Q. What should I (or my family) wear to my shoot with you?
A. You should wear something comfortable, that you won’t mind walking in (comfortable shoes). Avoid graphic t-shirts — small patterns are all right, but a big Nike logo won’t do you any favors. You want the attention in the photo on your lovely face, not what you’re wearing. Wearing a color that compliments your eyes is always a great place to start. And neutrals always look fantastic — whites, greys, navys and blacks.
Q. What is the best thing I can do to prepare my home or business for your shoot?
A. If we’re shooting in your house or at your place of business, you should tidy up the area and especially clear areas in front of the windows. Natural light creates the best images, and I’ll likely want to shoot in these spaces.
Q. Can you tell me about your process? When you say a package includes 25 photos, does that mean you only shoot 25 photos?
A. I shoot TONS and tons and tons and tons of photos of you when we have a photo shoot. The more photos I take, the better shot we have of coming away with stellar images! But! If I mention I have taken 400 images of you, usually that’s only 70 or so different shots because I take each photo 3-4 times to ensure you are not blinking, yawning or something else in the moment. Make sense? After the shoot, I spend hours going through all of the images and choosing the best ones to send to you. After selecting these images, I then start the retouching process.
Q. How do I know you are really choosing the best images?
A. Before starting Shuttersmack, I worked for more than 15 years as an art director and designer for a variety of newspapers and magazines. In this role, it was my job to look at a photographer’s images from a shoot and choose which photos would make it into publication. I have lots of training and many years of experience doing just this, and you’re hiring me for this exact experience.
Q. Do I get all the images to keep after the session?
A. I will email you your final take in digital files that are good for up to 5×7 prints. This means they will work for your holiday cards, prints up to that size, and for Facebook.
Q. But what if I want bigger prints?
A. When I send you your files, I also send you a link to a private site that has all of your photos on it. This site offers prints from my vendor, and you can order larger prints there.
Q. Why do you do this? Why can’t I get a 20×30 print from Walgreens?
A. If you are making a print larger than 5×7, I want to ensure that you are getting the very best color correction and quality. Also, this means you are going to be displaying my work in a large format somewhere, and I want to make sure it looks as good as it can.
Q. What kind of camera do you use?
A. I shoot with a Nikon D850 and a D810.
Q. How much retouching will you do to my photo?
A. I always try to make people look their best. This means I will do minimal retouching to reduce lines, stray hairs, blemishes etc. I will also remove food from your teeth or pet hair from your clothes. What I won’t do is change your physical features. Please don’t ask me to “elongate your neck” or “make your eyes big like Disney.” I think the beauty industry has done enough to mess with our self-esteem, and I don’t want to partake in furthering misconceptions about beauty. Every single one of you is LOVELY. Let’s celebrate that.
Q. What is your workflow? How do you edit your images?
A. All takes are different, but I usually do all of my work in Photoshop. I’m too Type A to batch edit using any other software, and I love the details and control that Photoshop gives me with each image.
Q. When did you get into photography?
A. I took a class on photojournalism in high school and I loved it. I shot basketball games for the high school paper, and I took a fine art photo class as well. As I got into college, I realized I couldn’t afford dark room time, film etc etc, and I moved toward graphic design instead. In 2005, my husband got me a Nikon D80 for Christmas, and I fell in love all over again. I could use my old Nikon lenses with this camera, and I began my Shuttersmack photo blog as my 2006 New Year’s resolution. I have blogged a photo every day ever since.
Q. Who has been your favorite band to shoot?
A. There are certain artists that are so charismatic on stage that they are always a blast to photograph. Some examples include Metric, P.O.S., Astronautalis and Santigold. But the moment when I was shooting a band and thought, “Holy cow, my Jr. High self would be so dang impressed right now!” would have to be Metallica or Slayer.
Q. Why so many dog photos?
A. Because dogs are the best creatures on the planet, of course.