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Engagement Photography FAQ

We understand that planning a engagement is both exciting, time-consuming, and time-sensitive. To help you make the best decision as quickly as possible, we have included below a list of frequently asked questions.


Engagement Session Information:

Engagement photography sessions are wonderful for many reasons. Engagement photography not only provides you with wonderful imagery capturing your pre-wedding romance, it also gives you the chance to create a wonderful presentation at the wedding. Here are two tips to get the most of your engagement session. First, think of a meaningful place to the both of you. For example, the place you went on your first date, or another special date place for the two of you. Second, plan the engagement photography session as early as possible. The rule of thumb is at least 90 days prior to your wedding date, but the further out the better. You will be able to enjoy your images in your home, create nice wedding invitations and stationary, and you won’t be rushing to add one more thing in your already busy schedule.

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. If you have certain poses 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.  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.  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.

Where should we have our engagement 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.

When should we schedule our Engagement session?

This is completely up to you, but we recommend at least 3 months prior to your Wedding date if at all possible.  This will allow time to edit the photographs and get it to you in a timely manor so that you have plenty of time to view the photographs and also possibly even use them for Wedding Invitations. 

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.

Style of our photography:

What is the style of your engagement 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 photography 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.


Availability, Payment & Retainer Information:

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

For Engagement 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.

Do we have to pay a retainer?

A retainer of 100% of total fees is paid at the time of reservation and signing of the photography agreement.

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.

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?

Unfortunately no. Retainers are used to reserve your date & time and are non refundable. Once we’ve reserved your date we do not accept new clients for your date.

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

Yes. However, if our 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, 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:  January 7th, 2019