Senior Session FAQ
Senior Session FAQ: My goal is to answer all of your questions before you even know that you have them. So I decided to write a post about Senior Session FAQ’s. I racked my brain for a while to come up with all the questions I have heard over the last several years.
Why hire a professional photographer?
Why not just hire my friend who has a great camera? Everyone has a phone and everyone has a DSLR. Have you printed an image from your phone lately? Probably not. DSLR’s are amazing cameras, but just owning one does not make you a professional. While Uncle Bob can take some great photos, can he help tell you what outfits photograph the best? Can he recommend which poses will flatter your figure? Does he know how to make your eyes sparkle? Can he give you airbrush foundation? Can he edit your images to look like a cohesive set? Ok, so he can’t provide you with any of those things, and it’s time to realize you need a professional.
We do not do this just for fun (although we often think we have the best jobs in the world). At Valerie Ott Photography, we SPECIALISE in seniors, which means that we have to understand 16 year old girls! We have made it our jobs to become experts in making you shine. As a result, girls travel from all over to work with us. As far as Detroit and Chicago, girls will drive 3 hours!
And now with our travel packages, we have flown all over the world to photograph seniors.
You get what you pay for.
We have at least 2 to 3 girls each year that tell us that they got their pictures done by a friend or family member and they were not happy with the quality or outcome, so they come to us to get a professional session.
We believe that you get what you pay for, and while we may seem expensive to some, our quality is the best in West Michigan. This is not the kind of experience you get once a year, it’s more like once in a lifetime.
We only take a specific number of clients each month. Last year we turned away about 20 clients because we simply did not have room in our schedule to fit them all in. So, we would highly, highly recommend you book as early as you can! Don’t be surprised if you call us in June, you won’t be able to schedule your appointment until August. We are often scheduling 2 to 3 months out.
We even answer all your Senior Session FAQ’s in a convenient way.
What should I expect?
- Most of your questions answered before you even have your session.
- To put in a little work before your session. If you do it will pay off in the end!
- To feel like you are heard. It is about you.
- To feel like you have on a lot of makeup, even when if you asked for a simple look (Think of it as stage makeup.)
- To bring someone with you to your session. We need all hands on deck!
- About 4 weeks between your session and when you see the images at your ordering session.
What about editing the images?
I fully edit all the images to have a consistent look. You will notice that I like white whites. I like dark darks. Crisp color is my jam. I do not have to edit the skin very much, if at all, thanks to the airbrush make-up. If any imperfection does show, I edit it out, if necessary.
I also like a soft, feminine, lovely look, with a confident boldness. There are some images that speak to me and tell me they need something more. Those images may get an additional processing of my vintage edit. I sometimes show this style on my blog and social media. Maybe you choose me because of that soft, feminine look. Let me know if that is what you love, and I will apply it to a couple of your images.
There is nothing more classic than black and white images, so some of your images may get that treatment as well. There are some images that NEED that treatment, so you may not see it in color at all. I usually do not preserve the color edit if I feel it will look better in black and white. Trust that I know how to make the images be their best.
Since I do all the editing myself, it the primary reason there is so much time between your session and when you see the the images at the ordering session. Not only do I edit every image, but then I compare them to one another to make sure they are all consistent. That takes precision.
How do I book a session?
Send me an email and I will give you a link to a portrait agreement. I need you and a parent to complete it digitally and submit it online. Along with the portrait agreement, you need to pay the session fee. I can not get you on the calendar until both of these steps are completed.
Can I bring a friend to my session?
I highly, highly encourage you to bring someone with you to your session. It is fun to sit and have girl-time during the hair and make-up portion. I would recommend that you bring someone who will make you laugh and have fun along with you. I will almost always put this person to work during the shooting portion, so I would recommend this person wear tennis shoes. This person will not be included in the photographs.
Can I bring a pet to my session?
Sure. I have photographed dogs, a cat, horses, bunnies, and baby ducks. Just make sure that you arrange this ahead of time. Please understand that I can not pose animals. They don’t listen well. Don’t expect your animal to be looking at the camera in every picture. Don’t expect your animal to be well behaved, because they never are. Just lower your expectations about animals.
How long will it take to get my order?
It depends on what you order. Prints and digital images take about 3 weeks. Metal prints take about 4 weeks. Albums may take up to 4 weeks. A general rule is, if there is design work, plan on it taking longer.
Is there a minimum purchase requirement?
All session have a minimum purchase requirement. There is a $500 minimum purchase requirement. You may purchase any collection or a’la carte items to achieve that minimum.
Just to be clear, no products, prints or digital images are included in the session fee. The session fee covers the time it takes to prep, shoot and edit, as well a covering the cost of the team hours.
You will see all your images at your ordering session, where you will make a purchase.
How can I make a payment?
I accept PayPal, cash, checks and credit cards. The session fee is due at the time of booking, and the payment for hair and make-up is due at the session.
The minimum order requirement is due one week before the session.
Payment for products are due at the ordering session. Payment plans are available for the ordering session.
I don’t see any weekend dates available. Can I have a session on a Saturday?
Weekends are very, very hard to arrange because this is our full time job, so if we work all week and you need an appointment on a Saturday that means that we are working overtime to accommodate you. Saturday’s can be available for Valerie and Siera, however Sarah does styling for weddings and is generally not available on weekends. The charge for a Saturday session will be double the original cost. Sundays will be triple the original cost.
Do you provide clothes for the session?
You will provide your own clothes. However, for a fee, our stylist Sarah Major can style your wardrobe and recommend purchases or even make purchases for you. Please send me a text if you are interested in styling by Sarah Major.
What if it rains on my session date?
I always build “rain-makeup-dates” in my schedule every week to accommodate Michigan’s unpredictable weather. I will never cancel a session the day a session before because of the forecast. The forecast has been wrong too many times for me to bank on it. I will cancel within an hour of your session unless I am 100% certain the weather will not get better.
I will not photograph outside in the rain because I do not want ruin my equipement. Your hair will not be attractive. Your makeup may smudge. The raindrops will leave marks on your clothes. The raindrops will make the image blurry in some places. Let’s reschedule to avoid all of these things.
What if I get sick on my session date?
Well that would suck because I know you will be excited about your session. If you are truly sick, then let’s reschedule. You have ONE opportunity to reschedule before you lose your session fee. Rescheduling a second time is not an option. Reasons NOT to reschedule are if you:
- Woke up with a giant pimple. Photoshop, baby.
- Got your period. I will send you a period meme and commiserate with you.
- Have nothing to wear. I got you.
- Got into a fight with your boyfriend. Bring peanut butter (for me) and chocolate (for you) and let’s chat about it.
Is there anything I missed? Did this answer all of your Senior Session FAQ’s? You can definitely message me if you have question that is not on this list! Until then, Bee Sweet!
Props provided by UpStage Kzoo.