There is an article in the July issue of Genesee Valley parent magazine (a free publication you can get at Wegmans) called "Make Your Portrait Experience Memorable - in a Good Way".
It's a great article that addresses some of the terrible experiences parents continue to have at some studios. It shocks me that sneaky "used car salesman" tactics are still used by many big chain studios. If you'd like to read the full article, you can see it on-line by visiting www.gvparent.com (in the center of the page is a link to "View the Full July Issue On Line" - I had a link posted here but it wasn't working for some reason so I removed it.)
There was an inset that mentioned to "Ask friends and family where they've had good portrait experiences; then use the phone or internet to get answers to the following questions:"
I'm going to list the questions, and give my answers!!
1) Is a minimum number of poses required?
D'Marie: Absolutely not! (And really it's the most ridiculous selling ploy I've ever heard of - read the article to see what I mean.)
2) Are photographers patient, quick on the trigger, and adept at making children smile?
D'Marie: I'm the only photographer and I pride myself on being very patient (clients comment on this a lot) and quick to get the shot. I do my best to get children to smile, but I always appreciate the help of mom, dad, siblings or whoever if it's just not happening! Afterall, you know what little song, dance, or toy really cracks them up!
3) Does the studio have a play area for use before and after the shoot?
D'Marie: Yes! The sitting/meeting room is a great place to hang out. I am in the process of turning it into a really kid-friendly area and expect to have that finished in the next few weeks.
4) Are fun props available?
D'Marie: Yes! I have lots of fun props and I'm always getting new ones to keep things fresh & new. We don't go prop crazy (because that can look a little cheesy & dated!) but they do have their place.
5) Are backdrops quickly interchangeable and of high quality?
D'Marie: Yes! I have 1 or 2 neutral colored backdrops ready to shoot before you arrive. If your session includes more, the change takes just a few minutes. I use hand painted canvas backdrops from Silverlake, as well as seamless paper from Calumet - 2 of the top names in backdrops.
6) What special effect options are available?
D'Marie: All sessions include the option for images to be converted to black & white, sepia, selective coloring, and other unique effects.
7) How much will this cost?
D'Marie: This is where I differ the most from the big chain studios. [Look for another blog post this week with more on this subject!] With D'Marie you know ALL of the costs up front!! There are absolutely NO HIDDEN FEES. Session details & costs are shown on my website, and any additional prints or products you would like to order can be done 'ala carte' with just a $50 minimum order. Poses are mix & match too, so you're not stuck buying tons of prints that you don't need, just to qualify to get an image you want!
8) When will the portraits be ready for pick up?
D'Marie: Proof images are ready to view on-line in 1-2 weeks after your session, and the gallery is open for 3 weeks for you to make your selections. Once I receive your order form, your prints will be ready in 1-2 weeks, depending on the sizes!
I hope you've found this information to be helpful - and if you have any other questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with me!