FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

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If you have a question that does not seem to be answered here, please contact us.
Will I lose my deposit if I can't make my appointment?
No.

When you pay your deposit, we reserve a time and date for you. If you can't make it, you can simply reschedule. Of course, we appreciate you letting us know as soon as possible if you have to reschedule.
Is it worth spending money on photos for business?
A clear, yes, because first impressions really do count.

"You don't get a second chance to make a first impression," says James Uleman, PhD, a psychology professor at New York University and researcher on impression management.

Many times, people will see you on your site, Linkedin, Facebook, and so on before they meet you in person. If you look capable and energized, honest and genuine, it inspires confidence in your professionalism. The same is true of images of your products or services. Potential clients usually have choices as to which goods and services they use. Images that show you at your honest best attracts business. Your costs will soon be recouped. Worth it.

Is it worth spending money on photos for myself, friends, or family?
"We only had time to grab our photos before we had to flee."

When there is news of some natural disaster, like floods or fires, you hear this often. Of course, we can backup our images, but these kinds of statements show how valued personal photos can be. As time goes by, they only become more treasured. It may happen, but we've never heard anyone lament using time and resources in the creation of high quality personal photography for themselves, family, or friends.

This cannot always be a decision to defer until "someday." Years from now, we won't be able to travel back to get those missed shots of those we love. We can only do this now. As with much in our lives, it comes down to what we value.
How do I prepare for a photo shoot?
Go to our special page: How to Prepare for a Photo Shoot. Of course, we will consult by email, phone, or in person to answer any questions you may have and and advise you. The most important preparation: becoming as clear as possible as to what you want the images to do.
Can I receive my images unadjusted or unretouched?
We do not supply unadjusted or unretouched image as we regard them as uncompleted. We came to the conclusion years ago that we serve our clients best by only giving them images that show them at their best. It reflects back favorably to the client as well as to the photographer to have exceptional images out in public, and this is only possible when they are fully developed and completed. We make no exceptions.
How much retouching do you do?
In professional digital photography, the final decisions on lighting, color balance, and so on, are made from the raw digital negative after the shoot in postproduction. This is more a matter of adjusting the whole image file rather than retouching, and we do some of this before we put our client's images up a gallery.

After our clients choose their final images, we do more adjusting and begin the retouching process. Some of this is more specific lighting decisions, like adjusting lighting and color in one area of the image while moving this in another direction elsewhere in the image. It can also involve removing distracting details like too many wrinkles on a sleeve, harmonizing and simplifying the background, and so on. We also do micro adjustment of lighting on skin, eyes, teeth, and other physical features to bring the images to their best. There are sometimes special requirements, for instance, adding more image space on one side to make a web banner image. Sometimes we have to combine elements of more than one image, for instance in a group shot, to get the results required. All of this is usually included in our fee for personal and professional portraits. Product photography has different fee structure because we often have to do more to get a strong image that communicates clearly, for instance, for product packaging or advertizing. Occasionally, we are asked to do advanced retouching like change the color of a garment, adding a new person into a group shot, removing or adding jewelry, and so on. This level of retouching is usually extra and billed at an hourly rate.

We want you to be fully satisfied with your images. We will work with you and not call it "done" until you are fully satisfied.
How soon will I get my business images?
We first backup your images, then select which will go up on your web gallery. These images first receive some basic adjustments, but are still very much only proofs. For business headshots and other images, we hope to have your gallery up in five business days. Nothing else then usually happens until you make your final selection. You can choose your images all on your own, and we are certainly available to ease you through that process.

After you make your final section, your images go into our work flow, and we hope to have them ready in five more business days. You will receive them by downloading from a special link we will send you.
How soon will I get my personal portraiture prints?
We endeavor to have your prints ready for viewing in three weeks time from your shoot.

Why so long?

We first backup your images, then select which will go up on your web gallery. For personal portraiture, we do all the retouching on your best images ahead of time and make 8x10 prints. Often, the print process requires several prints until we are satisfied. When all is ready, we find a time that works for everyone to come and see the prints framed in their included mats in our studio. Our clients find this enjoyable and we even serve champagne. You can take home how many prints are included in your package and, if you decide you want additional images, you can take those home as well.

If you want more than one copy, or images at a different size, we will take your order then and make them for you. Frames are also available to order.

For any additional images, whether in included mats, ordered frames, or heirloom portfolio box, whenever possible we will hand deliver them to you to make sure they arrive in good condition at no extra cost. Yes, as in every other aspect of our work, we go the extra mile.

What if I need images or prints faster?
We have a RUSH service: 50% of everything on top of the regular fees. If prints of physical media is involved, we will have your order hand-delivered within 25 miles or Seattle or use same-day delivery. When distances are greater, we will use same-day, next day, or whatever is reasonably available.
Now that I've done my business shoot, what is the process from here on?
After your shoot, comes postproduction:

  • We first backup your images, and in more than one way to be safe.
  • Then, your images enter out workflow. There are often previous shoots we are working on ahead of yours
  • Then there is the initial selection, and further rounds until we have narrowed it down to a good selection of your best shots.
  • We do some basic enhancement of the images which mostly involves adjusting lighting.
  • We than create an online gallery that has features that make it easier to make your final selection.
  • All of this we hope to have done in five business days.

  • When you have made your final selections, you let us know.
  • NOTE: we do not do anymore on your order until you have made all of your final selections.
  • We than do final enhancement and retouching taking into account any special requests from you. This covers quite a lot.
  • If you have special retouching requests, such as adding or removing jewelry, we do that as well.
  • When your image files are ready, we upload them along with license with your name and image files specifically placed.
  • All of this we hope to have done in another five business days.
  • If you order additional image licenses, we handle those in the same way.
Prints?

  • Occasionally, our business clients also order prints.
  • You order those from your special gallery and, after we make sure we understand you wishes and we have your final order, we get busy on preparing them.
  • Prints can take longer as there is some back and forth until we get them to their best. We do a little extra work to get the very best print possible.
  • After your final selection, we hope to have your prints on the way to you within ten business days.
  • Your prints are packed carefully, and we deliver them by post in a secure rigid envelope.
You will find more details on the above within other answers on this page.
How will I get my image files?
For all business shoots, by digital download. We'll send you a link.

For personal Portraiture Packages, first you will choose your physical prints, already in mats and ready to display, when come to your viewing at your convenience at our studio. Later, we will send you a link so that you can download high resolutions files of all the images you chose as prints. This will give you a backup and, if you wish, you can even make your own prints.
I'm having trouble downloading my files: can you help me?
  • If nothing happens when you click the link, try pasting the ENTIRE link into your browser and then hit the Enter key or however you get your particular browser to go to a link.
  • Your zipped file will often start downloading as soon as you click the link even if nothing seems to happen, or it says something like "File not found." Check your download progress.
  • You should find it at where ever files usually download to on your computer. However, please wait a few minutes as (depending on your service and file size) the file will take a while to download: it could be a few seconds, or minutes, or much longer.
  • Once downloaded, it may unzip by itself and you'll see it soon after.
  • If the zipped file downloads but does not unzip itself, double click it. If nothing seems to happen, right-click on it, chose how to open the file. Be sure to note where it says it is unzipping to as this can be a different place than where the downloaded file is located.

IMPORTANT: You can download this to your phone or tablet. However, we don't recommend it:
  • The file is large and may take a quite a while if your connection speed is not high.
  • Not all devices can open a zipped file.
  • You must have enough free space on your device: we recommend at least 100 MB.
  • Depending on what you have installed on your device, further steps may be necessary before you can view your images.
  • However, if you believe you understand the issues, go ahead.

STILL HAVING TROUBLE DOWNLOADING?
  • Whatever hardware you use, please wait until the file is completely downloaded before trying to open it. If you try to open it before it is fully downloaded, the file may become corrupted, and it will not open. If that happens, you may have to start again.
  • Again, it may be taking a while and not be fully downloaded. Try waiting a while, then look for it and open later.
  • Depending on your settings, the zipped file may not be downloading to somewhere obvious. It may also be unzipping to somewhere else besides where the original zipped file is located. Try searching for recent files and/or the name of the zipped file which is at the end of the link above.
  • Yes, of course, please contact us if you are still having problems. And please backup your image files. More information on that here.
Can I have my files delivered on a CD, DVD, or a small thumb or flash drive?
Yes, but you may not want to. For business shoots, as long as our clients sign a short form indicating that their images are used solely for business purposes, we do not have to charge sales tax. As soon as any kind of physical media is involved, however, our current understanding on local tax regulations obligates us to charge sales tax for the entire shoot.

Because personal Portraiture shoots are not exclusively for business, they are subject to sales tax.

We can make and ship a CD, DVD, or thumb flash drive of your images for any kind of shoot and ship it to you by Priority mail for a $60 flat fee. Again, even if this is for a business shoot and you signed a form, we will then have to retroactively charge sales tax on the entire shoot. To see the exemption form mentioned above, click here. It's a pdf on the State of Washington's website and may take a while to load.
Can I make my own prints from the image files I receive?
Yes, of course.

For all business shoots, our image files are optimized for online use. They will print well. However, when we make prints for our Portraiture clients, it is usual that we tweak them a bit more to get the best prints possible as they are two different mediums.

All home and business printers are different. Plus, the settings and paper you use can lead to differing results. Your monitor, if it is not calibrated, may not be showing you what will come out of a printer. What ink you use is a factor. These, and other issues, means that there are a lot of variables.

If you send your images to a lab, similar details must be considered. Their equipment also varies and even the time of day the image is printed can effect the results. Because of all this, we found one lab and stuck with it and learned to prepare images with their particular traits in mind. If you do use a lab or a consumer print service, find one that has a high output as they tend to be more consistent. Experiment with the settings they offer. When in doubt, begin by turning all their optional settings, such as increase sharpening, off.

If you use your own printer, fresh original brand cartridges will tend to yield the best and more long lasting results. Use the paper your printer manufacturer recommends. Most people prefer luster.

Now, we do most of our printing on our own high-end professional photo printer. However, whether using a lab or our own printer, we usually have to make several prints to get the results we need. You may as well.

Still, if you have the inclination, we encourage you to give it a go and enjoy the process.
Do you backup my images?
Yes and no. Any images we deliver by download will usually stay on our server for at least a year. However, as space is limited, all older files on our server are eventually deleted to make room for new work.

You should always try the download link we supply you first if you lose track of your images. We cannot guaranty this will always be reliable as the company that hosts our work in not under our control. Furthermore, we decided that its outside of our mission perimeters to devote the resources required to ensure the level of management and reliability that our clients would expect of a top-tier backup service.

We encourage you to make your own backups on your own and use other services, many of which are free. You will find a few suggestions from us on backup strategies here.
What's your best single piece of advice?
Become as clear as you can as to what you wish your images to do. Everything else will follow.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
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