Before & During The Session
Where are you located?
Do you travel outside of Danville? Outside of California?
All the time. I like to consider myself a Bay Area Photographer. We have a 25 mile radius, not including travel to San Francisco. We also make yearly trips out of state to Texas’ Dallas area and Tennessee’s Nashville area. Shani Studios is also always available for destination and travel sessions.
Where do your photo-sessions take place?
On location. We hold a very special relationship with each of our clients and ensure a location that speaks true to who you are as an individual and as a family. The most important reason we hold our pre-session consultations is to discover the best type of location specific to your personality, style and where you feel most comfortable.
What is the retainer for? If I cancel, will I receive it back?
The retainer ensures your day and/or session time is booked for you and only you. It also serves as an hourly rate for any and all communication regarding your session, planning your session, both in conjunction with you as well as creative planning outside of inperson meetings and materials that may be purchased for your session. Due to the nature of pre-planning sessions and booking schedules, retainers are non-refundable.
How long do portrait sessions last?
This depends on the type of portrait session. Corporate headshot sessions can last anywhere from 15 minutes up to 30 minutes.
Family portrait sessions of families up to 6 individuals will last up to two hours. For family sessions this gives us time for breaks, clothing changes, snacks and a generally relaxed feel so children do not become overstimulated or overwhelmed.
Newborn sessions can last between 2-3 hours, this ensures plenty of time for feedings, changings and soothing the baby between style changes. We never want to rush a newborn, so additional time is always built into sessions to ensure the baby is in charge.
What should we wear? Can you help us with styling?
We can definitely help with styling and love to do so! We provide all of our clients with a welcome packet that includes a style guide with color and style suggestions. We also offer personal shopping as well as styling consultations. We are here to help create a session unlike any other, and understand that styling is a big part of that.
Is there anything we should bring?
Be sure to bring any props we have discussed. A snack, bottle of water and wipes for quick clean up.
What happens if it rains?
Rain happens, and as an on location photography studio we are often at the mercy of the elements. With foggy or dreary weather we will hold the session. It may sound strange but photographers actually prefer cloudy weather as this creates some of the most beautiful lighting. With that being said, if it is drizzling we will reschedule your session within a reasonable time frame that works for your family.
Please note, our rescheduling policy is as follows; A $50 rescheduling fee is assessed if session is rescheduled after 15 minutes up to 29 minutes of session start. Fee not applicable if session is cancelled due to weather or photographer canceling. This being said, Photographer can not be held responsible for weather. If weather is not acceptable to client, but not a cause to reschedule, all standard rescheduling fees apply otherwise session fee is forfeited as a cancellation. Sessions can be rescheduled by phone, text message or email prior to session date. Rescheduling must be done by phone, or text message on day of session.
What if my child is ill or I am ill?
We completely understand that illness can change plans drastically and often happen without much notice. We ask that you please advise us at the earliest signs that you or your child may be sick and may be a cause for rescheduling. We wouldn’t dream of ever forcing a sick child to do a photoshoot, as this would be miserable for all involved. We are happy to reschedule sessions due to illness once everyone is feeling better, one time, free of rescheduling fees.
Are you able to remove imperfections in the photos?
We are happy to remove scratches and superficial spots that occur in children’s everyday lives. Our process is one that we do a basic edit on all of our photographs. Photographs are never released to our clients without being examined and “touched” at least once. Following your one time preview and purchase consultation, we will process the selected images one more time. Please note that additional modifications like eye whitening, teeth whitening, skin softening and major removals will be quoted additionally at an hourly rate of $45./hour.
After the Session
Why is there only one Preview & Purchase Consultation?
We work closely with each of our clients to ensure a high quality of fine art portraits. To ensure each and every client is given the same level of service we have a very specific process that only allows us time to hold one preview & purchase consultation per customer. If following your session you are not ready to purchase your images for any reason we ask that you please wait until you are ready to make the financial & time investment.
Who has the copyright to the images and can I buy photographs as digital media?
I retain the copyright to all of my images. However, you are welcome to buy individual images or the complete set of print-ready digital files, which can be taken to any lab for reproduction. You will be granted a license to reproduce the images for your personal use, or to give to family and friends. You are not permitted to enter the pictures into any competitions, or to sell them onto third parties such as stock libraries.
Did you study Photography?
Yes! I have a formal bachelor’s degree in Professional Photography from the esteemed Brooks Institute of Photography. My education consisted of a three-year, year round program which focused on all aspects of photography and I focused on traditional portraiture for the last 2 years. In my last year at Brooks I became a certified rescue diver & divemaster candidate which helped during my final course in underwater photography, an elective that introduced me to my passion of underwater portraiture.
I started my career at 18, a month before embarking on my journey to Brooks, when my uncle paid me in film, to photograph his wedding in Yosemite. I am proud to say that my images are the ones that still adorn his walls.
I am currently working on my professional certification through WPPI – Wedding and Portrait Photographers International and my professional certification through PPA – Professional Photographers of America. Both organizations are internationally recognized and help to ensure that clients are working with professional photographers instead of Faux-tographers.
PPA’s 10 Questions to ask your Photographer & Our Answers
1. Are you insured?
Yes, Shani Studios holds both small business, equipment and liability insurance.
2. What's your background and credentials?
1. How long have you been a professional photographer?
2. Where did you get your photography training?
Brooks Institute of Photography
3. What professional photographic associations do you belong to?
PPA & WPPI
4. Are you a certified professional photographer (CPP)?
No, however I am working towards it. I do however hold a bachelor’s degree
5. What photography degrees do you have?
A Bachelor’s Degree.
6. Have you won any photographic competitions? If so, which ones and can you show me the winning photographs?
A people’s choice award through NCPP – Northern California Professional
Photographers, an affiliate group of PPA.
PPA Says: The pros have standards to uphold and membership in professional associations. When you choose someone who’s certified or holds a degree in photography, you’re starting with quality. Pros have unique skills and training in artistry and technology, so they know how to create beautiful images that reflect exactly the image you want to portray.
3. Can you provide references and may I see your portfolio?
For example; when hiring a photographer for a wedding ask not only to see the album of images, which could be the best images of the lot, that the photographer choose, but also the gallery of provided images, that the client choose from.
This ensures you will be able to see a full gallery of the wedding from beginning to end, and make sure that if there is something missing, you can either ask why the event is missing from the gallery (ie, cake cutting…maybe the client opted to not have that covered) and gives you the opportunity to express that coverage of that event is important to you. It also gives you the opportunity to see that the photographer doesn’t only hold a portfolio of “Happy Accidents” – a collection of beautiful images that they have no idea how to replicate. You want to be sure to hire a photographer who is consistent and can produce beautiful images in different environments and locations.
I am also happy to provide references to previous clients, if you would like to chat with them.
In PPA’s Words
“Ask to see samples from an entire photography session or a collection of photographs from many different sessions to get a sense of the depth of a photographer’s work. This will show you how creative the photographer is and tell you if he or she is consistently good…or just lucky every now and then.”
4. What is your photographic style?
I practice a fun and open style of shooting. I like to help clients feel natural in front of the camera, which helps to create an authentic feeling to expressions. I am inlove with natural light and natural settings. I specialize in both traditional portraiture as well as mixing in a documentary/lifestyle shooting, which helps achieve an authentic feeling to poses, instead of stiff, cheesy posing.
5. Do you have an assistant and what does she/he do? How about a second photographer (for larger events)?
For weddings and larger events of 100 guests or more I work with a few different second shooters who are also certified professional photographers. I also work with a few different assistants who I call upon depending on the style of shoot, for example, my assistant Vanessa is a professional dog walker and has dog training experience, so she works with me on family portrait sessions that include our furry friends – Vanessa’s help is invaluable, because she can focus on your pup while I help the rest of the family to look their best. In other instances, I will work with another assistant who helps with lighting, gaining children’s attention (so mom and dad don’t have to) and act as another pair of eyes for clothing mishaps and hand positioning.
6. What does your fee include and what's the delivery timeline?
This is all dependant upon the type of session, package you have chosen and when you would like to book your final consultation. Typically package sessions include printed media, counterpart digital media*, professional consulting, and artistic editing. Turn around time for family portraits is 2-4 weeks at which point we will book your preview and purchase consultation, while turn around time for weddings is 4-6 weeks, at which point we will book your preview and purchase consultation.
7. Do you have a backup photographer for Weddings?
Yes, all of my second shooters are trained and photograph in a similar style to Shani Studios signature style. In the instance that an act of God has occured, I am confident that the second shooter and assistant (who is a second shooter in training, or third shooter) will document your day beautifully.
8. Do you have backup equipment?
Trust me when I say that this is one of the most important things to me not only as a photographer but also as a consumer, former bride whose photographers equipment failed on them, on my wedding day. Each of our shooters are required to have at least two professional camera bodies. In the instance that one fails, we are trained to photograph with multiple lenses and only one camera body. We constantly check our memory cards and update them regularly to ensure they are working at their optimal performance.
10. Do you require a written contract?
Yes, this helps to protect your rights as a consumer and ensures that everything we have discussed will be delivered. It also helps to make sure that we do not have any misunderstandings or miscommunications.