The Top 10 Questions I Get Asked - And Answers!
Chances are, unless you've done a shoot before, worked with a photographer, or know a photographer, the whole world of photography and photoshoots is an overwhelming, seemingly expensive, unfamiliar territory. How much should I be paying for a photographer? What package do I need? Why is photography so. dang. expensive?
I've got your answers to my most frequently asked questions and more. Of course, the basics are listed on my FAQ page, but I'm going to take it one step further and answer the questions that come up most in emails and client meetings.
IMPORTANT: You should feel completely comfortable asking your photographer anything. It's no different than us photographers walking into a doctors office and asking what the next steps are for an infection - I am here to answer your questions! Do you like more in-person, coffee-shoppe style meetings? That's totally fine too. And no, it won't feel like a sales pitch. I simply want to get to know you - what you like, dislike, what you're looking for, and if I'm the right photographer for you. And if not - it's okay. Not everybody is my client - but one thing I can promise is to keep the communication open and help you find your dream photographer. So, with that, here are my top 10 questions - and their answers.
1. How long have you been doing photography?
The Short Answer: 6 years
The Long Answer: I started pursuing photography in grade 11. I had my first paying client at age 17, and started accepting other paying clients by the time I was 18. At 19, I was running a side business and accepting anything that came my way - all while starting my Bachelor of Photography at Sheridan in Oakville. I went to school for four years and was taught every aspect of photography. We had courses in portrait, fashion, documentary, Photoshop, advertising, photo history - you name it. As I worked to finish my thesis, focussed on portrait-based photographs of dancers, my side business of families, kids, and weddings took a slight pause.
By the time I was in my third year at Sheridan, I was focussed almost solely on dance photography. I accepted wedding clients as they came, but being a full time student and working part-time as a dance instructor didn't leave a lot of extra time to advertise. After getting engaged not long following graduation, I began planning my own wedding, and realized that a part of me missed the excitement of wedding photography. Ashley Jane Photo, a side branch of Ashley Ciona Photography, was launched in early 2019.
2. How long in advance should we book our wedding/family shoot/portraits?
The Short Answer: ASAP!
The Long Answer: It varies, but honestly, the sooner, the better.
Weddings: Don't think you're crazy for reaching out two years before your wedding date - because wedding photographers will book 2-3 years in advance. For me personally, I not only shoot, but edit all my weddings myself. There is beauty in having a 1-person workflow, but it also means that I've learned my limits. I only accept a certain number of weddings each month, so the sooner you lock in your date, the better.
Engagement Photos: Unless you wanted a specific look, I'd say book while it's fresh! Celebrate the first few months of being engaged with some photos that remind you of the season that it happened in. Engagement Photos during wedding season (summer - early Fall) can get a little tricky to schedule, and oftentimes I need to book engagement sessions during the week, as my weekends are already booked. Have a few dates in mind when approaching your photographer for an engagement session, and mention right up front if you have a specific location in mind. Specific locations often need permits, and we'll need to take into consideration any events your location may already be hosting.
PRO TIP: Book your hair and makeup trial on the same day! Engagement photos are a perfect time to see how your makeup and hair will really show up in photos. Plus, it's the perfect time to try out one of your potential vendors.
As a general rule of thumb for engagement, family, and portrait sessions, pick you season, and book in the early-mid previous season. If you're looking for a fall shoot, it'd be best to book it mid-summer. Make sure that everyone participating knows the date and can clear their calendar for the day. The sooner they know, the easier it is to make sure that you don't have any last-minute no-shows!
3. How do we pick our photo location?
Your location should reflect part of your story. Before we even pick a date or location, I will ask you where you met, what you love to do together, or if there is anywhere that you've dreamed of having your photo taken. If you don't have a specific location in mind, don't worry! I'll send you a list of potential locations, and some photos I've taken their previously, if possible. But, from the beginning, know what kind of vibe you want: Do you love going for coffee dates in the city? We can shoot there! Hate hiking? I'm not going to throw you in the middle of a forest then!
4. Why does it take so long to get our photos back?
I've answered this question on my FAQ page, but I can dive in a little deeper here. The turnaround time for your images is dependant on how busy I am in that season. Remember - a lot of the work happens behind the scenes. And, I am a 1-person team. I'll go through the thousands of photos we took, and pull the best ones. From there, I batch edit them to get a rough feel of how they will look at the end. And then, I edit each. individual. photo. Some photos take 5 minutes. I've also sat editing one photo for longer than an hour. It really all depends.
There's a saying in the photography world: You can have two of the following: Fast, Quality, Low Price. Some photographers will be super fast at giving you the images back, but, you'll notice a difference in the quality. Either that, or you'll pay more, because they need to outsource their editing to get the photos to you faster.
Regardless of how long it takes, I know how excited you'll be to see something from the shoot, and I will always send you an edited sneak peek within 2-3 days of our session - a little teaser of what's to come.
5. Why do you have two brands?
I talked about this in my very first blog post, which you can read here.
There's a few reasons. First, I approach the two subjects very differently. Being a former competitive dancer and now a dance instructor, I know how to approach dancers. I understand how their bodies work, their limits and the angles that make their technique look the best. When I photograph a dancer, I am aiming to show the most beautiful version of him or her. When I photograph your wedding, I want to you to look at the photos and feel something. Maybe it didn't all go as planned, but that's fine. I want to capture the raw moments, the moments you can't get back - your first kiss, your mum crying. The seemingly imperfect moments that make your wedding day perfect.
I'd also get bored very quickly if I shot only dancers, or only weddings. As a creative, I need to constantly switch it up and challenge myself. I use both areas of my work as inspiration for the other, and being able to shoot something constantly keeps the creative in me happy and inspired.
6. Can you add makeup in Photoshop and make me thinner?
If I had a dime for every time I was asked this...
In reality, yes, I could make you thinner in Photoshop, airbrush your skin, and make you look like the cover of a magazine. I could do it, but I won't. It won't look like you! In a society that thrives on seemingly perfect images, it's hard to sometimes accept that this
is who we are. But trust me, in a few years, when you look back at the photos, you'll be thankful that I didn't photoshop you to look like an airbrushed wax doll. As cheesy as it is - I guarantee that you are looking beautiful in your photos. And I will direct you until you feel comfortable. I'd never take a photo of you that I wouldn't want of myself. Editing-wise, I'll remove the pimple that always seems to arise right before you go to get your photos done. I'll give you a few extra hours of sleep under the eyes, but that's about it. I want you to feel like the best version of you.
7. Can I bring my dog?
yes. yes. yes.
Please do. And I will probably spend an hour after our shoot petting said dog. All I ask is that you let me know beforehand that you want to include your fur baby in your photos. Some locations have pet restrictions, and we won't be able to bring him or her into the studio space. Make sure I know that you want to bring your pup, and I will find a location that works for everyone!
8. What should I wear?
I get this question a lot. Like a lot, a lot. So don't worry - you're not alone. It depends on a few things - the season, the location. When you book a shoot with me, you'll receive a prep guide that will show you some sample colour palettes, outfit choices, etc. If you're unsure, you can always send me a picture of what you're thinking.
Some general tips:
Don't be too matchy-matchy. Aim to compliment each other, not match completely!
Avoid super busy patterns. Or, only have one of you in a strong pattern. Want to wear flannel? Go for it! But I don't recommend everyone in flannel. Balance each other out with complimentary or neutral colours.
You can totally wear black or white, but just know that you will be the focus of the image. I don't typically recommend all black. It's thinning in person, but in some photos you can just end up looking heavy. And remember - in a photograph, your eye is drawn to the point of highest contrast. Meaning, if you are wearing the two extreme of colours (black or white) you will be the centre of attention and eyes will go directly to you first. Try shades of black and white - grey, ivory, cream.
Be comfortable. This one is really most important. If you are uncomfortable, it'll show in your photos. Show off your best self, and make it look like you. Be the most stylish version of you.
9. Where do you live? Are you willing to travel?
I live in Hamilton, ON. I know locations around Hamilton and Waterdown best, but also work regularly out of Toronto, Kitchener, Waterloo, and Burlington. Where you go, I'll go!
And yes, I am 100% willing to travel. Thinking of a wedding in Muskoka? I'm there! Destination weddings or elopements? Yes, yes, yes! And that's not just for weddings. I'm also down to check out new places for engagement shoots. I love capturing you where you feel best, and I want to tell your story. So yes, I would love to photograph you, wherever you want to be photographed!
10. Can we be Facebook friends?
Instagram might be taking over, but I actually get this question a lot. Yes of course we can be Facebook friends - and better yet we can be actual friends! I love to follow clients on their journey. And yes, of course you can post your photos and tag me!