frequently asked questions
WHAT IS YOUR STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY?
I’m a natural light photographer, which means I don’t use a flash but rely solely on the light of the environment. I love quietly beautiful, soft and simple yet spontaneous shots. I feel that my images lend themselves to large scale prints. You can see lots of samples of my work on my portfolio, on view on this website. Parents and pets are ALWAYS welcome in the photographs!
WHERE DO YOU TAKE YOUR PICTURES?
I mostly shoot outdoors. I work with parents to choose a site that will work best for their kids and at the same time, create a beautiful backdrop for their images. If you prefer indoors, I like to photograph children in the environment they are the most comfortable in: their bedrooms, playrooms or backyards. Please note that there has to be enough natural light. I don't recommend playgrounds because children get too distracted too easily. I don’t have a studio.
WHAT TIME DO YOU SUGGEST FOR MY SESSION?
Unless you have a baby and if you want your session to take place outdoors, I only shoot in early evening (1 hour before sunset) in order to take advantage of the best lighting conditions.
WHAT DO I DO TO BOOK A SESSION?
First thing you need to do is call me to find a date that works for both of us. Then you will be sent an invoice to pay the session fee online. If you would prefer to do it via check or cash, you may do so but your date is not reserved until payment is received. Also, you will need to sign a Portrait Agreement before the day of the session. You can mail it, send it via email or give it to me the day of the session. The session can’t take place unless the portrait agreement is signed.
WHAT DOES THE SESSION FEE INCLUDE?
The session fee covers my time and skill during your session, as well as during the artistic editing of 25-35 images. It does not include prints or digital files. It also includes consultation services to prepare for your session and to help you place your order.
I’M PREGNANT AND WOULD LIKE A NEWBORN SESSION ONCE THE BABY IS COMES. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
I don't normally shoot newborns but if you would like images that reflect my style, I'd be more than happy to work with you. As you can see from my body of work, I don't photograph babies with many props.
WHAT IF ONE OF MY CHILDREN IS SICK OR THE WEATHER IS TERRIBLE AND WE CAN’T GO OUTDOORS?
Whatever makes you more comfortable. If you think your child is not feeling well and will not be him/herself during the session, maybe it’s best to reschedule. I want your children to look their best in their pictures! However, the more notice I get the better. If possible, please let me know 24 -48 hours in advance. If the weather does not cooperate, I will do my best to reschedule at your earliest convenience.
HOW LONG DOES THE SESSION LAST?
Anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how many people are being photographed.
WHAT SHOULD MY FAMILY WEAR DURING THE SESSION?
I like simple outfits and accessories that are fun and colorful but also love the feel of more classic and traditional looks. I don’t ask everyone to match but to please make sure you coordinate. If the parents are going to be in the pictures, I ask them to dress up as they wish but taking into consideration what the kids are wearing.
*Here's a tip that I recently learned from my own experience being photographed: dress the mom first and everyone else around what she is wearing! Us moms have a tendency to be more critical about how we look in pictures so we want to make sure we look and feel our best. If your child is old enough, involve him or her in the selection process. That will make them feel a sense of ownership of their shoot. I can lead you through the outfit selection either by phone, email or when I arrive to your home. Together we can come up with a great look for your family that will reflect beautifully in your photographs.
I always welcome loves or special family heirlooms.
CAN MY HUSBAND VIDEOTAPE OR TAKE PICTURES DURING THE SESSION? CAN MY MOTHER-IN-LAW WATCH THE SESSION?
I ask that you please DO NOT TAKE VIDEO OR PHOTOS DURING OUR SESSION. No cell phones photos either. It will distract the little ones. I ask that only family members that are being photographed be present in the shoot. However, if you need someone to give you a hand during the process of getting the kids ready, I always welcome the assistance of another adult.
CAN GRANDPARENTS AND COUSINS BE PART OF THE SESSION?
Typically, I like to focus on immediate family in order to capture the love and intimacy between all of the family members. If you’d like to have a session that includes extended family, there’s an additional fee for each person that is included. However, if parents are not in the picture and you’d like to include grandparents or cousins, the fee is waived.
WHEN WILL I SEE THE IMAGES? WILL I SEE ALL OF THE PHOTOS YOU SHOT DURING THE SESSION?
Usually within 2 weeks of our session. I will let you know when your EDITED images are ready to be viewed in a password protected online gallery. You will then have 7 days to place your order. Your prints will be ready 4 weeks after that. From the raw digital files that I shoot during the session, I will select the images that will be artistically edited and presented to you. You will receive and review only those I have edited.
CAN YOU CHANGE ONE OF MY IMAGES TO BLACK AND WHITE?
When photographing and editing, I make very conscious aesthetic choices, including deciding if I should edit in black and white. Generally I would hesitate to change images. But if you feel strongly about it, I can change to black and white but not the other way around. If what you are looking for is black and white images, please let me know before the session and I will keep that in mind when shooting.
DO YOU ACCEPT RETURNS?
Do to the custom nature of my work, all sales are final upon delivery and inspection. However, if you would like to raise an issue with your order, you have to do so within a 24 hour period.
WHAT ARE MY PAYMENT OPTIONS? Once you email me your image selection I will send you a PayPal invoice. You do not need to open a PayPal account to pay, you can simply pay with a credit card of your choice, check or cash. If you'd like to request a payment plan, let me know and we'll work something out. You will only receive your prints after full payment is received. Please note that your purchases are subject to sate tax.
CAN MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY ACCESS AND PURCHASE ANY OF MY PICTURES?
Yes! They can access your images and purchase prints the same way you do, by emailing me their preference. Please remind them to check the expiration date of the gallery.
WHAT IF I WANT TO ORDER PRINTS ONE YEAR AFTER OUR SESSION?
Your gallery will be live for 7 days from the date your gallery was launched. After that the gallery will "expire" and will no longer be online. I suggest that you order during the time when your images are online. However, if you think you’ll need a couple more days to order, please let me know and we can arrange for your gallery to online a little longer. Due to storage limitations, I can't guarantee that I will be able to store your photos for more than 1 month. Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. The pricing at the time your online gallery is launched will be valid up to 30 days.
WILL YOU POST IMAGES OF MY SESSION ON YOUR WEBSITE OR FACEBOOK?
When you sign the Portrait Agreement, you understand that images might be used for display or publication. However, I don't normally post client photos on social media. I may use a few images for my website portfolio.
DO YOU HAVE ANY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HOW OR WHERE TO PRINT AND FRAME MY DIGITAL FILES?
I recommend mpix.com to all my clients, friends and family members. The luster coating will help preserve your prints. For framing my own family prints I use Vicky from Heritage Gallery in Chicago. If overwhelmed with the options, do not hesitate to let me know and I’ll help you out.
CAN I SELL PRINTS OF MY DIGITAL FILES?
Even if you purchase digital files form our session, I still own the copyright to those images. You can’t use the files or any of the images from Francesca Madden Photography for marketing or commercial purposes. Prints for publication require prior written consent.
CAN YOU GIVE ME SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT TO PURCHASE?
If you need more specific suggestions or have a space in mind that you'd like to fill with your photographs, please let me know and I'd be more than happy to work with you.
DO YOU MAKE ALBUMS?
This is truly my favorite product! See the investment page for pricing and description. I try to use every image from your session but when that is not possible I always make sure to incorporate the ones that you may have identified as your favorites. If you’d like to see a sample, just let me know!
CAN I REVIEW MY ALBUM BEFORE IT GOES TO PRINT?
Certainly! Albums are my favorite product because it is truly a personal memento. You can select the images you want as well as special quotes or messages you'd like to include. Or if you'd like to leave it in my hands, I'd be more than happy to come up with something special and unique to your family. You will be sent a proof of the album but once it goes to print you wont be able to make any changes.
DO YOU OFFER DISCOUNTS?
I sometimes offer seasonal specials so make sure you ask!
DO YOU CHANGE PRICES?
Not often but prices are subject to change without notice.