frequently asked questions
everything you need to know about your portrait session
HOW LONG DOES A SHOOT TAKE?
Generally, a shoot takes around three hours, including hair and makeup. That might sound like a long time, but believe me, it whizzes by!
We like to look after our clients’ every need whilst they’re at the studio, so we provide nibbles, drinks, and of course rest breaks whenever you need them.
I'D LIKE A PORTRAIT SESSION, BUT I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WEAR!
Don’t worry. All our portrait work begins well before the shoot day, with a consultation to help you decide what to bring on the day, what to wear, and what will work in front of camera for the most flattering and beautiful images. Whilst many people bring their ‘fancy evening clothes’, remember that it’s entirely up to you – you can wear whatever you like, from jeans and t-shirt to your gym gear if you like! It’s your session and whatever makes you feel good will make you look good.
If you want to wear something special but don’t have much in your wardrobe, then our personal stylist Lindsay can help you, with either a wardrobe consultation at your home, personal shopping services for all budgets, or perhaps a style consultation to help you understand what kind of clothes work for your personal shape and style.
I NEVER TAKE A GOOD PHOTOGRAPH - I'M NOT PHOTOGENIC!
That’s because you’ve not been photographed professionally by a specialist in women’s portraiture who understands how to pose and flatter every body shape!
There is no such thing as ‘photogenic’ – it’s all down to the right lighting, equipment, posing, and bringing out your confidence in front of camera. Put your trust in me and I’ll show you that everyone can have beautiful images of themselves to cherish and pass onto their loved ones.
I DON'T KNOW HOW TO 'POSE' FOR PHOTOGRAPHS, I ALWAYS LOOK AWKWARD.
Please don’t worry about needing to know how to pose – that’s our job. We’ll show you exactly how to pose in an easy to follow way.
As women’s portraiture specialists, we are trained in how to pose every body shape and every age in a flattering and natural manner. We don’t ask our clients to pose like models; we are photographing portraits which will last many lifetimes, so the poses chosen are always refined, elegant and with natural, positive body language.
I'M WORRIED THAT I WON'T LOOK LIKE 'ME' IN THE PHOTOS.
Everything we do in a portrait session is firmly focused around who you are and how you want to look. We’re not in the business of making you up in a style you’re not comfortable with or making you wear outfits you don’t feel right in. If you don’t normally wear makeup, we’ll keep your look light and fresh, so that you feel like ‘you’ when you see the results.
At all times, you’re the boss. It’s vital to us that you love your hair, makeup and style on the day, so you get to decide (with our guidance) on how you want to look…. and we can keep changing it during the session to give you a variety of different looks, too.
WHAT BEAUTY PRODUCTS DO YOU USE DURING A SESSION? I HAVE SENSITIVE SKIN.
We don’t use heavy theatrical or studio makeup in our portrait sessions, we use products that you can wear out of the studio and go on to dinner wearing, so you feel and look great!
We are Independent Consultants for the Arbonne brand of skincare and cosmetics, which are dermatologist tested, clinically proven and contain no nasties like parabens or mineral oils. They’re kind to your skin and won’t clog your pores.
If you love the skincare and makeup products we use during your portrait session, then you can order then through us at up to 40% discount – just ask for details on the day.
You can also add on additional beauty services to your portrait shoot, such as an anti-ageing Galvanic Facial – check out our Beauty Room page for details.
CAN I BRING A FRIEND WITH ME?
Of course you can. We do ask that you limit it to one person to accompany you, though, as otherwise you may find it distracting whilst you’re being photographed.
Why not bring a family member or friend and share the session with them? You can be photographed individually and together to make a real ‘girls day out’ of it!
DO YOU RETOUCH OR PHOTOSHOP IMAGES?
We’re not in the business of making our clients look unrecognisable, so all our retouching is done with a gentle hand – no plastic skin or Barbie doll effects!
95% of our client’s concerns about their ‘wobbly bits’ and signs of ageing are resolved with great posing, great lighting and wearing the right clothes. For the remaining 5%, it’s all taken care of with sensitive, natural retouching. Our objective is that no-one else will notice the image has been edited!
We’ll take care of any worries you have about your appearance – so if you have any particular requests in terms of editing, do let us know. We’re not here to judge, we’re here to photograph you just how you’d imagined.
WHAT DOES A PORTRAIT SESSION COST?
Your portrait sitting fee is £250, which includes hair and makeup on the day, your actual portrait shoot, plus a pre session consultation to discover how you’d like to be photographed.
You’ll then be invited to a reveal session a couple of weeks after your session, where you’ll be shown your printed and matted images, fully edited and finalised. There’s no commitment to buy a certain amount of images; you just purchase what you love. Generally, most people buy between 8 and 20 images. Images are priced at £125 individually, with folio collections starting at £850 for 8 matted prints, which includes a gorgeous craftsman made folio box. All prints come with the corresponding digital file.
We also offer the option of purchasing enlargements, framed prints of various sizes, and beautiful photographic albums.
DON'T YOU JUST OFFER DIGITALS?
We always print our images for the reveal session, as this is the only way to guarantee you are viewing the images absolutely as they were edited and meant to be shown. Viewing images on a monitor or TV screen may not show the images correctly unless the hardware has been fully colour calibrated.
Our prices are given ‘per image’, which means that you receive the print and the corresponding digital file. Prints are legacy items which will be passed down from generation to generation and if properly looked after, will be around long after you and I have gone!
The price per image reflects the cost of shooting, editing & finalising the image, not the cost of printing the photograph, so the price remains the same regardless of whether you take the print home or not. But why not frame it for your wall, or gift it to a family member?
DO YOU PHOTOGRAPH FAMILIES AND CHILDREN?
We are delighted to photograph small family groups, although we’d suggest that if there are more than two of you to photograph, you book a separate session to your makeover portrait session due to time constraints.
Due to space constraints, we’re not able to photograph large family groups in the studio (over 6 people), but we’d be pleased to quote you for a lifestyle shoot at your home or outdoors if you’d like this.
Please note that our studio is not open at weekends, so if you are looking to include school age children in a shoot, please book well ahead for holiday dates.
DO YOU PHOTOGRAPH BABIES?
Newborn posed studio photography is a very specialist field and so it’s not a service we offer. However, we are delighted to photograph smaller children in the studio with mum and dad.
Please note that due to safety requirements, all children under the age of eight MUST be chaperoned in the studio by a separate adult at all times, in addition to the client in hair and makeup.
We generally suggest that if you’d like small children to be part of a shoot, that they are brought to the studio at the end of the shoot once hair and makeup is done and the individual portraits are complete.
WHAT ABOUT BOUDOIR SHOOTS?
We’re very happy to offer boudoir shoots, which can be either in the studio (in what we call a ‘white sheet’ shoot) or alternatively we can make arrangements to shoot in your home or in a local hotel if you prefer.
Our boudoir shoots are elegant and refined, in a safe controlled environment. You are welcome to bring along a friend if that makes you feel more relaxed!
DO YOU SHOOT MATERNITY SESSIONS?
We love to photograph baby bumps! Our maternity sessions are gentle and elegant, with beautiful styling to celebrate this most special time in a woman’s life.
We have a selection of lovely maternity outfits in the studio, so you don’t need to spend money on anything you’re unlikely to wear again.
The optimum time to photograph you when pregnant is at around the 7 to 8 months stage. Naturally, we’re conscious that you may get tired during the session, so your comfort is absolutely paramount to make sure you enjoy the shoot and the pampering that comes with it!
HOW DO I BOOK? CAN I TALK TO YOU BEFORE I DECIDE?
Our potential clients are ALWAYS welcome to come in for a complimentary consultation prior to booking a portrait session and see more of our work. Consultations are by appointment during weekdays.
If you’d like to go ahead and book a session, we generally book around 4-6 weeks ahead, but ‘last minute’ sessions are sometimes available. This time frame gives you the chance to really think about how you’d like to be photographed and get yourself ready for your shoot, such as a hair colour and cut. We’ll advise you every step of the way on how to prepare, what to bring on the day, and what to expect from your session.
HOW CAN I PAY?
Your portrait session fee of £250 is payable at the point of booking and can be made either online via card or bank transfer, or in person by cash or card.
When you choose your images at the reveal session, you may pay by cash or card in person. We also offer payment plans and 0% finance (subject to status).
Dorset Portrait Photographer
Belinda McCarthy Photography Ltd.
The Stables Portraiture Studio, Shillingstone House, Shillingstone, Dorset DT11 0RZ
Find Belinda McCarthy Photography on Google Maps
Company Registration Number 9551009, registered in England & Wales.