I look forward to talking with each of you individually about the look and feel of your upcoming sessions. But in the meantime, here are answers to a few of the most popular client questions to keep in mind as you plan your shoot.
How do I book a session?
Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can find a date that works, then I will send you a contract to sign.
When is payment due?
Payment is due on or before the day of your session. You can pay me via cash or check (made out to Jen Soares Photography) or via Chase Quick Pay or Pay Pal. No credit cards, please.
What happens if I have to reschedule?
Kids get sick, families have emergencies, business travel crops up at inconvenient times, and weather sometimes just doesn't cooperate. I understand! If something unavoidable comes up, you can reschedule your session once within the same calendar year without paying a rescheduling fee. Dates are subject to availability, and I will certainly do my best to accommodate reschedules the best I can.
What's the best time to schedule a shoot?
I shoot on Saturdays and Sundays and some select weekdays all year round. I recommend the morning hours (9-noon) for portrait sessions. Little ones are in their element, popular downtown locations are less crowded, and in all seasons, the light tends to be beautiful. Plus, I'll get out of your hair early and allow you to enjoy the rest of your day together!
Can you offer location recommendations?
I certainly can. I'll find the perfect location for the kind of photos you have in mind. There are so many amazing and different backdrops in and around Chicagoland to choose from. When thinking about your location, consider places that have significant meaning for you: the spot downtown you first met or got engaged, your favorite beach where you spend every Saturday with the kids...or your own backyard! There's something so special about having your portraits taken all cuddled up on the couch, comfortable in your own home.
Do you have a studio?
I do have a natural light studio space in Libertyville, IL. This is the perfect setup for quick, fun, comfortable mini sessions to celebrate a newborn, a baby milestone, a birthday, to snap fun senior and team pictures, or to take seasonal or holiday card photos. I have a variety of backdrops and fun props that I am really excited about!
What if it rains?
If you had an outdoor session scheduled and the weather isn't cooperating the day of, I will do my best to accommodate a reschedule. If timing is tight, and you just want to get the photos taken, we can move indoors to your home or my studio. (Never underestimate your home as an alternate setting! Easy and comfortable for you and your children, home is always the preferred special, cozy backdrop. Living rooms and bedrooms make sweet, cozy settings, and we can also include family pets in photos at home.)
Please note: if you're looking for a public indoor location, I would be happy to explore that option for you. However, options are limited (poor lighting, crowds, and hefty permit fees make them something I wouldn't highly recommend). Most public indoor locations require a permit (and a $50-100 fee) that requires two-three weeks' worth of planning ahead to secure.
Otherwise, cloudy days, minus rain, actually make for perfect shooting conditions. In general, the backdrop ends up being a lot less important than you might think. Your interactions as a family make the photo...that's what I focus on. So be comfortable and don't stress about the weather!
What should we wear?
Whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident. Some families like to stick to classic solids and wear complimentary colors. Others wear their favorite outfits. I can shoot all colors or patterns; so it's entirely up to you and your vision for your photos.
Will you pose us? How natural is "natural?"
During every session, I always try to capture a few candid frames. Shots of natural interactions or smiles or laughs that weren't necessarily meant for the camera. But, want to know a trade secret? Most "natural" photos you see of families laughing as they walk down a sandy beach together, holding hands and having a wonderful time? They are posed. Because although some people are completely comfortable in front of the camera and know exactly what to do...most of us don't. So, that's where I come in. If you have a vision you want to attempt, by all means...let me know and I am game! Otherwise, just show up, relax, and have fun. I might have you hold hands, hug, look at each other and laugh, go "cheek to cheek." Trust me when I ask you to do those things. They are goofy...feel free to laugh about them...but trust me. I promise I won't make you do anything uncomfortable or strange...and I guarantee that before too long, you'll be feeling comfortable, having fun...and coming up with your own cute and "natural" poses.
How much editing is included in the package?
I will review every single photo I give you, and will color correct and sharpen as needed to make sure your photos look their very best.
Are black and white or sepia tone photos part of the package?
Absolutely. Some clients like 50/50 color to black and white...some would like a mix of color, black and white and sepia tones at my discretion....some hate sepia tones. I will retouch the photos in whatever mix you prefer and use my judgement as to what photo looks best in what treatment. Once you receive the final photos, if there is a specific image you would like to see in black and white instead of color etc., just reach out and I'd be happy to make that change for you.
Can you remove scrapes, blemishes, snots, stray hairs etc?
I sure can...but I won't do that for every single photo in your final gallery. Once you've reviewed your photos, if there are a handful of images (up to 5) that you plan on displaying and would like me to further edit into perfection, I would be happy to do so for you within my abilities. There will be an additional fee for "glamour editing" on upwards of 5 images.
Can we include pets in our family photos? Grandparents?
Absolutely! Pets and grandparents are always welcome to mug for the camera during your session. Just be aware of the kind of photos you want and how many people you wish to include. A set of grandparents making a cameo at a session isn't an issue. However, I do require a double fee for session including 2 or more families.
Is one hour enough time?
One hour is just the right amount of time for most family sessions. It allows one to two different nearby locations (think: inside your home in several different rooms and also the park right down the street.) The 1.5 hour package was developed to accommodate events like birthday parties or extended family sessions where there are two or more families with children involved.
Should I book a standard session or a mini session?
Mini sessions are 20 minute sessions at my studio with 1-2 setup options. They are less expensive ($100-170) but do not include all of the images in the package price. Five images are included with the session fee, and additional images can be purchased for $5/image from a proofing gallery. These sessions are great if you have older children, children who know me well, or children who are comfortable in front of the camera. They are great if you only need a handful of photos for holiday cards or to mark a birthday or milestone occasion. For new clients or clients with children take more time to warm up to the idea of hanging out with me and smiling for my camera, the one hour session would be a much more relaxed fit.
Do you shoot corporate events?
Absolutely. It's one of our favorite things to do. We have shot events for clients such as A&E Television Networks, Lloyd's Illionis, Yelp Chicago, SPARK, and Chicago's Childrens Memorial Hospital.
Do you shoot weddings?
I used to...pre-children. Now that I have a family of my own, I prefer to spend my time away from them focusing on my passion: children and family photography. That said, if the stars align, for the right bride and groom, I would certainly capture wedding photos. So don't hesitate to reach out.
How many photos will we receive in a standard session?
It's about quality, not quantity. Every shoot is unique, and I try not to be redundant with the photos I give you. But, that said...I give you a ton of photos. On average 50-75 a session.
How will we receive the photos?
Included in your package is the ability to download the final, retouched, high-res JPEGS from the proofing gallery directly to your computer. I will send download instructions when the photos are ready for you.
Do you offer products?
Yes! I am very picky about the products I offer, and have spent years finding just the right, high-quallity, affordable options to offer my clients as "the cherry on top" of your photo session. The first product I offer is a JSP flash drive, in the event you would rather receive and store your images that way than download them from your gallery. Professional quality prints can also be purchased directly from your proofing gallery. These prints are calibrated to my computer screen, so the color will be truer than what you would receive from Costco or Target. Also, after you receive your final photos, I would be happy to help design and order canvas gallery wraps or mini brag book albums for you. These are all products that I order for myself and my family with frequency to display my own family photos. I am very excited about them, and believe they are the perfect ways to display and enjoy your images for years to come.