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.
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.
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.
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.