Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a lot of factors to consider when planning a photo shoot. Whether you are a seasoned creative professional with a lot of experience hiring photographers, or if this is your first time looking for a photographer, the following list of Frequently Asked Questions is a great place to get started. Still not finding the answers you’re looking for? Get in touch!
Food and Beverage Photography
Do you use hairspray and motor oil to make food and beverages look good?
Many of the tricks used by food stylists in the past like hairspray and motor oil were mainly used when shooting with film. When using film the process takes much longer, and food needs to hold up longer on set. These days with digital photography we can work quicker and efficiently on set, enabling us to employ what we like to call an “organic approach” to food photography. In a lot of cases all of the the food that we shoot is the real thing. When dealing with advertising, we are legally required to represent the actual product anyway. For example, when the product being advertised is cereal, we can use fake milk in the shot, but the cereal needs to be the real thing. That said, our ultimate goal is to make photographs that are beautiful and represent your product in the best light. If we need to use something non-edible to get the shot, we’ll do it. One great example is ice – we love to use fake ice around here!
How many shots can we capture in a day?
The number of shots we can capture in a day largely depends on the type and complexity of the food or beverage, and the type and complexity of the shot. Sometimes we can spend a whole day working on one complicated advertising shot; sometimes we can shoot a dozen or more editorial shots in a day. We would be happy to discuss your project with you in more detail and get you an estimate.
A food stylist is trained in the art of creating food and beverage for photography and video. They know how to prepare and style food so that it looks it’s best on camera. In addition to preparing and styling the food on set, they generally shop for all of the products used in the shoot with an eye for perfection. A food stylist will sort through trays and and trays of hamburger buns to find the “perfect bun” and will sculpt the most beautiful burger you’ve ever seen, from the meat to the lettuce to that perfect drip of ketchup. Food stylists are invaluable for the process of creating beautiful food and beverage photography.
A prop stylist is a professional who specializes in finding the best possible props for your shoot. The prop stylist will consult with the creative team and is in charge of providing dishes, glassware, linens, surfaces, and any other props we may need for a shoot. In some cases the prop stylist will provide props from their own collection, other times they will purchase or rent props, and will then assist with setting up and styling those props on set.
I have a limited budget, do I really need a food stylists and a prop stylists to get a good shot?
While we always recommend including a food stylist and a prop stylist in your budget, we can work with you to make the best use of your resources. We can make recommendations regarding your particular shoot and find creative ways to capture beautiful photographs with a limited budget. Some products can be easily styled without a food stylist, and we also have a growing prop collection at the studio that we can utilize for your shoot.
Can we do our food and beverage shoot at our restaurant?
Depending on the type of shots that you are considering for your project, shooting on location at your restaurant may be a great option. Shooting in your space gives us the opportunity to use your restaurant as a backdrop for your beautiful food which can integrate well with your brand and your space.However, there are a number of challenges to shooting in a restaurant, the largest being your customers! Food photography can be time consuming and we will likely be bringing a lot of gear to shoot on location. We suggest scheduling location shoots at restaurants on a day when your restaurant is closed to avoid disrupting your customers’ experience and focus on creating beautiful photography.
Do you get to eat the food you photograph?
Unfortunately the cardinal rule in food and beverage photography is: never eat or drink anything that is on set. There are many people involved in a food shoot, from the food stylist, the prop stylist, assistants, and of course the photographer who potentially all have their hands in the food and beverages that are being photographed. Food stylists often under or overcook items and occasionally use artificial products to achieve a desired visual effect. We don’t want anyone to get sick eating undercooked chicken, you know? There are other considerations as well, but bottom line is this: since you never know who has touched what, and what specifically something is made out of, we don’t eat the food that we photograph, no matter how beautiful it looks. But never fear, you won’t go hungry in our studio. We always make sure to have lots of snacks and drinks on hand for when we get the munchies during the shoot!
Portraits and Corporate Headshots
How do I know what kind of portrait I am going to need?
When you are ready to start thinking about have a portrait made, the first thing you should do is set up a time to talk over the project with me. I will be able to give you a recommendation on what I think will work best for you. The most important piece of information you can give me is an outline of what you’re going to be using the images for. If you’re going to be using the images for proposals, trade publications, general marketing and social media, a professional head shot is probably what you need. If you need images for an ad campaign or a annual report, you may need something a little more complex. I would be happy to schedule an in-person meeting or phone consultation to determine what will best suit your needs!
Do you shoot in a studio or on location?
Both! Depending on the type of photograph that you’re looking for, we can shoot at my studio or I can come to you. I specialize in custom and creative location portraits. Choosing the location for your head shot is a big decision. We will talk over your marketing strategy together and will find a location that will suit your particular needs. For a head shot, the best location is one that provides an interesting visual texture to the image and is aesthetically pleasing without drawing attention away from the most important part of the image: you!
Can I have my head shot taken at my office?
Your own office or home are the perfect places to start with our location search. Working locally means I will be able to provide images that are uniquely suited to your needs and reflect your every day environment. As an added bonus, working at your location means that you won’t have to take as much time out of your busy day to travel to a studio – I bring the studio to you!
My office isn’t very exciting, can we still shoot the head shots here?
In many cases, your office is the perfect place for your head shot – even if you think your particular space is boring. Over the years I have seen my fair share of drab office spaces and I have a lot of experience making even the most basic spaces look exciting.
Can you do head shots for a whole team?
Yes! Consistent head shots for your entire team can be a powerful marketing tool. I can help you create a library of images of your team that can be used individually or side by side. Once I know the number of people on your team and we decide on the specifics for your shoot I’ll be able to provide you with a time estimate to photograph the whole team. In addition to individual head shots, I can also photograph your team as a group.
Are you able to work within the confines of my company’s brand?
Many companies work with branding experts to develop a look and feel that is standard across all of their marketing materials and publications. I have extensive experience working with corporate branding and will work with your marketing and creative teams to make images which work within your brand guidelines.
I need something a little more complex than a head shot for my marketing needs. Can you help?
Yes indeed! In addition to head shots I also do corporate portraits, group portraits, and annual report photography. If your marketing needs are more involved and require something more than a simple head shot I would be happy to discuss the details with you. Depending on the type of shots you have in mind, there may be some additional logistics that factor into a location decision, particularly one that involves shooting on public or private property you or your company doesn’t own. Give me a call and let me know what you have in mind and I’d be happy to provide you with a recommendation.
Do you have experience working with marketing departments and creative teams?
You bet! Prior to opening my photography business I worked in corporate creative departments for more than ten years. With a background in graphic design, I can work with your creative team, marketing department, or agency to make images that fit seamlessly into a new or existing marketing campaign. Feel free to have your creative professionals contact me with questions, or we can sit down together as a group and figure out exactly what will work best for your situation.
Wardrobe, Makeup, and Styling
What should I wear to my photo shoot?
The type and style of your clothing will depend entirely on the type of image you would like to project for your business, as well as your personality. If you work in an industry where business formal is the norm, then a suit would be appropriate. If you work in a more casual environment, then perhaps a nice pair of jeans and a t-shirt is more appropriate, or something in between. I can help you decide based on my experience working with both Fortune 100 companies and start-ups.
Not sure what your needs will be? Bring several outfits and we can shoot several styles. Do you have a “look” that you consider to be your trademark, like a certain pair of glasses or colorful suspenders? Not a problem! Just let me know and I’ll make sure that your signature look comes through in the images.
What sort of clothing and jewelry should I avoid?
The best head shot depicts you as a confident and successful professional. You should be the focus of the photograph, not what you’re wearing. Some kinds of fabric with loud patterns, complex pinstripes, or metallic highlights tend to “vibrate“ on camera. Likewise, large jewelry and accessories can be a distraction in the photographs and should be avoided.
Choose an outfit that is elegant, simple and of course well pressed and neat. Your outfit should also be one that you feel confident wearing. If you’re not sure? Feel free to bring along several outfits and I can help you choose. The same goes for accessories like ties, scarves, shoes, jewelry, and cuff links. Some look good on camera, others don’t. The more options you bring with you, the better.
Are there any special instructions if I want to dye my hair?
If you would like to dye your hair before the photo shoot, we suggest that you get it done about a week before the photo shoot so that it is fresh. It is best to allow at least a few days to allow for any skin discoloration or stains to fade.
Is it ok to wax before my photo shoot?
Our stylists suggest that if you do any waxing that you do it a week or so prior to the photo shoot because makeup doesn’t stick very well to freshly waxed skin.
A stylist is an image professional who works with the photographer to help make you look your best. On the day of your shoot, the stylist will help get you ready for your close-up by applying makeup, styling your hair and helping to make sure that your outfit is perfect. The stylist can augment your existing look, or help you to create a new and exciting one, just for your head shot. For complex shoots, sometimes a wardrobe stylist is necessary in addition to a hair and makeup stylist.
While it is not absolutely necessary to utilize a stylist for your professional head shot, it is highly recommended that you include room for one in your budget. It is my goal to get the best possible image “in camera” so that I can help my clients avoid costly retouching and post production. The additional cost of a stylist is often offset by the time and money spent fixing poor wardrobe choices, fly-away hair, and blemishes that could be easily avoided. My experience has also been that when a client has hair and makeup done by a professional stylist, they feel more confident in front of the camera, and that confidence shows in the images.
How should I prepare for being styled for my photo shoot?
The best thing you can do to prepare for your photo shoot is to show up without any makeup and with clean hair without any product. This will provide the stylist with a blank slate to work with. In the event that you have meetings before or after the shoot that require you to wear makeup or to style your own hair, the best plan is to apply the minimum amount of makeup and hair product. The stylist will then build on your existing look. After the shoot, the stylist will help you remove any unwanted makeup and hair styling.
If you do need to apply makeup before your styling session, avoid sparkly shadows, bronzer, lots of SPF, etc. because the stylist will need to remove these types of applications and start from scratch.
What do I do about my beard, mustache, goatee, shaving in general?
The amount of facial hair you’d like in the photograph is definitely up to your personal style. Keep in mind that while we can make some adjustments for facial hair in post-production, it is often impossible to completely remove stubble or five-o’clock shadow. If you prefer a clean shaven look, sure make that you arrive clean shaven for your photo shoot. A stylist can help minimize five o’clock shadows and can also help you shave if necessary.
If you have had a beard for other facial hair for a while and would like to shave it off before the shoot, it is best to shave at least a week prior to the photo shoot. This will help give your skin time to recover and for any dry patches or acne hiding under your beard to heal.
Proofing, Post-Production, and Delivery
How will I be able to review proofs of the images after the shoot?
After each shoot I will provide you with a password protected link to an online gallery to review proofs of the images. The gallery will be available online for three months following the shoot date. Each gallery has a Light Box feature which you can use to choose and organize your selections.
How soon after the shoot will I be able to proof my images?
In many cases I will be able to have low resolution proof images online for your review within 48 hours following the end of the shoot. Complex shoots may take longer to process.
Can I get printed proofs of my images instead of an online gallery?
In addition to a digital gallery I can provide hard copy proofs and sample images, usually within several days following the end of the shoot. Pricing and delivery time are dependent on the number of images and your location.
What sort of post production do you do to the final images?
Most images require a minimum amount of post-production. All images from your shoot include standard post-processing which includes exposure correction, color-correction, and tone. Retouching is also available as well for an additional fee.
I like to capture images as perfect as possible “in-camera” to minimize the amount of post-production retouching as possible. However, in some cases retouching is unavoidable. Retouching costs vary depending on the number of images and the complexity of the retouching required. If a project requires extensive composite work or creative retouching, I may utilize dedicated retouching professionals to provide you with the best possible final product.
How will my images be delivered?
Your final images will be delivered to you via password protected web gallery. You will be able to download low, medium and high resolution versions of the images. Web galleries will remain online for three months following the end of the shoot. Electronic transfer via FTP is also available.
Can I get my images delivered on a thumb drive?
Image thumb drives can be ordered at any time. Pricing varies based on the number of drives ordered and shipping method.
Can I order hard copy prints of my images?
I work with a number of excellent print labs both in St. Louis and in New York and can provide you with beautiful prints in virtually any size you’d like. Pricing and delivery times vary.