Studio Welcome Guide
We are so excited to work with you!
Your portrait session is a custom experience and we want to make sure that the results are beautiful legacy portraits that you will cherish for generations. We simply cannot wait to create stunning art pieces during your family’s session.
Preparing your dog for their session:
Please let us know ahead of time if your dog has any anxieties, special needs, or allergies. We want the session to go as smoothly as possible. It’s important that your dog will feel comfortable in the studio.
Take some time to clean and groom your dog so they look nice and presentable for the portraits. If your dog has long fur, give them a good brushing before the session so their coat looks clean and smooth. Consider trimming your dog’s nails. Please clean out your dog’s eyes and remove any dirt/food on their face.
This is very important: To ensure your dog is calm and relaxed, please exercise your dog before the photo session, especially if they are a high energy breed. A tired dog, is a good dog, who also poses for great portraits.
- If you want to bring props, bring what is meaningful for you. If your dog has a favorite toy or sweater, by all means, bring it. However, if you are bringing any toys, please hide them from your dog until we are ready to use them. Nothing makes a session harder than a favorite toy brought out at the beginning.
During the session I’ll have your dog pose a few different ways. Standing, sitting and lying down. If these poses are difficult for your dog, we can modify them. The primary subject in the portraits will be your dog. However, there might be moments when I ask you to step in front of the camera to help pose your pup. Most of the time, these are the favorite portraits from the session. So please dress in a way that you wouldn’t mind being photographed.
It’s crucial that you and your dog are well rested the day of your dog’s session. You both want to look your best, and getting enough sleep the night before is an excellent first step. Allow yourself extra time to perfect your wardrobe, style yourself, and travel.
What to Wear for Families
We encourage formal attire, which photographs best. Choose timeless clothing with character, personality, and style. Dress as if you were going to a fine restaurant. We encourage families to look sophisticated and elegant, as if you are attending a wedding or fine restaurant. We never hear families say they wish the had dressed down, but we do hear families say they wish they had dressed up. Of course, wear what represents you and your family. Timeless clothing is always recommended. Trendy clothing will look silly in a year or two.
Choose 2-3 colors for your family to wear. Neutral colors such as beige, white, tan, black, and grey often photograph the best. They complement your skin tones and don’t conflict with common background elements. Stick with either darker colors or lighter colors. We recommend grey, black, and a rich jewel tone (burgundy, emerald, or cobalt). Please avoid black white combinations. Black and white looks best on animals but can be too contrast-y for people.
Always dress with the full length in mind. Include shoes and socks in your wardrobe consideration. Shoe styles should be simple and not distracting.
Here's a Pinterest board for outfit examples and ideas: Pinterest Ideas
Coats, jackets or sweaters are recommended. For more casual, wear a nice sweater over a dress shirt
- A dark dress shirt or t-shirt looks great under a jacket, especially with dark jeans.
- Layering adds depth and dimension.
- Boys also look good in jeans, cable knit sweaters, and canvas or denim shirts.
We recommend dark or jewel-toned dresses or outfits. Dark colors add shadows in the areas we appreciate having a shadow. We always recommend that women stay away from pattern. Patterns date portraits. Loose clothing looks blocky and big in portraits. If you are worried about weight, find solid color tailored outfits. And wear layers, a jacket over a dress is a nice touch. Remember fitted, tailored clothing is always best.
- Dresses photograph exceptionally well and flatter most women.
To slenderize, wear dark clothing. Longer sleeves are generally more flattering than shorter sleeves.
- If you don't wear dresses slacks or a nice pair of pants (no ripped jeans, please) with a blouse and jacket also look really beautiful for portraits.
- For hair and makeup, keep it natural. Matte looks better than bronzers, glittery and sparkly makeup. You may be more comfortable with having your hair and make-up professionally done, or you may be more comfortable doing it yourself. (We highly recommend you get your hair and makeup done professionally. This will help you feel your best for your session. And it's fun!) Whichever you choose, it is crucial that you feel beautiful and confident.
- Manicures and pedicures matter.
- Jewelry enhances your look.
We recommend the same dressing concept as parents. Girls look beautiful in party dresses. Boys look perfect in textured sweaters, suits, bow ties, and vests.
Preparing the family for your the session:
- Please make sure everyone has eaten before the session.
- Please don't bribe children, even teenagers. This can change attitudes and make it difficult for the little ones to get through the session because they are so focused on the bribe.
- Ensure everyone gets a haircut and trim a few weeks before your session.
- Please arrive with hair and make up complete. We do find may of our clients choose to have their makeup finished professionally to add to the portrait experience. If you are having professional hair and make up please allow plenty of time so you are not running late and feeling stressed.
Summary of the Process
Please be on time and ready to go for the session when you arrive. No need to worry about wrinkles in clothing, we can retouch most wrinkles.
The first 5 minutes are for your dog to get to know us and relax. We let them walk the studio and get used to the new sounds and smells. We also will test our lights to see how your dog reacts to strobes. Most dogs don't care about the flashing lights. If you think your dog will be scared. Please let us know. We have some tricks to get them used to the flash.
Once your dog is comfortable we will begin the session. We do a variety of poses for the dog depending on their abilities. Then we will bring owners into the portrait for a beautiful family and pet portrait session.
Once your session is complete you will be able to relax while we download your portraits for your ordering appointment. Your dog will get treats and a special gift for being a good dog model.
We will then watch a slideshow of the best portraits from your session and walk you through choosing your artwork. You don't have to wait to view your portraits! You get to see them on the same day. We've set aside time to help you choose your artwork. Please make sure that all decision makers are present for the ordering appointment.
Pet Portraits NW specializes in creating finished printed works of art. Our artwork is finished on the highest quality art paper or on handwoven cotton canvas. Our larger pieces always come framed and/or ready to hang. All finished artwork has our full artistry. Our smaller gift prints start at $500. Framed artwork starts at $1500 and goes up from there. Our regular client will invest between $800 and $4k on their artwork, depending on size and finish. Clients that purchase larger wall pieces will receive smaller gift prints with their order as well as the corresponding digital files. All our artwork is 100% guaranteed and has been rated to last longer than 150 years.
We do our best to fulfill your needs and meet your expectations. To achieve this, it is important that you are aware of how our studio works and our policies.
PLEASE ARRIVE ON TIME: We have appointments throughout the day and we try very hard not to run behind on sessions
ORDERING: You will view your portraits on the same day as your portrait session. This is when you are able to design and order your artwork. Please make sure all decision makers are present since studio promotional offers are only available at this time.
STUDIO SPECIALS OR PROMOTIONS: Specials will only apply on the day of the appointment. You will have an opportunity to order your portraits immediately following your session. You can expect a short wait (about 10 minutes) after your session so we have time to prepare your slideshow. Payment is due at the ordering appointment. We also have payment plans.
DIGITAL FILES: The client may share social media files from our social media accounts. The client does not have permission to apply filters, copy, download, screenshot, or capture photographs in any other fashion. We do not sell a disk or high resolution digital images since we specialize in heirloom printed products.
PARTIAL FAMILY: We do not photograph families when a family member is not able to attend the portrait session. We are more than happy to reschedule a new appointment for you when your entire family can be together.
INVESTMENT: What does our average client invest? We have clients that invest $800 - $8000 for desktop portraits. Most clients will spend between $1000- $4000 because they want something prestigious. Our museum quality wall portraits are our most popular items and it is what we are best know producing. If you have a gift certificate there is never any purchase required. But you are welcome to upgrade your certificate for a larger size wall portrait.
SAFETY: We are following Oregon State guidelines regarding Covid-19. We always thoroughly disinfect the studio for you and your pets. We also ask that pets be fully vaccinated. We have dogs who are in hospice care come to our studio. We need to make sure that all our clients and dogs are safe for their session.
CANCELLATION: If you have a sick pet or family member on the day of the session please call to reschedule. We are happy to reschedule your appointment if needed, but please let us know as soon as possible. Since we are reserving two hours in the studio for your pet and family. We have a firm ONE WEEK RESCHEDULING POLICY. Cancellations within one week of your appointment can be rescheduled with an additional booking deposit.
GIFT CERTIFICATES: Gift certificates are for studio portraits only and the recipient and their pet and family. Family includes parents and/or grandparents with children of any age and their pets. The certificate is only valid if used by the named recipient. Gift certificates are non transferable. Gift certificates are not redeemable for cash and my not be used to pay any outstanding order balances for the recipient or any client.
PAYMENT: Payments are due at the time of the ordering appointment and can be paid by cash, check, or credit card and are due at the time of the ordering session. Payments plans are available by arrangement.
CUSTOM ORDERS: Due to the custom nature of our work, payment for your order must be placed in full before ordering. Once an order is sent out for production, it is deemed non-refundable. Please allow 8-12 weeks for delivery of your product since each piece is an artistically handcrafted work of art.
RETOUCHING AND CONVERSIONS: Standard retouching for albums and small prints includes light blemishes at no additional cost.
COPYRIGHT: All images, original and processed, remain the sole property of Kolu Westcott. It is ILLEGAL to copy or reproduce any photographs, either physically or digitally, without Kolu Westcott's permission. Violators of this federal law will be subject to its civil and criminal penalties. The client may not download or take screenshots of any digital image produced by Kolu Westcott without express permission. The client will not receive any RAW files and may not edit the work nor remove watermarks. The client may NOT submit any photos taken by Kolu Westcott for use in contests. All images, both physical and digital, when purchased or provided to the client are for personal use only. No commercial use by the client is permitted under this contract, including but not limited to resale, promotion of personal business, or use in contests or exhibitions.
MODEL RELEASE: Clients give permission to publish and use photographs on the studio's website and for social media sharing which might be for advertising, promotion, trade, exhibition, and distribution. Clients may apply restrictions to use.