For many this is the first time going through the “Senior Picture” process.  Here I will shed some light on our process.

A primer: When I bought the studio in 2009 Senior Photography was a revenue stream to be stamped out and leveraged for maximum return, a factory if you will.  Times and taste have changed, and so the quality of our expirince reflects these changes.  Now our bottom line focuses on quality of work first.  So many details go into creating the amazing, I’ve found its better to just be flexible.  So, don’t be afraid to ask, there are no crazy ideas or suggestions or concepts.

Step 1: Pick up the phone – Usually the dialogue about senior sessions start with a phone call.  Our number is 716.406.2790

Typical questions are:

How does this work?
Often we direct people to the website to view my work and read a little about the different sessions offered.  Basically I like to see that potential clients like my work.  Are we a good fit?

When can I have pictures taken?
It’s complicated

Sessions range from 45 minutes to about 2 hours.  Travel and getting organized after the shoot tend to add a little time.  If we are outside, which nearly all of our sessions are, we try to schedule sessions to take advantage of the best light.  Early July this means appointments starting as late as 7pm.  However, mid-September (which is really late for senior pictures) 4pm is the very latest we will schedule.

Mornings I avoid entirely for two reasons. One, being ready to shoot sweet morning light means getting started around 5am in the summer, tough ask of a teenager trying to look their best. Two, good morning light is fleeting where as afternoon continuously improves.  Once we loose sweet light in the morning its gone, however, in the afternoon we can see it come and it tends to keep improving until dark.

Due to events and wedding often times my weekend schedule is full.  Most senior sessions take place Monday – Thursday 3pm – 7pm (depending on seasonal light)  Additionally, we tend to reserve the best lighting times for longer shoots and travel sessions.

How do we book a session?

Most appointments are made over the phone as there is usually a little back and forth pinning down the perfect day/time for everyone

At the time of booking we build a customer profile and take payment of the session fee in full by credit card.  Immediately after booking you will receive a confirmation email with shoot information, tips and tricks.

What if it rains/schedule change? 

Rain stinks!  If its 100% going to be pouring rain we simply re-schedule.  However, we’ve had sessions right at the edge of rain storms that have produced incredible images.  The earth is saturated, colors pop and light bends in ways not usually captured.  Really it comes down to our clients preference.  Sometimes 30 minutes from the start of a session we call it, other times we forge ahead.

Re-scheduling – If you need reschedule please give at least three days notice.  Inside of three days we have to charge a $25 re-scheduling fee.  No call/no show = loss of entire session fee.

What is included with the session fee?

Session fee includes full use of our facility, props, backgrounds, lights, equipment, changing room, client lounge, water, soda, snacks and my creative time.

Also, the yearbook image – color corrected, retouched and delivered to your school.

Full image mix down, proofing and presentation (more on this later)

How much do prints cost?

If you haven’t noticed yet, you will with a little research, most photographers don’t publish prices.  It’s not that they’re out to take advantage of anyone, it’s just insecurity about the realistic cost of a photography investment.  We are very much in the middle of the pack for true cost of total investment.  A’la carte items start at $40, packages start at $250 and senior clients spend $700 on average including session fee.  “Pricing” post is coming soon, but in the mean time please feel free  to ask.

Step 2: Prepare for your appointment – Using the email we send, prepare for your session.  I’ll keep it brief here, but basically preparation is being aware of haircuts, make-up and styling that work best and selecting appropriate clothing.  I say it often, and we do see it; pack a suitcase!  Seriously, many of the best shots we capture are outfit combinations styled on the day we shoot.

Step 3: The Proof appointment – It takes a few days at least to mix down the images from the shoot into a concise form.  I don’t shoot with intention of you seeing everything, and it would drive you crazy if you did.  Shorter sessions we usually shoot around 200 images and some travel sessions are upwards of 500.  From this I like to show 35 – 60 of the best… even this amount is enough to drive people crazy.

Step 4: Selecting Images – We handle all image viewing and selection digitally.  Its fun, its easy, and frankly the images looking better.  The process is pretty straight forward, but it does require time in the studio.  Often family members contribute to selecting images

Step 5: Order processing – Once the images and sizes are selected we process the order.  Depending on the time of year delivery is anywhere from 1-3 weeks.  50% of the entire order cost is required to move the images into production.  An additional benefit to making an order deposit is the spreading out of total payment over a period of time.

Step 6: Yearbook Image –  Pictures destined for the school yearbooks move through their own pipeline.  Most of our clients go to schools that we’ve been delivering images to for decades.  Williamsville North, South and East plus Clarence schools I personally deliver your image on the due date.  We’ve been doing this for years and I have never missed a yearbook submission.  Private schools and those outside of our immediate geography have a few options.  Typically I will email the image either directly to the school our your personal account for delivery.

Step 7: You’re in love with our work and proceed to tell all of your friends, family and neighbors about Wilmack Photography.