Frequently Asked Questions
Email (or using the contact page) is always the best way to reach me with any questions. Voicemails, texts, FB private messages, and carrier pigeons get lost in my busy shuffle, but emails and the contact form don’t get archived until I’m finished… BUT, some of the questions you might have can be answered below! You an also find more important information about my philosophy and standards in the “Client Contract Link“. There isn’t anything shady… but it is probably a good idea to glance over it before hiring me to make sure we are a good fit! Feel free to still contact me for any clarification.
What kind of contract is there if I book with Kelly and Her Camera?
Honestly, my sessions go pretty well. I love my clients and I am easy going (in my business… let’s not talk about the fact that I’m a recovering perfectionist and a little bit Type A)… but I’ve been told that I must have a contract. When I think about it, I do want to make sure that my clients are a good fit and that all of our expectations align. My current contract can be found on the link below but is also emailed with every proposal and scheduling info: https://www.kellyandhercamera.com/contract/
What kind of camera, lens, and software do you use?
You will hear that it isn’t the tools that make the artist, and admittedly, some of my absolute favorite pictures are from my phone but don’t worry, my professional gear is solid.
I am manually shooting in RAW with a full-frame Canon 5D Mark IV (all you fellow photogs out there can nod with approval… and YES I LOVE MY CAMERA– he is my silent partner and affectionately named Marki V). I have a handful of prime lenses but my 24-70 2.8 rarely leaves my camera. I almost never use my Canon 430EX III-RT Speedlite flash because I don’t like wrecking a moment IRL and I like more natural pictures. I use Adobe Photoshop for editing of color and cropping on my custom built PC with dueling HD monitors, each with a 16.7 million color palate that are specially calibrated for photography. For the most part, your pictures will be real and natural (but still flattering).
What are your qualifications Kelly?
Good question. I’ve pretty much spent my life training for this job. I worked on my college yearbook & newspaper staff. I created our elementary school yearbook for 8 years. I’ve been mentored (by Amy Tripple Photography) and taken multiple classes in photography and editing… Event photography is a special skill and very different from portrait photography. You need to be confident, approachable, and yet slide into the background. This isn’t about setting up the perfect shot… it is all about seeing beautiful moments and making sure they are never forgotten. I am good at this job, I’ve had tons of experience, and I absolutely love it. It makes me feel fulfilled and like I am preserving a legacy of connection and love for people, family, and the world… and I’m licensed, insured, and pay taxes.
Why are you less expensive than some photographers?
Primarily, my niche tends toward a lower overhead than many professional photographers. My personal life is frugal, minimalist, and practical and that transfers directly to my business: Kelcam is fully licensed, insured, and pays taxes. BUT… does not rent a studio or hire staff or buy props or create elaborate sets or drag a vintage couch to a field with off camera lighting. Kelcam rarely advertises. Most sessions are very local and don’t require photography permits. Booking fees are affordable because I love real working families like my own.
Second, the editing style is minimalist also. No Photoshop sun-flares or head-swaps or fine art edits or purchased overlays. Images are sorted, cropped, adjusted for color, and skin but hours are not spent on each image until perfection is achieved because I truly believe real life is perfectly beautiful just as it is… and frankly, with decades of experience, I pretty much get it right in the camera, which saves energy and time editing.
Tertiary (my husband’s favorite word)– To those of you who think Kelcam is too expensive: This small business is fulfilling and creative and brings joy, but it is a business, not a hobby. Kelcam provides for my family and brings necessary income into our home. Not everyone will find the same value in this work. As much as I’d love to take pictures of every person in Elmhurst (and I would) there will never be hurt feelings if another photographer fits your style or budget or you believe that hard-earned money shouldn’t be spent on professional photography.
My event is at a location outside Elmhurst, will you take those photographs?
YES! I love to photograph private events! Even if it is at a restaurant or Pump it Up or a pool or especially a forest preserve! But if the entire area is not specifically rented, it is too tricky to photograph (I guess unless everyone from your group is in exactly the same shirt and really sticks together? I could probably try that.)
AND NO! 15 Minute Quick Shots are only available in Elmhurst. I can either come to your Elmhurst home or we can meet at a park in Elmhurst, but unfortunately, I can’t travel for quick shots.
This is sad, but someone I love is not well, will you take those pictures?
Please let me know details and the situation in advance so that I can mentally prepare and be ready (even if someone is newly diagnosed). Being surrounded by so much recent heart-break, I know exactly the pictures I cherish or wish we had. Ideally, these images will bring comfort and solace and a material reminder of the special connection that can never be lost.
Will EVERYONE from my event be in a picture?
For the most part, yes. I like to know in advance the star of the show and especially about people who should be a focus. I will never force someone to be in a picture, even at a Quick Shot. I won’t drag Johnny from under the couch or make Aunt Martha set down her bourbon while she hides behind someone. I just reassure people that I have their back and I want them to love their pictures as much as possible so I don’t use anything unflattering… But I won’t force someone to take a picture. I find it unethical to force anyone of any age to be in a picture, sit next to someone, or even smile.
Will you be the center of attention at my event?
I am certainly not like the hired entertainment. I don’t juggle or do magic or have reptiles or even bring silly photo-booth style costumes. I’m only 5’1″ so naturally, I don’t really stand out anyway. People will notice that I am there but I’m not normally commissioned to stay for an entire event. I am usually unobtrusive, wander around and take pictures of groups of people together, both candid and posed. If it is a family gathering, I’ll try to get family members together for some group shots, but all of that is up to you and decided in the questionnaire before I arrive– so that our expectations are on the same page.
My house isn't one of those new huge ones. I have so many projects first...
You will want pictures of typical life at your own house! Even if your house isn’t perfect and you have projects yet to do! Trust me!
First off, most of us have fond memories of growing up in real homes. They weren’t on pinterest and they didn’t look like they were out of a magazine and we certainly didn’t have professional landscaping. I’ll often look through old albums just to see a glimpse of the background… the orange velvet wallpaper… the shag rug that I LOVED in my room… the country blue stenciled wall border… The tree that my sister and I named Kristy… It is all part of who we are and we will cherish it more and more as the years go on.
Secondly, I tend to blur out the background anyway, so most of the house isn’t really the focal point unless you want it to be and suggest that in the questionnaire. Please don’t worry about your house, yard or life being perfect… at all. Perfect is totally over-rated (says a recovering perfectionist who only expects it for herself… but never anyone else)…
And Thirdly… we could always meet at an Elmhurst park instead 🙂
Is it going to be enough time?
Thanks to 8 years of elementary school yearbook experience, where one is granted mere moments between adorable pictures and complete mayhem — I am an efficient photographer. Quick Shots are 15 minutes and I squeeze in as many pictures as your family is ready for before the timer goes off. Full sessions are better for people that want a wider variety of poses and backgrounds, or outfit changes or larger groups or lifestyle sessions. At events, usually, I am commissioned for two hours, basically, until I feel like I’ve gotten all of the shots that I need to create a quality book. Generally, that gives me enough time to get a wide variety of pictures, including lots of groups and candids but not overstay my welcome to the point of it being awkward.
Occasionally, it is not enough and increased time should be scheduled in advance, for example:
- an open house when people are coming and going
- very large parties or lots of posed group shots
- informal weddings where we will want pictures of the ceremony, groups, & candids
- a surprise party where there are pictures before the guest of honor arrives, upon arriving, and after…
- events where someone might want pictures of all of the gifts being opened or games being played
- family traditions that involve a process (like cookie baking or Italian noodles)
What should we wear? Should we bring anything?
Be yourself! I love taking natural, unique, beautiful pictures. Scarves are fun and cute… if they are you! But don’t feel like you need them. If your daughter loves to dance around the house in her tutu, let her wear it! If your son only wears athletic shorts, that is okay! For small groups especially, it does help if colors are seasonal and coordinate but don’t match exactly.
Especially if we are just going for a walk or photographing your home life – prepare and bring things your kids / family love! These pictures are so much more meaningful if they reflect who you are and who your family is. Think about: Blanket (especially if it is handmade by grandma!!), Soccer Ball, Teddy Bear, Wagon, Hat, BFF, Well-behaved Pet, etc. In full transparency, I am not the kind of photographer that has a bin of fun randomness or a couch in a field, it isn’t really my thing. I love using some of your stuff, but I’m by nature a minimalist and just bring a blanket and a little something to sit on…
I am so excited!! How soon will I see the pictures?!
Soon! I am just as excited as you! I try to edit and process through them ASAP! For Quick Shots, you will have the images within a week! For events and extended family, those have A LOT more pictures to sort an edit. It takes a lot more work, especially with color-balancing and designing the album. You will have the digital event images within 2-4 weeks.
Prints, canvas, and albums take few weeks after final approval. If it is urgent to get them sooner, there is an option to add express to your order. It basically just pays for faster processing and shipping from the company, it still could take up to a week but moves much faster than standard shipping.
How much do you charge for professional prints?
The premium package includes a print credit. As of 2018, my print prices are:
|Mini – 1.75×2.5 (set of 8)||$15.00|
|Wallets – 2.5×3.5 (set of 4)||$15.00|
|Canvas Group 20×30 / 4 11×14||$475.00|
|6×6 Standard Photobook (softcover)||$125.00|
|8×8 Heirloom Album (canvas cover)||$275.00|
|10×10 Heirloom Album (canvas cover)||$325.00|
|12×12 Heirloom Album (canvas cover)||$375.00|
Can we reprint them ourselves to save money?
Any images you’ve purchased from the collection will have the watermark removed and you are more than welcome to share, print and use those images in any way that you would like! As you know, print quality varies dramatically. Although Walmart and Costco are cheap, the quality lacks. For the best consumer level printing, I recommend MPIX for online orders and Elmhurst Camera on Spring Road for local prints. Prints tend to look best on matte paper rather than glossy.
With Casual Events, the unlimited downloads will only print up to an 5×7. Especially with large prints or ones being displayed, PLEASE consider professional prints. Professional prints from me have the best quality and most accurate coloring. I use the highest rated professional processing companies, none of which are available to the gen-pop. My photography company needed to be vetted and approved and the quality is the best on the market, but you can take your digital downloads anywhere to be printed!
What if you get sick Kelly?! Am I just out of luck?!
Photographers can be a solitary and lonely lot. Some photographers view everyone as competition and hence run their life and business like a lone wolf. That is NOT me! I am surrounded by an incredible support network of other fantastic local photographers. I look at their stuff and I am blown away by it’s beauty. I guess that is the great part about photography… even if we were all at the same event, our perspectives and images would all be unique. All this to say, I have a LIST of highly qualified professionals who I can call in an emergency to take pictures of your event. No worries! If it is a quick shot, I will call you to reschedule or find you a replacement, whichever works best for you.
Can you hold your vodka?
Really, at this point, I’m just seeing if anyone is actually still reading these. If you are… special kudos to you! I applaud your thoroughness (and PLEASE let me know if I have any errors)! I’ll throw in a little something extra on your session… put an asterisk* next to the subject line when you are scheduling to book and I’ll know (wink wink)…
But no… I don’t indulge when commissioned for an event! And yes… I’m Polish / Russian heritage (many generations back) and hold my Tito’s well… now Jose Cuervo and I, not such good friends.
Will my private images be all over the internet?
If you do OK permission for me to use your images, there is always a special thank you gift. And I always appreciate photo-credits and shout-outs ;). Photographs taken as a donation for non-profit events will be publicly viewable.
Should I tip my photographer?
No. You should not tip your photographer.
I’m a tipper by nature. I tip when I carry-out at a local restaurant. I tip live musicians and the guys who pull the English Ivy off my house and tour guides and the Uber driver and obviously the hairdressers and the nail salon and the wait-staff. I tip pretty much anyone who works for a relatively meager hourly wage and goes above and beyond for me. I want them to know that I appreciate them.
But I don’t tend to tip someone who owns their own business. My service is a fair pre-negotiated price by a professional artist– and although extra money is always nice, the best thing you can do for any Small Business owner is to buy an extra product or hire us again or recommend us to your friends.
Can I still see my images from a past session with Kelly and Her Camera?
Most of my past sessions with clients should be found on the link below. The default is for sessions to be kept private. Often if a client opts for no social media, their gallery is hidden or sometimes it gets removed after a year or so. If you don’t see your images here, shoot me an email and I’ll see if I can help:
-- Kelcam Spring Sessions Have Begun --
I've missed people! I am vaccinated! And I am cautiously scheduling outdoor sessions again!