5 Questions Everyone Should ask their Photographer

Every photographer is different than the rest. There are some that have different skill sets than the rest, there are some that do photography as a hobby and others who do this as their full time job. Because of this, one must be diligent in how they approach photographers to determine which will be the best for them. Below are a few examples of questions you should consider when talking to any photographer.

#1, Do you pose your clients/models and how did you learn to pose? 
Posing is a dying art form with many photographers these days. Its easy to look at a website of a photographer shooting models who know how to pose and think they can do that with you, but the sad thing is many can’t. Posing is an art form and can be the difference between flattering and natural scenery, and awkward and stiff looking images. We learned how to pose with some of the worlds leading photographers such as Sue Bryce and Doug Gordon, just to name a few. We like to joke that we will pose you down to your fingertips, if need be, to ensure you look stunning in all your images. This is one critical question that can determine how you will look in your images.

#2, Do you retouch your images? 
Retouching is something that will vary between photographer to photographers. There are some photographers that do NOT edit their images and will add an orange or a pink filter in post production and call it done. There are other photographers who will take your images, make a black and white, a sepia toned image, and a color version, give you all 3 and call it done. Then there are others who will take the extra effort to work with your images, smoothen skin if need be, play with the colors and the image until it’s the piece of art that you are hiring us for. At AW Photography, we retouch every image that will be shown to you. We talk to you to find out what you like, what you don’t like, if there are any areas you are self-conscious about and what looks you like. If you like the orange/pink filters, we can do that for you. If there is anything you do not like, for instance a scar/bruise/anything that you do not like, we can pose you to minimize them, or edit them in photoshop if needed. We want YOU to be thrilled with your images and will do what we can to see that you do.

#3, What is your turn-around time? 
There are some photographers that do photography on the side and may take weeks if not months to turn around images. There are others who do not retouch the images or do minimal retouching and you get the images the same day or within a day or two of the photoshoot. We aim to have a 2-3 week turnaround from the time we take your images to the day you see the images. When times are slow or we have more time to work at the computers, times may be quicker, or a full wedding may be closer to the 3 week point, but that is our typical turnaround time. You do not have to choose your package, or commit to any products until you view your images at your viewing. From the day you order and pay your package in full, your photos are available for pickup within days of ordering. Some products take longer to turnaround depending on the complexity of them, but that will be disclosed to you upon ordering.

#4, What products do you have to offer/What will I get from this?
We understand that everyone over the last decade has been conditioned to ask for 1 thing, digital copies. And we DO offer digital copies, in some of our packages. We strive to provide you images, but we also strive to provide you memories that you can look at and treasure often. It’s easy to charge $3000 for a CD of photos like some photographers and wish them the best of luck, but we do not want to be that photographer. We are a Full-Service photography company. There are photo printing services in just about every store now-a-days, but which ones are the best ones? And really, why would anyone invest a lot of money into photography just to get a CD to put in their drawer or desk just to be forgotten about. No one has ever been complimented on their beautifully framed CD on their wall, unless they are a rock band. Likewise, we want to ensure that you are not only getting the photography you paid for, but the products you can treasure and pass down for generation to generation. CD’s will eventually go the way of cassette tapes and 8-track tapes, and many newer computers and laptops don’t even come with CD’s anymore. Photo albums, prints, metal prints, etc can be handed down to generations to come.

#5, Lastly what is your price?
This is listed as the last thing that should be asked, but sadly this has become the first thing many people ask. With the endless supply of professional photographers, hobbyist and “friends with a camera”, there are plenty to choose from and 90% will be cheaper than just about any professional photographer. Many of the cheaper solutions will be from photographers who don’t know much about posing, if any, do not offer any retouching, let alone orange or pink filters that are all the rage today, and all you get to show for it is a CD? We have asked many of our past clients who have purchased CD’s from us and very few of them ever have the photos printed. Some may upload the photos to Facebook, but otherwise it, that’s it. Where’s the value in that? With us, 99% of our clients walk out of our studio with prints that they can hang on the wall, give as gifts to family members or share with loved ones, etc. We offer payment plans and do what we can to make absolutely sure that you can afford us and enjoy your experience with us. We WANT to work with you so you can use us. We have had wedding clients take as long as a year and a half and portrait clients take up to 8 months to pay off their photos. If that’s what it takes, we will do it so you can get the photos you want, the products you want, and the experience you want. If payment is ever a concern, talk to us and we will find a way that you can afford us.

I hope this help you in figuring out more about photographers, photography, and what makes us different. If you have any questions, let us know, talk to us, and we will get back to you asap. In todays world, society and culture has brought us into a twisted double standard. On one hand, we are taught what is pretty and attractive and what we should strive for. On the other, we are told that we are not it and should be reserved and should only be proud of ourselves once we fit that standard. At AW Photography, we are here to shatter those stereotypes and aim to provide stunning imagery for every body, every body shape and every age. You are not too old, too curvy, not curvy enough, too this too that…. You are perfect now. Let us show you that with images and keepsakes you will treasure from generation to generation. We can photograph you at our studio, at your house, or anywhere in between. Give the photos as a gift to those who you love, or keep them as a memory to pass onto generation to come. So the only question left is how would you want to be photographed?

You are good enough, now!

This weekend, we were playing with our little baby girl. We tickled her tummy and she would laugh and was full of joy, full of content and just happy. It occurred to me that she doesn’t understand hate, especially self hate. She doesn’t understand restrictions or what is or isn’t taboo. Clothes, no clothes, it’s all good. She doesn’t understand heart ache other than the brief moments when she’s waiting on us to make her a bottle of milk. She just know that she’s loved and happy and is happy with who she is and is with at this moment. In a few years, unfortunately this situation may or may not change.

For those who do not know, she was born with a birth defect which causes her lymphatic system to build up fluid in her neck and not drain it back into the body, as normal people do. This fluid creates a series of large and small cysts creating large tumors around her neck which not only is a physical abnormality but a medical problem as it can wreak havoc upon her airway and her esophagus. She is on a medication right now that have kept her condition in check, but have created loose skin looking like a double chin. The world is cruel and over time, she’s going to learn what society believes is what’s considered normal and what is not. She will learn that she is different and it is then that her perceptions of herself and who she is may change. I pray to the Lord Almighty this day does not come to pass. 

What is the point in this post? Well, while she has a physical condition, we all have our own insecurities… We all have feelings of inadequacies. Skinny women are told by society that they are too skinny and they should be curvier…. Curvy women are told they are thick and need to be skinny. Plus sized people are told that they are just obese and need to get down to a certain weight just to fit within a certain norm. Guys are told that they need to have 6 packs or else they fall short of what is expected. What this does is make the 99.9% of the worlds population vie for that perfect body that may or may not be ever attainable. But in doing so, we get discouraged… We feel that we aren’t good enough… We don’t have what normal people should have because if we did, we would be normal. Women put off getting photos taken because they are trying to lose that last 10 pounds. They lose 5 pounds, run into a holiday, and end up back to square one, all the time feeling discouraged, unattractive and out of place.

Society has twisted us… perverted us… we’ve been lied to. This is no short than in World War 2 when europe was indoctrinated that anyone not blonde hair and blue eyes were lesser of a people and should be dealt with accordingly. This is the danger in falling into this trap that we must have this perfect body to be happy… to be healthy… to be content… We live 1 life here on earth… We cannot change our past and our genetics no matter how much we would like to. Some can get a candy bar and lose 2 pounds while another can gaze upon that same candy bar and gain 10. We are all different. We are all God’s children and unique and we should all celebrate that! Are you a curvy woman? Celebrate and love who you are! Are you skinny? Thick? Plus sized? Celebrate it… Love yourself. Love who you are and what God has blessed you with and endowed you with. Learn to be like the child you were BEFORE you learned what society claims is the norm and what we should and shouldn’t be like. Learn to be full of joy, content and happy with life and most of all, you. Then, we can strive to be fully happy with our bodies, and maybe, through happiness and content, we will then get everything out of life you desire and deserve! Like our daughter is now, she is perfect right now! She is a blessing right now! And i hope when she gets older, she will not forget these simple truths and learn to love who she is and those who love her.

Exist in Photos

We have had the chance to meet so many people over the last few years, many whom we never thought we would, and some in areas that we wouldn't have otherwise met without some devine intervention. Last year, our daughter was born at UCSF Benioff Childrens Hospital in the NICU ward with a birth defect called Vascular Lymphatic Malformation. Through time spent at the Ronald McDonald House in San Fransisco, we met some great families with conditions sometimes worse than our Savannah.  This was one of the most humbling experiences in our lives, not only being 4 hours away from our house, but helpless to conditions outside of our control.  It was through this that we learned how fleeting and delicate life is.  In an instant, life can be healed and in an instant, life can be taken away.

When we got the news about a possible birth defect in utero, a local doctor, Nathan Slotnick at Perinatal Association, found the birth defect and told us we needed to abort the baby and said our baby would die regardless, so why have any hope.  In 24 hours we go from being elated that we were going to introduce a baby girl into the world to finding out we should have her aborted.  Thankfully we got a second opinion and we were referred to a hospital that ended up delivering her but saving her life as well.  Life happens so fast; many things are simply out of our control.  One thing that often gets neglected are photographs.

As photographers, we hear all the excuses possible.  We'll get pictures when we save more money, after I lose some weight, when it's nearer christmas, I have no one to give the photos to...  Some people are almost too eager to talk themselves out of getting pictures...  To us, getting pictures is not only important, it's a legacy.  Instead of finding reasons not to get pictures taken, we want to celebrate you for who you are now.  We want to capture images of you now so in 5, 10, 20 or 40 years from now you can look back and see just how stunning you are now.  When life gets hard, we want our photos to be a ray of joy and pride to help you move forward.  Photography is more than just paper and ink or paper and silver halide, it is an heirloom, it's a legacy, it's a memory, it's you.  #existinphotos.

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