Questions and Answers

General Questions About Photography Services

How many pictures do I get?
Your gallery will consist of at least 20 images to choose from at your ordering session

When will I see my photos?
Approximately 2 weeks after your session, you will be invited back to my home to review your gallery and complete your product purchase. I ask that all decision makers be present at the meeting.  This usually takes 1-2 hours. Payment for ordered products is due on this day and can be made via cash, check, PayPal or Venmo.

When do I receive my product order?
Your order will be processed completely by me and the turn around time depends on the number of images to be retouched and the final product being produced. Some more time sensitive products such as announcements can be delivered within a week. You can expect your entire order in approximately 2-4 weeks once paid in full.

Do I have to do an in-person review session?
It is my policy to do in-person review sessions in order to provide a high level of service.  I work with you to choose your favorite images, design products and even see what artwork will look like on your walls.  In order to provide you with a 100% certainty that you are going to be happy with your product package, digital image selection and overall service, I exclusively do in-person review sessions.  Purchased digital images are delivered on the day of your review appointment, so that means you don’t have to wait after you make your selection.  Those purchased images are also hosted online so that you may share the gallery with friends and family.  Slideshows are also available to help tell the story.

Can I post your images on Social Media?
Yes!  Please use the provided printmarked images for sharing.  Please do not crop the images when you post as this often crops the logo.  Also, use of filters is prohibited due to copyright infringement.  If the photo is posted on my Facebook you can share and re-post.  I am more than happy to custom create images for your profile photo and banner.  Please tag @jennifermcneilphotography on Facebook or Instagram.

Do you do passport photos?
Yes, I have appropriate backdrops and am familiar with the proper sizes for passport photo prints.  My rate for passport photos is $75.  This includes 2 printd copies of the image created.

Do you do head shots?
Yes!  Please contact me with details on what you are looking for, and I will provide you with a quote after we speak.

Where is your photo studio?
My photo studio is in Santa Ana in the Park Santiago neighborhood.  We have a separate entrance from the home into the studio and it is a dedicated space for meetings and sessions.

What is included in the session fee?
Everything that is included in your session fee is listed under that session type on the pricing page.  The session fee is for the photographer’s time and talent to plan for, create, and edit the images.  Artwork (including digital files) are not included.

Do I have to pay extra to get my images?
Digital files are available for purchase.  Along with the files comes a printing release to allow printing up to 8×12” or 30×40” depending on the resolution you choose to purchase.

Do you offer any specials?
Occasional special offers are emailed to those on my email list, and posted online.  One ongoing special offer is available for a full maternity photography session and full newborn photography session.  This special is for $100 off the total session fees.

Newborn Photography

How soon after birth can I do photos?
You can take photos as soon as you are comfortable traveling with your newborn baby.  This could be 2 days to 2 weeks.  But keep in mind you should try to get the earliest possible time, usually within 10 days or so for the best sleepy, secure, content and quiet babies.  As soon as you know your due date, you can book.  I keep your due date on my calendar with the understanding that babies can come any time they want.  Once you go into labor, or if you plan a c-section or induction, please let me know asap so that I can give you my next available session in the 3-10 day age range.

How do you schedule the baby photos?
We don’t know exactly when you baby will arrive, but when you choose me as your baby photographer, your estimated due date will be recorded and you will be guaranteed availability for newborn photos in the first weeks of life.

How long to sessions last?
Plan for a typical session lasting 2-4 hours depending on how your baby feels. There may be outfit, prop, backdrop changes involved as well as feeding or soothing of baby that will take time between photos. If you booked a full newborn session, there is absolutely no rush in my studio as you will be the only session scheduled for the afternoon.  Mini and half sessions may be booked before or after other shorter sessions, but a time buffer is always built in just in case baby needs an extra feed or snuggle.  I am also very skilled at calming babies and able to create a full gallery in minimal time in order to allow families to return home for much needed rest.

What do I need to bring to the session?
For newborn sessions, nothing is required. You may opt to bring a few small items such a hat, a toy, or a special blanket, but I also have everything we need to create beautiful and timeless portraits of your little one. Most of the session will be done with baby unclothed in wraps or knit items. For the family photos, I suggest wearing neutral colored shirts. The focus will continue to be on baby this way.  We will also talk in advance about what will coordinate best for family images.

What time of day is best for a session?
The best times are between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm when most babies are at their peak sleepiness and comfort.  The studio is tailored to each baby’s preference, typically it runs a little warmer than 75 degrees to help them remain warm when unwrapped and naked.

Should I bring diapers and milk/formula?
Yes, you should bring anything you would normally need for a day away from your home.  That being said, there is a small supply of emergency diapers at the studio should the little one want to use your entire supply.  As for milk, please bring an extra 50% more than you normally would give them to help put your newborn baby into a nice deep milky sleep for the photos.  Breastfeeding parents, feel free to bring extra supply either frozen or chilled.  There is a refrigerator/freezer you can use to store it during your session.  There will be ample time during a newborn photo session for feeding, bonding and comforting your new bundle of joy.  And if the session goes longer because we needed to work around the baby’s schedule, that’s okay as well.

What should my baby wear?
A lot of people ask me what to put their newborn babies in for photos.  I have plenty of wraps and tiny clothes for newborns.  You do not have to bring anything for the styling of the session.  If there is one special outfit passed down through the family, please contact me to work it into the session.

What if my baby cries a lot?
Join the club! This is how babies communicate. I have years of experience soothing newborn babies and these things do take time but I am happy to be patient and make sure your child is as happy as possible for the images. I invite parents to sit and relax and allow me to try my methods to relax your baby and allow Baby to become familiar with me.  This truly helps the process versus handing baby to mom when he cries a little.  Of course if it is time to feed, you will be able to do that, but there are so many things little ones are trying to tell us when they make their noises and luckily I have had the experience to know if baby just needs to change position, soothe (bring a pacifier if you use one) or be changed. We will do what is right for him!

Maternity Photography

What do I wear?
Maternity sessions can be captured in any type of clothing. Some opt to wear a shirt and pant combination in order to allow the bare belly to be photographed, others glam it up with a maternity gown. I have many gowns in my studio available for use during your session, or I can point you in the right direction to get one custom made.

Do you have dresses to wear?
There are some dresses available to wear in my collection.  Please ask for example photos and color patterns as your options.  That being said, I do encourage those who want to buy a maternity dress to do so if you will feel glowing and beautiful in it.  Maternity photos are about the majesty of carrying a baby, growing with the baby and welcoming him/her into the world.  I totally encourage all parents-to-be to wear what makes them feel more radiant, comfortable and magical.  If you want something unique, I work with a number of vendors to offer custom made pieces for your session.

I have pregnancy picture outfits and ideas, will you use them?
I love hearing all about your maternity photoshoot ideas at our pre-session consultation.  If these ideas are within my style, I will gladly work them into your pregnancy photos.  While I do carry many maternity picture outfits in my studio, I will gladly photograph you in your own clothing as well.

Do I have to show my bare belly?
We will talk ahead of time about what to expect and I hope you will tell me what you are comfortable with.  You don’t have to show your bare baby bump if you don’t want to, but some gowns do lend themselves more to the style.  It is completely up to the client to show as much of their body as they feel comfortable with during the photo session.  I encourage all pregnant people to express themselves during the session in a way that makes them feel most real.  During our pre-consultation you can try on gowns and I will work with you to explain what will be shown and what won’t.  Please express your specific concerns if you have any and I will happily work with you to find a solution.

Can we include children?
Yes, of course you can! Adding kids to maternity photos is encouraged.  Please bring the soon-to-be big sister or brother to the photo session so we can get some great candid moments for them to treasure.  This is the perfect opportunity to include them in your pregnancy.  Matching mother daughter gowns are also available through many vendors and I would be happy to point you in the right direction.

Do you do belly casts?
While it is not a main feature of my sessions, I have done several belly casts before and would be more than open to the idea of assisting in your belly cast.  Belly casts are best completed in studio and I hold them until they are dry and ready for pickup.  These casts can also be featured in your newborn sessions!

Can I have my belly painted?
Yes, this would need to be discussed and planned for ahead of time – but it also a lot of fun!  While I don’t have any direct artist contacts to refer you to, I welcome any artist into the photo studio to document the belly painting as part of your maternity photo session.

Can I wait to review my maternity photos with my newborn photos?
My policy is to have separate review sessions for each type of portrait created. This allows me to get your images to you in a more timely manner. At this time all product selections are to be made separately for each session, but I do offer the option to delay the creation of your maternity album with the purchase of additional pages for the newborn images.

Family and Children Photography

What are milestone sessions?
Milestone sessions are a series of multiple sessions to show the growth of your baby over his or her first year.  These sessions can be done monthly, or can be spread out to show the new achievements of belly time, sitting, standing, and walking.

How many people can be in our photos?
Each session type has a number of family members included, up to 8 for a full family portrait photography session.  Please inquire about options for extended family sessions or event photography.

Are there certain parks we can pick?
The Orange County Parks permit that I carry allows me to take photos at several county run parks and beaches.  The listing of them can be found OC Parks.  Other than these parks, there may be certain limitations or other specific city/state permits that need to be obtained to take photos there professionally.  Please coordinate with me ahead of time to ensure we are planning properly.

Which beaches are best for sunset?
There are several beaches in Orange County that are directly west facing as well as on my Orange County parks permit that will allow me to shoot professional photos there without hassle.  The beaches are: Aliso Beach, Capistrano Beach, Dana Point Harbor, Newport Harbor, Salt Creek Beach and Sunset Harbor.  Here is a link to the OC Parks website with more information about each beach.

When should I book for Holiday Cards?
Most families book at the end of summer.  September and October are the best months for family portraits sessions to use on holiday cards.  Days are still longer so sessions can be with the whole family after work.  It isn’t as cold during these months and you’ll have your holiday cards completed in plenty of time.