Portrait photography common questions and answers

Where and when for the session?

I like to schedule the appointment about an hour before sunset if possible. I usually do the session at the Myrtle Beach or Huntington Beach State Parks (See Q&A Section Below), and I have park passes to get in two cars without the park fees. If you prefer another location, such as at your beach house or a location away from the beach, we can also do them there. There is no set time limit for an evening session. Usually, it takes about an hour or sometimes more for large groups. There are also no limits on family groupings, poses, or candid shots.

Myrtle Beach State Park vs Huntington State Park for photography?

I can come to your location if you prefer, but these are my usual spots if you don’t have a preference. Both of these state parks are located on the beach. Some of the pictures you see in my gallery from years past are from Myrtle Beach State Park. It is conveniently located near the south end of Myrtle Beach near the airport. They have a nice area with old oak trees, a pier, and a lovely beach. However, because of recent hurricanes, the dunes are more damaged at Myrtle Beach State Park, and they have roped them off. Also, Myrtle Beach State Park is very crowded in the summer, making taking pictures there more difficult.

For these reasons, I have switched my usual beach picture location to Huntington Beach State Park. If it’s not too far of a drive for a client, I think this is a much better location. Huntington is located at the south end of Murrells Inlet before Pawleys Island. They have an area with the Atalaya Castle, palm trees, lovely dunes, and a beautiful, much less crowded beach area. The only thing missing from Huntington is a pier. If you want to check out more of my recent work, please visit my blog.

So just let me know what you prefer. If pier pictures are significant to you or if you are staying at the north end of the Grand Strand and you don’t mind dealing with a little more crowds, Myrtle Beach State Park might be best. If you want a more relaxed location with the castle and better dunes, then I recommend Huntington. Of course, if you don’t want beach pictures at all, there are other locations, such as the Conway Riverwalk and Caledonia, that are great.

What is the deposit for the photo session?

I request a $200 deposit which is deducted from your total to hold the date. This can be paid by CashApp, Venmo, Check, or Credit Card. If using a credit card, fees of 2.9% will be added. If you choose to tag a Venmo transaction as a “good or service” or select the refund protection checkbox, a 1.9% fee will be added that they charge me. You can give me the final payment when it’s convenient at the session or send it sometime after. If because of rain we have to cancel the session and we can’t reschedule, I will fully refund the deposit. This deposit is refundable up to 3 months from the session date. After that, I can’t refund the deposit unless rain prevents us from doing the session, and we can’t reschedule.

Do you send out employees, or do all the photography yourself?

I will always be your photographer for the photo session. I also do all post-processing, like Lightroom adjustments, Photoshop work, and album layouts. That is why you always get consistent quality with my work. This is far different from some companies in Myrtle Beach that send out various employees to do the work and even have someone different edit the images. I shoot pictures knowing how I adjust my images later for consistent results.

What is your satisfaction guarantee policy?

Please have reasonable expectations at the beach and realize there can be a lot of wind and various lighting conditions. I like the more natural, candid outdoor look, and I do a great job working with available conditions. However, I always work with a satisfaction-guaranteed policy. I never want someone unhappy with my work, so I would be happy to work out any situation where you are not completely happy, even with a full refund. Please, though, don’t expect studio-perfect lighting and perfect hair in the pictures.

If you are extremely concerned about your hair’s look, I highly recommend Huntington Beach State Park, where there are more areas to get out of the wind. That location has a beach but also the castle and trees area that is more sheltered. Or we could do a completely off-the-beach location like the Conway River Walk or Caledonia Golf Club. The beach can be very windy. I try to keep the wind blowing your hair back so it’s not in your face, and many people don’t mind the hair having a windblown look. But let me know if this is a big concern.

What is the price if I order prints through you?

Prints can be easily ordered through your client gallery using your photo credit (if included) and by credit card (of course, you can download and get prints made anywhere you like). These are all printed at one of the top national photo labs, with many mounting and paper-type options. I try to keep the cost of the prints reasonable. Visit my print store for a complete list of prices. I make a small commission when clients order prints through their galleries, so I appreciate it if you choose to do so.

What are Digital Copies, and can I print from them?

The digital copies you receive as part of a package will include high-resolution pictures from your session. These are suitable for large prints or whatever you would like to do with them. I often take multiple shots of the same pose to pick the best couple from the series. There could also be a picture that doesn’t turn out, and those won’t be included. All the images provided you will have been color corrected, adjusted, and look very nice. If needed, select a few that you would like specific touch-ups. For example, removing people from a background, face touch-ups, etc. See the Photoshop touch-ups section below for more details.

You can print as many images from the digital files as you like. There are no watermarks on the pictures. I will also send you a link for a copyright release that you can print out. This is required at some locations, such as Wal-Mart.

How long do I have to purchase my images? How long will they be stored?

I store a photo session for a minimum of 1 year. Although I still have backups from 15 years ago and plan to keep them indefinitely. If you wish to have copies of images forever in the future, you do need to make sure you have downloaded your digital copies and make your own backups. Of course, I’ve had many clients return to me years later, and I’m always happy to provide copies again of the pictures. I just don’t guarantee it indefinietly.

What should we wear to a beach session?

A family group needs to look unified, and the style and color of clothing should coordinate. For example, you don’t want colors and textures on the clothes that clash. A popular look at the beach is a white or black T-shirt and Khaki Pants or Blue Jeans. I’ve also had families wear different color shirts and even different patterns, giving the pictures a nice variety. For example, with a large group portrait, it can be fun for each family unit in the group to wear a different color. I’ve found that if the family thinks the clothes look good together, then they will turn out nice for the pictures. Look through my photo galleries and see what you like!

If you tend to sweat when it’s hot and humid, which most of us do, you might want to consider a white shirt or wearing an undershirt to avoid water spots in the pictures.

Make sure to think about what the wind will do to an outfit! For example, a thin dress might blow tight against or between your legs. If a dress is too short, it might be challenging to take pictures sitting by the dunes or dipping in front of the ocean for engagement pictures. I’ve noticed that women’s blouses can have lace or an area at the top that blows up in the wind and onto the neck. Try not to have anything on the clothes that will blow around too much or look bad on a windy day.

What can be requested for Photoshop touch-ups?

Sometimes Photoshop is thought of as magic, and that I can change anything in a picture, but there are limitations. I skillfully adjust all your images in Lightroom software, allowing me to correct color and exposure. That is all most pictures need before printing. If they need specific editing, such as removing people from the background or hair touchups, I must go into Photoshop. You can request a small and reasonable number of particular touch-ups at no extra charge if needed. I am skilled in Photoshop, but some things may be impossible to correct, such as if hair covers a large part of your face.

Why do you suggest beach photography close to sunset?

Unlike in a studio, in nature, you have to use whatever light you can find, in addition to some added flash. On the beach, shade is tough to find. In direct overhead sunlight, shadows on the face can be very harsh. For example, there will be shadows under your eyes and nose. If you have ever seen a typical beach snapshot, you will see faces that look unattractive and eyes that are closed or squinting. This is why it’s really best to avoid the times of the day when the sun is overhead.

Later in the day, very close to sunset, the light becomes much softer and easier to deal with. I do have tricks that can help reduce the effect of harsh sunlight, like good positioning and using fill flash. For larger family groups, the light becomes even more difficult to manage. Of course, if we really need to do a session earlier in the day, I can, but you will get the best results close to sunset. Sometimes, clients will think I’m planning the session too late, but I’m always thinking about the best time for a certain group size with sunset that day. I’m not perfect, though. Sometimes, daylight savings time change can throw me off, so if I tell you a sunset time that doesn’t make sense, please let me know.

Why and when do you have to pay the 8% SC State Sales Tax?

If you live in SC and I’m delivering your pictures to an SC address, I have to collect sales tax on your purchases, just like if you were to buy something in a physical store. This tax is required on the total price of the package; SC does not allow a photographer to separate the labor or sitting fee from the final taxable price. If you find a photographer who doesn’t charge sales tax on the total package price, they are not following the state tax laws correctly. If you live outside of SC and I am shipping your items out of state, I don’t collect this sales tax.

If you are interested and want to ensure my information is correct, please view this official SC rules pdf here. View the examples section of the pdf.

What business licenses do you have, and why is this important?

At Myrtle Beach city-owned locations, they will check the license status of photographers. North Myrtle Beach also has a new permit system that requires a business license as well as a photography permit, which I have. I keep a general Horry County license as well as for North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach. I’m also a licensed retail business with SC. I even have my business name now as a registered trademark. I don’t update the images below every year. I can provide up-to-date copies on request.

City of Myrtle Beach Business License
City of Myrtle Beach Business License
City of North Myrtle Beach Business License
City of North Myrtle Beach Business License
Horry County Business License
Registered Service Mark
Registered Service Mark
Permit for NMB Photography
City of Charleston Business License
City of Charleston Business License