Before Booking Your Photo Shoot
I hate having my photo taken!
We would say that 99% of our clients dislike and/or hate having their photo taken. This feeling is totally normal and we will our my best to alleviate any anxiety you have before/during/after our photo session. Getting your picture professionally taken should be fun and we do our best to make sure that our clients are relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera.
I'm still on the fence about working with you or not. I need further convincing.
No problem, check out our Yelp page and hear what our past clients have to say about what it is like working with us.
Scheduling Your Photo Shoot
Do you offer studio photography or outdoor photography?
We actually offer both. Here's more on that.
Studio Photography Information
If you want a studio portrait session, you can come to our photography studio, which is located in the Outer Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco. We have mutiple backdrops to choose from, including gray, black, or white seemless backgrounds. The back wall is also painted with chalkboard paint, so if you are the creative type, you can draw your logo, the name of your business, or something artsy behind you. You can also draw or paint on a piece of our backdrop paper (for a $10 charge). If you want something else in the background, just let us know and we'll try to accomodate you.
In our studio, we have many kinds of chairs and stools that you can choose from. You can also bring props if you want. Of course we have professional lighting equipment so that you will look your best. Just a note though, we do have cats roaming around, so if you are very allergic, you might not want to do a studio session. And for our clients with mobility issues, please be advised that our studio is at the top of two flights of stairs.
Outdoor Photography Information
Most of our photography is done outside in various locations around San Francisco. Why? Because it's fun, you get a variety of different backgrounds, like graffitied walls, the ocean, the bridge, etc., and also because San Francisco's notorious "gloom" is actually fantastic lighting for portraits. You can request your own location or pick from our list of common locations like Golden Gate Park, Baker Beach, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Mission, Hayes Valley, Union Square, the Financial District, and the Ferry Building/Embarcadero.
We can obtain professional shots without a studio and amp up or play down the "artsy" or "creative" aspect as much as you like. Our outdoor portraits have been used on book covers, websites, magazine articles, and every other professional platform possible.
Office and Business Photography Information
If you want us to come shoot in your office, no problem! We can bring our lighting gear and backdrops and set up in a conference room or any place with enough room. If you are having a corporate event and would like a mini studi set up in a certain location for multiple headshots, we can do that, too.
We can also come shoot in your brick and mortar store, your candy-making factory, your design studio, wherever you want.
If I choose outdoor photography, how do I decide on a location?
We've done photo sessions in almost every corner of the city, so let us know where you live or work and we can meet around there or we can help you pick a location. For the professional online dating headshots, we want you to think of a place where you enjoy spending time, a spot that makes you happy or inspired, whether it's your local coffee shop or Golden Gate Park.
I live outside of San Francisco. Do you travel?
Want us to come shoot your wedding in Vegas? Or your store opening in San Diego? We can do (and have done) not-so-corporate headshot sessions in the Bay Area and beyond, but you’ll be charged an additional fee for travel time, depending on the location.
You told me a date was open, but when I tried to book, it wasn't available anymore.
When we initially offer possible dates for your shoot, those dates are open at that time, but are still potentially being offered to other clients. Our policy is that whoever books first gets the date. If you want us to keep a specific date open, we will do so for a $50 deposit that will be applied toward the total for your photo session.
Do you require a deposit for your photo sessions? What if I have to cancel?
At this time, we do not require a deposit. If you need to cancel or reschedule, please notify us within 48 hours of the shoot. Photo shoots that are rescheduled more than once will require a 50% deposit for the next shoot, and a third cancellation will render the deposit nonrefundable.
The weather in San Francisco is unpredictable. What if it rains or is really windy on the day of our shoot?
We all know that weather in the Bay Area can be very unpredictable. If it’s raining two hours before your shoot, we will contact you to make sure we are still going to have the shoot. After all, it may be raining at your office or home, but perfectly sunny in another section of town, so let’s just touch base and figure it out. If we are unable to have your shoot because of the weather, we will do my best to reschedule your shoot as soon as possible.
Preparing for the Photo Shoot
What should I wear to our photo session?
We have set up a bunch of Pinterest boards for clients to see different outfit combinations (see below). Our only no-no’s for not-so-corporate headshots or professional online dating headshots are stark white tops or a bright and bold pattern that might date the photo in a few years. You should of course wear something that you feel comfortable in.
If you’re doing a not-so-corporate headshot session with us, wear a solid base, like a plain colored t-shirt or long sleeved shirt, and bring a few options to layer on top of it, like a sweater or a jacket. Shirts with an interesting neckline or detail, jeans, subtly patterned dresses, cardigans, and crisp dress shirts (in pastels or muted shades) can make for timeless headshots.
Not-So-Corporate Headshot Outfit Suggestions for Her on Pinterest - Click here »
Not-So-Corporate Headshot Outfit Suggestions for Him on Pinterest - Click here »
Online Dating Profile Photo Outfit Suggestions for Her on Pinterest - Click here »
For family photos, I suggest similar tones for all family members, but not too “matchy-matchy.” It can be a good idea to base the entire family’s wardrobe around one of the kid’s outfits. If you’re a person who wears polka dots or plaid, then by all means, wear it to the family session, but if you’d never wear a cable knit sweater in real life, leave it at home for the family session.
Family Photo Outfit Suggestions on Pinterest - Click here »
What kind of personal grooming do you recommend on the day of or before the shoot?
If possible, get a haircut a day or two before the shoot and shave the morning of the shoot, or trim your facial hair. Wear an ironed dress shirt or other nice shirt (don’t wear white) and bring a suit coat, tie, sweater, or vest so we can play around with layering.
Make sure your hair is done nicely and when possible, use hairspray. If you want a haircut, have it done a week or two before our photo session. If you decide to do something drastic with your appearance leading up to our session, like chopping off all of your hair, make sure you are completely comfortable with it before getting your photos taken.
If you usually wear makeup, just do your normal makeup routine the day of the shoot. Nice, clean makeup photographs the best and remember to wear a bit more blush than you normally would. If you don’t usually wear makeup, that's perfectly fine. You don't have to wear makeup for the photos to look good. But if you don't wear lipstick, then at least wear some clear lip balm.
Stay away from solid white and bold patterns that might quickly date the photo. Layers are a good idea, like a simple, colored tank top or shirt paired with a blazer or sweater. Don’t wear too much jewelry.
Do you offer hair and makeup services?
We have three hair and makeup artists that we regularly use with our clients. Once you schedule your photoshoot with us, you can contact one of these stylists to make your hair and makeup appointment. Sometimes, the artist will come to your house, or you may go to hers. If you have a shoot near our studio, you will probably get your hair and/or makeup done there. In any case, all of the scheduling will be done between you and the stylist, so when you show up for your shoot, you are ready to go! All stylists charge $75 for hair or makeup and $150 for both.
During the Photo Shoot
What happens when I show up for a outdoor photo session?
Once we've at our agreed upon location, we will probably spend a few minutes getting to know one another a bit more before starting the shoot. We strive to create a blend of candid photojournalistic shots and posed portraits in each shoot and we're not shy at all about positioning you in the most flattering ways. We'll give you a lot of direction and provide you with plenty of positive feedback. Our hope is that when you look at your photo gallery, you exclaim, "Yes, that totally looks like me!"
What happens when I show up for a studio portrait session?
You will be greeted by Sarah or Natalie, who will offer you a drink and a comfy place to sit. If you need to go over clothing options, that will be discussed at this time. If you are having your hair or makeup done, you will sit down with the stylist. There is a bathroom where you can change as well. Then, we'll have you pick your background and get started!
What if I pick a package with two locations. Who drives?
Most of the time, Sarah, your photographer will drive you to and from the different locations, but sometimes, you may be asked to drive. This will be decided upon during scheduling.
After the Photo Shoot
How can I pay for my session with you?
We accept checks, cash, PayPal, and credit cards.
What if I need my photos back faster than 10-14 days?
We charge a $100 fee for a rush turnaround and you will have your photos back within 24 hours.
What happens after our shoot is over?
Within 10-14 days of your session, your images will be ready to view. You will get an email from us with the subject line, “Your Photos Are Ready.” This email will contain a link to an online gallery, where you will be able to view the images and download them one by one. For an extra $50, we’ll also send you a link to a .zip file that will immediately download to your computer. With the .zip file, you can download all of the images at once and choose web-sized versions of each image or the original file size.
How much retouching do you perform on the photos?
We do basic color correction and minor retouching on all photos in Adobe Lightroom, the prefered software for photography processing and editing. If you have a unique situation, like chronically red eyes, acne, wrinkles, etc. and you want some additional retouching, you can pick 5-10 photos you like and we'll include that for no fee. If you want additional retouching on more than ten of your photos, we will charge you an additional fee. We do not offer services like slimming down body parts or airbrushing, so if you want that, you can take our photos to someone else and have that done.
Are your photos in color or black and white?
In your Intake Form, you can choose to have your photos in color, black and white, or both.
Do you shoot video?
We do. If you are interested in video, please contact Sarah directly.
When was Portraits To The People established?
From Sarah: I have always been what my mom calls, “the family documentarian.” The funny thing is, I never took pictures of people until just a few years ago. I only took pictures of objects and scenery. Once I started taking portraits though, things really took off. I worked my day job and did photography part time until it got too overwhelming. I quit my day job and took the plunge to be a full time photographer in August 2012.
When did Portraits To The People become a family business?
In November 2012, Sarah's partner, Natalie, left her day job and took over the scheduling and communication aspects of the business. Natalie is your main point of contact and Sarah does all of the photography.
What kind of camera gear do you shoot with?
From Sarah: I own a Canon 5D Mark II and my main two lenses are the Canon 50mm 1.2 and the Tamron 24-70 2.8.
Who designed your avatar?
Katie Gabrielle of Flapper Doodle designed it and, last we've heard, she’s no longer taking on any custom work, so we count ourselves as one of the lucky ones to have worked with her.
Who made your awesome About Me video?
Our dear friend, Karrie Myers Taylor, owns a company called VideoKard, and they’re all about elevating your introduction. We thought that a video featuring what it was like to work with Sarah would alleviate a lot of nerves for my clients before they even meet her. You can find out more about Karrie by going to her website. For a link to Sarah's VideoKard, click here »
Where do you get your business cards?
We have always used MOO. We love the quality of their cards and the fact that we can have 50 different cards in a pack makes our hearts sing!
Who designed your website?
Sarah loves answering this question, because she did! She designed the website using a template from Squarespace. This is a great template-hosting site—it’s super customizable and very affordable.
What inspires you?
From Sarah: This is an easy one and the simple answer is—San Francisco. I moved here in 2006 and I find (almost) everything about this city to be extremely inspiring. There’s an undercurrent of creativity here and the people who work hard to live here really strive to make it a dynamic place. This is the city of reinvention, of love, of beautiful light, and delicious foods.