An aspect ratio is essentially the geometric shape of a graphic, image, or video. Aspect ratios become important when communicating the exact shape of some form of media. We capture images with 35mm full-frame cameras that have a standard aspect ratio of 3:2. Our cameras can also record photos in a 16:9 aspect ratio (typical of modern televisions and computer monitors), although this is essentially just an in-camera crop. The main advantage to shooting at 16:9 is purely for visualization purposes.
Backdrops or backgrounds are usually solid pieces of fabric, canvas, or rolled paper that we set up on a portable support system to appear behind the subjects we photograph. We offer a light and dark grey as standard options. There are a plethora of colors and patterns available as backdrops that can be custom ordered or sometimes rented for your project. These are typically used for headshots only, but sometimes are large enough to accommodate team photos. If a particular backdrop color or pattern is desired, please inform us as soon as you can because it may need to be special ordered. Additional fees will apply for custom backdrops.
A Brand Story is a term we used to describe a well planned out and very intentional photoshoot that tells a visual story of a company, their culture, and the services they offer. It's often a combination of multiple types of photography shot on one or multiple days.
"Company culture" photos are also sometimes called environmentals, or candids. They typically depict employees interacting with one another or performing typical job functions. Sometimes models may be used in place of customers so we can direct the interactions to look a specific way and we don't run into any issues with model releases.
Copyright is the ownership of intellectual property. United States Federal law automatically assigns copyright to whoever creates artistic content. Many people incorrectly assume that they must own the copyright to an image to legally use it. Legal use of the intellectual property is a term called licensing. We retain copyright to the images we create, and reserve the right to use them for our own marketing purposes. Generally, those images are displayed on our website or on our social media accounts. We do not sell our images to third parties unless we specifically negotiate this with our clients prior to the shoot. If the images we are creating for you are sensitive in some way or need to be delayed in publishing - please let us know ahead of time. We are pretty understanding when it comes to this topic, and mostly use our images to attract more rad clients such as yourself.
Cropping refers to removing unwanted areas of an image. We specifically use cameras that create large image sizes so that we are able to crop more from images without significant loss of resolution. The more dramatically an image is cropped, the more resolution may be potentially lost. We are happy to assist with cropping but may require you to provide us with specific image dimensions or aspect ratios.
A specific type of product photo, usually shot on a white background to be used on a website to visually describe a product being sold. E-commerce photos are time intensive and may be taken on a separate day from the rest of a Brand Story.
Editing is a broad term used to describe the post-production process of taking a RAW photo and adjusting it to look vibrant and awesome. We have a guide that goes over our editing process in detail. We like to talk about editing a lot before a shoot to set the expectations of what our standard adjustments are to photos, and what requests are outside the scope of what we normally do. There are lots of misconceptions about Photoshop, so we need to ensure we are on the same page going into your project!
An environmental portrait is a lot like a headshot, but instead of using an artificial background we just use the premises where we are shooting. Often the background will be blurred out so that you can still tell the subject is in a working environment, but they are the focus of the image. Environmental portraits are becoming popular, especially in offices and businesses that have interesting interiors.
Executive portraits are portraits of key team members, typically taken in an office setting or lit dramatically to stand out from other headshots or portraits of team members we may take. They are typical for leadership roles.
A headshot is an individual portrait taken of one or more team members that have a uniform background. Headshots are typically close up images that are framed chest-up of the subject.
A "hero shot" is an image that is intended for use on a website landing page or other place or prominence. They are usually horizontal photos with narrow aspect ratios more commonly seen in motion picture and video work than in still photography. This type of image needs to be planned as the image is usually cropped dramatically.
Our photos are usually captured on a camera that has a sensor capable of producing images in resolutions exceeding 8K, which is 16 times the resolution of Blu-ray disc. We attempt to get as much as we can right in the camera so that whatever cropping we do before presenting a finished image to you is minor. This means our clients have even more latitude to crop the images we create to fit their needs. When we say images are delivered in high resolution we mean that they are the largest size the camera is capable of producing (although some may be cropped slightly).
Image dimensions refer to the exact pixel count of an image. Generally, the images that modern digital cameras produce have much larger image dimensions than are ever needed for online or printing purposes. Keep in mind that the size in which an image is viewed and the viewing distance also factor into the perception of an image's resolution.
A JPEG is currently the most common image file format. It will be the format our final images to you will be presented in unless another format is requested.
Licensing is a term used to describe the permission granted by a copyright holder to use their intellectual property. We fully expect our images to be used on your website, social media accounts, and sometimes in print. As long as you do not sell the images to a third party we are very liberal with our licensing.
Lifestyle images typically are images that depict a life-related activity. This term is to Personal Branding what "company culture photos" are to multi-employee companies and are sometimes used interchangeably.
When we are working in indoor locations, we bring several lights (strobes, flashes, occasionally constant LED lights) to effectively light the scene. Each time we move the lights to a different area, or to focus on different subjects/activities, we need to make adjustments which can take a few minutes. We'll go over this extensively in our consultations and planning process. It's important to budget enough time in the day to accommodate each scene we set up.
Low-resolution images are also sometimes referred to as "social media crops." These are essentially image resizes where we take the high-resolution image and shrink it into a manageable size that makes uploading and sharing the images on social media much easier. Most social media platforms have specific image dimensions that are native (or preferred). We usually prepare our social media crops to conform to Facebook's maximum native image size for sharing, which is 2048 pixels on the long end.
A model release is a legal document a subject in a photograph signs to authorize that their likeness can be used for commercial purposes. You legally need model releases from each person who is recognizable in a photo.
This is the term used to describe the process of reviewing images on the day of the shoot, typically on a laptop via tethering. We specifically encourage budgeting time for the subjects of any headshots we take to look over a pick their favorite image to be edited. We also offer online galleries as an option to in-person proofing.
Generally, there will be one point of contact for us with each company that we work with who helps us schedule the logistics and objectives of the day. Depending on the size of the company, it's usually a marketing or creative director role who is the point person for the day.
Although fairly self-explanatory, product photography is usually shot either environmentally (in use or displayed in a storefront environment), or for e-commerce purposes. It's usually not any bigger effort to photograph a product environmentally than it is to photograph a company culture photo (and often if the company has a physical product they will be integrated into the company culture photos). E-commerce is a much more intensive process from a lighting perspective and needs to be well planned out.
A proof is an old film term used to describe a sheet or sheets of images printed from a photo session where all of the images can be viewed together to decide which ones the client wishes to purchase. We now use the word "proof" to refer to an unedited image that is considered viable as a potential final selection. Proofing is the phase in which the client selects which images are to be edited and retouched.
RAW files are image formats proprietary to whatever digital camera a photographer uses. These files retain an enormous amount of data and are the preferred format for most photographers who wish to have the capability of extensively adjusting the image with software (Adobe Photoshop for example) after the image is taken. RAW files can only be opened by image editing software. They are also sometimes called "digital negatives." Before adjustment, a RAW file will often appear flat and dull. RAW files may also look very different from the preview seen on the back of a camera screen, or the image that appears when we are tethering. This is normal. In essence, we are telling the camera that it's not allowed to edit the image because we'll be doing that ourselves. We do not release RAW files to our clients.
Retouching is the term used to describe the final phase in our editing process where detailed changes are made to enhance an image. Our goal in retouching is to enhancement rather than a significant alteration. We have detailed information on what to expect in retouching, and how we handle requests that fall outside of what we normally offer.
Team Photo is the term we use to describe group photos. Groups require different lighting techniques than individuals, and also may require larger spaces and more pre-planning.
Tethering is the term used to describe a camera sending images to a laptop or desktop computer either via a cable or wireless transmitter as the photos are being taken. The advantage of tethering is that anyone viewing the laptop will be able to see images pop up on the screen a few seconds after they are shot. This can be extremely valuable to creative directors and the lighting assistant so that changes can be made rapidly if something is off or needs to be captured differently.