Questions and answers


Do you offer both colour and black & white?

Of course. Some sub­jects really suit black and white, oth­ers simply work bet­ter in col­our — it’s your choice though (but don’t ask for “col­our pop­ping” or “select­ive col­our”).

Our per­son­al pref­er­ences for col­our or black and white don’t lim­it the choices we can offer you — the ser­vice is about provid­ing you with images you love.

Photoshop and retouching

All digit­al images require some degree of post-pro­cessing, but that doesn’t neces­sar­ily imply retouch­ing in Pho­toshop.

As to the ques­tion of image manip­u­la­tion and retouch­ing in Pho­toshop, the answer is yes, we use Pho­toshop, but as little as pos­sible and only as much as we need to. 

All final images are likely to receive some cos­met­ic retouch­ing and enhance­ment — this is included in the price, not offered as an extra. This is por­trait­ure, so it has to recog­nis­ably por­tray the sub­ject of the pho­to­graph — the retouch­ing will be subtle, but the aim is to delight you with the end image. The amount of retouch­ing applied is at our dis­cre­tion.

The real skill is the in light­ing and pos­ing, not fix­ing it in Pho­toshop.

Do you sell digital images?

Yes — for head shots and sim­il­ar, but not for por­trait ses­sions. For por­trait ses­sions our goal is to deliv­er some­thing to hang on your wall that will delight you every day than a disk/ stick of images that will be lost at the back of a draw­er and nev­er see the light of day. 

Your reac­tion when you first see your fin­ished wall por­trait is some­thing we look for­ward to … a CD or USB drive just isn’t spe­cial (even in a fancy box with a bow). 

Where we post web/Facebook/Instagram images you’re wel­come to share them. These are not suit­able for high qual­ity print­ing, but you may dis­trib­ute and dis­play these as you see fit (but you must retain the water­mark).

We will nev­er offer a “disk of all the images”. We dis­card the duds. We cull the weak­est of the sim­il­ar shots and in the end we only offer you the best images — and then we only sell fully retouched images. Don’t con­fuse volume and dross with value or qual­ity.

Do you sell unmounted prints?

Gen­er­ally no — the only excep­tion is The Fairy Exper­i­ence (which is very dif­fer­ent from our day-to-day busi­ness. The prints get exactly the same care and atten­tion as all our work and we only sup­ply high qual­ity prints — either prin­ted in-house or from the same print lab as our oth­er products — the price is based on our effort and skill in cre­at­ing the images, not the paper and ink.

How long do you keep images?

We com­mit to keep pur­chased images for up to a year after a ses­sion. Stor­age space per­mit­ting, we’ll prob­ably keep them much longer.

How­ever, if you have not chosen to make a pur­chase with­in 6 weeks of a view­ing (in per­son or online) we may dis­card the images and con­sider the oppor­tun­ity lost.

Do you shoot weddings?

Emphat­ic­ally, no … but maybe if you will be a delight to work with and you insist on pay­ing us lots and lots of money. 

We are por­trait spe­cial­ists, not wed­ding pho­to­graph­ers (and we don’t pos­i­tion ourselves as a jack-of-all-trades pho­to­graph­ers). You come to us for stun­ning por­trait­ure because that’s our spe­ci­al­ity — not some­thing we do to fill in time between wed­ding book­ings.

We’d be delighted if you wanted us to pho­to­graph your engage­ment shoot or any oth­er spe­cial occa­sion for you as a couple, but we’ll be incred­ibly reluct­ant to dis­cuss shoot­ing your wed­ding.

If you still really insist that you want us to shoot your wed­ding please get in touch, but be warned our price is obscenely expens­ive and we will be extremely select­ive for any book­ings we might con­sider.

Do you shoot model portfolios?

No. But we can and do shoot port­fo­lio mater­i­al with mod­els (though it doesn’t really fit as por­trait­ure). We will occa­sion­ally shoot agency tests.

We don’t believe char­ging to shoot port­fo­li­os for aspir­ing mod­els is a com­pletely eth­ic­al busi­ness (or even a worth­while rev­en­ue stream in this area). There are lots of tal­en­ted ama­teur pho­to­graph­ers who will shot with aspir­ing mod­els — essen­tially for free — and that is a great way for a new mod­el to build a port­fo­lio and gain exper­i­ence (sadly not always good).

It’s worth bear­ing in mind that a pur­chased port­fo­lio shoot doesn’t instantly cre­ate a mod­el, nor is it an easy way to get signed by an agency. A good port­fo­lio will dis­play more than a single photographer’s images and a vari­ety of looks — not gen­er­ally achiev­able in a single day. Agen­cies will even sign new tal­ent without a port­fo­lio and sub­sequently arrange test shoots to devel­op a port­fo­lio — gen­er­ally without cost to the mod­el. There are a lot of scams out there, don’t fall vic­tim to them.

That said, pay­ing to work with someone whose work you admire and you believe will improve your exper­i­ence and port­fo­lio can’t be argued against — but that is a prag­mat­ic choice based on exper­i­ence.

So if you are a mod­el (or aspir­ing mod­el) and want to shoot with us, your only option is to ask.

Availability

We hope you’re not in a hurry. Avail­ab­il­ity var­ies depend­ing on the type of shoot, but, for week­ends, we typ­ic­ally make book­ings at least a month in advance. Week­days are slightly easi­er — we can usu­ally take your book­ing for a couple of weeks away.

Busi­ness por­traits and passport/visa pho­tos are prob­ably the excep­tion — since these are short ses­sions we can gen­er­ally squeeze one in at rel­at­ively short notice.

Of course, if you are flex­ible and we have a can­cel­la­tion we may be able to accom­mod­ate you earli­er.

Spe­cial offers may impose some restric­tions on our full price ser­vice — typ­ic­ally loc­a­tion (stu­dio-only) and lim­ited dur­a­tion and flex­ib­il­ity. We will make you aware of any restric­tions when book­ing.

What to wear?

That depends on the look we’re try­ing to achieve and is some­thing we will dis­cuss pri­or to the shoot. In gen­er­al, we’re going to sug­gest some­thing simple and unfussy (it’s about you, not your clothes).

What if we need to re-schedule?

That occa­sion­ally hap­pens with babies/children and obvi­ously we will aim to accom­mod­ate — there is nor­mally no pen­alty for res­chedul­ing.

What happens if the baby or kids aren’t cooperative and the session doesn’t produce anything usable?

We try again at no expense to you.

How long does a session last?

There is gen­er­ally no hurry — we shoot for as long as we need.

For a simple stu­dio por­trait ses­sion, one hour is prob­ably typ­ic­al. For a simple adult stu­dio por­trait we could achieve the shots we need in the first 30 minutes (at which point there may be no point in con­tinu­ing). With kids, we try to keep stu­dio ses­sions short.

Envir­on­ment­al fam­ily shoots are nor­mally a whole day event. For indi­vidu­als and couples, a half day is prob­ably long enough.

For a pampered shoot involving a make-up artist and/or hair-styl­ist then allow extra time … prob­ably lots of extra time.

Where do you take photos?

It really depends on the res­ult and effect we want to achieve.

Much of our work is shot in our West Lothi­an pho­to­graphy stu­dio using either stu­dio flash or nat­ur­al win­dow light. For babies, we can vis­it you in your own home (gen­er­ally shoot­ing in nat­ur­al light). An envir­on­ment­al por­trait could involve shoot­ing out­doors, but that’s very depend­ent on suit­able weath­er.

When we shoot in our stu­dio we obvi­ously have a known envir­on­ment that we know will work (with the com­forts of fresh cof­fee) — but since it is a stu­dio it can be a little lim­it­ing.

We can bring light­ing gear to shoot in your home, but we will not com­mit to shoot­ing any­thing oth­er than babies up to 4 months old in your home without vis­it­ing first.

What happens if I don’t like the results?

We try again at no expense to you. If that’s unsuc­cess­ful then we can try again. Maybe after that we’ll dis­cuss can­cel­la­tion and refunds. Touch wood, we’ve nev­er needed to re-shoot or refund yet.

How quickly will we see the results?

How quickly we can edit your images for view­ing can vary with a num­ber of factors. We nor­mally aim to have a view­ing ses­sion about two weeks after the shoot (we will advise you if that’s not feas­ible).

Don’t expect to see all of the images though — we cull the images to a more man­age­able num­ber.

A view­ing ses­sion in the stu­dio is the best way to select your images — that allows us to dis­cuss the images and guide you with product selec­tions. Return­ing to the stu­dio isn’t always pos­sible, so online gal­lery is also an option, but you won’t find it as easy to choose (we take a large depos­it to pro­duce an online gal­lery).

Your “investment” (weasel speak)

It has become trendy for pho­to­graph­ers to describe the cost of their ser­vice and products as an “invest­ment” — that’s just an an attempt to manip­u­late you as the buy­er.

What we aim to give you is a fun and relaxed pho­to­graphy exper­i­ence (while mak­ing you look your best) and high qual­ity products to hang on your wall. To do that, we’re pre­pared to spend all the time we need with you to get it right.

While you will treas­ure our images and they will deliv­er happy memor­ies every time you view them, you will have par­ted with your cash (thank you, please come again). The key ques­tion is the value of the exper­i­ence and the qual­ity of end products rel­at­ive to the cost — we don’t aspire to a Mich­elin star exper­i­ence (we’re much too relaxed for that), but please don’t think we’re like one of a num­ber cheap fast-food res­taur­ant chains com­pet­ing on price and deliv­er­ing min­im­al vari­ation on a menu.

Our prices

What you need to know is just how much a ses­sion with us might cost you. For por­trait ses­sions, we charge a ses­sion fee which buys you the pleas­ure of our com­pany at your appoint­ment time, a pre-shoot con­sulta­tion if needed and your view­ing ses­sion — it does not include any prin­ted or digit­al products.

Stand­ard stu­dio ses­sion fees range from £100 — £180. On loc­a­tion envir­on­ment­al por­trait ses­sions start at £120.

Our wall por­traits start at £195. Very few cli­ents spend less than £300 and most spend between £500 and £1200 (a small num­ber will spend sig­ni­fic­antly more).

If you are simply shop­ping on price we’re prob­ably not your pho­to­graph­er (we’re hardly the most expens­ive and we will try to fit most real­ist­ic budgets, but we’re not in the cheap-£50-gets-you-all-images-on-disk cat­egory).

Why do you require the session fee in advance?

We don’t oper­ate a high volume high street busi­ness with back-to-back appoint­ments, so any can­cel­la­tions have impact on our busi­ness. Pay­ing the ses­sion fee in advance is just a way of ensur­ing your com­mit­ment (and pays for the heat­ing!).

Surely it’s digital — why the high prices?

Every­one has a cam­era now — a lot of them are very, very good (many hob­by­ists will pro­duce images of a high­er stand­ard than a lot of pro­fes­sion­als). Equip­ment is no longer a dif­fer­en­ti­at­or (often hob­by­ists will spend more on gear than a lot of work­ing pro­fes­sion­als).

When you shoot with us, con­sider that you are work­ing with a crafts­man to cre­ate some­thing unique for you and that you will treas­ure for many years. We’ve spent years hon­ing our skills, not just with a cam­era in our hands, but with our light­ing and post-pro­cessing too.

And unlike your friend who hon­estly isn’t par­tic­u­larly keen on your impos­i­tion on them to take your pho­tos, we won’t leave your images in the cam­era and we won’t be too busy after­wards to edit them. We won’t dump all the unre­touched images on you and walk away either.

Factored into that are all the over­heads of run­ning a busi­ness and earn­ing a liv­ing (rather than a self-fund­ing hobby).


Ses­sion fees must be paid in full at time of book­ing.

Ses­sion fees are not refund­able.

All sales are final — these are bespoke products made to order.

Pay­ment must be made at the time of the order, though split­ting pay­ments may be an option.

Deliv­ery of the fin­ished products may take up to four weeks from when the order and pay­ment is received.

All prices include VAT at the stand­ard rates.