I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions for your convenience. If you have other questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may click on any one of the questions below to reveal the answer!
Anyone can take a picture these days... nearly everyone has a decent camera, or at the least, a camera phone. But there is a difference... let me tell you why.
When words fail to tell your story, a professional can artistically compose a stunning image with intent, balance, and design in mind.
When the conditions are challenging, a professional has the technical ability, speed, and accuracy to light and time their compositions.
To create a superb photograph, a professional photographer knows where to go for great backgrounds and what time of the day to go there for the most flattering light. A professional understands complicated camera functions, exposure settings, and how to best use their camera accessories and off camera lighting. And in those fleeting moments when the light is just right, and the expression or pose is angled just perfectly, a professional must have the eye to compose and the quick reflexes to get the shot. A professional enhances the photographs using professional photo editing software. Often there is so much to this craft that is overlooked because our market has over-saturated in the digital age. But it's the details in photography that are truly important... the stages before, during and after your photo shoot are all critical to the final product.
Working relationships may have changed forever due to COVID-19. We're all tired of hearing about it, but I want to share some notes about what we should do to ensure everyone's safety... yours, mine, and the clients I will be working with after your photo session.
BEFORE OUR SESSION:
- How are you feeling?
- Have you had a cough or any flu-like or COVID symptoms in the last 14 days?
- Have you been around anyone exhibiting these symptoms within the last 14 days?
- Are you living with anyone who is sick or quarantined?
If the answer to ANY of these questions is YES (for either of us), we should postpone.
DURING OUR SESSION:
- 3rd party locations may have new rules, so let's be informed and prepared.
- Sessions mustn't exceed 10 people, including you and I.
- Maintain social distancing with anyone outside of your household.
- Unless absolutely necessary, I will not touch you.
- Do not touch any of my photography equipment unless I ask.
- If you are not actively being photographed, please wear a mask.
- I will wear a mask at all times.
- Arrive with clean hands.
- Bring hand sanitizer just in case.
Regardless of your take on this situation, let's err on the side of caution out of mutual respect. Beyond protecting each other, following the CDC's guidelines protects our loved ones when we head home - and to me, that is the most important reason of all.
I have experience with several genres of photography!
- Commercial Portraiture (environmental portraits, & team/group portraits)
- Personal Branding Photography
- Staff Headshots (individual headshots of your team)
- Consumer Photography (family portraiture, senior portraiture, & engagement portraiture)
- Product & Catalog Photography
- Editorial Assignments (magazines & other publications)
I maintain a gallery of Carroll County, MD photographs from which local businesses are welcome to purchase for use in marketing and advertising.
Personally, I keep a portfolio of various bodies of work I have developed in the past. And I keep a gallery of my favorite nature / landscape / wildlife work. All are available for purchase. This is a great way to decorate your home or office!
I do not, however, photograph weddings or infants, but will happily refer you to other local, talented photographers that I would trust.
I always loved creating artwork, and when I was still in grade school, I knew photography was my career path. I secured a job at a local photography company in my hometown, and worked there five (5) years until I left to complete my college degree. I earned my Photography BFA from Savannah College of Art & Design in 2008. Their photography department is digital-centered now, but when I was a student their program was still focused on Traditional Photography, meaning I have spent a lot of time with a variety of films, film cameras, film and print development, and darkrooms. At that time, digital was just becoming popular with professional photographers, so I was fortunate to study both sides.
YES! I absolutely love partnering with marketing & design firms and web developers. If you would like to expand your services to include photography, please contact me! I guarantee your team will be so happy to work with professional photographs, and your website, graphics, and print design portfolios will benefit too!
Over the years, my photography eye has developed a unique artistic style. I find my photographs to be rampant with vivid color, a full range of tonality, a shallow depth of field, and lots of layering. I like my final photographs to be true-to-color, but enhanced to help elevate the subjects in focus. True to color images result in timeless photographs by avoiding over-processed filter trends.
Now, with that said - you will find other styles in my portfolio. Black and white conversions, sharp depth of field, soft pastel qualities, or grungy textures might fit your branding better. When clients tell me exactly what they are looking for, I am happy to change my lighting approach and post-production processes to fit their vision.
Yes, when there is beautiful natural light, I use it to the full extent! But I am also completely comfortable with studio lighting and have loads of lighting equipment. So if the natural light is not doing the trick (making my subject look their very best), I can fabricate my own 'natural light' with the use of artificial studio lighting and colored gels to either warm or cool the light to match the environment.
I always shoot in the largest Raw available. But I usually deliver .jpg (Jpeg) files, as they are ready to use for just about any need in print or online.
YES! Sometimes I teach business owners how to take better photos. In the past I have helped buisness owners take better photos with their SLR Cameras and their Smartphone Cameras. I have also helped with staging lighting set-ups and teaching better techniques for photographing with a light-tent.
At this time, my teaching services are on a one-on-one basis, and can include topics like how to use your camera, how to use your camera phone / smart phone, lighting, studio set up, photo editing, and more! And, there are more opportunities to learn:
- Visit MY BLOG - I regularly post educational content centered around photography, business, and marketing!
- Join MY EMAIL LIST - be the first to see my educational content, latest photo shoots, news, and other updates!
- Visit MY HOW-TO VIDEO LIBRARY - I share screen-recording videos with voice-over to help you learn some new tricks!
BOOKING A SESSION
To book a date for your photo session, I require a signed contract and a non-refundable date reservation fee. To get started, just click HERE to fill out this brief online form!
YES. I do not usually travel for consultation meetings, because in most instances, a convenient phone consultation will suffice. I actually prefer video-calls, which give us the chance to meet face-to-face, and if needed, you can show me around!
Yes, yes, yes! I carry business liability insurance.
My photo services vary and change based on time investment and deliverables. Let's touch on some starting prices to give you a starting point:
Petite Portrait Session: $350.00
Extended Portrait Session: $550.00
Staff Headshots: Starting at $550.00
Please inquire for full pricing and a custom quote.
To book your session, I usually require a 50% non-refundable date reservation fee, and the balance is due on the day of (or before) your scheduled photo session.
If this payment schedule does not work for your budget or company policies, please let me know. I'm sure we can work out a custom payment schedule that suits your needs.
By the time a booked session is cancelled because a client changed their mind, a lot of time has already gone into nurturing the expectant photo session. Plus, I likely do not have the time to book another session for your date+time. When a session is booked, I block off that date and time slot, often times the whole date is reserved just for that particular client. This means a cancellation results in a significant loss of income.
If you need to postpone or reschedule your session, please let me know as soon as possible and we will arrange alternative plans. Often times we can work it out without the need for an additional date reservation fee.
Due to the unpredictability of outdoor conditions, weather related cancellations are an exception. If your session is outdoors and we have to postpone due to poor weather, we will coordinate a new date for your session and your date reservation fee will roll-over to the new date.
After signing your contract online, you will be directed to make a payment credit card or a secure EFT bank transfer via my CRM portal, HoneyBook. (If time permits, I also accept Personal and Business Checks.) Following your session, additional products and usage licenses can be purchased via credit card.
There is a merchant fee cost to me, but I do not relay that cost to the customer. These merchants charge about 3%, but the trade-off for convenient payment options is so worth it!
Sometimes the travel fees are factored into the flat rate photo service, and in that case it's usually travel within 30 minutes.
For lengthier travel, expect an hourly rate for travel.
Yes. I have traveled as far as Miami, Florida for work! Your photography proposal will need to include the cost of travel and reasonable accommodation expenses.
Absolutely! Most photographers, even myself, post our best work, our favorite work, and/or our most recent work. But I also understand that it's important for clients to see consistency. I would be happy to share full bodies of work so that you have a clear picture of what to expect. Just ask and I will share a selection of proofing galleries that fit your photography genre interests!
It is completely optional! A little under 10% of my customers tip, and the ones that do usually tip around 10-20%. My CRM platform, HoneyBook, asks if you would like to offer gratuity. For photographers, a tip is a lovely and unexpected bonus! I always appreciate the kind gesture. 🙂
PHOTO SESSION QUESTIONS
Oh my gosh YES! Most adults dislike having their photos taken. I am here to make you comfortable and help guide you into flattering positions. I know how to light you and pose you to look your very best. And depending on the type of photo shoot, we will be talking about all factors that make up your photo shoot - the location, the date, the time of day, the lighting, the props, etc. In fact, if we are working together, make sure to ask for my Tips Magazine! I have one for consumers and one for business owners and entrepreneurs.
And in terms of feeling awkward, I get that we are just meeting each other. But rest assured, one of the most common compliments from my clients is that I am super friendly and laid back. You will be comfortable, I promise!
I love when clients plan ahead and come up with a shot list. This allows us to set specific goals that help to define the length of the photo session, the number of images you need, and what people / props / locations will be best for you photo shoot.
Once we know what we are photographing, I also like to discuss how the photographs will be used. The intended usage can help to define compositional aspects. One photo may not work for both a wide banner image as well as a tall rack card. One image may be perfect for the space, but did we account for text overlay on the right or left? These are important things to consider when creating your shot list.
The last thing I want is for you to be stressed. So to avoid stress, plan to be ready early. - give yourself a little extra time – maybe 15 or 20 minutes, to make sure you have padding for traffic delays (if meeting at a 3rd party location) and any unexpected hiccups.
If you anticipate being more than 15 minutes late, please call to ensure we will still have time for your full session. If you are late I cannot guarantee availability for the full session time.
Sometimes photo session timelines are guesstimates. If we are approaching your end time and it appears we will not be able to wrap up by the contracted time, we will talk first. I will ask you at the end of your contracted time whether or not you would like to extend. If you would like to continue, we bill our hourly rate specified in your contract rounded to the closest 30-minute increment.
Usually I don't book more than one photo assignment per day, so there's no need to rush off - why the extra charge? Obviously I am charging for my time working with you, but I am also charging for the added time in post-production. If we shoot longer, there are likely more photographs to edit, which means more time behind-the-scenes.
The only bad day to a photographer is a rainy day! Cloudy or overcast lighting is excellent for photography, so do not be dismayed if you wake up to a gray sky. Diffused light from gray and cloudy skies lays beautifully over the curvature of the face and body, reducing or eliminating harsh shadows. And, you can mimic sunlight on cloudy days too so it's the ULTIMATE flexible lighting condition.
A beautiful sunny day has it's benefits too – warm sunlight on the right angles can create beautiful glowing effects, and it also heightens the vibrancy of colors.
If we find the weather is poor, namely RAIN or excessive WIND, we will discuss rescheduling. And no worries about your reservation fee – it will be carried over to your rescheduled session date.
No. At this time, sessions are held on location. In my arsenal of gear, I have a pop-up studio / travel studio so that I can come to you, or we can meet at a mutual location. We can also consider renting a studio space, if your venue will not suit our photo needs.
Yes! I have a tethering kit and the software to connect my camera to my laptop for live viewing of photographs as they are taken. Not every photo shoot qualifies for tethered shooting, however we can add it as a custom service to any package.
Tethered shooting is ideal for studio photo sessions, such as catalog shoots, product shoots, staff headshots, and other sessions where detail is critical. Tethered means we are limited in mobility (because the camera is connected to a laptop with a cable), so tethering while photographing outdoors or for a family shoot simply is not practical.
There must be enough available light for us to work - and as the photographer, I need enough light so my camera can focus sharply.
It is important to discuss your location limitations with your photographer if light availability is of concern. A questionable location may warrant a pre-shoot site visit. If there isn't enough natural light, we will plan to bring studio gear. And if there is no electricity, no worries - my studio lights are all battery powered, which means we do not need to hunt for a power outlet or run extension cords.
The main topic we will discuss after details such as date/time and location are selected will be what to wear. However, if you would like to delve further into photo session prep, please browse through my article series "10 Tips To Look Your Best In Portraits", noted below!
Tip #1 - Flattering SMILE & Head Positioning for Portraiture
Tip #2 - Flattering Body Positioning for Portraiture
Tip #3 - Finding Beautiful Light ANYWHERE
Tip #4 - Picking Your Perfect Color Pallet
Tip #5 - Attire & Accessories to Look Your Best
Tip #6 - Flattering Positioning Between YOU & Camera
Tip #7 - Camera-Ready Hair & Makeup Tips
Tip #8 - 15 Tips to Prepare Your Body & Mind for Photo Day
Tip #9 - Communicate Your Goals for a Successful Photo Shoot
Tip #10 - Let It Go!
THE FINAL PRODUCT
Yes, and No. The level of post-production depends on the genre and the need. All photo shoots are carefully culled, light balanced, color balanced, and enhanced where possible. Final portraits are always retouched. And other genres are retouched on an as-needed basis or by request. Select advanced retouching request may require additional fees.
General retouching services include removal of blemishes, removal of bags under eyes, and removal of fly-away hairs, for example. Advanced retouching usually requires more extensive time in Photoshop such as cutting out a subject to make the background transparent, removing entire objects from the scene, changing the size and shape of body parts or other objects in the scene, and adding objects to a scene. Removal of excessive acne, braces, and sunburn are also good examples. Advanced retouching is billed hourly and requires a custom guesstimate, as the time required ranges depending on the complexity of the project. Please inquire for a custom quote.
I offer two file types: PRINT Files and WEB Files. PRINT Files include full usage permission for print marketing and advertising as well as any online marketing and advertising. WEB Files are for online marketing and advertising only. Purchased photography files are usually paired with a contract stating usage permissions.
There are only 2 limitations:
- First, the usage permission is single-use. This means that clients may not distribute their photographs to 3rd parties.
- Second, merchandising is not allowed. This means you cannot use my photographs on products made for free or paid distribution.
These usage permissions require a separate usage license and fee.
YES! If your purchase included PRINT Files (which come with both print and online usage permissions) you may submit them for publication. If you only have WEB Files, please contact me to upgrade the files needed for publication.
And I love when my clients are published! My only requirement is that the photographs include a credit to Kelly Heck Photography.
Here is how I prefer my credits to appear:
For printed (hardcopy) publications, please request the following credit:
© Kelly Heck Photography | www.kellyheckphotography.com
For online (web) publications, please request the following credit with active hyperlink to my website: https://kellyheckphotography.com/:
And please notify me! I love to share your success with my network too!
No. Merchandising requires a separate license agreement and fee. Merchandising is the use of your photographs in products. For example, books, calendars, prints, notecards, and other products made for distribution or sale / profit.
From end of shoot to proofing gallery reveal all depends on the type of photography and how heavy the current work load is. Often times, I tell most clients they should expect to see their photographs within 2-weeks of their photo session. Proofing galleries are provided through the Zenfolio platform.
If you have a tight deadline and require a rush on your photo proofing gallery and final delivery, a rush fee of $65.00 applies.
No. Watermarks will not be included in your purchased downloads, prints, or other products. What you see is simply an overlay feature that the Zenfolio platform includes!
Contractually, your photographs are available for viewing / purchasing / downloading for 6-months. Even though all my client files are backed-up, this time-frame is just a safety precaution in case of extreme cases of data loss. I never intent to close client galleries, so you can rest assured that your images are available for viewing and purchasing in the near and distant future, well beyond 6-months.
With that said, your galleries are not a form of photo back-up. Make sure you save a duplicate of your final photographs somewhere safe where you can access them should you misplace your working files.
Accessing your photographs past the 6-month period may warrant an archival fee, if...
There is a $75.00 archival fee for additional downloads if the proofing gallery has been archived and I have trouble finding it. I've never had to charge a customer to locate their images. But if it takes me a considerable amount of time, I will ask for this small fee to cover my time searching through photo archives to locate your images.
I have never lost a client's photographs, and have even looked back 6+ years into my archives to locate images that clients have misplaced. Photo projects are backed up on external harddrives and on the cloud. Before you even see your proofing gallery, your images are backed up in two (2) locations.
How many images do you deliver for a headshot session, a personal branding session, a portrait session, an event?
The final number of images you see in your proofing gallery depends heavily on the type of photo session and the length of your photo session. Here are some guesstimates of what you will see after culling/editing:
Staff Headshot Sessions: 3-5 headshots per participant
Commercial / Personal Branding Sessions: 30-40 images per hour
Portrait Sessions: 30-40 images per hour
Event Coverage: 60 images per hour
Many photographers include a "copyright release" or "full usage permissions" in their contracts, which generally means you can use the images for anything defined in that release / usage. That is not the same as owning the copyright. Copyright simply means that I am the creator of the photographs, and I "own" the copyright. Just as a musician owns their original song, or an artist owns the rights to their painting, a photographers' work is copyright protected. Selling or obtaining "the copyright" is NOT an option I offer with my standard contracts, packages, or services.
The raw, unedited files are not available for viewing or purchase. Please trust that any excluded photographs are culled purposefully because they are either misfires, technical glitches, poor expressions, or unnecessary duplicates. Bad photos are like blackmail! HA HA! You will not see them, and neither will anyone else. 😉
No. I eliminate duplicate images, test shots, misfires, and any photographs that are bad angles or poor expressions. My ultimate goal is to deliver an exceptional final proofing gallery to every client, and culling is a very important part of the process.
I use only professional vendors that provide high quality products made with archival materials. That means your final product will not only look amazing, but it will last a lifetime!
Once I review your order to double check any mistakes (usually 1-2 business days), your order is ready for processing. My printer usually drop-ships your order within one week, and it will arrive on your doorstep within the shipping option you selected at checkout.
My main camera is a Canon 5D Mark IV, and I carry a back-up just in case. My favorite lenses to shoot with are my Canon 50mm F1.2, Canon 100mm F/2.8, and my Sigma Art 35mm F1.4. My lighting gear brand was recently upgraded from Paul C. Buff Alienbee to Godox / Flashpoint. And I keep a ba-zillion accessories and light modifiers to get your shots just right! You can learn more about my favorite gear on my Meet The Photographer webpage!
I actually built this website myself and maintain it regularly!
I used a theme from www.KadenceThemes.com. Want to try one of their premium themes? Email me and I can send you a 25% off coupon!
No, I am not hiring. However, Fall of 2020 marked the end of my first experience mentoring a high school intern. My experience was phenomenal, and I will definitely participate in my local high school's internship program again if the opportunity presents itself. My local high school, Francis Scott Key, offers a half school year internship that can be extended the full year if all parties are agreeable.
I would love to say yes, but honestly I don't have enough free time anymore. I'm running all aspects of two businesses, I have a family and pets and friends to keep up with, and me-time to fit in. Please feel welcome to meet up with me at a local networking event, or connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. I follow many people that I admire, as well as many local photographers. And there are many facebook groups to nurture creative entrepreneurs. And should you have more money than you know what to do with, I am always available for hired Q&A and mentoring.
Work hard, and then work harder.
Work all the time. Work on your photography skills. Work on your business skills. Work on your communication skills. Work on your relationship skills.
And while you are working hard on all of your photography goals, work a regular day job. If you can find an employer that supports business networking in your local community and/or leans on you to make sales, that's another big bonus! These are skills you will need to build your own business.
A photography business takes time to build, especially if the plan is to work for yourself instead of working for an employer. Take your time, do it well, and do it right. When it's time to quit the day-job and dive full-time into your entrepreneurism, you will know (but trust me, you will still be scared)!
I value my college education so much. But the one thing I always wonder is where and how I went to school. I attended a private and expensive college. I was lucky that I earned some scholarships, but it didn't cover it all. I also wonder if a business degree would have served me better, being self-employed. Art school, in my experience, teaches you so many skills and pushes you to experiment, but it doesn't prepare you so much for running a business, and running my business is about 95% of my workload, while only the remaining 5% (if even that) is time I get to spend behind the camera.
Building websites. I know how to build decent websites and implement organic SEO ("Search Engine Optimization") to help my website rank and be found. If you want to start your own business, you need a visually appealing and technically designed website that ranks well.
In fact, I highly recommend Fuel Your Photos online SEO & Blog Course (FYI - affiliate link). I've been teaching myself SEO for over a decade. I stumbled across these guys in 2019, and they know their stuff! I decided to take the plunge in April 2020, signing up for their course after completing some of their free resources. I am a super slow course-taker, so currently I am still working through their lessons and implementing their teachings. Fuel Your Photos' target audience is photographers looking to improve their SERPs, but their content is valuable to all!
Since changing vendors for my business cards, I have gotten multiple "THESE ARE THE NICEST BUSINESS CARDS I HAVE EVER SEEN" type compliments. They are produced by Moo, and my affiliate link with them is refer.moo.com/s/kelly283. They are pricey, but it is worth it!
HoneyBook is my CRM ("Customer Relations Management") tool for an all-in-one project, invoicing and payments management. HoneyBook's robust features help small businesses:
- Build beautiful custom-branded proposals and invoices.
- Track project tasks and expenses.
- Schedule and automate client payment reminders.
- Manage everything in one place. with
- ... to name a few.
Zenfolio is my platform for:
- Online proofing galleries (with optional password protection).
- Online shopping / sales.
- Unlimited cloud storage (with their $300/yr plan).