Before I begin…a huge favor:
I have asthma so I need to ask a huge favor. Please do not wear perfume or cologne to your session or we may need to reschedule. Thanks in advance for your consideration.
Where is the studio?
Our photography studio is located at 31 Thorpe Road suite 104 in Needham Heights less than one mile off Route 128 and just around the corner from Starbucks, Cafe Fresh Bagels and Blue on Highland.
Follow Rte 128 to exit 19B “Highland Ave”.
Travel ½ mile and take LEFT onto WEBSTER ST.
After the next set of lights go left onto THORPE RD.
It is located inside a building on the left side called “GORSE MILL STUDIOS” at 31 Thorpe Road.
I know it sounds simple to find, but for some strange reason I have clients who circle for 20 minutes before discovering they were around the corner the entire time. For that reason, here is the key to avoid getting terribly lost.
Are you ready?
When you turn onto Thorpe Road the entrance to the studio is only 100 feet to your left.
How far is 100 feet? Well, a football field is 300 feet. One third of that?
Not a football fan? 100 feet is equal to being at a stop light with six cars ahead of you.
I know you think I’m being silly right now, but every week without fail I have at least one client who circles the neighborhood completely lost. They are usually only three houses past the entrance, but for some reason they cannot find the driveway.
Yes, it is a residential neighborhood and yes, you are in the right place. In fact, there’s a nice sign and a parking lot. It looks a heck of a lot like this:
Check out Google Maps right here:
What should I wear?
If you are taking a group photo, try to ensure that all colors are similar in appearance. For example, in a family portrait be sure everyone’s clothes share a similar value. Value is defined as the relative lightness or darkness of a color. If the photo were to be viewed in black and white, all shirts would look similarly light or dark. Another way to gauge the value of a color is to squint your eyes. The goal is to not have one color overpowering another, to create balance in the photo, and to not have any one person or item of clothing become the focal point.
Whether taking a group photo or an individual portrait, think about bringing some options with you. Consider bringing something black, something gray and something you love that you think makes you look like a rock star. Men should avoid collars with buttons, mostly because I don’t like them and it is not as crisp a look. Take the time to press your shirt, dry clean your suit and get a haircut. Better yet, use this as an excuse to buy a new shirt, new suit and new tie. Those with pale skin tones should avoid a white business shirt if possible–light blue is better. If you have darker skin tones, white shirt is ok. It is absolutely fine to bring multiple outfits, ties, shirts etc. I have pretty strong opinions and am happy to help if asked…or even if not asked.
Try to keep to solid colors. Any pattern, design, logo, or graphic will stand out and lead the viewer’s eyes away from where it should be – on your eyes. The goal is always to lead the viewer to the people in the portrait, and not to their choice of clothing. Even though solid is the standard, there are no rules. I recently photographed a family who all wore plaid. Although we were laughing at it at the time, it looked great…after we converted it to black and white.
Should I wear my glasses?
Opinions differ on including glasses in photos. I believe that if they are not a dominant part of someone’s appearance, they can be left out. Glasses can create glare and reflection that may or may not be fixable in post-production. If you can pop the lenses out and keep the frames, that’s a huge help. Getting a screwdriver is simple to do and it could save you $50 in post-production editing to reduce reflection in your glasses. If you want to wear them, as many people may want to for a headshot, be sure they are super clean and I will work with the lights to reduce the glare. If you choose not to wear your glasses, be sure to take them off early enough to eliminate the little red spots created by the pads where the glasses rest on your nose.
Should I get a haircut before my portrait?
Especially with headshots, but with any big photo session, I tell people to get their haircut about a week before their portrait, whenever possible. This assures your hair is neatly groomed, but has “settled” from being freshly cut.
Do you recommend anything in particular as far as hair and makeup for women?
Long hair is beautiful, but stray hair in the face is not. Dryer sheets can be helpful to control static. If you are working with one of my stylists, they have hair spray and will continue to touch up as we shoot. If you choose to do your own makeup, cover any blemishes as you normally would. Do not assume that you need excessive powder or cover-up as you may have seen in the movies or on news anchors. Anchors are working under a completely different light source with different equipment. Bad makeup is very noticeable with the high-definition camera equipment I use. The general rule of thumb is “just slightly more than usual.”
Do you have a hair and makeup artist available?
I have spent years getting cultivating some of Boston’s best professional on-site hair and makeup artists and I highly recommend availing yourself of their services. We are lucky enough to have a relationship with makeup artist Bre Welch, who was voted “Best of Boston” by Improper Bostonian Magazine, as well as the insanely fabulous Brandon Ward, the wonderful and talented Kacie Corbelle and several other great local artists. The cost for a hair and makeup session is $150-$200, takes about an hour, will make you look amazing, but is subject to availability. Reserve appointments well in advance.
Our team can leave you looking completely natural or with the appearance of a New York City runway model. They work on national magazine campaigns, celebrity shoots, and dozens upon dozens of headshots with me. Men use makeup too — usually we squeeze them in before or after a female client for 10 minutes to reduce shine. Let us know if you are interested and we will work out the best time for everyone involved.
How do I prepare for the hair/makeup artist?
Simply come with clean, dry, manageable hair and a clean face. Feel free to bring a separate set of clothes when sitting in the makeup chair and please be on time as we normally schedule a full day with our artists.
What about nose hair?
I’m so glad you asked about nose hair. I’m going to share a little bit about this particular issue to help you prepare for your shoot. My camera creates very high resolution images that show everything in your anterior nasal passage. If I had a nickel for how often I need to Photoshop out unwanted nose hair, I’d be a very wealthy man. Invest $12 in a nose hair trimmer at the drugstore and get busy—this goes for women as well as men. While you’re holding the trimmer in your hand, feel free to remove other stray facial hair too. (hint…your ears).
When should I arrive for my session?
It is absolutely critical to be on time. Being late for a session can result in a missed opportunity to produce the finest quality portrait because we all feel rushed. Worst-case scenario, we might need to reschedule entirely. I book sessions back to back, so being late cuts into the number of images you have to choose from when we are done. Leave enough time to find the building, use the restroom, get changed, apply makeup, etc. I recommend to try to arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled session. Please note that all missed appointments without prior notice will be charged the full session fee.
Can I take pictures during a session?
Although it should go without saying, please do not take photographs, iPhone or otherwise during the session. Not only could you inadvertently set off studio lights, but you could distract someone and ruin a shot that we are trying to create. Also, since I shoot tethered to a computer to allow my clients a live view of the session, images will pop up on the screen every few moments. These images are in fact, protected by copyright law. Unauthorized photos taken with any camera, yes even an iPhone, are in violation of that protection and could result in fines and other legal action.
I love sharing on social media. If you want to post something online, simply ask. Additionally, I am happy to post nearly anything on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter from our session, with our studio branding.
How many photos will we get to see?
Although each portrait session is different, I normally shoot 70-80 images per hour. I then select the best 30-40 for you to choose from to create your package. Generally, I’ll have more images to show with larger extended families and fewer images after pet hamster portrait sessions.
For headshots, we choose the final images during and directly after the shoot. For family portraits, selections are made at a later date. We can schedule another 30-minute session where you will return to the studio and view the images using a projector and large screen, or if more convenient a secure online gallery can be created for viewing and selection purposes. More often than not, parents will return to the studio a couple weeks later (without kids) and make it into a date night.
If we schedule a family or group portrait, will you take photos of each individual plus various combinations?
Yes, your family or group photo session is flexible and can be adjusted to fit your needs.
What information should I provide you before the day of the shoot?
Before the big day, think about what you are hoping to accomplish. When the shoot is over, what will make you happiest? I’ve been on photo shoots that lasted 30 minutes or an entire afternoon–each to create a small handful of images of a family of four. However, if the goal is to create four 60″ framed canvas to be hung on your walls, then we spent our time wisely. Consider quality versus quantity. Do a little planning in advance of coming to the studio. Ask yourself where the photos will be hung, what mood would you like everyone to be in for the image (formal, relaxed, casual, playful, spontaneous, silly). Where will you hang the images? Have you already envisioned what they will look like? Discuss this with me before your shoot so that I can help get you there.
You really cannot be too prepared. It is okay to send me photos of the walls where framed portraits will be hung. Feel free to take shots on your phone from around your house so I can see your style, and better understand what we are trying to create during our session together. Take pictures of other portraits that may be hanging so I can see your taste in frames so we can work this in as well. More information is always better, so feel free to become involved in the process.
Are you comfortable photographing children and pets?
As the father of two young boys and two Labradoodles, I am completely at home photographing kids and pets. I am also a former licensed social worker, which my wife tells me comes in handy nearly every day at work. I do my best to approach every portrait session (no matter how challenging) with openness, patience and a healthy dose of humor. Because these are not my own children, I am able to resist the temptation to bargain, beg, bribe and over-promise in the pursuit of an “authentic” expression, and I ask that you do the same. The more comfortable everyone is, the better the resulting photos. And I absolutely love photographing animals on their own too, both in the studio or on-location.
How should I prepare my pet for a pet photo session?
Working with pets is something I really love to do – and will go more smoothly if owners follow a few simple guidelines. Best practice for bringing your pet into the studio is to be sure they are well groomed, well exercised but not well fed. Please do not come to the studio and brush your dog. I have asthma, so excess dog hair flying through the studio can be a major problem. Invest in a professional bath or grooming that morning.
Only feed your dog ⅔ of their normal breakfast on the day of the shoot because a slightly hungry dog will give me his or her full attention. Bring your pet’s favorite treats to the session in a sealed baggie, without the animal’s knowledge, and hand it to me when you arrive. Maintain a calm even tone and allow me to take the lead when you arrive. If your dog is high energy, please schedule your session late enough to allow for you to exercise them pretty hard – plus allow time for them to settle down and reach a calm state before walking into the studio. Another option for a high energy dog is to shoot outdoors, on location.
What can I do to help you photograph my child or pet?
During the session, I ask parents to remain very quiet and calm and let me do my thing. We all want your kids/pets to feel comfortable and act natural. Prompting your kids to “say cheese” or “smile for the camera” will never produce a genuine expression; in fact, it can do the exact opposite. In my experience, despite the best intentions, parental cheerleading is more distracting than helpful. Too many voices calling out at a child (0r a pet) is overwhelming, and hampers my ability to produce a truly authentic image. I’m not shy; if I need help, I promise I will ask for it.
I’m driving myself crazy trying to think of the best place to use as background for our family portrait. Where do you recommend we take our family photos?
I’m happy to travel to interesting locations and shoot portraits, I really am. It’s fun and gets me out of the studio. I’ve spent a lot of time at Cutler Park, Larz Anderson Park, behind my studio, standing in a parking lot, up against a brick wall, on train tracks…it doesn’t matter to me so long as the light is good and the subject is willing.
But to demonstrate that obsessing over the “perfect” background isn’t necessary, here is a shot of my youngest son in our driveway during construction. The background we used in the black and white shot is a dumpster!
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes – We accept cash, checks and all major credit cards.
If you have any other questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will get back to you as soon as possible.