Family Portrait FAQs

What makes Expressive Photographics the best choice for family portraits?
The first and most important advantage of using the services of Expressive Photographics, for the important job of creating beautiful portraits of your family, is the quality of the results you receive. To see for yourself, please have a look at samples of our Family Lifestyle Portraiture by clicking here. With over twenty years professional experience in portrait and wedding photography, founder and lead photographer, Mark Stover, has the expertise and creative abilities required to satisfy even the most discerning client. But we offer you more than amazing photographic results! We believe that the entire experience of doing business with us should be a quality one. That’s why we have earned the trust and repeat business of loyal customers, who return to Expressive Photographics again and again, to document and preserve for a lifetime, the milestone events of their lives. We aim to make your portraiture experience totally enjoyable, from start to finish. Beginning with a personalized consultation with your photographer, we will discuss your preferences from what to wear, and how you envision your new family portraits, to the perfect photo locations, for creating photographs that authentically reflect your personality and style. After your photo session, you’ll have convenient options for viewing, sharing and ordering everything from high resolution digital photos and archival color prints to professionally designed and printed albums, commemorating a day in the life of your family. Expressive Photographics also welcomes requests for specially commissioned projects! If you have a creative idea, we would love to talk about how we may be able to help you make it a photographic reality.
Can we have our portraits taken in any location we like?
Yes! We are always happy to do portrait sessions in a special location that is beautiful and meaningful to you. Our normal service area includes the greater San Francisco Bay Area and Monterey Bay Area, including the Big Sur Coast, and any location within one hour travel time, from our Santa Cruz studio. Photography at locations outside our normal service area may require a fee for travel time, but we love working in new and different locations and welcome requests for sessions in any location you desire. If you are unsure what type of photo location will be best for you, we can help you select a spot that will be perfect, based on your preferences.
We're new to the area. Can you recommend some of the best locations for portraits?
Yes! We have devoted years of exploration, throughout the Monterey and San Francisco Bay Areas, to discover the most beautiful and perfect places for portraits of all kinds. Everyone knows the Central Coast of California is blessed with tons of amazing and scenic places, but which places are the best for a family portrait? Which are the finest spots for engagement portraits? Well, it depends on your style and sense of beauty, obviously… But it also depends on things such as ages and number of people in your party. The level of agility of folks in your party etc. We would love to share some ideas to help you select that perfect location. There are great location options for everything from Wheelchair-accessible to steep climbing required.
Can our session be done in more than one location?
For family portraits, we recommend sticking with one location, because travel takes up time that can be better spent creating great photographs for you. With proper planning, however, it may be possible to have your photo session in a location that includes multiple types of backgrounds, creating the greater variety of imagery that you would see when shooting in multiple locations. Longer sessions, such as engagement portraits, can be in more than one place.
What should we wear for our portraits?
There are some rules about what is best to wear, and what looks best in a family portrait, or engagement portrait, but there are also some great reasons you may want to break those rules. First the rules: One of the best things you can do, when deciding what to wear for a family, or any other group portrait, is to limit the number of colors to just two or three, for all clothing being worn in your photo session. It just looks better when the portrait wardrobe and color scheme is well planned. Having a simplified color palette also helps bring attention to the people in the images, rather than being distracted by too many random colors. We also generally recommend avoiding bold and busy patterns. Imagine a group photo, where one person is wearing a red and white striped sweater… Your eye will always keep going to that sweater. With larger groups, such as family reunions, it can be a challenge to get the whole family to agree on two or three colors, but you will be well rewarded for the effort, by the superior look of your pictures, if you can do this. Breaking The Rules?: One well-proven exception to the above suggestion has been infants and very small (under 18 months) children. It is often hard to find baby clothes that are not bold, bright and busy. Also, since little ones are… little, the bright clothing can help them stand out! There can be other portrait scenarios, where the traditional recommendations do not apply. The most important thing, even when you are going by our top suggestion of limited colors and no bold or busy items, is to be “you” and wear clothing that makes you feel and look your best. Even if it means you have to go shopping for the right things to wear, we strongly recommend that you plan well, what to wear for your portraits. We are available to discuss options, if you want help selecting the best possible clothes to wear for your upcoming portrait session.
When and how will we see our portraits?
We are always very excited to share your photos with you as soon as possible. Your fully edited and optimized proofs will generally be ready within seven to ten days after your photo session. The best way to see all the amazing details and colors of your portraits, is to visit the Expressive Photographics studio, in The Old Sash Mill, downtown Santa Cruz, and you will also have access to your very own private online portrait gallery, featuring all the portraits we have created for you. We can also share a few teaser shots with you right away by email. If you have special timeline requirements and need to request your gallery access more quickly than normal, we are more than happy to accommodate special requests!
What is included with our portrait session?
The fee for your Family Portrait Session covers the time and creative skills required to capture the original photographs, edit and optimize all the photos for best exposure and color, and prepare your online gallery for viewing your portraits. All prints, digital files, albums etc are purchased separately.
Do we get high resolution digital photos with portrait sitting?
While some folks are more happy with a few beautiful and impressive canvas or metallic archival prints to display in their homes, others are interested in owning the original digital files. We offer something to make everyone happy. Digital photo files are available for purchase after your portrait session. We offer high resolution files for printing, and smaller web-ready files, which are perfect for social media and other online uses.
How many pictures will you take during the photo session?
We do not limit the number of photos taken on any assignment. The actual number of finished images you will see can vary widely, depending on many factors. When we have the opportunity to chat about the specifics of your particular event, we will be able to give a meaningful answer to this question. Please contact us directly to learn more.
How long do we have to place our portrait order?
Your complimentary online viewing and ordering gallery will be available for sixty days, so all orders should be placed within sixty days. If you need more time beyond that, or decide later that you needed additional items, that’s no problem at all. Just contact us, and we will either re-post your proofs online, or schedule a special meeting for you to place your order in person.
How do we place orders?
You can use the convenient shopping cart, integrated with your online gallery, or visit Expressive Photographics to place your orders in person. Placing an order in person can be helpful if you have questions, or would like us to assist you in selecting the best image for that large canvas print above the sofa or mantel.
Is retouching available?
Yes. We offer a full range of expert retouching services. Two of the most popular retouching requests are the “head-swap” and softening or removing facial lines. The head-swap is a remarkable feat of digital retouching. It makes it possible for us to “swap” a person’s face or head from a similar photo, creating that sometimes-elusive group portrait where everyone indeed looks their best!
How do we receive our orders?
We offer the option of free pick up of your orders at our Santa Cruz studio, or shipping with a nominal fee.