How far in advance should I book a session with you?
At any given time, I am generally booked 3-4 weeks in advance, so you should give yourself plenty of time. It’s never too early too book, if it is winter and you know you would like a shoot in the Spring, just let me know and we can start planning!
How far in advance do I need to book my newborn session?
As early as humanly possible, preferably WHILE pregnant! Newborn sessions are best within the first 10 days of birth, and I am generally booked up to four weeks in advance, so to make sure you don’t miss out on those precious newborn shots, the earlier the better. While your pregnant, just tell me your estimated due date and then I’ll block off some time around that. When your baby finally does arrive, contact me as soon as you can and we will set a specific date from there. The MOST important thing, however, is to book your session while you’re pregnant. Please don’t wait until your baby is born as my schedule fills up very quickly and I don’t want you to be left without newborn images. If you have only found me now and your baby was just born, you can feel free to contact me on the off chance that I have an last minute opening.
Can you come to my home for the newborn session?
Newborn session are held in my studio in Patchogue - which is continually sanitized, clean, and safe for babies. However, newborn sessions in your home can be done for an additional fee. Contact me for further details on that.
Do you offer digital files?
Yes, I do have several digital packages, as well as individual digital photos available for purchase. Each session package comes with some digital files. You can contact me for more details or look through my package details here.
How far do you travel?
For on-location (outdoor) shoots, I’m really willing to go anywhere, but a travel fee will apply if over 20 miles distance round trip.
What should I wear?
Click here to look at a full guide on what to wear. While I leave that up to the client, based on own personal taste, I do offer suggestions here, as well as several color palettes for those who would rather not READ about it! But in a shortened answer: for family photo, pick three colors, one being a neutral (like white, black, beige, etc), then form everyone’s wardrobe around those colors (accessories included). Coordinated outfits often turn out better than identical outfits. This family’s Christmas outfit choice is a great example... just like the individuals in the family, their wardrobe is similar enough, but not identical.
How long does it take to get our pictures back?
Well that depends on the time of year. It can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks! I treat every photo as if it were of my own family, so I take it very seriously! In order to ensure best quality, I try not to rush like a mad woman and deplete my creative juices! That time is also is due to the fact that at the time of your shoot I am usually in the process of editing at LEAST two other sessions, and I edit in the order the sessions have taken place.
We have a family pet that we would like in our family picture… can we bring them?
Sure, just let me know ahead of time! It is also ideal that you bring things to keep pet fairly controlled, as well as a spot to keep him/her if pet gets out of hand or you want photos of just the humans :) I do suggest that pets be included in outdoor sessions in warmer weather.
Do you have a baby plan?
Yes, there are several fun packages that include a different amount of sessions throughout the baby’s first year. I often have parents upgrade to a larger package that includes more than one shoot once they receive their newborn photos and realize how quick their little ones grow! You can find the baby packages here.
How many photos do you take during the shoot?
Particularly with children, I keep the shutter snapping, as I am in LOVE with the moments INBETWEEN poses. For an hour shoot, I take anywhere between 200-900 photos! I know, sounds like a lot, but I weed out a lot too :) Full sessions end up with at least 30 proofs, and Mini Sessions end up with about 15, but either may include more, depending.
Where should we have the session?
Newborn sessions & winter sessions take place in my little in-home studio, but for outdoor shoots I have a plethora of places I particular love. We are very fortunate to live on a beautiful island with a huge variety of scenery... so between all the parks, gardens, forests, beaches, lakes, fields, and so on, we have many options! However, if there is a park, beach, or other location that you either love or has sentimental meaning and you would like the shoot there, by all means we can do it! We will discuss location when we book the shoot, however you can click here to view some of my preferred locations.
Do you offer Holiday cards or birth announcements?
Yes, I do and they are custom designed just for you!
Can we get the original unedited photos?
Nope... I reserve the right to edit and release only the images that I deem creditable as professional in quality and within Rachel Leah Photography’s standards. That’s like an painter being asked to give his rough draft sketch... it’s weird and doesn’t do justice to the art, the model, or the artist. Most of my clients come by word of mouth after seeing my work in someone’s home or facebook, and I wouldn’t want a photo released that doesn’t represent my work.
Is there a time limit for ordering my photos?
Yes, your gallery will expire within three months of the date your gallery is opened. If you need it opened for longer for a specific reason, just let me know beforehand and I will extend it a bit for you. Otherwise, reopening an expired gallery will incur a $40 fee. With that said, once a gallery expires, it does not disappear forever, I always have them stored somewhere, so if even a few months or years down the road you decide you want more prints, just ask!
Is there a booking fee?
Yes there is. It is not an extra fee, but taken off the balance of your entire session. For all full sessions and packages there is a $50 booking fee. Mini session booking fees are 50% of full price. Until the booking is paid, the date of your shoot stays open for anyone else looking for a session.
How come I have to pay for a digital file when it’s not even a physical product?
Okay, this question is usually not actually asked, but I know it’s a thought question some people have had. When I was first researching prices of other photographers, and trying to figure out for myself what my work was worth, I wondered why other photographers would charge sometimes almost $1000 for just a cd. Now I understand. It is essentially the equivalent of a photographer giving away the negatives to their photos. For me, once a digital file is sold, I lose ALL future profit from that image, since the client now has the right the print from any vendor of their choice. I keep my price per digital file at the lowest possible price, however, I can not give them away for free.
How long do sessions usually last?
Baby & child sessions typically last 1-1.5 hours, but can also go up to 2 hours. This gives your child time to warm up and also allow for breaks, snacks, outfit changes, etc. I strive to keep sessions laid back and fun so that I can capture the child’s true personality and joy.
Newborn sessions can last up to 3 hours. Newborns often need several breaks for feedings and mommy cuddles, so I am absolutely fine with those needed breaks. I purposefully have cleared my schedule several hours so everyone can relax if the baby gets fussy. It’s not the end of the world if your baby has a half hour meltdown, I’m a very patient person, and it often gives me a chance to cool off and set up for next batch of shoots anyway.
Do you mind if I nurse baby during the shoot?
I absolutely don’t mind and am comfortable with you doing whatever you have to do for your baby. I have a nice comfortable couch you can sit on while nursing, but if you would like to be alone there is a small bathroom as well. Some mothers even want photos of themselves nursing, as it is a beautiful moment between baby and mom, and I am totally fine with that as well! Feel free to ask if that is something you would want.
Do all the other babies behave like this?
This question makes me laugh because I get asked this at EVERY newborn & toddler session I do. Your baby is normal! The end result makes it seem like the precious one was totally cooperative, but in reality, it is normal for there to be cries and stubbornness behind the scenes. Just like all of us, it sometimes takes the little one a bit to get acclimated to the idea of being posed or sitting in front of lights on what's almost set up like a stage (I have to say I would probably react similar at first)! But there is always those perfect moments, curious stares, and eventual smiles that make for adorable photos! I have yet to have a session that was a complete disaster, and I have had sessions where baby cries for 30 minutes at a time, and the toddler throws 30 minute tantrums at a time (and sometimes hour long tantrums)... and there still was a great outcome! If there is ever a time where there is literally zero pictures that turn out, we can reschedule for the next day or next weekend... so don't sweat it!
Do you photograph events?
I generally do not, but especially for past clients, I would consider shooting events such as birthday parties or reunions. I do not, however, photograph weddings.
How did you get started?
I’ve been in love with photography ever since I was a tiny little person. My home was always filled with photos on every inch of every wall, so I grew up in an atmosphere that definitely values memories and family. I got my first camera when I was six and filled many albums of my friends and stuffed animals. When I began babysitting at 13 I’d always bring my camera and take endless photos, and then spend hours into the night learning how to edit on Kai’s Soap, (if that even exists anymore) and then Photoshop Elements). I joined online photography forums at that young age in order to receive critiques and to learn from professionals. By the time I was in my late teens, people in my church had asked me to take their family portraits, and made me accept payment! From there it continued to snowball and years later has grown into a very busy and serious business that I love! I never really thought I would be doing this as a career... it’s a bit of a far cry from the seal trainer I wanted to be when I was younger :)
What type of editing do you do on the photos?
I consider my editing to be more of an enhancement of the photo. While I CAN change body type, color of hair, and so on, I do NOT do this to your photos. Edits generally include adjustments to contrast & lighting, slight smoothing of skin, getting rid of newborn baby acne or rashes, and so on. I can’t tell you how many times a mommy comes into the studio with a toddler who has JUST scratched their face on the car ride there... if that happens, don’t panic! If your child got a nasty bug bite on his nose on the day before your shoot, don’t panic! Those are the things that I easily edit out. I will not, however, edit things to change the real appearance of you or your child. If you don’t want your gray hair to show in the photo, dye it BEFORE your shoot... if you are unhappy with your unibrow, pluck it BEFORE your shoot. While I do my best to make your photo one you will treasure and love, please do all you CAN do before your shoot, and leave the last minute boo-boos and other enhancements for me to deal with.
When I order prints, do they come with your logo on them?
Your prints will not have my logo on them. Only the photos that are used for online proofing or facebook previews will have my name and logo.
Will you upload my photos to facebook?
I do not upload your entire session to facebook, but whether or not I post several photos is completely up to you. Clients are usually very eager to see their photos, so I ask everyone if they would like previews and sneak peaks loaded to facebook before their final private gallery is loaded with the entire session. I will not post to facebook without asking you first.