Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question?
And as always, feel free to contact us.
Will I lose my deposit if I can't make my appointment?
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?
"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.
We concur because first impressions really do count.
Before they meet you in person, people will often first see you on your site, Linkedin, Facebook, etc. If you look energized, honest, and confident, it inspires trust in your professionalism. The same is true of images of your products or services, if not more so. Potential clients have choices as to who they engage with and which goods and services they use. Images that show you at your best attract clients or customers as well as making a good impression on potential employers and people in your network. Your costs will soon be recouped.
Is it worth spending money on personal 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 often hear something like this. Of course, we can back up our images easily these days, but these kinds of statements show how valued personal photos can be. As time goes by, they only become more treasured. We've never heard anyone lament using their time and resources for high-quality personal photography for themselves, family, or friends.
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 life, it comes down to what we value.
What headshot style would be best for our office staff?
Every profession has a certain quality, and individual businesses, firms, agencies, clinic and so on also have a distinct quality. This is connected to their brand. The style of you headshots can help distinguish what makes you different, your approach, and what you will bring to your clients and customers. Here are some examples of different headshot styles for management and staff.
How do I prepare for a photo shoot?
Go to our special page: How to Prepare for a Photo Shoot. There are guides for everyone as well as most types of shoots. Of course, we will consult by email, phone, or in person as needed to answer any questions you may have 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 will reflect back most 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 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 often made after the shoot from the raw digital negative in postproduction. Initially, this means adjusting the whole image file rather than retouching. We do this before we put our client's images up in an online 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. 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 included in our fee for personal and professional portraits.
Product photography has a different fee structure because we often have to do more to get a strong image that communicates clearly, for instance, for product packaging. Occasionally, we are asked to do advanced retouching like change the color of a garment or adding a new person into a group shot. 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.
Can I make my own prints from the image files I receive?
Yes, of course.
For business shoots, our image files are optimized for online use. We include the high-resolution version for use in print. For personal portraits, the images are further optimized for prints. However, there are some caveats: see below.
If you wish to use your own printer, just remember none of them print exactly the same. Plus, the settings you use can lead to greatly varying results. Be prepared to experiment. To make things simpler, we recommend that you use fresh and original brand ink cartridges. They tend to yield the best (and more long lasting) prints. Paper is very important; use the ones your printer manufacturer recommends. Your monitor is another variable, especially if it is not calibrated, as it may not be showing you what will come out of a printer.
If you send your images to a photo print lab, there are similar considerations. 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. We recommend that you begin by turning all their optional settings off. When you find one you like, stick with them.
When we make prints for our personal portrait clients, we tweak them a bit more, then test and adjust as many times as needed to get the best prints possible. This is because screens and paper are two different mediums and have their own demands. Except for very large sizes and special options, we now do most of our printing on our own high-end professional photo printer. However, whether we use a lab or our own professional printer, we often have to make several prints to get the results we need. You may as well.
Still, it can be an enjoyable process, and we encourage you to give it a try.
For commercial printing such as offset, the files will usually need to be converted. Your printer or designer should know how to do that, but feel free to contact us if needed.
How large can my images be printed?
In principle, any size. To go over much beyond 12 by 18 inches, we usually do some additional work on the file to ensure the very best result. Not long ago, we prepared some images so they could be printed 12 feet high for an "opening soon" barricade, and they came out great. A 20 by 30 inches well-framed image can look amazing in your home or office. However, a collection of three eight-by-tens in a single frame can be equally amazing, as can individually framed prints that grouped intentionally on your wall.
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 standard postproduction adjustments but are still only proofs. For business headshots and other images, we hope to have your gallery up in five business days. Nothing else then happens until you make your final selection. You can choose your images all on your own, of course, but we are available to ease you through that process.
After you make your final section, your images go into our workflow, 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 begin the selection process. 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 taking as long as you need. You can take home any prints you wish to purchase, and there is no obligation. An high-resolution digital file of each print you order is included.
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 and heirloom portfolio boxes are also available to order.
For any additional images, whenever possible we will hand deliver them to you to make sure they arrive in good condition at no extra cost.
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 are 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:
Can I get prints of the licensed images from my business shoot?
Prints? Yes, but…
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. This happens when you come at your convenience to our studio for the reveal, and they will already be in mats with a built-in stand ready to display. 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.
Yes, of course. Please contact us if you are having problems. The advice below is worth trying now, as it may solve any issues faster:
STILL HAVING TROUBLE DOWNLOADING?
Do you backup my images?
Yes and no. Any images we deliver by download will usually stay on our server for up to 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 it is outside 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. There are good backup services and ways to store your files online, including many that are free: you should take advantage of those.
If you need advice in backing up your images, let us know.
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 the 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 of 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 may then have to retroactively charge sales tax on the entire shoot.
Do I pay sales tax on photography for business?
In the state of Washington, if your images are licensed for business, and they are delivered by download, our current understanding is, no.
The exemption is available when the images are used exclusively for business; it is not available for prints, images transferred on physical media, or images for personal use. The rules change periodically. We no longer are required to keep an exemption form on file as long as the images are licensed and we state that in an invoice, contract, or license. All of our business clients get a license stating their usage rights.
More information on this the State of Washington's site. If the link doesn't work, it probably means they moved it again.
Do I pay sales tax on my personal photography?
In the state of Washington, if your images are for personal use, or are delivered by physical media such as DVDs or prints, yes.
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.
Professional Photography at our Seattle studio in Ballard and on location.