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The Portrait Session Welcome Guide

Hello!  

Thank you for your interest in my photography. 

 

Back in 1998, way before the invention of the cell phone camera, my passion for natural light portrait photography began when I became a mother.  With three children under the age of five, a camera 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 images, especially with 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 during my sessions.  Honestly, no two sessions are ever alike: I want your images to authentically capture your family’s unique connections and personalities.  For me, it’s a process which involves getting to know you and your family combined with 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 Experience: 

#1

Book

  • Agree on the session date & time 

  • Meet virtually for the pre-session consultation to discuss and customize your session’s details

  • Electronically sign the photography agreement to officially hold your session date & time.  The photography agreement details the processes, prices, timelines, copyrights, model releases, and rescheduling options. 

  • No advanced deposit is required.

#2

Prepare

  • Decide on your location

  • Start planning what you will wear for the session 

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#3

Session Day

  • Touch base the day before the session to double confirm our plans and meeting location.  

  • Discuss a contingency plan if the weather looks like it may be questionable.

  • Relax!  See my Session Day Checklist and Tips below. 

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#4

Gallery

  • Expect a request to pay 50% of your session package approximately two weeks after your session. 

  • Access your online previewing gallery once your 50% non-refundable payment is received.  Every client’s gallery is unique, but most 60-90 minute sessions result in at least 50 custom-edited images. 

  • Begin to decide which images are your favorites!   

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#5

Order

  • Order digital images, prints and products over the course of the month.  Your online previewing gallery will expire after four weeks. 

  • Pay the remaining balance of your session fee and for any upgrades through your gallery’s online shopping cart. 

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#6

Delivery

  • Digital images are mailed to your street address on a flash drive.  

  • Printed products are shipped to your street address.  Additional shipping charges may apply to oversized products.  

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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 subconscious, it’s 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 for you and your family can get 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 primary color but varying the shade - trying to match the color exactly sometimes that 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.  

  • Jewel tones, pastels, and neutrals tend to be softer and more complimentary for most skin tones than stark white, black, and bright red.  Neon colors can be very overwhelming.   

  • Avoid large brand names, graphics, and bold patterns.  

  • 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.    

  • In most portrait sessions, it's great to be able to vary the height of your 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.  

  • 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?  

  • 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.  

  • 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 Pricing and a la carte Upgrades: 

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 product orders. 

THE PORTRAIT SESSION

for families, newborns, or seniors

 

Includes: 

Pre and post-session consultations

Up to a 90 min session 

2 8x10/8x12 Fine Art Prints

3 5x7 Fine Art Prints 

25 digital images with print release

Access to a Repeat Client Session and a la carte upgrades

 

$750

THE REPEAT CLIENT SESSION

for clients who have booked a Portrait Session within the last year

Repeat Client Sessions are only available Sunday - Friday at pre-determined locations.

 

Includes: 

Pre and post-session consultations

Up to a 90 min session 

25 digital images with print release

Access to a la carte upgrades

$500

 

A La CARTE UPGRADES

 

All display products are printed on professional Fine Art or Matte paper and mounted for extra stability

Additional shipping charges may apply to prints 11x14 and larger

Tabletop Prints: 

5x7…..$50

8x10/8x12….$70

Medium Wall Art:

11x14…$100

12x18…$150

16x20…$175

Large Wall Art:

20x24…$250

24x30…$375

24x36…$475

30x40…$550

Digital Image ~ $50 each

Includes print release for unlimited personal use printing size 8x12 and smaller 

Set of traditional 4x6 prints corresponding to purchased digital images ~ $75

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

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FAQ’s 

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? 

 

YES!  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.”  99% of my clients’ 

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.     

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

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