FAQ | Holly Butler Photography
Thank you for visiting my FAQ page! The majority of this post is for my clients and potential clients. But, towards the end, it becomes a photographer FAQ page, in case you're a photographer and you have questions too. :)
1. Why are you a photographer?
After being a photographer for a little while, I started to realize I was telling my clients' stories and stopping time for them, which is something they can cherish forever! That right there, makes my job super important. I'm not just a mom with a camera, who happens to know Photoshop anymore. It's much, much, much more than that now!
2. I never like the way I look in photos. What can you do to make me like my photos?
Number 1, you're probably wrong and you're gorgeous!
Number 2, posing.
I have learned a lot about posing, since I started my photography journey in 2013 (2012, if you count my practice year). I've learned what looks best, through personal experience and I've taken courses about posing, so I have some tricks up my sleeve!
Number 3, lighting.
One of the reasons I like to use the fading sun as my light source is because bright light and the position of the sun in bright light can be harsh looking on the skin. This is why you can find me asking my clients to give their kiddos a late nap, so we can shoot late in the day!
Number 4, Photoshop.
I always soften dark shadows under the eyes and on the face, using Photoshop. Sometimes, my clients will ask me up front, to do certain things for them, like remove blemishes, remove bra straps that are showing and make some "adjustments" here and there. I will do those things, but it is beyond my style to make drastic changes and completely change a person's appearance.
Number 5, if a photo is unflattering, I simply don't include it in the gallery. It's digital, not film, right? :)
3. What should we wear?
Firstly, you should know that I don't think clothing is as important as you'd think, so if you're stressing about it, stop! If you want advice in the back of your mind to calm your nerves, here is a blog post, which includes, tips, tricks and suggestions for flattery, being comfortable and more.
4. My husband/young kids/wife/insert person here, doesn't like taking pictures. How can you make the best of this for us?
First of all, you should know that 9 times out of 10, the male in the family came to the session against his will (lol). When my sessions are over, I usually hear the husband/boyfriend/fiancé say, or I'm told they say something along the lines of, "wow, that went by faster than I thought", or "wow, that was easier than I thought".
As for the kiddos, I try my best to make it fun for them. For them, this should be looked at as time with their family, playing outdoors, a chance to be silly and a chance to snuggle with parents, or siblings. I don't push children to smile. I try to make it easy for them to warm up to me. If they're not willing to smile, I'll dive right into the lifestyle shots, let them play and warm up to the camera, then try for the posed images. My goal is to make this time with me fly by! If all else fails though, I can typically try using Photoshop to make things work and try and get at least one "perfect smiling shot". But, I need two photos with the same lighting, body positioning and camera angle to be the same, or close to the same to make that happen. Also, let's be real, not every photo of a child will be of them smiling and looking at the camera, but that's real life and it also happens to be the style my clients come to me for! *See also: click here and check out the 2nd paragraph in this blog post.
5. My child has special needs. Should I be nervous about our session?
I've been asked this twice and while it's definitely not required that you tell me information that gets shared with a doctor, it is helpful information and I will not share it! I would love to spend more than the normal allotted shooting time with your child, so he or she can hopefully trust me, a stranger to take their photograph. There wouldn't be an extra charge for more shooting time. But, if you think you would need more time than a mini session allows, know that I'd like to try and put your family at the very beginning of my mini session marathon day (I'd ask you to come earlier than what the marathon schedule says), or I'd schedule you at the very end of the mini session marathon day, so your family can stay later, if needed.
I have a lot of first hand experience with a special needs child because my little brother, Drew was special needs. Although, he passed away when I was in my teens, I grew up with him and I helped take care of him (I was about 6 years older than him). We have a collage of images of him on our wall. None of them show him smiling and looking at the camera like the rest of us are, but that was his real life. His "smile" was his little hand over his mouth and that's what is captured in most of the images in that collage. I know the goal for a lot of parents is to have a photo of their children and family all smiling and looking at the camera. I will try to get that shot, but I will also get a lot of the in between, real life shots.
Also, see number 4 of this post, if you skipped it. :)
6. What are your prices?
Collections start at $299. Just fill out my contact form, and I'll email you back, with detailed pricing, plus fun stuff, as soon as I can!
7. What is the difference between your seasonal sessions and your session packages?
The main differences are less shooting time, less final images and I make the location and prop choice with a Seasonal Mini Session. See also: Click here for Seasonal Specials.
8. How can I find out about your Seasonal Mini Sessions?
I send out emails to my past clients and anyone that's asked to be on my email list. A VIP list, if you will. Then, I post the information to my blog and usually social media too. If you'd like to be on my email list, just send me an email, asking me to be added because most of my seasonal sessions start booking earlier than you might think!
9. Do you have props?
Yes, but read on! I usually bring a quilt to sit on and I even have a few pieces of furniture I drag out for mini session lol. I also have chalkboards, vintage suitcases, some letters and some numbers. Aside from a quilt/blanket, since it's usually a given that I'll bring one of those, all you have to do is ask for any other prop I may have! I am always open to you bringing your own. *BUT, you should know that anytime I bring props, unless it's something large, a good majority of your images are more about YOU, instead of the props. The quilts are more to have somewhere for you to sit... You are going to be the focal point!
10. What's an online gallery?
It's your own private link, where you can view and download images to your computer and buy professional prints, if you choose. When I'm finished editing, I'll send the link to your gallery, in an email. It's private, password protected and you can show your friends and family, if you want!
11. How long do you keep galleries backed up?
In short, my contract states that I will retain the edited images on my computer for one year. Online galleries expire after three to six months to make room for new galleries, but I can upload them again if something happens and you need another download link within the year.
The long version: I. Save. Everything. Every day, my computer backs up onto an external hard drive, so all current galleries are saved in two places- on my computer and on an external hard drive. Every January, I shuffle galleries from past years around to save space on my computer and external hard drives: Let's say it's January of 2021. All edited galleries from 2020 stay on my computer for six months to a year, their folder also gets pulled to a designated spot on my external hard drive and I make a disc copy of them. In January of 2020, I did this with 2019's galleries, so now I compress both the 2019 folder on my computer and the folder on my external hard drive to save room. I still have the discs I made from that year as well. It might be overkill, but I do this every year.
While I do keep old galleries, I encourage all clients to download their images in a timely manner AND back them up somehow, in case something were to happen on my end. If your computer crashes and you didn't back up your gallery, I can expand a folder on an external hard drive I have in a drawer, or pull from my backup discs. But, again, things could happen, so download your gallery and back it up!
12. How long does it take you to edit?
My contract says up to 2 weeks, but that's usually not the case. It's usually closer to a week, unless I'm super swamped with editing, or my daughter isn't in school. I have a whole blog post about my editing process, which includes things like head swaps, airbrushing and Photoshop magic, the type of editing that's included in the collection cost, all of which can be found by clicking here.
13. What about rain?
I schedule most of my sessions at an outdoor location. I love the natural light and I love how the kiddos are genuinely happier at an outdoor location, without light stands and backdrops. BUT, I can't control the weather! I will work with my clients to either shoot a little earlier in the day, or figure out a rain date, if it's needed. Whether it's a weekend, or a weeknight, we'll figure it out! If it's a super cloudy day, I will still shoot, especially since clouds can look GORGEOUS close to sunset!
14. Do you shoot weddings?
I have only photographed 2 small wedding ceremonies, but I am not booking them at this time.
15. How do I book a session?
It's easy! The process is usually done by email, since emails can be sent at any hour (I tend to be awake at weird times, like 3:30am, to start my editing workday without distractions). Then, my clients/potential clients can respond when it's convenient for them. Win-win. Anyways, we correspond about dates, locations, pricing and more, then when everything is sorted out, I will send an online contract and retainer request. You will be penciled in for up to one week, then after the contract is signed and the retainer is paid, you're considered booked!
Please note: Sometimes there are other potential clients asking about openings and the spot on my calendar that you picked could be the only one left for the season. If an online contract/retainer isn't completed within one week from receiving, the date and time you were hoping for may not be available to you anymore. If something happened and you just couldn't get to the computer to fill out your contract and pay the retainer within the one week window, just send me a quick email to let me know you didn't lose interest before the link expires!
1. What camera do you use?
I currently a have Nikon d750 and a d700, for backup. I love them both equally. The d700 was my first full frame camera and I didn't feel like I needed to upgrade it at all, but I've wanted the d750 since it came out and I finally have my hands on one!
2. What lens do you use?
I have always been a prime lens girl. I adore my 50mm 1.4 nikon lens and it lives on my camera body. I love the sharpness of my Nikon 85mm 1.8, but I don't use the 85 like I use it like I use the 50, since I have to stand so far away from my clients... My voice doesn't carry well, so it feels like I'm screaming at them when I'm standing further away haha! I tend to use it if I'm photographing a high school senior, vs a family with young children, so I can be a little closer to make them smile.
I also have a 35mm 1.4 Sigma Art, but I only use it if I'm in a tight space and I have to use it. That lens tends to distort subjects sometimes and it's extra work in Photoshop to make things look correctly proportioned.
I also have a 35-70mm 2.8 Nikon lens, along with a cheap ($40!) 80-200mm 4.5-5.6 Nikon lens... I even used the cheap one to photograph the solar eclipse!! I don't use either of these for portraits, especially the 80-200 because it's not good in low light situations. I think I just got them because they were different focal lengths to have at a cheap price! :)
3. Do you use Photoshop actions?
Yes, but I make my own Photoshop actions, to make editing go faster and so my style is consistent. I have some of my actions for sale (overlays too), in my photographer shop!
4. Do you mentor?
I have given a one-on-one mini course on, "how to use your DSLR". It was by request through a mutual friend and it went well! However, I work really fast, during sessions and I don't consider myself a great teacher lol. Unless it's in the form of an edited video, where I can cut out my long, drawn out, sidetracked stories that eventually lead up to learning lol lol lol!! I have a few free tutorials on my YouTube channel, for Photoshop users that need to learn how to do specific things, like change the color of a shirt, or make a photo look snowy. My YouTube channel link is here.
That's all I can think of for now, but I'll add to this if anything else come up!