SESSION TIPS

If we have a session upcoming, we will send you a link to review this information in order to be prepared to ensure a smooth shoot so we have more time for fun!

Click Here For Session Tips (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a studio?


We have an in-home studio with backdrop, lighting and a few props. Look through our portfolio to see samples of what is possible! We can send you behind the scenes photos if you want to get a feel for the actual setup.




Do you offer hair or make-up services?


Not at this time. We generally try to do our shoots on weekends, but we can work around schedules as needed if you want to work with a third-party hair or make-up service before our session.




What do we wear to the session?


The easiest things is to look at our or other photographer portfolios and see what catches your eye in other photos as either good or bad. You can also search the Internet for more detailed tips. A few useful hints from us: - Avoid large writing on shirts (unless a sports team or school you want to reflect) - Form-fitting presents better in photos than baggy clothes - Wear layers or clothing articles that can mix or match to offer different looks - If you have a prop (hat, sporting item, etc.) feel free to bring it - Cameras pick up a lot of detail so girls will want well groomed nails (no chipping paint!) and boys will want clean facial hair. - Wear clothing articles that are timeless. Nothing dates a photo more than time period specific pieces (sorry Apple Watch!). We do have a portable pop-up changing room for swapping outfits.




How many photos will we get?


We don't use specific quotas in what we do. We'll shoot for the duration allotted, being flexible where needed to get as many looks captured as possible. You'll have access to an online gallery to download digital images or purchace physical prints of all the photos we determine to meet our quality standards. You get a lot of photos with basic edits done one them, and the option to purchase advanced editing for a set number that you might want to print or showcase.




Can we bring additional people to the shoot?


Of course. For example if we are doing an engagement session, family session, or senior shoot - it is fine to do a few photos with an additional person (a child, a parent, a friend, even a pet). As far as we see it, you are hiring our talent for a time slot and you can use us how you want. Just work with us to balance the time to be sure we capture our primary focus. We do, however, require model releases so it is ideal to know the list of possible subjects before the shoot so unexpected participants don't disrupt the flow by needing to stop for paperwork. Children under 18 must be accompanied at the shoot by a parent or guardian and be listed on the model release.




Can we take photos during the shoot?


This is a touchy subject for a lot of photographers. We are working together to create art, so this like asking a sandwich artist at Subway if you can help put the toppings on your own sandwich. What we don't want is someone trying to capture a 'knock-off' image that isn't of the same quality we are striving to produce or missing a great moment due to distraction. This is particularly true when working with photographers like us who are not placing a limit on the digital downloads in your gallery. That said, what we do love is for you to shoot and share behind the scenes photos that might include the subject along with the photographer or equipment to capture the magic of the session. Just communicate with the photographer during the session to get permission on a good time for a few phone shots. We just ask that you be courteous and tag us when you share those behind-the-scenes experiences on social media!




What is a model release / print release / session contract?


Photography produces both a service (the experience of a photography session) and goods (digital or printed products). As such, a set of agreements must be formed between the client and the photographer to establish ground rules for these items. Here is a brief rundown of this paperwork that will be signed or provided to you. Model Release This form basically permits the photographer to use the produced images for marketing purposes on a website, social media, portfolio gallery, advertisements, etc. In certain cases this can be amended to a limited release or declined altogether - talk to us if you have questions or concerns about this form before signing. Every unique combination of model/date will require a new release form to be signed for that particular set of photos produced at that session. Session Contract This agreement is what outlines the goods and/or services which are being provided to the client in exchange for payment. It spells out in detail what happens for a number of common scenarios. Print Release Also called copyright release or photo release. This is a document which is delivered to you electronically along with your purchased digital images and outlines what you can do with said images in regards to distribution, modification or printing.




What is your pricing?


See our Pricing page for the current price list (including specials!). Like most photographers, there are two components to consider. The service fee (also called a sitting fee or session) is a flat rate that is paid for the photographer's time. Often, people think this is high for the given hours, but a lot of work goes in before and after the session (training, planning, travel, business items, editing). Basically this is what you are paying for the services of the photographer for the few hours you are working together to create artistic images. The product fees are what clients pay for delivered goods - digital images, prints, books of the artistic images which were created during the service session. These are on top of the session fee. It is generally implied that you will purchase some products - otherwise you are just paying to hang out with the photographer for a couple hours! In Iowa, as of 2018, sales tax is required on both photography services and digital/print products.




How much experience do you have?


Tom has been doing photography for about 10 years. Most of that was spent doing event photography, so portraiture is a bit new to us (starting professionally in 2019). He devotes a number of hours to training each year to learn new techniques or to expand our product offerings. We definitely invite you to compare the quality of our work in our online portfolio to others. We use professional gear (lighting, cameras, editing software) and feel our work is above average and improving each year.




What locations do you shoot at?


We actually moved to the Des Moines area in 2018, so we are still learning the community. We can do a natural or urban shoot, depending on what you are looking for. We'll consult beforehand to talk that over and often look to clients to see if they have somewhere particular in mind. Our locations are usually out in public parks, school campuses or downtown areas. For family shoots we can also come to your home. If you have a favorite spot from a sport you play, we can go there too as long as we can work out permission from the location owner. In bad weather or for higher quality headshots we do those in our in-home studio.




What is your style?


Every photographer has three styles - their photograph style, their shooting style, and their business style. The photograph style is reflected in their portfolio. When searching for someone to capture your likeness at a point in time, you'll want to review their past pictures to decide if that is the look you are going for. Focus on things like color, location, lighting, angles, poses. If you want surreal and dreamy, seek a photographer with that look in most of their photos. Likewise if you want heavy processing or elaborate staging/props. We don't want to label our style - so please look over our portfolio and decide yourself if it is what you are seeking. Their business style is shown in the web site, communication and booking/purchasing processes. Some are very rigid and strict, some are quite loose or amateurish. We like to hit a sweet spot somewhere in the middle as a legitimately structured company that operates on a small personal scale. The shooting style is something you'll need to get from either references, reviews, behind the scenes videos, or from taking a leap and trying a photographer (maybe just a consultation or email communication). We are a part-time company doing a smaller number of shoots. We try hard to do great work, and like to have a little fun and humor while we are at it.




How do I book a session?


Use the form on the Contact page to engage with us and we'll walk you through the process, which generally involves: 1) Submitting client information regarding session type and subjects 2) Selecting a photo shoot date and remitting payment for session via online invoice 3) Signing required forms (model release, session contract) before the shoot 4) Participating in the actual shoot 5) Awaiting editing and upload of final images into an online gallery 6) Purchasing digital download and/or individual prints 7) Enjoyment of the process and results!




What are your limits?


Some photography studios limit people, locations, outfits or photo counts. Quite often higher volume studios require this to better manage their bookings as they often do multiple shoots per day. As a smaller studio, our only limit is the total session duration in order to schedule around other life activities.




Do you do volunteer photography or donate for causes?


Yes! We got our start doing exactly that. Our specialty based on our backgrounds is performing volunteer event photography at STEM events, such as FIRST (FRC, FTC, FLL). We also enjoy donating time or resources for those with special needs. If you are in need of a volunteer photographer or a donation of services for a raffle, please reach out and contact us and we'll see what we can do. Volunteer related efforts don't generally have model releases and some of those galleries are hosted by the event sponsors.




Do you do event photography?


Yes! We started out in event photography and still enjoy doing this. Contact us with details about your event to see if we can work something out!




Do you do boudoir shoots?


Yes! We love these kinds of intimate sessions and we can do them in our studio or at your location. We have an example gallery we can send, just use our contact form to discuss proposed details of a shoot in order to access those images.





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    smile@stewartthomasphotography.com 

    (515) 599-1219   |  Johnston, IA

     

    © 2018 by Stewart Thomas Photography LLC