focus as possible.
If you don't have a definite vision that's ok too. We can capture a variety of looks and have some room for experimentation, which often leads to some of the best photographs. I love experimenting at a portrait session and finding the perfect light for you, so if you only have minimal input, rest assured you'll still look amazing.
How do I keep my images safe?
I'm glad you asked! You should always follow the best data management and backup practices to ensure the long-term safety of your photos (not to mention your other important data). If you don't already have a robust backup system in place, make sure that the images are saved to at least three places. I recommend keeping one copy on your computer's internal drive, one on a flash drive or external hard drive, and one to a cloud-based storage solution like Dropbox. Another way to ensure your portraits survive decades: make prints.
Do you offer printing services?
I'm most passionate when I'm behind the camera making portraits and I've found that making prints takes too much time away from what I love about photography. I typically do not offer printing as a service, but I do believe that it is important that photos be printed. I am happy to recommend several high quality printing labs in the city.
How long will it take to get my final images?
Turnaround times vary greatly depending on my current workload, as I like to do all of my own retouching in-house to assure the highest quality and consistency. After the shoot you can expect previews within a week, after which you make your selects (typically within a week) and then retouching takes between 1-3 weeks. Quality retouching takes time. The whole process might take between 2-5 weeks after your shoot date before you have the final images. If you are working with any special deadlines please let me know and I can try to expedite the schedule depending on your needs.
How much retouching will you do?
My portrait lighting makes you look amazing without any retouching, but to compete in a world increasingly saturated with high-quality photography, even the best of us could us a little help in photoshop. Retouching is a delicate art in which I try to walk the line between making you look fantastic and hiding the fact that I've done any retouching at all. I try to keep things very natural and only remove temporary blemishes and lessen the impact of minor flaws. I make you look your best while still looking like you. I also seamlessly correct flaws in the backdrop, fix hair, and smooth out that wrinkle in your suit that's really cramping you style. Take a peek at over an hour of retouching compressed into about a minute long video: