Here is a collection of our most common Frequently Asked Questions. You’ll probably find the answers you seek here, but of course, if you need more help please contact us.
Planning your portrait shoot
Where can I do my shoot?
Your portraits tell your family’s story. We recommend your portraits are in a location which has meaning for your family – somewhere you like to spend time and in years to come be a story for future generations. This could be anywhere from your own home or backyard, your favourite beach or your local park. Of course, we are also happy to recommend one of our favourite local locations too.
Why do you shoot on location?
From our years of experience, we’ve found most people feel more relaxed in an outdoor natural environment with some fresh air and sunshine. When you’re more relaxed, we’ll get better results for you.
Can you do portraits at my home?
Absolutely! We suggest your portraits be captured wherever you and your family will be most relaxed. If you love your home, we can advise you on the best time of day for light direction and intensity. Give us a call or email and we’ll help you figure out the best way to use your home for your portraits.
Do you have any locations you can recommend?
We sure do! We are so fortunate to have plenty of stunning locations nearby. Some of our favourites include Coogee Beach, Maroubra Beach, Bronte Beach, Clovelly Headland, Little Bay, Bare Island and Centennial Park. We do love exploring though, so let us know if there is somewhere you’d really like to go locally.
Who will be my photographer?
Israel is the Studio’s primary photographer and as we currently don’t have any associate photographers, Israel will be your photographer. If this changes (if we hire freelance associate photographers) we’ll keep you fully informed from the outset who your photographer will be.
How far in advance do I need to book?
Portrait sessions are available Tuesday to Saturday, and generally speaking you will need to book 2-3 weeks in advance. However, Saturdays are a premium timeslot and can book out a month or more in advance. School Holidays are also very popular and you may need to book a month or more in advance during these times too.
Can I book my appointments online?
You certainly can. Whilst we are family and relationship business, and love to talk to you, we also understand that a lot of the time its not until after business hours does one get to really sit down and organise their personal life. So we’ve built the ability for you to select your preferred dates for your shoot online. One of our team will always call you because we feel the personal contact is still of utmost importance.
Do you do hair and make-up?
No, we specialise in photography, and believe portraits that tell a story of your family should portray you as you. Hair and make up are such a personal thing, and we’d recommend if you wish to have your hair styled and make up done before your shoot, that you use your professionals you usually use for these services. This way you will be at ease at the shoot because your hair and make up have been done by people who know you.
What is best time of day for portraits?
For outdoor shoots, the natural daylight is most flattering in either morning (around 9am) or late afternoon (from April-September, around 4pm, from ). For studio shoots, the time is obviously more flexible because the lighting is controlled. Studio shoots are most commonly used for pregnancy and baby shoots, and times are flexible depending on your schedule.
How many people can be in my shoot?
For an outdoor session, there really isn’t a limit to how many people can be in your shoot. The standard session fee is for a one hour shoot. If your group is larger than 10, then it may be necessary for your shoot to be longer and the session fee adjusted accordingly. For a studio session, we suggest 3-4 people maximum, primarily because our studio is best suited to small groups. From experience, any child able to walk around gets super bored super quickly in our studio, because there is not much to occupy their time or distract them. We’d much prefer to go outside with you. Get in touch about your specific needs if you’re not sure.
Can we include our pets in the shoot?
Yes, the reality is your pet(s) probably are a very big part of your family, and they are probably very much loved by everyone. So yes, bring them along – they are family! The old saying “never work with children and animals” was clearly made up by someone who either wasn’t a parent, or had no heart! We LOVE working with children and animals – often in the same shoot – because it gives us a chance to revisit the innocence, beauty, excitement and unbridled joy we each remember from our own childhoods. It’s also a great excuse to play, muck-up, and generally have a ball as we capture the unique flavour of your child or children.
What happens if the kids get sick or something urgent comes up?
The first thing to know is that it’s OK. Our business is photographing families and we know that sometimes kids get sick, they lose teeth, they cut chunks out of their hair or you get called in to work at the last minute. If you need to reschedule, please contact your studio or your photographer to reschedule your portrait session.
Timing of Portrait Sessions
What are the important milestones in my family’s life I should think about capturing?
This is an interesting one and every family may see it a little differently. However, below is a list of milestones which people regularly like to document:
- Baby – 4 to 6 wks, 8-9 mts, 1 yr, Christening or naming day
- Toddler – 18-24 mts, 3 yrs
- Child/Teenager – 5 yrs, 10 -12 yrs, 16 yrs, 18 yrs, 21 yrs
- Other life milestones: Starting Kindy, Starting High School, Finishing High School, Graduating, Leaving Home, Going Overseas, Extended Family Gatherings.
- Couples Anniversaries / Engagements
From experience, the ideal time for pregnancy shots is somewhere between 34-36 weeks. By this time your beautiful bump will look divine and its also before you start to really feel the urgency to get lots of things done before the baby comes along.
4-6 weeks (newborn), document their newness.
We recommend you allow at least 1.5 hours for your shoot., and be prepared for your baby to either sleep or cry or a combination of both. That’s just what babies do, and it’s totally ok. We have change facilities and a private room with a couch for you to breast feed if you need to, and quite often we will suggest this if your bub is quite upset. At this age, babies need to feel comforted with smells they know, so we suggest you bring along at least a blanket which is familiar to your baby.
8-9 months (sitting up), capture their juiciness
By this age, your baby is no longer that helpless little being totally dependant on you (sob). Instead he or she is a little person who’s a lot ‘juicier’ than they were some months ago, and they are definitely a lot more inquisitive because they can see and touch things. We recommend you allow 1 hour for your shoot. Bring along extra clothes in case of an accident. We have change facilities and a private room with a couch for you to breast feed if you need to. At this age, your little person may have a favourite toy or ‘snuggy’ that makes them feel safe. Please feel free to bring this alont too.
1 year, celebrate their first year
Wow can you believe a year has gone by already? There’s been so many changes already but those changes will continue and just accelerate over the coming months. We recommend you allow 1 hour for your shoot. Bring along extra clothes in case of an accident. You know your child better than anyone else. If you know they are likely to get dirty, then bring along another set of clothes. At this age, your little person may have a favourite toy or ‘snuggy’ that makes them feel safe. Please feel free to bring this alont too.
18-22 months (toddler), time capsule the inquisitive and innocent mind
This is such a brilliant age. So much rapid development – not just physical changes but the mental changes too. Your little person will probably have such a thirst for learning – touching, pulling, making sounds and trying words to name a few. Everything is a wonder to your little person at this age, and it would be awesome if only we could bottle this wonder so they kept it for life. Sadly we can’t but we can certainly help you capture it so you can lock it away as if in a time capsule so you can enjoy for many years. You know your child better than anyone else. If you know they are likely to get dirty, then bring along another set of clothes. At this age, your little person may have a favourite toy or ‘snuggy’ that makes them feel safe. Please feel free to bring this alont too.
Older Children – 5yrs +
These shoots are always great. By this time, your children have all formed their own unique style and personality, and the family have settled into a nice groove (all the years of practice of being parents have paid off!). We try to keep these shoots between 45mins and an hour because sometimes children at this age come to the shoots willingly, and other times, its like they’ve had to be dragged there. We recommend you allow your children to wear what they are comfortable in unless of course you have a particular styled look you want (e.g. white shirts & denim). This also helps you get those who aren’t so willing to come along.
Extended family gatherings
We love these shoots – they are always so much fun because quite often the family haven’t been in the one place at the one time for some time and everyone is so excited about being together. Extended family shoots are also so important in the record keeping of your family history. At the shoot, many families use it as an opportunity to get portraits of each individual family within the extended family. Depending on the number of people in your family, your shoot may take 1-2 hours.
Couples Anniversaries / Engagements
Your connection with each other deserves to be documented. Those cute little looks you share that only you really know what they mean, your laughs, your hugs, kisses and even your handholds showing your comfort with each other – these all deserve to be documented. We recommend you choose a location for your shoot which has some meaning to you as a couple – somewhere you like to hang out, or where you are really comfortable with each other. Your shoot will take about 45mins.
At your portrait shoot
Can I change outfits?
For normal outdoor portrait shoots, we’ve found that changing outfits may disrupt the flow of your shoot or mess up hair and make-up. Instead, we’d recommend you choose an outfit which you are comfortable in and that reflects your personality. For shoots with babies and toddlers we recommend always having a spare set of clothes just in case they (or you) get dirty. (You never know when you’ll get a puke, or a pee, or a poo!) For pregnancy and baby studio shoots, feel free to bring a change of outfits, as we’ve got a huge bathroom to check hair/make-up in between changes.
What should I Wear?
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts on clothing for family portraits.
Dress comfortably. Dress appropriately for your location (Umm.. evening gowns at the beach? Not really…) Wear something you will enjoy seeing yourself in, when it’s up on your wall. If you want to put on make up, keep it natural – less is more. What you see in the mirror is what our camera will see. KISS – Keep it simple, sugar.
Don’t feel compelled to match everyone’s outfits unless you particularly want to. Don’t wear stripes/spots/loud & crazy patterns. Don’t wear sports jerseys/clothing with big logos/brand-names. (Your family portraits are about YOU – not some multi-national company… and if you and/or the kids must wear a sports jersey, PLEASE bring alternative outfits as well.)
What about the weather?
From years of experience, the weather forecast is quite often wrong. Don’t worry about the weather in the days leading up to your shoot. On the day of your shoot, if it’s raining or windy, we’ll generally chat to you about the weather 1-2 hours before your shoot and make a decision on whether to go ahead. If you are unsure, call your photographer. Remember, Cloudy/overcast light is also GREAT for photos (much more flattering) so don’t worry if its not sunny with a beautiful blue sky.
What if my kids don’t sit still / play up / misbehave?
Firstly, relax. Children pick up on your mood, so if you stay chilled out, they’ll reflect that. Secondly, relax. Children are children after all, and sometimes they are over excited or not excited at all. This is totally normal, and keep in mind that children quite often rebel against what their parents tell them to do. We recommend you leave the ‘directing/managing’ of the kids/family to Israel. He has loads of experience and you’ll be amazed at what he manages to get out of your children. Of course, you know your children better than anyone else, so if you think it might be necessary to bring along snacks and a drink or even a treat then please do so.
What should I bring?
See above – sometimes snacks / drinks are a good idea. Maybe even bribes, depending on how well you expect your children to behave! (Please let us manage the distribution of bribes though… ) Also, your portraits are designed to tell your family’s story, so we recommend you bring along any toys or props that are relevant to your children’s personality or favourite activities at this time in their life (e.g. favourite teddy, football/soccer ball, scooter, etc).
After your shoot
How long will it take until I can see my photos?
Your images will be ready to view and order within 3 working days of your session.
How long does the Viewing & Purchasing appointment take?
Ordering your finished portraits can take up to 1.5 hours. Trust us – even the most decisive person takes time to choose artwork that will last a lifetime. We don’t want you to rush things, and our experience says you should allow 1.5 hours. Please note: we can only offer ONE complimentary viewing & purchasing appointment, and additional appointments are $150/hr.
Who should come to the Viewing & Purchasing appointment?
Please bring all decision makers, which is usually Mum AND Dad – or – if someone can’t make it, please ensure you get their approval (and credit card!) beforehand.
Where are the Viewing & Purchasing appointments held?
All Viewing & Purchasing appointments are held at our Coogee Studio – 228 Oberon Street, Coogee NSW 2034.
Products & Pricing
Who owns the copyright of my photos?
Copyright of all images is owned by Israel Smith Photographers. It is illegal to copy or reproduce any images or slideshows without permission.
Can I buy the High Resolution Digital Files from my shoot?
Yes, you can uy the High Resolution Digital Files. Digital Files are available to purchase as a full set at $3490. The files are sized to 8×12″ at 300dpi (approx A4 size) and they are NOT watermarked. Each shot can be easily printed up to A3 or bigger in size. NOTE: Even if you purchase the high resolution digital files, copyright is still owned by Israel Smith Photographers – you simply have a restricted license to print and enjoy them for personal use only.
Can I buy Digital Files for email, Facebook, or other social media? What about digital photo frames?
Yes, you can buy Social ‘low res’ Digital Files for online sharing. They are available as a full set to purchase for $890. Social Digital Negatives are complimentary with orders over $2500.
How much do you charge for portraits?
Your investment in professional portraits is made up of two parts. Your Session Fee is the first part, which covers your photographers time on the shoot. Session fees are $150 for a Tuesday to Friday session, or $250 for a Saturday session. The second part is determined by how you choose to present your portraits. Our Products & Pricing has detailed information on our product range and associated prices.
Why do you show your prices and products?
Why not? We’re here to make it easy for you. Would you commit to buying a car without knowing the price beforehand? By showing our prices and products here, it gives you the opportunity to think about the different ways you can present your portraits and to budget for them.
Why does it cost so much for portraits?
Your family portraits are an investment in your family’s history, and while they may be valuable now, in future years they will become priceless. Think of your portraits in terms of how many years of enjoyment they’ll bring you, but also think of your portraits as unique artworks. Your portraits are created with Israel’s expertise and skill, and all of your printed products individually enhanced and treated by our digital artist to ensure they look their best. All of our portrait products are crafted using only the finest archival-quality materials and processes, to ensure your memories will continue to last for a lifetime! And, because we are so confident in our quality, we happily guarantee our products against any defect in material or workmanship (normal wear and tear, accidental damage, and misuse excepted). The faulty product will be repaired or replaced free of charge.
Do you sell loose prints on their own?
We only sell print-only products for small sizes (8×10″ and smaller). Many years ago we use to sell just prints for larger pieces, but we received so many calls from our clients saying their prints had been damaged before they had a chance to frame them. The kids knocked a drink over them, they got bent on the dining table and so on. When we became parents we realised why these sorts of accidents happen – life gets busy and the things you thought you’d get time for (mounting or framing photos, or putting them in an album) take forever, or simply never happen. We made a conscious choice to help protect your investment in professional portraits, by offering a full service where all our portraits are now sold mounted, framed or in an album already. This way you can start enjoying with minimal effort!
How do your prices compare to other studios? Why are you more expensive than XYZ Studio?
Do you believe in the saying “You pay peanuts, you get monkeys”? How about “You get what you pay for”? Our prices are based on the love, experience and quality we bring to your portraits, and because of their intrinsic value in being timeless, artistic moments of your family. It’s because of this love, experience and quality that we give you a Life Time Guarantee for your portrait products.
Why choose a professional photographer?
With today’s technological advances many families have really great digital cameras and take many wonderful images. In fact, its probably safe to say you have hundreds of happy snaps of your family but how many of those photographs include your entire family? Usually one parent is the taking the photo. A professional portrait photograph is really all about capturing the essence of someone in a single image – a moment, a fleeting glimpse of someone’s true self, all wrapped up in a beautifully presented photograph that stirs some emotion in the viewer and hints at the story of the individual. A great portrait photographer must have the technical mastery of their equipment to be ready at the exact instant the portrait must be captured. It has been discussed in photographic history as the “decisive moment” – a fraction of a second where the subject becomes real, true and perfect for the capturing. This “decisive moment” in portrait photography requires that the technical issues of what lens, what camera settings, and what lighting to use, have all been taken care of well before the subject sits for the portrait – this gives a freedom to the photographer to simply release the shutter at the right moment!
How long have you been at Coogee?
We’ve been in our studio at 228 Oberon St, Coogee since 2006, when our daughter Indrani was born. Before this, our studio was located in Randwick. We love Coogee – Belinda & I were married on Coogee Beach in 2004!
Why do you run your business from home studio?
Our family is our priority. Running our business from home affords us the luxury of spending more time with our children – a hello kiss when they go out and come home, a family dinner every night and always a kiss n cuddle goodnight. It also allows us to live and work five minutes from the beach we love which has so much meaning for us because we were married on Coogee Beach in 2004.
Can other people use your indoor studio?
If you’re a photographer and are interested in hiring our indoor studio, please email or call us. (Contact links at the bottom of this page.)
Do you shoot weddings?
We certainly do! We’re experts at photographing people and their love, and importantly, we actually really love doing it. We’ve been doing it for years now and we’ll be doing it for many more!
What other forms of photography do you do?
We photograph everything relating to people – Portraits, Weddings, Corporate/Business portraits, Commercial shoots, Events – if it includes people, we’re there!
How long has the studio been operating?
The studio has been operating since 2002 and Israel has literally photographed tens of thousands of people.
You guys rock. How can I work for Israel Smith Photographers?
From time to time, positions may come available at Israel Smith Photographers. We usually advertise these through our email newsletter or Facebook page, so like us and subscribe to our newsletter. You can also send us an email with your resume attached and we can keep it on file should something suitable arise.