We are so fortunate to live in a time when we can carry a device in our pocket that connects us to the cumulative knowledge of humanity, to talk to friends and family around the world at the press of a button, and to capture a multitude of images as life unfolds around us. Smartphones and smart cameras have given EVERYONE the ability to accumulate a vast archive of photographic history. Please remember to carefully backup and maintain your visual family history!
In addition to capturing all those wonderful spontaneous day to day moments, it is important to safeguard your family history by hiring a professional photographer to document important milestones in your life with high quality photographs so that you have a visual history of your family that is constructed of high quality materials that will last for generations.
We often receive calls inquiring about creating a portrait of a family, wedding or high school senior. Before I can give any information about the session I always ask, “What do you want to do with the images?”. It’s funny that most people haven’t thought about the end product from the session, they just know that they want or need to have images created to document an event or time in their life. However, knowing how the images will be used strongly influences how the images are created.
There are typically two distinctive ways that images can be used. The first is as decor for the home. Images that are used as decor are often created where the people are a small component in a bold and dramatic landscape. The environment is as important as the people and it becomes a fine art focal point within the home. These images are often also used as holiday cards and smaller gift portraits for family and friends.
The second is to tell a story of an event or experience. These images are often put together in one of our handcrafted books and many times result from one of our destination sessions. The images are a combination of dramatic environmental portraiture and intimate lifestyle photography that focuses on the relationship and emotion of the people in the images. These images can also be used for holiday cards and gift portraits for family and friends.
Sometimes people ask for the digital files themselves. While these are available for purchase, we look at these as the raw materials that are used to create an exquisite masterpiece and always recommend that our clients invest in a tangible and archival photograph first. Think of digital files as a fine flour that a master chef uses to create a delectable pastry. She must first add other ingredients and then with skillful preparation transform the raw materials into a culinary work of art. Digital files must also be skillfully transformed into a finished work of art using high quality and archival materials so that they can withstand the test of time and last for generations.
Digital files will need to be properly archived and maintained in order to persevere through continuous technological advancements. Remember floppy discs? Do you know that file types are subject to change as well? Remember Betamax and VHS? Digital files are great to share on Facebook, as screen savers on our TVs and monitors and to email to family and friends, but should not be the only manifestation of professional images. Be sure that you invest in photographs that are not dependent on technology and that will be treasured by future generations.
What should you consider when choosing a location for your session?
Before you can decide on a location, you must first consider what you want to do with the images. Are you considering a fine art environmental piece for the home or do you prefer more of a lifestyle type session that focuses on relationships? Once you decide what you want to do with the images, here a some other factors to consider.
-The time of year (season) will dictate the colors and tones of the image. Winter lends itself to cool and muted earth tones - blue, white, gray, deep green and brown; spring is full of vibrant blue and green; summer spans the entire color gamut with vibrant colors of green foliage and even wild flowers; fall provides a unique color palate of gold, orange, red and brown. Look around your home and see what time of year best compliments your decor.
-Would you prefer something local and convenient or would you prefer to travel and take advantage of one of our destination sessions?
-A beautiful place doesn’t necessarily equate to a beautiful photographic location. We have spent a great deal of time exploring every nook and cranny of North America and have hundreds of incredible locations scattered across the continent. Some of the factors we consider as we scout a new location are the direction of the sun in relation to the backdrop, where the sun and shade fall and at what time of day, if there are natural features that allow us to layer an image to add depth, access, impact and permit issues, seasonality of a location, and how you will look in an environment. We regularly criss cross the continent, so give us a call to plan where we can rendezvous with your family and create a work of art for you.
What should you expect at your portrait session?
For most of our locations, we like to photograph two hours before sunset, although there are a few that are better at dawn or mid-day. Once we decide on a location for you, we will let you know the best time of day for your session. Most sessions last about an hour and are fun and full of energy. Please arrive on time as we will have a very small window where the light is at it’s prime, and even a few minutes late can make the difference between an ordinary and extraordinary image.
Be sure to come with an open mind as this will not be your traditional portrait session. Peter will have you scrambling on rocks, dancing in the trees, trotting across meadows, throwing snowballs and more. Be ready to have some fun outside and wear clothing and shoes that allow you to be comfortable and have fun! Remember, weather in the wilderness changes quickly. It may snow in July or feel like summer in January. Be sure to bring a jacket, hat and gloves to all sessions, regardless of the season. Peter sometimes likes to photograph into the dark and a warm jacket can make a late session much more comfortable. Be ready for anything!
Your energy and enthusiasm will show through in the images. Be sure to have your clothes planned out ahead of time, get a good night sleep before the session and allow plenty of time to travel to your location so that your entire experience is fun and stress free.
What should you wear to the session?
First and foremost, dress so that you are comfortable in a natural environment and be sure to bring a warm layers to the session. If you are going to be standing next to someone in the same image, be sure the colors of your clothing compliment each other. Do not get matching outfits, just be sure you all look nice standing next to each other. If you would like to highlight an individual in the image, such as a small child, put them in a brighter contrasting color with everyone else in muted, darker colors. Be sure to flip through out location guide to see how other people have dressed for their session and what you like and don’t like. Here are some general guidelines to follow.
-solid colors photograph best, steer clear of patterns
-darker colors are slimming, lighter colors are broadening - use this rule to your advantage
-3/4 or long sleeves photograph best - do not wear sleeveless shirts or tank tops as they are rarely flattering
-muted earth tones work best in a natural environment: grays, blacks, browns, olives, blues, etc. Stay away from bright bold colors unless you want your clothes to be the focal point of the images.
When will you see the images?
We will schedule a time after the session for your unveiling. Here we will personally walk you through the images and make recommendations for your custom artwork. The unveiling is the only time to select and purchase your images, so it is imperative that all decision makers participate in the unveiling. It is an intensive process requiring great attention to detail. Your final order will be ready 6-8 weeks after your order is approved.
When is your payment due?
The session fee is due when you book the session, and is the fee charged for creating the images. Once you see the images you can decide which images you would like to purchase. Session fees start at $200.
Typically we ask for payment in full when you place your order at the unveiling and accept cash, check or credit card. We also offer no interest payment plans if needed. Information about our payment plans is available upon request.
When will you receive your finished products?
Each of our custom pieces is handcrafted and takes time to create. Our wall art typically takes 4-6 weeks to and our books take 6-8 weeks to complete. We promise it will be worth the wait!
With enough perseverance, anyone can capture a great image occasionally. However it takes a true artist to pre-visualize a concept, implement all of the components of that vision and transform it into an archival work of art crafted from the finest materials available. When you hire Holcombe Photography to create a fine art portrait for you, that is exactly what you can expect. It all starts with a planning consultation. This is where we will sit down and talk about the possibilities and develop a concept for your custom work of art.
The first step will be to decide on how you would like to experience the images in the future. Would you prefer larger images that become a focal point within your decor? Or would you prefer smaller, more intimate images scattered throughout your home? Perhaps you would prefer images that document an experience and tell your story in one of our handcrafted books. Before your session we will sit down together and decide on the best option for you to display your fine art portraits that compliment your taste and decor so that they become family treasures that increase in value over time.
The next step is to decide on a location for your session. The location will set the tone for your portraits and play a significant role in the look and feel of your images. A sunny winter day on a glacier, with barren branches reaching across the scene will have a very different feel than a cloudy fall day strolling through an aspen grove, and both will compliment different types of decor. Each of our locations have an optimal window or season when they are at their prime. Many times we schedule our sessions a year or more in advance so that we can schedule your location of choice at the best time of year.
Once we decide on how the images will be displayed and when and where they will be created, it is time to focus in on all of the details that really will make it a work of art. The first is determining the time of day when the light is perfect for your location. While we can photograph anytime, there will be a small window each day when the light is at it’s best. We will also make clothing recommendations that compliment the colors of the landscape and accentuate your best features.
At the session, our relaxed and playful demeanor will put you at ease and allow your natural personality to shine through. We will sculpt the light and adjust your position to ensure that you look your very best in your portraits. Just sit back, relax and have fun and we guarantee that you will look great and love the images.
After the session we invite you into our client theater for your image unveiling. We will sort through the images together and offer artist recommendations on which images will be best for your fine art portraits. There will be a lot of great images to choose from and we will share our experience and expertise in selecting the images with the best composition, lighting, and expression for the final pieces, so that you have a custom work of art that your family will treasure for generations.
Once we have designed the perfect piece for you, we collaborate with master craftsmen throughout the United States, who are experts in their field to produce your finished fine art piece. We personally inspect each piece to ensure that each of our fine art portraits meets our exacting standards. Only then will we certify that it is a Peter Holcombe Original work of art with a lifetime guarantee of quality and craftsmanship. If for some reason one of our pieces fails to meet your expectations, we will replace it at no charge.
We look forward to working with you and creating an original work of art of your family. Sessions are extremely limited, so call today to begin planning your fine art portrait today.