Since 1990, Steven Stiefel has created distinctive portraits for families, high school seniors and business professionals. The following are some frequently asked questions about SENIOR PORTRAITS…
Q: Can Steven do our senior portraits even if he isn’t the “official school photographer”?
A: First off, congratulations on reaching this milestone. To answer your question, companies pay kickbacks to schools for the opportunity to be officially sanctioned. What that means is they tell students and parents they must pose for the yearbook photo with them. But as far as the photos that a senior wants to give friends or put in their graduation invitations, there’s no law against using whatever photos you want. Their logic is that most people will just go ahead and settle for the photos from the cap and gown shoot since they are already sitting for it.
Q: How will he do portraits better than the school photographer?
A: The person who comes to me for portraits is someone who doesn’t settle for assembly line portraiture. I don’t run seniors through as quickly as possible, playing the volume game for a business model. I spend time with the senior, starting with the pre-shoot consultation where we talk about outfits, locations and themes for the best possible results. At the photo shoot, it all comes together to produce one-of-a-kind images that are distinctive to each individual I photograph.
Q: What looks/styles can we have?
A: My style is different than many photographers. I go for a mix of the traditional portraits that parents appreciate and something more contemporary and stylish that seniors love. We can incorporate things that are special to the senior such as uniforms or jerseys, pets, cars, etc., and locations such as your home, gardens or other spots. I do not have a studio during the summertime, but my gear is portable so I can shoot pretty much anywhere. The pre-shoot consultation is where we discuss all of this and come up with a gameplay.
Q: How long have you been photographing seniors?
A: Well, let’s put it this way. There are seniors I photographed when I started in this business who are now coming to me with their own high school seniors. I like to think that I’ve gotten better over the years. One thing that hasn’t changed is my desire to do work that stands the test of time and really captures the true personality of the person I am photographing. I also like to keep my photo shoots FUN. Some people, especially boys, might dread posing for photos. The best compliment a senior can pay me is telling me that they actually enjoyed the process.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: My photo shoots are normally $45 an hour with a one-hour minimum. That covers my time in creating the photos, plus my gas expenses to travel within a certain radius. Prints or downloads are an additional price.
Q: Do you have packages?
A: The big-volume companies have trained us over the years to expect packages, using psychology to get us to spend more. I let you buy only what you want. Whether you want wallets or a photo book, you are able to get as much or as little as you want. Wall portraits, paper prints and even keepsakes are available. I don’t force you to buy more than you need just to get a discount.
Q: How much do the photos cost, then?
A: At this writing, the base cost for prints is as follows. 4×6 = $3.99, 5×7 = $12.99, 8×10 = $20.99, 11×14 = $36.99. These are available in a Lustre or Glossy finish, with basic retouching included. The senior can get 8 wallets, die-cut, for $20.99 in the Lustre finish. Some sizes are available in metallic or giclee watercolor finish, which is explained on the website when you are ordering.
Q: How do we view the photos and order?
A: I use a dedicated proofing website, https://stevenstiefel.smugmug.com/People/Portraits/seniors , to let you see all of the photos from the shoot, usually within a few hours. These are raw images straight out of my camera to help you make your selections. Your proofing gallery can be password-protected or a senior can share with his or her friends. You control the cropping and the finish right from your computer desktop. Proofing images will have my watermark on them, but watermarks do not appear on final products.
Q: Are photos retouched?
A: Once you place your order, I edit the original file to remove blemishes and make any other needed changes to enhance the quality of the photo. My philosophy is to only put out the very best images with my name on them. I do not edit to such a degree that the senior no longer looks like himself or herself. We all want to look fantastic, right? The price for retouching is included.
Q: How long does it take to get finished photos?
A: On occasion, I have had seniors that waited until late in the game to have portraits made. On average, it takes me about two weeks from the date you place your order to get images retouched, produced and shipped to your door. Quality does take time, so I would encourage you to allow enough time to plan your shoot and promptly review the results.
Q: Can we download photos off the proofing website?
A: Yes, for a small fee, you do have the option to download web-sized versions without my watermark on them.
Q: Can we get a wall portrait?
A: Certainly! I love clients who can appreciate the value of a beautiful wall portrait that will be there displayed for years and years.
Q: Can I get a discount for telling my friends about Steven Stiefel?
A: If you refer a friend who books a photo shoot between the time we shoot and you place your order, I will provide you with a coupon code to enter for savings as my way of saying thanks.
Q: How do we book a session with you?
A: Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up the pre-shoot consultation. This can be done by email, phone or in person. You can pay the $45 session fee via Paypal by entering my email email@example.com or at the actual start of the photo shoot.
Q: What if we book a photo shoot with you and have to cancel?
A: As long as you give me at least 24 hours notice, we can apply your session fee to another date. Sometimes I have to drive about an hour to be in the area to do your photo shoot, so 24 hours notice hopefully gives me enough time to avoid burning gas for no reason to be in a position to do the photo shoot.
Q: What if I have another question not covered here?
A: Feel free to email me and I’ll do my best to answer promptly. I look forward to speaking with you if you choose to let me have the privilege of commemorating this important milestone.
To reserve your preferred shoot date and time, please contact me with details, deadlines and such.
A Reservation of $45 secures my time with you. Please press the “Buy Now” button below and enter firstname.lastname@example.org when prompted. Note: This Reservation is non-refundable, but may be transferred to another date (if available) as long as you give me at least 24 hours notice of the need to postpone our scheduled photo shoot. This step protects me in instances of no shows. Thanks for your understanding.
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