Q: How do I schedule a session?
A: After you complete the contact form on my website, I will contact you with my current pricing and available dates. If you are booking in advance for an upcoming baby, then I’ll let you know if I have enough availability around your estimated due date. It helps to book in advance, but I do sometimes have last minute available openings, so feel free to check my availability at any time. After choosing which portrait package you want, I’ll send you an invoice for payment, which confirms booking of your session. No sessions are confirmed until invoice is paid.
Q: Why do I have to pay in advance to get on the schedule?
A: I get a lot of inquiries and talk to many clients. After many years in this business, I have found that requiring full payment upfront in order to schedule is the best way for me to have an accurate calendar and not have to follow up with anyone on payments or confirming. It just makes life easier and lets me focus on what’s important to me, which is the actual photography.
Q: What should I expect at my maternity session?
A: Maternity sessions are usually scheduled for when you are around 30 weeks pregnant. That is the time where most moms really look pregnant, but it’s not that close to the end of pregnancy where you might be starting to get super tired and achy. Of course we can schedule your maternity session at any time, so don’t worry if that time frame is not possible, that’s just the sweet spot to hopefully make it most comfortable for you, but they can be scheduled at any time you choose. For these sessions, they will take 1-2 hours, depending on the location you choose and how many dress changes you decide to do. We can do these sessions inside my studio or outside at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve.
Q: What should I expect at my newborn session?
A: Newborn sessions can take 3 or more hours. My typical workflow is: Family shots: mom/baby, dad/baby, siblings/baby, everyone together. Then, baby only poses will consist of classic poses on fabric, using a few outfits and bonnets or headbands for girls, then a few setups with props, usually flowers for girl, and then using props like a bucket, wooden bed, bowl or fur. Feel free to bring grandparents too for some shots with their new grandchild!
Q: Do you have outfits available for sessions?
A: For maternity sessions, I have maternity gowns that you are welcome to wear, or you can bring your own. For inside maternity, we can do a few outfit changes. For outside maternity, only 1 gown can be worn. For newborn sessions, I provide all the outfits and props for babies. I also have a small amount of girl sibling dresses from sizes 1-8, but they are limited, so if you have a big sister coming, bring something you like for her to wear in case I do not have something that works for you. At this time, I don’t have any outfits for big brothers. Also for newborn sessions, moms are welcome to wear one of the maternity gowns for the mother/baby portrait. They are all stretchy gowns and are pretty for maternity or non-maternity.
Q: Do you do outside sessions or only in the studio?
A: I do all newborn sessions in the studio. For maternity sessions, I can do them in the studio only or we can do both locations: in studio and outside at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. If you want to do your maternity at both places (studio & outside) I will do that if you purchase the 15 image package. The smaller packages will only include a studio maternity session. If we do that, I will choose the time of the session based on when the sun is setting and we’ll choose a time where we can do the studio portion inside first, and then drive to the nature preserve right after and get the outside images an hour before sunset. I only go to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve for outside sessions, because it is close by and it is so big, there is plenty of variety in foliage, etc. I do not go to new locations. I also don’t do sessions at people’s homes or anywhere else. I try to be consistent in my work so it’s important to not always be trying out a new location for my style of work.
Q: Can I bring my own props or ideas for our session?
A: Yes. If you have any special props or sentimental items that you want included in your photos, feel free to bring them but let me know in advance what you are bringing and how you want it used. If there is a pose or setup that is important to you, let me know and we will do it first, so that I know it gets done. Also note that even if you bring other ideas to me, they will be done in my style, because I can’t copy other photographer’s work exactly, I will have to put my own spin on it, so just be gracious and know that it might not look exactly as you imagine, but just discuss it with me and I’ll do my best to create it how you like. If you have specific ideas, it is possible that we will spend more time on those things and not have as much time for the other classic posing that I do. Also know that you do NOT have to have any ideas or preferences. You can just come and relax and know that I will create beautiful images for you and they will follow the style that you see on my website.
Q: What should I bring to our session?
A: Please bring any food or drinks that you need for a longer session time. Maternity sessions can be 1-2 hours, depending on if we only do a studio session or if we also go outside to the park. Newborn sessions can be 3+ hours so please prepare for that time frame. New moms need more food and water as they are recovering, so just remember that as you plan for your session. Besides the obvious diapers and bottles/milk etc for baby, the most important thing for you to bring for baby is a pacifier. Even if baby is not using one or you don’t want them to use it normally, it helps me a lot to help them relax while I am posing them. There are some poses, like the froggy or head-on-hands in a bucket pose, that I really cannot do if I don’t have a pacifier to soothe them. They have to relax and settle down into the pose before I can even take a shot, so that helps a lot. I understand if you are against pacifiers, that is totally okay, I will just not do those more difficult poses and we’ll stick to more classic wrapped baby setups, which is still beautiful and absolutely fine, just let me know.
Q: Do I get to choose what images I want to buy?
A: Yes. After your session, within the next few days (sometimes it is that evening or it might be in the next 2-3 days), I will send you a viewing gallery online that will show all the images from your session. They will be unedited/raw with NO retouching done. (I do not edit anything until you choose the images you want.) You will be able to go through all the images at your leisure and choose your favorites. There will be a little heart icon next to each image and you just click on that icon to add the image to your favorites list. When you have completed your list, there will be a prompt to send it to me, so I know you are done. Usually I respond by email to confirm that I got your list and to make sure it is your final choices. (Because sometimes clients accidentally send me a list and they didn’t mean to send it yet.) If you don’t hear from me, feel free to email the next day to make sure I got it, but usually I get an emailed notification that the list has been completed. After I get your list, I will add you to my client list to be edited next. I edit client photos in the order that I receive their lists. I do all the editing/retouching myself. Sometimes I have to complete a few other sessions before I can start on yours. This will all be communicated to you at the time, so you know when to expect to receive the finished images. Typically, it takes me a few days to get your edits back to you. Sometimes, at the most it could take me 2 weeks if I am very busy, but that’s not normal. I will be in touch as I go so you aren’t wondering what’s happening and you can always email me to check.
Q: What if I want more images than I originally paid for?
A: You can always purchase additional images when you are picking your favorites. I will take a lot of photos, so there will always be a lot to choose from after the session. Additional images are $40 each.
Q: Do you only have those 3 portrait packages?
A: Yes. For any type of session, I sell according to the number of images you choose. I want my pricing to be simple and straightforward. There is nothing hidden. All pricing is exactly as stated on my price list with the required TX sales tax of 8.25% added. The only additional fee would be if you choose later to buy more images than you paid for in advance and that is up to you.
Q: Do you give out raw/unedited images?
A: No. A raw/unedited image is an incomplete photo. It’s like a painting that is only half done. It’s not an accurate representation of a photographer’s work. You can probably imagine that a photographer would be embarrassed to see an unedited image of theirs online shown to the world, because others would not know that it is an incomplete portrait and it would not show their work in its best form. Professional retouching takes a lot of time and skill. It took me years to study and practice and learn how to edit my images so that they are flawless enough to be printed in a magazine. So, my raw images are only half of the story. I hope that makes sense. Feel free to ask me more about this if you are interested.
Q: What is your background?
A: I started photography as a hobby when I was a teenager. I went to college for finance in 2001, but also took film photography classes on the side. So, I started in film and using an old-fashioned darkroom to develop real prints! Obviously I switched to digital later on with DSLR and got really good with Photoshop and manipulating my images. I worked in corporate finance for a few years, but knew it wasn’t for me. I started my photography business with family sessions, like most photographers. I always loved babies and eventually when I learned about the newborn photography niche, I was hooked. This was my favorite. I loved babies in general and loved how I could style the sessions and make them unique so that in the niche I’ve stayed in. I also love studio work, because I can control the lighting and it doesn’t matter what the weather is, it’s always consistent. I’ve since had 4 kids of my own (all girls) and loved photographing each of them. Other interesting things about me: I played piano and was a singer and I also was in the US Army for 8 years.
Q: Can you make me look thinner, taller, shorter, happier, etc?
A: Photoshop is a magical tool. You can do so many things with it. Even though it is powerful, I want my images to be natural. I want people to feel like themselves, but feel like they are their best self in their images. I will direct your posing so that you look tall and straight and don’t have a double chin. I’ll try to smooth hair and clothing/fabric while we take the image. Those are the main things. So, I’ll tell you things like turn your head straight to me, or regularly I will say to stick your chin straight out because that is the magical way to get rid of a double chin. It will not look weird in the photo. It might feel weird as you are posing, but you’ll be happier with the result. After I attempt all the right posing, when I get the image into Photoshop, I will smooth all skin, remove any bumps or blemishes, correct color or tones, if there are any lumps in dresses or hair, I will smooth that down. I’ll try to just refine the edges so that you look polished but still natural. If you have any editing requests, feel free to ask me, as long as they are reasonable and we can discuss it further.