Holiday Mini Sessions
Our Holiday Mini Sessions are back with a few changes thanks to 2020!
To keep things as safe as possible for everyone, we have split our available sessions over two dates to allow us to put an empty timeslot between each active timeslot. This will help prevent too much crossover and people waiting too close together.
So in order to make sure things run smoothly, we have all the information you need on how the day goes right here!
Please read all of the information below even if you have participated in Holiday Mini Sessions or Portraits in the Park for Operation Smile previously as MANY things have changed. Let us know if you have any questions!
After you read all of the information, please process your quote that was in the confirmation email. You will not be considered registered for your session until you do so and will be at risk of losing your timeslot.
Our Holiday 2019 Mini Sessions will be taking place at Historic New Bridge Landing in River Edge, NJ (1205 Main St, River Edge, NJ 07661). Please be aware that parking is limited at this new location.
Q: Will there be an entrance fee?
A: There is no entrance fee to the park, however, if The Stuben House is open it wouldn't hurt to make a donation ;-)
Q: Where in the park will you be?
A: This is a much smaller park than where we used to run some of our mini sessions, so we will be easy to find. Head towards the flag pole -- our volunteers will be in this area waiting to check you in! PLEASE NOTE: It is required that you only have 1 member of your party go check in with our volunteers, where they will receive additional information on what to do next. The rest of your party must remain at your vehicle and a minimum of 6 feet away from any other parties until it is time for your session. Failure to follow this will result in forfeiture of your session without refund.
Q: If I get lost, can I call you?
A: Unfortunately we won't be available to answer text messages and phone calls while shooting other client's mini sessions.
Q: Can I bring props?
A: Of course! If there is something special you would like to include in your portraits, please feel free to bring it. This year to keep down the spread of germs, we will NOT be providing any props of any kind including blankets, signs, crates, etc.
Process Upon Arrival
When you arrive at the park, you will find our volunteers who will check you in. PLEASE NOTE: It is required that you only have 1 member of your party go check in with our volunteers, where they will receive additional information on what to do next. The rest of your party must remain at your vehicle and a minium of 6 feet away from any other parties until it is time for your session. Failure to follow this will result in forfeiture of your session without refund.
We will also be requiring everyone in your party over the age of 2 to be masked once you get our of your vehicle until you are seated/standing in place for your pictures, at which point they may be removed. Masks must be put back on when any person in your group in not actively in a picture taken (ex. parents of children if the picture is of just the children), and when walking back to your vehicle. Failure to follow this will result in immediate ending of your session without refund.
Please make sure you have processed the quote that was linked in your confirmation email as well as make your donation by the deadline or you will not be considered registered and your slot can be given away to those on the waiting list.
Please see Payment Information for how to make your donation.
Due to the nature of the short 15-minute mini-sessions, we will not be able to accommodate extending sessions due to late arrival. If you arrive late, photos will only be taken for as long as is remaining in your time slot. Regardless of what time the session starts, there will be no refunds.
Payments must be made through your quote that was sent to you upon confirmation of your chosen timeslot by the expiration date to confirm your slot. A deposit of 30% of your package choice will be due at signing, with the balance due the day before your mini session. We will not be receiving payments on the day of the Mini Sessions.
Q: What is included in my session fee?
A: Like other sessions and events, your mini-session includes Facebook images (depending on your social media preference), an online gallery, post-processing, and a 10% off coupon. Depending on your package choice, you will also get 3, 6, or all of your images as digital downoads at full resolution with no watermark. Your quote will have more information.
Q: Why the new payment structure?
A: In previous years we have found that occasionally people forget they booked or even requested a mini session. We then lose the ability to fill that time slot with a client who could have taken it from a waiting list. We are hoping to keep scheduling as easy as possible during our busiest time of the year, but recognize the pressure of paying 100% upfront. This year we will be requiring a $15 deposit on signing your contract, with the balance due the day before the mini session event.
Q: My plans suddenly changed. Can I get my deposit back or re-schedule the mini-session?
A: Unless we need to use the rain date, no other dates for the mini-sessions will be added due to this being our busiest time of the year. We hope that you understand!
Q: BUT WHAT ABOUT COVID?
A: Like the rest of the world, we are keeping our fingers crossed that another wave will not hit our area before our holiday mini sessions. However, we do understand that with a pandemic in the world, things are now trickier and uncertain. If there is another government shut down and we are legally unable to do the mini sessions, you will be refunded any payments made toward your mini session. Additional information on COVID protocols will be in your contract.
Post-Portrait Process and Ordering Information
After the event, we will go through and edit a few select images from each session and post to our Facebook page (depending on your social media preferences) in a Sneak Peek album.
Once all the images are edited (approximately 2-4 weeks), they will be uploaded to an online gallery on our website and you will receive an email letting you know your photos are ready. An unlimited use coupon code for 10% off good for 1 month from the date the gallery is posted will be included in this email. After the gallery is uploaded, you can email us with your photo choice for the free digital file.
Q: Can I buy the digital files?
A: Yes! There are several options for purchasing files directly through your online gallery.
Q: What are the price ranges for purchasing prints?
A: Prints: 4x6 - $5; 5x7 - $7: 8x10 - $10; 11x14 - $25
These are just a small sample of print sizes and products available. Canvas prints, metal prints, and books are also available. Ask for more information!
Q: How many photos will we get?
A: It depends on the people in your session, but you could end up from anywhere between 10-100 photos. If your young ones are having a rough day and acting up, the number will be lower. If they're having a great day and are active and smiling, we may get a lot more shots out of them. If your group is small and is mostly adults, you will probably have a somewhat lower number (as we won't have to take 20 pictures per pose to make sure no one is making googly eyes or pouting).
Q: How long will it take for the pictures to be ready?
A: It depends on where you are in the day's schedule. Photos will be processed chronologically, so the 9 am slot will be the first to be processed and will most likely be done within a couple of days. The last slot may have to wait a couple of weeks. However, the Sneak Peek album will be up on Facebook within a day or two and will contain pictures from all sessions (unless otherwise specified in your social media preference).
Q: What is a Sneak Peek album?
A: We get just as excited as you do about pictures! This means we can hardly wait to get back to our computers to see how they turned out. Within a few days of the event, we go through ALL the pictures quickly to pick out a couple of favorites from each session, process them and post them on Facebook (depending on your social media preference) with watermarks for you to view and share while you wait for the rest to be done.
Q: What does "Process" mean?
A: Processing or post-processing your images means we go through and fine-tune each image so it's the final work of art you would like hanging up in your home. It may include some light retouching (removal of temporary blemishes like scratched or acne), and sometimes conversion to black and white or other special color processing. This is what separates the art of photography from snapshots.
Q: How do I get my free digital file?
A: A few days after the event, you will receive a follow-up thank you email with a specific coupon code and directions on how to select and download your chosen files. Please don't lose this email!
What to Wear
Colors - Gone are the days of matching attire for family portraits! These photo sessions should be about expressing your personalities, not making you look like a sports team. Choose a few colors that work together and have everyone dress in those shades. When choosing colors, try to think about what the pictures will be used for. A print hanging on your living room wall? Make sure your wardrobe colors flow with the colors in your living room.
Clothes, Accessories and Shoes - Choose a top with sleeves at least down to your elbows. Exposed arms
create an uneven balance of skin compared to the face, and most people do not like the way their upper arms photograph. If you are looking to draw attention away from your hips, stay away from pockets and other details on hips. To give the illusion of a more defined waist, choose clothes with gathering at the waist or accessorize with a high-waist belt. If you want to include a "statement" piece to accessorize with, only choose one. Ladies if you have a killer pair of heels you want to show off, bring them! But remember our location is in an outdoor park, so bring a backup pair of shoes to change into between poses. Gents, make sure socks match pants and that your shoes are clean. Avoid white sneakers! They're incredibly distracting in a portrait. Kids should look like kids. Dress them in age appropriate clothes that match the color scheme and tone of the rest of the family. Make sure shoes are clean and if appropriate, shined. Accessories follow that of ladies and gents.
Jewelry - Like accessories, picking a statement piece is good, but don't go overboard. If you have wedding or engagement rings, make sure they're cleaned for any possible close-ups. For kids, keep accessories minimal and "real" as much as possible. If your little princess refuses to leave the house without her bright pink plastic pearls, go with the flow and limit any other accessories. It will be a precious reminder of this time in her childhood and will be better than a pouting princess!
Nails & Hands - Make sure nails are trimmed and clean, either entirely unpolished or freshly painted. Having problems with old polish staining your nails? Try a little whitening toothpaste to help remove stains.
Hair - Wear your hair the way you normally would with the clothes you picked out to wear. For kids, pick simple styles that will last through the kids playing. Avoid tight ponytails, which could create a "balding" effect in the images.
Makeup - It should be slightly bolder than your everyday look, with definition on the eyes, cheeks and lips. Stay away from the "smoky eye look" which can make eyes appear sunken. To prevent dark circles under your eyes, apply a small amount of concealer that matches your skin tone under your eyes.
If you register for a time slot on November 1st, the rain date is November 15th
If you register for a time slot on November 8th, the rain date is November 22nd
Bad weather happens, unfortunately -- so we need to have plans in the off chance we might have an unfavorable day for taking pictures!
If we are forecast for a high percentage of steady rain or thunderstorms, we may postpone to the rain date and you will be notified within a couple of days of the event.
If we are forecast for "iffy" weather (scattered thunderstorms, low percentages of rain, misty/foggy weather) we will still try to run the event. We will not shoot if thunder is audible, however. If your session gets passed due to waiting out a scattered storm, then we will reschedule you for the rain date.
If we have to postpone to use the rain date you will be notified no later than the day before the event. If you do not receive an email from us, then we will still be running the event.
Hopefully, none of this will matter and we will have a bright sunny day! Everyone think good thoughts!