Part I - Where are your pictures?
In this three part series, we'll discuss what to do after your portrait session is over! Part One will talk about what you're doing with your digital files. How are you safe keeping them? Part Two will discuss how where you have your pictures printed matters. And Part Three will give you ideas about how to best display your portraits after you print them.
Did you know that over time, CDs and USBs can become corrupt and unreadable? What would you do if your hard drive crashed? Yes, you'd most likely lose important documents, but you'd also risk losing all of your family's pictures. Did you know that most professional photographers only keep client's images for a couple years? We just don't have the storage space - plus, when we save files it's on at least 3 different devices.
We hear it and read it all the time. "Do I get the digital files?"
In many cases, the answer is yes.
My question to you though, is this - What are you doing with those digital files?
Are you ordering professional quality prints and albums from your photographer? Or are you trusting the nearest big box store or corner drug store with your printing needs?
If you actually order prints, what are you doing with them? Are you displaying them on the walls of your home? Are you adding the prints to baby books or photo albums? Or, are they just getting dumped in a photo box?
I would like to bet that if I stopped 10 random people and asked them what they do with their digital files, more than half of them with answer me with, "They're still on the CD/USB the photographer gave me," or, "I shared them on Facebook," or if they downloaded the files, "They're in a folder on my hard drive."
Say you get the digital files from your photographer. Did you read your contract and/or print release? If you have a professional photographer, at least one of those documents will have instructions on how to safe guard your images. My personal Print Release card contains the following statement: "All digital media can become corrupt over time. I highly recommend that you download the images off the CD/USB onto at least one computer to ensure the safe keeping of your images." My Portrait Contract has the following clause: "FBO Photography is responsible for providing storage of their images for one year only. After one year, images may be deleted or removed. Client releases FBO Photography from liability of photo storage after one year."
This is not to say that I actually delete client's files after a year, but it does mean that I could. And I know several professional, top of their field, photographers who do.
*The pictures throughout this post are of my family. Some are professional portraits, and some are just snap shots. But all are memories that I'm not prepared to lose.*
Whether you love it, hate it, or have a love/hate relationship with it, you've definitely heard of it.
Every one of us has had someone tell them all about about a pose, party, or recipe they saw on Pinterest.
What the average "Pinner" rarely considers, though, is what goes in to making each of those photographs, recipes, or parties come to fruition. Browsing Pinterest, you're shown only the beautiful, final product with no information about the late nights, last minute store runs, sweat, and (sometimes) tears that went into creating that one perfect shot that was "pin" worthy.
When I decided to take the leap and organize my own styled shoot, I decided it'd be fun to document what all had to happen to bring it to pass. So, I've kept notes, and taken pictures over the past 2 months while I dreamed, planned, ordered outfits, coordinated with other vendors, etc, etc, etc in order to share with YOU what it takes to create a "pin" worthy photograph.
There are three things that you do first when planning a styled shoot - pick a publication, choose a theme, and find vendors to partner with. Choosing the vendors I wanted to partner with was easy for me as I knew I wanted Cakes and More by Alicia to design and create the smash cake and I wanted to work with LacyBug Designs not only for her beautiful headbands, but also because I thought her daughter, Alexis, would make an adorable model.
The saga begins...
Alicia, Lacy, and myself pretty quickly agreed upon colors, style, and what each of us would bring to the table. After that, I had to figure out where to have the shoot. Originally we had a great location in mind, but that very quickly fell through. This is where the real saga begins - the location plan B ended up as my living room! The night before the shoot, my husband and I cleaned the main parts of our house, took photos off the walls, and moved furniture in order to clear out a big, open space in our living room. Next, I set up my backdrop stand, different backgrounds, light stands and lights, and ran extension cords everywhere. On the plus side, it was kind of nice to not have to schlep my gear any farther than my living room. On the negative side, it definitely disrupted ours and our infant's life for about 24 hours.
The 2nd issue to befall us had to do with the date of the shoot itself. Alicia, Lacy, and I had agreed on a date at least a month in advance. We're all moms and small business owners, so coordinating calendars isn't always the easiest. Well, real life stepped in, my grandfather passed away, and his memorial service was set for the very day we'd scheduled our shoot. Alicia and Lacy were gracious enough to let me push the shoot back a week enabling me to go home and be with my family.
The main issue to come from this was that I ended up out of town for almost the entire week before the shoot only to get home ~16 hours before the session was scheduled.
Equipment, Decor, and Accessories:
As I said above, I really had NO time to test equipment or figure out exact lighting needs until the evening before the shoot. You can imagine my surprise and instant anger to discover at 8 o'clock at night that one of my 2 lights was not longer working. Luckily, my wonderful husband was able to run out 1st thing Monday morning and get me another light kit. (And luckily for the company I bought my original lights from, they're replacing the defective light free of charge.)
Alas, I was not the only one to have unexpected problems during prep. A bumpy drive caused the icing "flowers" to slide on the cake, and our bored model broke the bubble gum necklace her mother had stayed up late making the night before.
The Shoot Itself:
After the cake was repaired, the new lighting was purchased and set-up, and the broken necklace pieces were picked up, the shoot went well. Of course, as with any shoot, there's always the human element. And, when the shoot is centered around a 1 year old - the human element can be very unpredictable.
But once you see that perfect image, you realize it was worth every hiccup and stressful moment!
Thank you again to Alicia with Cakes and More by Alicia and Lacy with Lacybug Designs for agreeing to work with me, your willingness to go along with the flow (even when things didn't go as planned), your awesome physical contributions to the shoot, and your listening ears!
You can follow Cakes and More by Alicia on Facebook here and on Instagram @cakesandmorebyalicia
and follow Lacybug Designs on Facebook here and on Instagram & Twitter @lacybugdesigns
Amanda is the prop buying, location scouting, mom-bun rocking, flip flop wearing, owner/ operator/ and woman behind the camera for Finding Beauty in the Ordinary Photography.
I proudly provide
Family Photography, Newborn Photography, Maternity photography, Fresh 48 photography, and Milestone Photography in Pensacola, FL, Cantonment, FL, Perdido Key, FL, Pace, FL, Gulf Breeze, FL, Navarre, FL, Crestview, FL, and Pensacola Beach, Florida and Orange Beach, AL, Gulf Shores, AL, Foley, AL,, Fairhope, AL, Daphne, AL and Spanish Fort, Alabama..