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. We shoot TONS and tons and tons and tons of photos when we have a photo shoot. The more photos we take, the better shot we have of coming away with stellar images! But! If we mention we have taken 400 images of you, usually that’s only 70 or so different shots because we take each photo 3-4 times to ensure you are not blinking, yawning or something else in the moment. Make sense? After the shoot, we spend hours going through all of the images and choosing the best ones to send to you. After selecting these images, we then start the retouching process.
Q. How do I know you are really choosing the best images?
A. Before starting Shuttersmack, Leslie worked for more than 15 years as an art director and designer for a variety of newspapers and magazines. In this role, it was her job to look at a photographer’s images from a shoot and choose which photos would make it into publication. She has tons of training and many years of experience doing just this, and you’re hiring her for this exact experience.
Before joining Shuttersmack, Lucy studied composition, photography and art history at university. Since than, she has consumed a wide variety of art and worked with visual artists in the art non-profit world. With this background, Lucy diligently combs through her images to find the best composed, most flattering, and most memorable moments to send your way.
Q. Do I get all the images to keep after the session?
A. We 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 we send you your files, we 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, we want to ensure that you are getting the very best color correction and quality. Also, this means you are going to be displaying our work in a large format somewhere, and we want to make sure it looks as good as it can.
Q. What kind of camera do you use?
A. We both primarily shoot with a Nikon D850, along with D810s or D750s.
Q. How much retouching will you do to my photo?
A. We always try to make people look their best. This means we will do minimal retouching to reduce lines, stray hairs, blemishes etc. We will also remove food from your teeth or pet hair from your clothes. What we won’t do is change your physical features. Please don’t ask us to “elongate your neck” or “make your eyes big like Disney.” We think the beauty industry has done enough to mess with our self-esteem, and we 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 we usually do our work in Photoshop. We love the details and control that Photoshop gives me with each image.
Q. When did you get into photography?
Leslie took a class on photojournalism in high school and the passion began there. She shot basketball games for the high school paper, and she took a fine art photo class as well. In college, she realized she couldn’t afford dark room time, film etc etc and moved toward graphic design instead. In 2005, her husband got her a Nikon D80 for Christmas, and she fell in love all over again. She began the Shuttersmack photo blog as her 2006 New Year’s resolution and has blogged a photo almost every day ever since.
Lucy grew up around cameras. Her father was an enthusiast and had a darkroom in the basement, so she learned a lot from watching him work, helping out from time to time, seeing his prints, and hearing him talk about his images. She took her first photography class in middle school during a summer camp at MCAD and took additional creatively inclined classes in high school and college. She began pursuing part-time paid gigs after college, learned more about the business side of things, and realized this could be a (the best!) career.
Q. Who has been your favorite band to shoot?
There are certain artists that are so charismatic on stage that they are always a blast to photograph. Some examples for Leslie include Metric, P.O.S., Astronautalis and Santigold. But the moment when she 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.
Conor Oberst and the Hold Steady/ Craig Finn are Lucy’s favorites – these are artists that she feels completely pour themselves into their work and that just captivates her and makes it impossible to stop snapping photos!
Q. Why so many dog photos?
A. Because Leslie is confident that dogs are the best creatures on the planet, of course.