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The Family Photography Experience Welcome Guide

Hello!  

Thank you for your interest in my photography. 

 

Back in 1998, my passion for natural light portrait photography began when I first became a mother.  By 2002, we were blessed with three children under the age of five.  A film camera, a gift from my own mother, became my go-to creative way to step outside of motherhood's chaos and just observe the moments and details that were disappearing before I was ready to let them go. 

 

Challenging myself to capture the essence of our children’s personalities in photographs, especially using black & white film,  eventually evolved into me doing the same for other families.   

 

As you can probably tell from my portfolio, I’m not the type of photographer who rigidly poses people or uses props.  Honestly, no two sessions are ever alike. Your images should authentically capture your family’s unique connections and personalities which involves getting to know you combined with some gentle guidance.  Those ‘in-between  moments’ that organically happen (with a little coaching if necessary) always end up being my absolute favorite images from every session.  

 

We all have a unique story.  Thanks for trusting me to help tell yours. 

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The Process: 

#1

GET IN CONTACT

 

  • Call, text, or email and tell me what type of photography experience you are interested in booking.  

  • Mutually agree on the session date & timeframe (choices: morning, afternoon, or early evening in summer months) to pencil in on the calendar to temporarily reserve your session.  

  • Schedule and have a pre-session phone call to discuss details and customize your experience (location options, exact starting time, what to wear, how to prepare, what to expect, etc)

#2

OFFICIALLY BOOK YOUR SESSION

 

  • Electronically sign my Photography Agreement to officially hold your session date & time on my calendar. The Photography Agreement details the process, prices, timelines, copyrights, model releases, and rescheduling options.

  • No advanced deposit is required - only your e-signature on my Photography Agreement. 

#3

ADVANCED PREPARATIONS

  • Review this Family Photography Experience Welcome Guide for ideas and details about your upcoming session

  • Finalize your session location

  • Plan what you will wear for the session (option: text pictures if you would like feedback for what will photograph well and look coordinated as a group)

  • Touch base the day before the session to double-confirm our exact meeting location.

  • Discuss a contingency plan if the weather forecast looks questionable.

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#4

SESSION DAY

 

  • Relax and trust me....it's going to be fun!

  • Just FYI - there's no need to coach your children on 'smiling'......my advice is always to just let them be themselves so that I can capture those authentic facial expressions without them feeling the added pressure to please their parents with a cheesy-forced-grin. 

#5

IMAGE PREVIEWING GALLERY

 

  • Expect a request to pay a $250 non-refundable deposit approximately two weeks after your session

  • Receive access to your online, private, sharable previewing gallery once your non-refundable payment is received

  • Every client’s online gallery is unique, but most 60-90 minute sessions yield 100+ custom-edited images

  • Spend the next two weeks deciding which images are your favorites! 

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#6

FINALIZING YOUR ORDER 

 

  • Schedule your post-session consultation to discuss placing your Collection order

  • Finalize your order before your Previewing Gallery expires: four weeks from the date your link is sent (a two-week extensions can be purchased for a $25 reposting fee). 

  • Pay the remaining balance of your Collection through your gallery’s online payment portal

  • Your gallery's payment portal accepts all major credit cards, Google Pay, or Apple Pay, or as an alternative, you can always mail a check

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#7

ORDER DELIVERY

 

  • For Family Photography Experiences, approximately two weeks after your remaining balance is paid, your digital images will be mailed to your street address on a flash drive.  

  • Any optional reprints ordered will be arranged for pick-up in Arlington, VA. 

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Location Decisions: 

Urban, Iconic DC, Parks & Nature, Rustic, Botanical Gardens…..the Washington DC Metro area has so MANY great location options for portrait photography session.  

 

Please keep in mind that the primary focus of your session will be YOU!  

 

Locations certainly play a role in your overall experience, but wherever we decide to have your session, my priority will be on capturing you and your family’s connections with each other and your unique expressions in a creative and authentic way.  The location and background scenery will be our secondary focus to enhance the images and your session experience.  

 

Do you already have a special place in mind for the session?  Do you need suggestions?  I’d be happy to discuss the places that I frequented for portrait sessions or we can brainstorm together about a new place for your session.   

Things to consider when making a location decision:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Time of year, time of day and lighting

  • Parking/ease of accessibility 

  • Other people in the background of public spaces 

  • Variety of scenery in walking distance 

  • Entertainment factors/distractions 

  • Commercial photograph restrictions and/or additional fees

  • Pet restrictions if applicable 

  • Safety

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What to Wear: 

While the focus of your images will be your face and expressions, I want you to feel relaxed and beautiful so it’s important to wear things that help you feel that way.  If it’s uncomfortable, doesn’t stay tucked-in, only looks good from one angle, keeps coming unbuttoned, or makes you feel self-conscious, it’s probably not the right outfit.  It’s hard to overcome those feelings and restrictions when you are in front of the lens, so making good decisions ahead of time will help get the session started on a good note.   

 

Some ideas to consider when choosing what to wear: 

 

  • Coordinate but don’t match: Start with one clothing piece that you love - a solid or subtle pattern.  Coordinate the rest of your family's outfits from that anchor point. You can focus on using one color but adding multiple shades of that same color.  Trying to match colors exactly sometimes leads to clashing or looking too matchy-matchy.  Add neutrals to create balance and textures to create interest.  If you are using 2 main colors, ensure they are complimentary in color and tone.  Add enough variety so that everyone looks like an individual and doesn’t look too similar together.  

  • Colors: Jewel tones in the fall and winter, pastels and light colors in the spring and summer, and neutrals anytime tend to be softer and more complimentary for most skin tones versus stark white, black, and bright red.  Neon colors can be very overwhelming. Navy blues also often look 'black' in photos.  Dark colors show lint, so be sure to check/clean for lint and stray hairs before the session.   

  • Layers and textures: Layers add interest and can provide extra warmth in cold temperatures and softer fabrics tend to look less stiff and wrinkled. 

  • What to avoid: Large brand names, graphics, and bold patterns.  

  • Tucking: It’s really hard for children to keep shirts tucked in!  A sweater or shirt that looks good when it’s not tucked usually works better and feels more natural for most children.  Rompers for toddlers are perfect!    

  • Comfortability: In most family portrait sessions, it's great to be able to vary the height of everyone's faces by sitting, squatting, and leaning - think about how this impacts what you choose to wear.  Most sessions are pretty active and incorporate lots of movement.  Think about whether it’s hard to sit or kneel on the ground, a bench, rock, or even climb a tree in what everyone will be wearing. Everyone should be able to comfortably move, sit, stand, and hug without worrying about what they are wearing for fear of exposing something you don't want exposed in the images.    

  • Pulling it all together: Once you think you have good plan, lay everyone’s clothes out in one space (on the bed or floor) and consider if anything clashes or doesn’t look right together.  At any point in the session, you don’t know who might be positioned together.  Does everyone’s outfit look coordinated?  Does anything need to be swapped out?  

  • Ironing: Does anything need to be ironed in advance?  It helps to minimize session day stress when the ironing or dry-cleaning are done ahead of time.  

  • Unload your pockets: Cell phones, keys, wallets, sunglasses, hair band on wrists...leave as much in your car as possible. 

  • Glasses: If you wear glasses, make sure they have clean lenses.  Blue light glasses will look discolored in the images, and progressive lenses that darken into sunglasses are hard to 'see' your eyes.  If you have plain lenses, they will photograph better.  

  • Check your hands....if your hands show in some of the images, are you OK with your nails polish and/or jewelry? 

  • Remember that these photographs are going to be images that are treasured for generations so it’s worth it to take the time to find something that you love and that captures your personal style. 

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You can also text me photos of your outfits considerations if you are looking for feedback.  

Tips for Winter Sessions: Use layers, especially a base layers, toe warmers for inside shoes, blankets instead of coats for bundling younger children quickly as we walk around (a consideration if you won’t be wearing coats in the images). 

Session Day Checklist and Tips:

A family session is actually a beautiful time to stop and appreciate what you have created and celebrate your incredible family.

 

  • Let your family know that it’s going to be fun. No one needs to act a certain way or even smile at the camera.  Just relax and be affectionate with your family.  When you set the tone, it will let everyone’s personalities shine.  

  • Be yourselves.  I certainly appreciate that having your picture taken can be awkward and uncomfortable, but the best images will come more naturally when you are just being you. 

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Remember that there are no hard and fast rules, no rights or wrongs - just have fun together and focus on each other.    

  • Bring the cuddles, snuggles, tickles, jokes, hugs and hand holding.  No matter how chaotic it may seem at times to you, just lean in, embrace the madness, and each other.  Leave the rest to me!  

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Session, Prints, and Additional Digital Image Pricing: 

Prices are subject to change at any time and are locked upon signing the photography agreement. 

Virgina Sales Tax of 6% will be added to all sessions and print orders. 

The Family Photography Experience

an all-inclusive experience custom-designed with and for families

 

Includes: 

- pre & post-session consultations 

- location scouting & travel time (within 30 min of Arlington, VA)

- creative/sitting fee of $200 for up to a 1.5 hour photography session 

- custom-editing and hosting fees for an online previewing image gallery of custom-edited color and black & white images

(most 90 minute session result in 200+ images)

- Your choice of 5 different Collections to be determined AFTER viewing your gallery

Collection A: 20 digital images + 10% off any optional Fine Art Prints ~ $600

Collection B: 25 digital images + 10% off any optional Fine Art Prints ~ $700

Collection C: 30 digital images + 15% off any optional Fine Art Prints ~ $800

Collection D: 35 digital images + 15% off any optional Fine Art Prints ~ $900

Collection E: 40 digital images + 20% off any optional Fine Art Prints ~ $1000

Option to add additional digital images to Collection E as follows: 

45 images ($1,100), 50 images ($1,200), 55 images ($1,300), 60 images ($1,400)

(digital images include a print release and are appropriate for unlimited personal printing up to size 8x12)

OPTIONAL FINE ART PRINTS 

Professionally printed on Fine Art paper and mounted for extra stability/thickness

Print delivery will be coordinated for client pick up in Arlington, VA 

Tabletop Prints: 

4x6.....$50

5x7…..$50

8x10/8x12….$75

Medium Wall Art:

11x14…$100

12x18…$150

16x20…$175

16x24.....$200

Large Wall Art:

20x24…$250

24x30…$375

24x36…$475

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5x7 print examples on Fine Art Paper, mounted for extra stability 

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FAQ’s 

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What if it rains on our day of our session? 

 

I shoot outdoor session in any kind of weather except for the rain, so if the weather forecast is predicting rain, we can chat on the day before your session to reconfirm the session or discuss a contingency plan.  I book a limited number of appointments per day to provide for some last minute tweaking of session start times based on unexpected weather changes.  If it’s a total wash out, we can usually find another session time that works.    

Can you edit out blemishes? 

 

For every session, I spend hours in the postproduction stage editing your images to my creative and artistic standards.  I remove temporary blemishes, such as pimples, scratches or prominent bruises but I do not offer heavy photoshopping or image manipulation.  After viewing your images, please ask if you have additional editing concerns.      

Will I have both color and black & white images in my gallery? 

 

I’ve always loved Andri Cauldwell’s quote, “To see in color is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul.”  I now offer two types of portrait sessions: The Authentic Portrait Session has a combination of color and B&W images and a 100% b&w portrait session.    

How do I choose which images from my gallery to purchase? 

 

In our post-session consultation, we can discuss your images in more detail.  I’m always available to help you decide which images you want to obtain digitally, in print, and display in your home.   

Can I purchase more images (digitals or printed products) at a later date? 

 

Your online gallery will be accessible to you for 4 weeks and is sharable with anyone you choose to provide the link.  It’s important to make all of your ordering decision during the time that your gallery is active. We can schedule your post-session consultation within the 4 weeks so that you are prepared to make your final decisions and I can efficiently process your complete order at one time.  I do have a digital storage system in place but I don’t guarantee that I will digitally store your images indefinitely.  If you discover that you would like to make any additional purchases after your gallery’s expiration, please inquire and hopefully I can help.     

Questions?  Please text, call, or email me anytime:
571.212.4258
donnaowens571@gmail.com

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