Planning

What do you want to do with the images?

We often receive calls inquiring about creating a portrait of a family or high school senior.  Before I can give any information about the session I always ask, “What do you want to do with the images?”.  It’s funny that most people haven’t thought about the end product from the session, they just know that they want or need to have images created to document an event or time in their life.  However, knowing how the images will be used strongly influences how the images are created.

There are typically two distinctive ways that images can be used.  The first is as decor for the home.  Images that are used as decor are often created where the people are a small component in a bold and dramatic landscape.  The environment is as important as the people and it becomes a fine art focal point within the home.  These images are often also used as holiday cards and smaller gift portraits for family and friends.

The second is to tell a story of an event or experience.  These images are often put together in one of our handcrafted books and many times result from one of our destination sessions.  The images are a combination of dramatic environmental portraiture and intimate lifestyle photography that focuses on the relationship and emotion of the people in the images.  These images can also be used for holiday cards and gift portraits for family and friends.

Often people ask for the digital files themselves.  While these are available for purchase, we look at these as the raw materials that are used to create an exquisite masterpiece and always recommend that our clients invest in a tangible and archival photograph.  Think of digital files as a fine flour that a master chef uses to create a delectable pastry.  She must first add other ingredients and then with skillful preparation transform the raw materials into a culinary work of art.  Digital files must also be skillfully transformed into a finished work of art using high quality and archival materials so that they can withstand the test of time and last for generations.  

Digital files will need to be properly archived and maintained in order to persevere through continuous technological advancements.  Remember floppy discs?  Did you know that new computers don’t even have a CD/DVD reader?  Did you know that file types are subject to change as well?  Remember Betamax and VHS? Digital files are great to share on Facebook, as screen savers on our TVs and monitors and to email to family and friends, but should not be the only manifestation of professional images.  Be sure that you invest in photographs that are not dependent on technology and that will be treasured by future generations.

 

What should you consider when choosing a location for your session?

Before you can decide on a location, you must first consider what you want to do with the images.  Are you considering a fine art environmental piece for the home or do you prefer more of a lifestyle type session that focuses on relationships?  Once you decide what you want to do with the images, here a some other factors to consider.

-The time of year (season) will dictate the colors and tones of the image.  Winter lends itself to cool and muted earth tones - blue, white, gray, deep green and brown; spring is full of vibrant blue and green; summer spans the entire color gamut with vibrant colors of green foliage and even wild flowers; fall provides a unique color palate of gold, orange, red and brown.  Look around your home and see what time of year best compliments your decor.

-Would you prefer something local and convenient or would you prefer to travel and take advantage of one of our destination sessions?

-A beautiful place doesn’t necessarily equate to a beautiful photographic location.  We spend a great deal of time exploring Colorado and beyond searching out incredible new locations.  Some of the factors we consider are the direction of the sun in relation to the backdrop, where the sun and shade fall and at what time of day, if there are natural features that allow us to layer an image to add depth, access, impact and permit issues, seasonality of a location, and how you will look in an environment.  We are happy to consider a new location, but there will be a $100 additional charge so that we can properly scout a new location and develop a strategy to create incredible images at your custom location.

 

What is a destination session?

A destination portrait session is typically a weekend trip to one of our favorite places where we create images in dramatic environments beyond the Front Range.  We offer 4-6 destination locations each year, and in addition to the photography, have great suggestions on where to stay, where to eat, and many things you can do while you are in the area.  These are a great excuse to explore a new and incredible natural environment, where you will have custom, fine art photography to remember your experience.  We are also available to accompany you on your own custom destination adventure.  

 

What should you expect at your portrait session?

For most of our locations, we like to photograph two hours before sunset, although there are a few that are better at dawn or mid-day.  Once you choose your location, we will let you know the best time of day for your location.  Most sessions last about an hour and are fun and full of energy.  Please arrive on time as we will have a very small window where the light is at it’s prime, and even a few minutes late can make the difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Be sure to come with an open mind as this will not be your traditional portrait session.  Peter will have you scrambling on rocks, dancing in the trees, trotting across meadows, throwing snowballs and more.  Be ready to have some fun outside and wear clothing and shoes that allow you to be comfortable and have fun!  Remember, weather in Colorado changes quickly.  It may snow in July or feel like summer in January.  Be sure to bring a jacket, hat and gloves to all sessions, regardless of the season.  Peter sometimes likes to photograph into the dark and a warm jacket can make a late session much more comfortable.  Be ready for anything!  Besides a scarf and hat can add a fun and playful element to the images.

Your energy and enthusiasm will show through in the images.  Be sure to have your clothes planned out ahead of time, get a good night sleep before the session and allow plenty of time to travel to your location so that your entire experience is stress free.  

 

What should you wear to the session?

First and foremost, dress so that you are comfortable in a natural environment and be sure to bring a warm layer to the session.  If you are going to be standing next to someone in the same image, be sure the colors of your clothing compliment each other.  Do not get matching outfits, just be sure you all look nice standing next to each other.  If you would like to highlight an individual in the image, such as a small child, put them in a brighter contrasting color with everyone else in muted, darker colors.  Be sure to flip through out location guide to see how other people have dressed for their session and what you like and don’t like.  Here are some general guidelines to follow.

-solid colors photograph best, steer clear of patterns

-darker colors are slimming, lighter colors are broadening - use this rule to your advantage

-3/4 or long sleeves photograph best - do not wear sleeveless shirts or tank tops

-muted earth tones work best in a natural environment:  grays, blacks, browns, olives, blues, etc.  Stay away from bright bold colors unless you want your clothes to be the focal point of the images.

 

When will you see the images?

We will schedule a time after the session for you to come in for your unveiling.  Here we will personally walk you through the images and make recommendations for your custom artwork. The unveiling is the time to select and purchase your images, so it is imperative that all decision makers participate in the unveiling.  It is an intensive process requiring great attention to detail.  We love children, but recommend that they stay at home during the unveiling so that you can focus your complete attention on selecting a beautiful work of art for your family that you will love for generations.  Your final order will be ready 6-8 weeks after your order is approved.

 

When is your payment due?

The session fee is due when you book the session, and is the fee charged for creating the images.  Once you see the images you can decide which images you would like to purchase.  Session fees start at $150.

Typically we ask for payment in full when you place your order after the session at the unveiling and accept cash, check or credit card.  We also offer no interest payment plans if needed.  Information available upon request.

 

When will you receive your finished products?

Each of our custom pieces is handcrafted and takes time to create.  Our wall art typically takes 4-6 weeks to and our books take 6-8 weeks to complete.  We promise it will be worth the wait!