General Questions

Do I have to come in for a consultation?

No, but we recommend it wholeheartedly! It’s kind of fun to plan a shoot, and we’ll get even better images if we do it. It only takes about 30 minutes – come on in, bring your mom, she’s curious to see our place anyway.

And hey, if that didn’t convince you, or you live too far away, or can’t make it work with your schedule, you can always text us pictures of the outfits you’re thinking of so we can plan accordingly.

Moms, feel free to shoot Lucia images of what you want your son to wear if he’s not a clothes hound himself. Totally sexist, right? I’m assuming that women are more concerned about their clothing and appearance than guys, but I’m not sure who that assumption is offensive to. Discuss among your friends and get back to me.

Will my senior pictures be taken inside or outside?

That’s up to you! We have a studio in downtown Portland where we do our sports posters, fashion shoots, and multi-image blends and strips. But we’re also located on the scenic coast of Maine, and almost everyone wants something outdoors.

Take a look at our Locations page, and you’ll see that we offer five outdoor spots that we shoot at a lot, or you can select your own location and we’ll come to Your Place!

What if I want my senior pictures created somewhere else in Maine not listed on your locations page?

We have our “Your Place” session for just such a possibility. We’ve created senior portraits at family houses, special beaches, horse stables, ballparks, school athletic fields, libraries, lake houses, over waterfalls,under family trees, with airplanes, on sailboats and in churches.

If you can get us access to a place that’s special to you, we’ll go. Travel fees apply.

What's the travel fee for a Your Place session?

If you want to pick a location in a spot we don’t usually work, then there’s a travel fee to cover the extra time to get there.

If the location you want is in Portland, the cost to pick your own location is only $50!

Beyond that, its $100 for each hour or part thereof that google maps says we’ll sit in the car.

So we can totally go to Boston with you for your photoshoot, and the travel fee to cover the 2 hours there and 2 hours back will be just $400 which you’ll pay along with your session fee (on sale now for $200)- a really good price for a destination shoot!

Will you retouch or airbrush my senior pictures?

Yes, unless you tell us not to, all your printed images will be flawless but natural. You’ll see the pores of your skin, but not the blemish you got from worrying about your photoshoot.

Some people don’t want that. Lorde threw a fit because a concert photographer removed her pockmarks and pimples from an image he posted, and if you’re that confident, we won’t touch your images. Just tell us.

When I was a senior (this is Will writing this answer) I wouldn’t let my mother send my pictures out because I was so embarrassed at the state of affairs of my skin, and I won’t let that be your experience.

How much artwork will you do?

All of our printed images include retouching of blemishes, stray hairs, scars, moles, and circles under the eyes. On special requests we can digitally remove braces for an additional charge. Sunburn and peeling is impossible to fix – so be careful in the sun before your session!

The sports posters and digital blends we show on our gallery are very popular, but they’re time consuming to create. Let us know if there’s a particular art print you want, and we’ll ensure that we capture the images needed and digitally create it, otherwise you might only see amazing images.

That was kind of a joke – get it?

What if it rains on the day of my senior photo shoot?

Bring a cute umbrella? I’m joking.

If you’re scheduled to have a senior photo shoot outdoors and it looks like it’s going to rain, call us before you leave and we’ll decide if we need to reschedule. Regardless, we’ll still have the indoor portion of your session (if you have one). Keep in mind summer and autumn showers come and go quickly; it might be raining where you are, but sunny here.

However, this is New England, so we do get some rescheduled sessions in the course of the summer. Don’t worry, we’ll reschedule your session when it’s convenient, and you won’t miss out on anything!

How soon after my session will I be able to see my images?

We usually schedule your shopping appointment about a week after your session. Your images will be projected larger-than-life, and you’l be able to see everything clearly.

If your folks love you and want to remember you when you’re not around, they’ll probably want to hang a portrait or two of you on the wall. At Focus Photography, you’re able to virtually see the finished product before ordering – size, color, and even framing – exactly like it will look in your house.

During your shopping appointment, Lucia will help you sort out your favorites, listen to your wants, steer you clear of unnecessaries, and squeeze you into a portrait package that saves you money. This helpful process allows you to see the pros and cons of each image, and find the best possible price for the images you want.

Bring anyone that you want to be part of the decision process with you, because you’ll be placing your order at this time. We’re sorry, but because of our very full appointment schedule, we can not always accommodate a second shopping appointment, and must include a $50 second appointment fee.

Can I bring someone else along to my senior photo shoots?

Of course! Most seniors find it helpful to bring Mom, Dad, a brother/sister or a friend along, both to keep you company on the drive in, and to help carry your gear! We always say – ‘It’s easier to be a RockStar if you’ve got really good roadies.’

What should I bring to get one of those cool posters?

We do all our sports and digital posters at our studio, so that’s another good reason to have that as one of your locations. And if you’re coming in to the studio, it would be awesome if you could bring as much as you can of your activities. If you play hoops on the team, a ball and a uniform would make sense. Dance – outfits and shoes (and maybe the music you like to dance to!). Some sports are off-season, so if you can’t get a uniform, go with under-armor and bring what you can.

We’ve had students show up with amplifiers and a half-dozen guitars. Amazing shoot.

We had one guy bring his hat collection. An artist brought her portfolio of work, paintbrushes and paint. Really fun.

We even photographed a snowboarder jumping in mid-air during a snowstorm in our studio in July. If it’s crossed your mind, put it in the car.

Can you provide Hair and Makeup?

We can arrange to have a hair and makeup artist meet you at our studio before your session for the cost of the makeup artist.

Many of our clients choose to go to a salon for their pre-session glamming – we can recommend some places to you if you’d like.

Will my nails show? They're kind of a mess.

Fix it. Chipped nails are instantly visible in most images, and your senior pictures will be around forever.

We always recommend manicures and pedicures before a photo shoot.

At a minimum, remove all your flaking polish and come in with bare nails. You won’t feel as glamorous as with color, but you won’t look as disheveled as with chips.

Call a friend. Get your nails done.

What tips can you give me for my hair, makeup, and glasses?

Hair – It’s best to have your hair cut and/or styled at least a week or two before your session. This will give it a chance to fill in or relax. Please don’t try a radically different haircut or style too close to your session – we’ve seen too many people hate a new hairstyle.

Makeup – Powder and lip gloss are the essentials! A little light powder in your skin tone will stop shine on your nose and forehead, and women’s lips always photography better shiny!

Glasses – If you wear glasses most of the time, you’ll want them in your portraits. But the reflective lens can cause a bright spot on your eyes – you probably already knew that, or you wouldn’t have read this far.

To eliminate glare and reflection, call your optometrist and arrange to borrow a pair of empty frames similar to yours, or have the lenses removed from your own frames. Most opticians will help at no charge.

What if I need to reschedule my session?

Please let us know as soon as possible if you have a schedule conflict.

During senior season, our schedule fills up completely, so we ask that you let us know at least one week before your session if you have a conflict. If you cancel on the morning of your session to play golf or go to the beach, you’ll forfeit your session fee.

Do you offer any posing advice?

Sometimes. Often?

Okay, here’s the deal. Some people know how to present themselves in the most flattering way, and to those people I give really subtle direction.

Other clients I work with have no idea that turning their body at certain angles could make them more slender, more curvy, more masculine, or more feminine. For those people, I’ll stand the way I’d like them to stand, and tell them that they can just mirror what I’m doing.

Easy, right? Nothing complicated, but you won’t be left to figure it out on your own, either.

Can I put the images on Facebook?

Trick question, because I know you don’t use facebook much. But if you did, the answer would be yes.

Every location you choose includes five retouched images for social sites, plus every image you order includes a sharing file as well.

But….

Here’s a quick aside from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, a movie that came out before you were born and that you have no interest in, but I still think is really funny. Pee Wee is talking to a girl who wants to run off to Paris, and she’s telling him she can’t follow her dreams.

Simone: I know you’re right, Pee-wee, but…

Pee-wee: But what? Everyone I know has a big “But…? C’mon, Simone, let’s talk about *your* big “But”.

Getting back to you and the question, …but, we’d love it if you’d tag us in the image, or mention you had Focus Photography do your senior pictures. You really do need to watch that movie.

Clothing Questions

How many outfits can I wear?

That kind of depends on how fast you can change! Most people can do 3 outfits at each location, but we’ve had students who could change in an instant wear 5, and others that were slower and could only do 2.

We’ll work at each location for about an hour, so the quicker you move and change, the more variety there will be in your images.

How do I change at the beach or the park?

We bring a changing tent!

You’re going to love this. We pop open an upright tent, you zip yourself in, and no one on the beach knows what’s going on. And then you emerge transformed, and if they had any common sense the beach crowd would applaud you, but since there was really nothing for them to see, their attention drifted. Oh well, let’s keep shooting, right?

What should I bring to my session for clothing?

You should bring at least three completely different changes with you per location (three different colored Abecrombie tees doesn’t count!), and one outfit should be jeans and a long-sleeved, solid-colored shirt. More is better, and we’re happy to help you select between choices.

Lucia advises both women and men to have one thing that looks like fall, one thing you’d wear to a dance, one thing you’d wear with your friends, and one thing your grandmother would love.

You know what we don’t see enough of anymore? Prom dresses. I know, you were photographed by your mom when you wore it, but Will definitely doesn’t shoot like your mom. Bring it, you’ll be glad you did.

Even if it’s the middle of summer, try to remember that these images will be viewed year round, and an awesome sweater looks way better than over the course of the year than a cute tank top.

What have you got against tank tops?

I know, that last answer sounded like I was really ATT (I’m trying to start anti tank-top as an acronym. Go use it in a sentence.)

I’m not. I’m also not anti-shorts, but you need to have at least one pair of long pants and one pair of jeans to go with your solid long sleeved shirt and sweater. There’s a reason.

The human eye is drawn to flesh. We’re built that way. Look at any picture, and if there’s bare skin, your eye goes right to it.

And sometimes that’s the effect we want in images, but not all the time. My goal as a photographer is to give you images where viewers are captivated by your eyes, and they can’t break away from your stare. That’s the definition of mesmerizing, by the way, and it makes for some powerful images.

But that spell can’t be cast when there’s a lot of skin showing. If a viewer’s eye travels from your shoulders down your bare arms, or from your shoes up your legs while you’re wearing shorts, it never reconnects to your eyes.

Why do you recommend solid colored clothing?

In the last answer I talked about the eyes competing for a viewer’s attention with bare skin.

Patterns are similarly distracting. And while we recommend solids, small prints (smaller than the human iris) won’t be as distracting from your eyes as larger ones will. That’s why.

I used to study with a photographer who said ‘there are no plaids in nature, and so plaid clothing will never look natural in a portrait.’ That might apply to a lot of things.

Will my shoes matter?

Definitely. If you just wanted a yearbook headshot, you probably wouldn’t have chosen Focus Photography.

So if we’re shooting for awesome images, that means you need to be dressed head to toe.

For girls, that includes accessories such as jewelry, hats, and scarves.

For guys that includes belts, socks, and a blazer and tie if you rock that look.

Pricing Questions

What do I have to pay for when I call to schedule?

At the time you book your photoshoot you’ll pay your session fee, and most families take care of their minimum orders then. Your session fee (normally $400, on sale this month for $200) is paid when you schedule, and is non-refundable – so don’t go golfing on the day we’re going to work together:)

Your session fee covers the personal consultation, planning and prep for the session, time and talent of the photographer, image-work, and the sales appointment with Lucia who will help you narrow down your images and select the products that will fit with your home decor.

Each location you choose has a minimum order of just $200. Most people pay this when scheduling, but you can wait as long as you take care of this before your session. When you come in to shop with Lucia, that money is yours to spend as you like.

How much will senior pictures cost in total?

Glad you asked. According to a recent industry study, the average family in Maine that hired a professional photographer spent $1,240 in total on their senior’s pictures. This includes session fees, prints, files, holiday presents, and graduation announcements ordered in the spring.

Of course, what your family needs may be completely different from what other families purchase. Some parents can only afford the minimum order ($200 per location), and others are looking for more substantial ways of remembering their students when they leave home for college. What you choose is up to you.

Of course, the quality of your senior portraits from Focus Photography will be way above average, regardless of what your family invests!

Can you help us with framing?

Absolutely. We carry a variety of frames for you in all sizes. To determine the size and shape of your framed portrait, consider the wall space where it will be displayed. Interior decorators recommend that a portrait occupy at least 50% of the wall space. If not, the viewer’s attention will be drawn to the wall, and not to the image.

8x10s are not good for wall display because they need to be held close for comfortable viewing. That’s why they make such good desk displays.

If you’d like the best assistance we can give you, photograph the wall and surrounding furniture where you’d like to hang a portrait, and tape a piece of letter-sized paper on the wall (for size). Even a camera phone image will work for this, and if you e-mail the image to us before your shopping appointment, we’ll be able to suggest frames for you and show you how they would look hanging on your walls!

Ready to get Scheduled?

Call (207) 772-4274 today!