(Yes these really are our most frequently asked questions)
Where is your blog?
BlackLine had a blog, in fact Jon was one of the first photographers in the area that had one. That doesn't make him any better, but it is a fact. About 3 years ago the blog was abandoned and taken down. The reason...too busy. The blog was neglected and rarely updated because Jon spends his working hours shooting and taking care of BlackLine's clients and he spends time with his family on his none working hours (yes, it is true Jon doesn't work 24 hours a day, though some people think he should...different rant). Nonetheless, it got to the point where a decision had to be made whether Jon keeps people entertained with a stupid blog, turns away customers, hires somebody to deal with the blog, spends less family time, or simply drops the blog. It was dropped and not even 1 second of regret has been had.
What should I wear for my session?
Wear whatever you want. If you are comfortable in what you are wearing, you will look comfortable in front of the camera. With family sessions, we recommend that everybody wear something at least similar in style. We recommend profession appropriate attire for business headshots, but that is common sense.
You can have as many outfit changes as you would like. Bring a variety of clothing, especially with senior sessions.
What is Jon's background in photography?
Jon has a bachelors degree in mass communications with emphasis in Photojournalism. His first post college photography job was for a hard rock music magazine. He took photos of touring bands as well as interviewed several of those bands. Nowadays, Jon's concentration is on portraits and weddings.
How many sessions do you do every year?
We typically do between 10 and 15 weddings a year. Since we put a high value on our family time, we do not shoot more than 2 weddings per month. Weddings are booked on a "first come first serve" basis only, no exceptions, so if you are would like us to shoot your wedding it is best to book as soon as you can. Portrait sessions vary as we have recently put most of our focus into weddings.
How many photos do we get to see?
We stress quality over quanity. We present our clients with between 250 and 400 proofs for all day wedding coverage. When it comes to portrait sessions, usually it comes out to around 20-30 photos per hour. Most seniors select the 2 hour session, thus they get between 50-80 photos.
How long will you be there for our wedding when you say "all day coverage"?
ALL DAY! Really, for our all day weddings, we usually start photographing the girls at around 9 am when the hair and makeup starts and we usually leave the party around 11 pm.
How far in advance do we need to book?
Our time is limited, so it is best to book as soon as you can unless you are flexible as far as when the session can be. Some people like to book months in advance and some like to wait until the last minute. However, we will not book out more than 1 month for Saturday portrait sessions. Portrait sessions usually book 2-3 weeks out, with August being booked out a bit further. We start booking weddings about 1 1/2 years out, but some people wait and book only 4-6 months out. Really what matters most is the date of your wedding. If you get married in the winter, there won't be a ton of weddings competing for photographers, but if you get married in August or September, you will have to book early to ensure that you get the photographer of your choice. My advice is this, once you find a photographer that you want, book them, if you procrastinate, that photographer might get booked by somebody else. It is fairly standard that photographers won't hold wedding dates for people without contracts and deposits.
What are your studio hours?
We are available only by appointment . We respond to emails and phone calls everyday.
When and how will I see my proofs?
For portrait sessions, your proofs will be online for viewing withing 24 hours of your session. With weddings, your proofs will be posted online within 2 weeks.
Are my proofs going to be edited before I see them?
No. We essentially process the photos and post them with little manipulation. Our ordering/proofing software allows you, the customer, to convert any photos you want to Black & White or Sepia, so we rarely post a photo already with that look.. Once you place your order, we will touch up blemishes, smooth out skin, crop if it is needed, basically make the photo "perfect". When it comes to touching up photos, we go for a subtle, natural look, not the porceline doll look. You will look like yourself, not like a painting of yourself. Touch-ups are free too!
How does ordering work?
BlackLine offers what we call Flexible Ordering. Though our proofing may change with the times, we will always continue to allow our customers to order what they want to order, not what we tell them to order. Flexible Ordering means that you may order as many times as you would like as well as whatever you would like with no minimums. You are allowed to order individual wallets, you are also not limited to the amount of poses that you can choose from.
Who will be the photographer at our wedding?
We are NOT sales people and you will NEVER meet with a sales person to suck you into our services. That being said, who you meet with is who will be taking the photos. Most the time, that will be Jon. On weddings, he will be the primary photographer. In rare emergency situations and with prior approval, a comparable replacement may be used.
Why should I hire a professional photographer?
Simply put...How important is the quality of photography to you? If it is important then there is no reason for you to continue reading this answer. If you still are unsure, here are a 5 reasons and rants to think about....
1)Professionalism. You know that you don't have to worry about what the photographer is doing, or if he/she is getting the shots needed. Honestly, if you hire a friend "who has a nice camera", there is a good chance that they don't know what they are doing or how to get a really solid photo. Somebody is not a professional simply because they like taking pictures or because they take "nice pictures" or have an expensive camera. Professionalism includes not only the manner in which photos are taken, but also includes service, ordering options, and a person's reaction to situations.
2)Equipment. A professional photographer is going to have high quality equipment AND equivalent backup equipment. This means more than having an "expensive" $400 camera. Most professionals that we know have a minimum of $10,000 invested in cameras and lenses. At any given shoot we carry at least that. At the majority of our weddings, between 2 photographers, we carry 4 cameras (and not the $400 ones) as well as 6-8 different lenses. If you are thinking of hiring somebody to shoot your wedding and they don't have backup equipment, beware! Again, back to #1, just having an expensive camera doesn't mean anything, which leads me to...
3)Quality. Have you ever looked at the Christmas card that you get in the mail and think some look better than others? 99% of the time it's because the included photo was professionally taken. Look at little details like shadows and distractions, not to mention the noticable quality of the print. A professional photographer knows lighting and colors and how to use them. A good example of this...We shot a wedding a few years ago and were pulled aside during the reception to do a family photo that was set up by a person who claimed to be a photographer (note: expensive camera). That person had the whole group facing into the sun because that was the brightest light source, but the background of that group was a parking lot...full of cars. The whole group was "posed" and I walked up and told them all to turn around. After a few groans and a comment that "so and so, who is a photographer said we should be facing this way", I asked if they would rather squint looking into the sun and have cars as the background or not look into the sun and have trees as the background. Noticing these little details separate a professional from an amateur.
4)Experience. The 1st time I did photos of a baby, I wanted to never do it again, luckily that experience was with my own son and I had to "deal" with it again, which made me better at dealing with kids. I didn't know how to handle the situation and got stressed, but now, no matter how much pee or poop or puke or crying, I am unfazed and actually realize that great photos can come out of those situations. Experience also ties together the previous three. A professional knows how to act, knows how to handle situations, and knows how to get quality shots in the most undesirable circumstances, all because of experiences. Experience helps in referring ideas such as locations for sessions (the best spots are not always the prettiest spots---remember it is all about light).
5)Consistency. This goes hand in hand with experience. A professional knows how to get consistent results because they have done it over and over. If you look through a photographer's portfolio, you should see consistent results.
Do you have any other questions?
Contact us via email and ask.
1) Portraits session payment is due at the time of your session. Your proofs will not be displayed anywhere unless you pay for your session, so for example, say you forgot your checkbook or money when you left home to come for your session. That is fine, we can still do the session no problems, but you will not see any photos from the session until you pay for your session fee.
2)Complete wedding payment is due one month prior to your wedding.
3) We own all rights to all photos that we take, unless other arrangements are made (ie: you buy the rights and digital negatives or it is a commercial/business session in which the rights are yours). Most people do not realize that printing photos taken by a professional photographer is against federal law. Yep, that is right, you can be charged with a felony for going to your local Walmart and making copies of photos that we took unless you have written consent from us. This also goes for printing out your own copies at home on your own printer, whether the file is taken off of the internet or you decided to scan a photo that you bought from us. Sorry, I don't make the laws, but I do follow them and I expect you to do the same. The only exception of this rule is for internet use only (facebook, blogs, ect.). You CAN use our photos for web viewing. Note these files CANNOT be printed OR altered.
4) Orders DO NOT leave the studio without payment. This is non-negotiable, as the old saying goes, "One bad apple spoils the whole bunch" or in the case of our business 2 bad apples.