Portrait & Family Photography FAQ

Style of our photography:

What is the style of your photography?

Our style is properly described as photo-journalistic photography or photojournalism. It takes the hands-off, documentary approach of photojournalism and applies it to photography. Throw in a good eye for lighting, careful composition, and the patience necessary to catch a meaningful moment, and the result is the beautiful and intimate portraits found on our website. Our goal is to capture the feelings of the day—yours, your family’s, and your friends’—not just what you looked like dressed in the latest and greatest. Ultimately, trends and looks will go out of style, whereas fleeting moments of emotion will be caught to last a lifetime.

Why should we hire a professional photographer?

A professional photographer is your best chance of getting both the style and caliber of pictures that will become family heirlooms as the years go by. Through the course of a year, your photographer can be involved in as many as 100 or more photography sessions, which gives them a very good idea of what will (or can) happen at your session, this translates into less unpleasant surprises for you and your family. While many amateur photographers take wonderful pictures, a professional photographer will be more consistent in their photographic skills, giving you more pictures of finer quality. Many family members seem to respond better to directions given by a professional photographer than they do to a friend or family member.

Portrait Photography FAQ's

What can we expect?

Prior to your session you'll receive an email full of helpful tips, do's/dont's and faq's.  During your session, you can expect to relax, have fun and be yourself.  Sure, we may set up the shots but, we want you to shine through!  If you have certain shots in mind, please tell us. We want to give you the best photography experience possible.

What should we wear?

We get asked this a lot. It definitely depends on personal preference but, we can give you a bit of our opinion.  Kids in funky and fun colors and clothing photographs really well.  Again, let their personality shine through. Vibrant colors pop and allow for natural eye color to really jump off the printed picture.  Mix and match fabrics and patterns to give a variety of colors and textures and create a fun and interesting look.  Avoid logos or large lettering that is distracting. Fun hats and jewelry are always a great choice.  For families, coordinate but, you don't have to necessarily match completely. Let each family member's personality be seen.  A popular choice is all white or black shirts with denim.  This works really well but, don't get hung up on matching each article of clothing.  Add some fun accessories when going with the basic colors.  For Seniors, bring several of your favorite outfits and don't forget your personal items that define you and your style!

Where should we have our Session?

Again, it's up to you. We are located in Livingston, MT and we photograph on-location in the Southwest Montana areas of: Livingston MT, Clyde Park MT, Pray MT, Emigrant MT, Park County MT and Bozeman MT as well as many more areas of Southwest Montana's beautiful Paradise Valley. The travel fee for outside of that area depends on where the session is and the type of session. We can photograph your session at your house, the local park, a special spot to you or any of our favorite locations. If you don't have something specific in mind, let us know and we'll figure out together where would be perfect for your session.

What's the best time of day to take photos?

Photographers call it the golden hour. The 1-2 hours before the sun sets is the best time to shoot. You get the most amazing warm, glowing light during this time. This time may vary at different parts of the year.

When should we schedule our Session with you?

This is completely up to you, but we recommend if you are planning your photography session as part of a vacation to book as soon as possible as we book weeks in advance especially during the Winter and Spring months here.

Also, if the photography session is part of a vacation, we highly recommend booking  your session as early in your vacation as possible so we will have time to reschedule to another day if needed.

If you have little ones in your session, schedule around them.  You'll want to schedule when they'll be the happiest.  Feel free to bring snacks or entertainment for them and don't stress if they get fussy.  We are parents and fully understand!  

**For all children**  We ask that you not schedule shots from their Dr. on the same day as photo sessions and please allow us to reschedule if your little one isn't feeling well.  

For maternity sessions: the best time to schedule is during the 31st to 36th week.

What if we need to reschedule?

We understand things come up and sometimes a date no longer works especially if you book far in advance, so we’re happy to change the date or time for you as long as your new date/time is available. We do request that you contact us as soon as you know that you need a change of date as we book weeks and sometimes even months in advance, especially around the holidays, so we need to also make sure we have your new date available.

Inclement Weather Rescheduling:

Montana weather can change in literally minutes from nice and sunny to cold and snowing, even in the summer it can get rather cold here! While we have no control over mother nature, we will do our best to work around any inclement weather. If we are unable to have your session due to inclement weather we will reschedule for the next available date & time. Rescheduling will be for the next available date. Please keep in mind that availability is limited so the next available date may not be for a few days.

For those that are vacationing here we strongly recommend scheduling your photography session as early in your visit as possible as this will allow extra time if a reschedule becomes necessary.

Punctuation Please:

It is very important that you arrive to your session on time and ready to begin. Our specific appointment time is set aside just for you. Please make every effort to be time so that you can receive your full session. Being late or not ready to start will cut into to our shooting time. Showing up more than 30 minutes late may result in a forfeit of your session and session fee. Please limit attendance to those being photographed to keep down distraction.

Location Access and Fees:

If the Client wants to do a session at a location that charges for access, the Client will be responsible to cover fees associated with photographing there, and you will also responsible for organizing the access and any permits (if required) related to doing so.

Client is also responsible for any parking fees or tolls/paid access (such as entry fee to Yellowstone NP). These fees will be in addition to your session fee.

How many images do you deliver?

For all portrait photography sessions (this includes: family, engagement, senior & maternity): We deliver 20 edited photographs. Additional images over the amount included from your session are available for purchase at the following pricing: Single images $20.00 each or 10 images for $175.00.  Specific details can be found in our investment section or your contract.

Will you be editing our photos?

We personally edit every single photograph that is sent to you and we do not outsource any editing to third-party vendors. Unlike some photographers who edit using general presets, we process each image individually to suit the composition. You will see only the images that meet the high standards of the studio. Images captured of eyes closed, people talking, unflattering poses and duplicate images are removed permanently after we complete the selection process. The selection process is done at the sole discretion of the studio and is part of the custom portrait process. A few images will be presented in black and white, These are produced at the photographer’s discretion.

When editing images, we abstain from trends and aim for a pleasing recreation of the ambient light and color present during each scene. This can involve adjustments to color balance, contrast and tone, clarity (micro contrast), sharpness, cropping, and conversion to black and white (if applicable). Minor retouching may be done at our sole discretion and is limited to a blemish here and there, exclusive to the couple only. Professional retouching beyond the aforementioned is available for an additional fee per image, please inquire for further details.

Artistic Image Selection:

Abigayle Ray Photography LLC will capture many images during your Session. After the session, the photographer exclusively puts each image through a careful selection process. You will see only the images in an online gallery or your USB Drive that meet the high standards of the photographer. Images captured of eyes closed, people talking, unflattering poses and duplicate images are removed permanently after Abigayle Ray Photography LLC completes this selection process. The selection process is done at the sole discretion of the photographer and is part of the custom portrait process. A few images will be presented in black and white. These are produced at the photographer’s discretion. If you would like additional images presented in black and white, there is an additional fee.

How long after the session will we receive our photos?

Please allow up to 4 weeks after your session to receive your link to your online gallery.

How long  will it take to receive our photo albums, books or other products?

Length of time depends on the product ordered, complexity of design as well as time of year (during the Christmas season you can nearly double the time frame listed below).  If you plan on ordering products for holiday gifts, or cards to mail we highly recommend placing you order no later than Thanksgiving in order to assure you will receive your order in time.

• Prints usually take approximately 1 to 2 weeks to receive from time of order placement.

• Photo Albums and Photo Books depends on the complexity of the package and design desired, and can range from 1 to 3 months from the time the order is placed.  Most Senior/Student Albums or Books range in the one month or slightly less range.

• Gallery Wraps and Print Wraps range in the one month time frame although this does depend on size.

• Invitations/Announcements/Cards depends on the complexity of the package and design, and can range from 2 weeks to 1 month from the time the order is placed.

Who owns the copyrights of the images you photographed ?

We retains full ownership and copyright to the original works. You will receive a license for personal use, such as printing and web publication. You provide us with the right to use images of your likeness for online and print publication and advertising, and other various uses.

Can we have all of the photos you took, including the RAW files?

Photos that were rejected and did not make it into the final selection are never available. Because we take great care to edit each and every individual image to meet our strict artistic requirements, RAW images are never released.

Do you offer engagement photography?

Yes! We do offer engagement photography and you can find pricing information in the Portrait  Investment section on this website.  Also please check out our Frequently Asked Questions for Engagement Photography.

Availability, Payment & Retainer Information:

How do we reserve the date and pay for the session?

For all Family and Portrait Photography, Senior and Student Portraits, Maternity Portraits and Boudoir Portraits:  Your date is reserved once we receive your signed contract and retainer payment listed below unless otherwise stated.  

**Please be advised**  Dates are booked on a first come, first served basis.  Dates are not held pending a scheduled meeting, after a meeting, or a phone call/email stating you want a specific date.  Your date is booked/reserved only after your session has been paid for in full, until then, other clients may book the date that you wish to have if they submit their contract and retainer/payment in the meantime.

Portrait photography payment/retainer fee:

(This includes: Engagements, Individuals/Couples/Families, Seniors & Maternity Portrait Photography Sessions)

Client agrees to pay Photographer non-refundable retainer to secure session date. Retainer must be no less than 50% of the total session fee. In addition, Client agrees to remit full balance no more than 30 days PRIOR to commencement of photo session plus any applicable taxes/fees. Since we will reserve the time agreed upon and will not make another reservation for the specific period, retainers are non-refundable even if the date is changed or cancelled for any reason.

Why is my retainer non-refundable?

Once a date is reserved it can no longer be used for another client, therefore retainers are non-refundable.

Can you hold our photography date before receiving the retainer and portrait agreement?

Unfortunately, we can’t afford to do this. Such a policy would put us in the uncomfortable situation of having to turn away eager clients before reaching a firm agreement with you. In situations where multiple people are inquiring about our photography for the same date, the first person to sign an agreement and pay a retainer will receive our commitment. We believe this is the fairest approach for everyone involved.

How do we make our payment to you?

The retainer fee may be paid by cash, USPS money order, and credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express) only.

**Please note**  We DO NOT accept checks of any kind for payment of sessions with Abigayle Ray Photography LLC. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause you, but we have simply had too many problems with checks in the past to continue accepting them any longer.

Is there an extra charge for going over the allotted Session time?

We understand that not everything may go as planned during your session. We never pack up before the contracted time; and moreover we’re not leaving the second the contracted time is up. Instead, we will ask you at the end of your contracted time whether or not you would like to extend.   If you would like us to stay, we will charge the rates specified in your contract.  Please see your contract for rate details.

Sales Tax:

The State of Montana currently has no sales tax.

If we cancel the session, will we receive our retainer back?

All retainers are a non-refundable. Clients are given one pass to reschedule for emergency purposes. Beyond that, you must place a new deposit to secure a new date. Should weather cause us to reschedule there is no fee for that. Once a session fee is paid in full there are no refunds, only reschedules.

If we change our session to a different date, will we be able to use our retainer towards the new date?

Yes. However, if rates change from your original date to your new date, the new rates will apply. Also please check with us prior to committing to your new date to make sure we are available on that day as we do book up weeks and months in advance with other Clients.

Do you charge a travel fee?

For locations more than 35 miles from Livingston, MT 59047, a travel fee is added for the entire round trip travel time, please contact us for further details and additional cost. Time and distance are calculated using Google Maps. 

Mini Sessions:

We do not offer Mini Sessions on a regular basis, usually they are for specials such as Fall, Christmas/Holidays, Valentines Day, Easter.  There are occasions when we may offer a special that also includes a mini session or even just offer it as a package by itself. 

Do I need to sign a contract?

Yes, We do require that all clients sign a contract with Abigayle Ray Photography LLC. This is not only to protect us, but also you the client.   If you are under the age of 18 then a parent or legal guardian will be required to sign the contract as by law a minor can not enter into a contract.

Studio's standard price list:

The packages and prices are based on Abigayle Ray Photography LLC's Current Standard Price List. Our prices and package offerings are subject to change without notice and any future session or orders shall be charged at the prices in effect at the time. If you reserve and pay for a Session and then we change the pricing, what's included in the package, or both afterwards, you will receive the Session you paid for originally and NOT the new package or pricing.

Last revised:  December 2nd, 2021

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