frequently asked questions
When are you available?
I only do photoshoots on the weekends (normally 9-11 am and 3:30-5:30 pm during non-winter months). Mid-day lighting is extremely harsh for portraits, so I don’t photograph between 11 am-3 pm.
How soon should I book you?
I am normally booked for 2-3 months in advance. I’m especially busy during the Christmas card season (October-December), so it’s especially a good idea to book those times early.
Do you have a studio?
No. All of my photos are shot on location with natural light. The photos on my site that look like they’re in a studio have been in my clients’ living rooms, backyards, kitchens- anywhere I found nice even lighting in their house.
Do you photograph events?
Since I am a natural light photographer and don’t use flash/ strobes, I only photograph events that are either outdoors, or in places with ample window light.
Where do you do your photo shoots?
I do sessions in the South Bay, East Bay, and Peninsula. I will go farther in the Bay Area, although my travel fee is $2.25 for every mile past 20 from downtown San Jose.
I also do lots of on-location shoots in Oahu, Hawaii. If you live there or plan to visit, please contact me to see if our schedules could line up.
What locations are best?
For babies (especially newborns), I recommend doing the session at your house. Since babies need more care and handling, being home is easier for everyone. If you have lots of light in the house (big picture windows/ sliding glass door/ solid shade in the yard or porch), I can set up a makeshift studio. We can be creative... even the garage would work. Since babies are so little, we won’t need much space to create a backdrop.
For outdoor locations, I recommend places with lots of variety in a small amount of space. If you have a park in mind, please make sure it has more than just grass. Look for fun elements like benches, ivy, brick walls, water features, etc. Also, make sure there’s lots of solid shade. Places with full sun that have no giant trees or buildings around are generally not optimal. If you’re not sure about a location, take a few snapshots and send them to me. I can tell you if the location will work.
My favorite places to photograph are in more urban areas- big colorful walls, staircases, fountains, places with architectural objects you can interact with.
The most important part of a good location (other than the family is happy and comfortable), is the lighting. The background will be blurry anyway, so it doesn’t have to be a fancy place to look good.
We have a huge family, can you photograph us?
I prefer smaller groups (5 people and under) because it keeps the shoot casual and intimate. When the group is bigger, it becomes more of a formal portrait studio setting than an artistic photoshoot. If you have a large group, I recommend doing the group photo first, and afterward, breaking up into smaller groups. Due to the longer retouching time and photographic challenges, I charge an additional $30 per person for groups over 5 people.
At what stage should I have my maternity shoot/ baby shoots?
I would recommend doing your maternity shoot anytime between 26-32 weeks, and not wait until you’re too big and uncomfortable. You want to have a cute round belly and still be able to move around. Also if you wait too long, you run the possibility of the baby coming before our photo shoot.
For babies, I would try to do their newborn shoot in the first two weeks while they’re still tiny. (Newborns also get baby acne and their skin starts peeling after their first few weeks, so it’s nice to catch them with their super soft baby skin). If you can’t do the session in the first 2 weeks, don’t worry about it, babies are cute at all stages. In Months 2 to 4, they start getting chubbier (which is adorable), begin to smile, and you can start seeing what they’re going to look like when they’re older. Months 5-8, you’ll have more variety with photos, because they’re not just laying down, they’re starting to sit up, laugh, and have lots of personality. I personally love the stage right before they start walking (9-12 months), when they’re crawling, curious, and most importantly, at their all-time chubbiest. Since they’re changing by the second, any day is a perfect time for a baby shoot.
For kids, I would schedule the shoot according to the time of day they’re happiest. A happy kid makes for happy photos.
What payment methods do you accept?
I prefer cash, but I take checks, PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle. I also accept cookies.
After I schedule an appointment, what do you need from me?
Email me the names of the family members and ages of the kids. Also, I’ll need your address if you want a DVD, the address of our photo location, and your phone number. I don’t require a deposit, so just bring the payment to our photo session.
Now that I’m booked, how do we prepare? What should my little ones wear?
Since babies and little kids are normally fair-skinned, I would recommend dressing them in white or pastels. You don’t want to put anything on them that will distract away from them. Parents love to dress their kids in red for their Christmas card portraits, but unfortunately, red is a very harsh color for their light skin. In this case, I would recommend wearing winter white or look for clothes with just accents of the color instead. If your little one’s complexion is a little darker, using more colors will be ok. I would stick with pinks, blues, and purples.
Also, make sure the clothes fit. Although your little one could have the world’s cutest outfit, if it doesn’t fit correctly, it becomes distracting. For babies, a simple white onesie, or even just in the diaper will look better in the photos. We want to focus on your baby more than the fit of the clothes.
If nothing else, focus on the accessories. Flowered headbands, bows, ribbons, diaper covers, hats, glasses, and ties look awesome in photos. If you want to do some shopping for the knitted hats, etsy.com has a lot of adorable handmade creations. If you don’t have any accessories, don’t worry, I have a ton of cute accessories for you to use.
What should the family wear?
For family photos, I recommend wearing all the same color, or shades of the same color. White/ off-white looks great on everyone. My favorite outfits are white tops and khakis/ jean bottoms. Neutrals, blues, purples, corals, and pastels always look great on camera. Clothes that match your eye color look stunning in photos. If you want inspiration, pay attention to what people are wearing on television or in movies. Whatever color looks good on film will look good in your photos.
I would avoid reds, neons, yellow, greens (the color you wear will reflect on your face), busy patterns that clash with other family members, and even though people love wearing black, I advise against it. Black makes skin color look extremely pale in photos. If you love wearing black, I’d opt for dark gray instead.
The most important part of the group outfits is that you look like you belong together- if you’re wearing pastels, everyone should wear pastels, if you’re all wearing darker colors, everyone should wear darker colors.
I would bring different outfits for everyone. The more variety we have, the better. To make it easier, I recommend putting all the clothes in a rolling suitcase if we’re on location.
What should we bring?
Props. Lots and lots of props. You want to bring anything and everything you can possibly think of that will make your photo session fun for the family. I have a ton of cute props (flowers, baskets, angel wings, hats, pinwheels, wands), but the more we have, the better. Bring your bubbles, balloons, balls, favorite toys, books, wagons, picture frames, kiddie furniture, containers your little ones can sit inside... be creative! The more we have to play with, the easier and more varied the session will be. Also, bring a blanket to lay on if our shoot is outdoors and plenty of snacks/drinks for the family.
What happens during our session?
If we’re doing the session at your house, I’ll do a walk-around when I get there to determine where the best place is to take the photos. You can show me the different outfits/ accessories/ props you’ve gathered for the shoot and we’ll get started. Depending on the different backgrounds and elements you have, it’ll determine where and what we focus on.
Essentially for a family shoot- we’ll just be running around and having fun for 2 hours ;) It’ll be a variation of casual and posed photos. We’ll be playing with the little kids, trying to keep their energy up, and capturing them just being themselves.
For a baby shoot, I’ll be doing a lot more artistic set-ups. I’ll bring my backdrops (if you don’t want to use your house as a setting) and I’ll have my carload of fun props.
At the end of the shoot, I will collect the full payment in cash, check, PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle.
What happens after our session?
After the session, I will edit your photos down to my favorites and send you a contact sheet within a week. From there, you can pick your top photos to be retouched. You can email me a list of the numbers or circle the photos on the contact sheet. After I receive your list, it’ll take me around 3 weeks (depending on how many photos I’m working on at the time) to get the photos done and mailed to you.
If you need any photos sooner than 3 weeks (for birth announcements/ birthday invitations), just let me know and I will do my best to get them to you as soon as I can.