What is the anatomy of a session? What goes into your session? What does having a custom photography session entail? These are just some of the questions I get asked frequently, so I thought that I would share with you how my sessions are handled, so you can get a better idea of what to expect. A side note here… events, military/first responder photos are handled differently as they do not require a deposit and their sessions are considerably different than those of a traditional session. Looking for our prices? Check out the Investment Page.
Step 1: First Contact
You have contacted me about having a custom portrait session. We will set up a pre-consult to go over everything pertaining to your session.
Step 2: The Pre-Consult
The pre-consult lasts roughly 30 minutes, and although I do prefer to meet in person, this can be done over the phone if you are out of town. During your pre-consult, I will get to know you (and your family, if this is a family session) so I can customize your session just for you. We will go over the portrait agreement which outlines the entire process and have you sign it. During this time we will also book your session and you will pay your retainer which is required in order to reserve the session date. Session slots are not reserved until the portrait agreement has been signed and the retainer made. If we are doing the pre-consult by phone, your session will only be held for 48 hours which will allow you time to sign the portrait agreement and have it returned to me as well as make your retainer. Portrait agreements and retainers may either be dropped off or mailed. I can also take your deposit over the phone via credit card or via paypal. At this time, we will also set up your appointment for your reveal session.
Step 3: Preparing for the session
This doesn’t really pertain to you as the client. I spend about an hour before the session going over everything that makes you and your family unique as well as scout locations that will be a perfect fit for your family (unless you have a certain location in mind). I gather props to bring as well as all the equipment I will need. Once I have a location, you will be sent a session reminder email with the session date, time, and location. I also spend this time entering your information into my database and other boring “office stuff”.
Step 4: The Session
Your session will be held and typically lasts about an hour. If children are involved, I prefer to shoot the family first, then the children, then you and your significant other (as a couple) if it pertains to you. Once I have all the images I need, we will pack up and your session is over. Once I make it back to the office, I spend about 30 minutes uploading them to my computer and backing them up to 2 different locations.
Step 5: Editing
I spend several hours editing your photos and deleting the ones that have eyes closed, kids screaming, parents messing with the kids instead of looking at the camera, boogers hanging out of noses, eyes crossed, you get my point =)
Step 6: Reveal Appointment
Within 3 weeks of your session, you will have your ordering appointment. During this appointment, you are able to see all your images in their outstanding and fabulous glory! You get to choose your favorites and we’ll collaborate to find the proper sizing and presentation for your wall portraits. I will go over all the different products we offer and you can place your order. The ordering appointment typically lasts about an hour. I have samples of everything, so you can touch and handle them instead of just looking in a catalog. If you purchased an online gallery, I will set up your user account and set your gallery to “active” which will allow you to share your gallery with friends and family immediately upon leaving.
Step 7: Final Touches & Placing Order
I spend about an hour going through the images you have ordered (to make sure they are perfect before placing the order) as well as placing your order. Once the images meet my satisfaction and high standard, I place your order with my professional lab. Your order is typically ready to be picked up within 1 week from the date you ordered (depending on what was ordered) if you paid in full at the time of ordering, or on the day your final payment is received (if you chose to use our payment plan). Please note that albums and large canvas require more editing time and printing time (there is no extra charge for this).
Step 8: Order Pickup
I contact you to let you know your order is ready for pickup and we schedule a time for you to come pick it up at your convenience =)
Step 9: Blog Post
Assuming you signed a model release, I may choose to blog about your session and/or post some of the images from your session on social media. I never do this before your reveal session, as I want you to be the first one (other than me of course) to see your images!
Step 10: Session Complete
After your order has been picked up, I do more boring office stuff (hey I would rather be behind the camera, than behind a computer) like finishing up paperwork, accounting, and filing away your client folder. This completes the session!
As you can see, a lot more goes into a session than just me taking some photos. Your 1-hour long session typically takes me about 8 hours from start to finish. Ahhh but I love what I do =) To me you are not just a client, but a part of my family, which is why it’s so important to get to know you as a person and as a family unit!