FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

I'd be asking these questions if I were you! -- Let me know if you have others!
What kind of camera, lens, and software do you use?

You will hear that it isn’t the tools that make the artist, and admittedly, some of my absolute favorite pictures are from my phone but don’t worry, my gear is solid. I am manually shooting in RAW with a full frame Canon 5D Mark IV (all you fellow photogs out there can nod with approval… and YES I LOVE MY CAMERA– he is my silent partner and affectionately named Marki V).  I prefer a prime lens and will switch them around during our time together (right now, I’m loving my 85mm).  I never use a flash because I don’t like wrecking a moment IRL and I like more natural pictures.  I use Photoshop for minor editing of color and cropping on my dueling HD monitors, each specially calibrated for photography and with a 16.7 million color palate.  For the most part, your pictures will be real and natural (but still flattering).

What are your qualifications Kelly?

Good question. I have loved photography and books all my life.  I worked on my college yearbook & newspaper staff.  I created our elementary school yearbook for 8 years.  I’ve been mentored (by Amy Tripple Photography) and taken multiple classes in photography and editing… Event photography is a special skill and very different from portrait photography.  You need to be confident, approachable, and yet slide into the background.  This isn’t about setting up the perfect shot… it is all about seeing beautiful moments and making sure they are never forgotten.  I am good at this job, I’ve had tons of experience, and I absolutely love it.  It makes me feel fulfilled and like I am preserving a legacy of connection and love for people, family, and the world.

I love the idea, but why do you charge so much?

About an hour at an event involves the right tools, experience, skill, preparation, and then many many hours of sorting, editing, building an album, and a big piece of my heart. The archive album itself isn’t cheap!  Honestly, this is one of those things that you will love forever and never remember how much it cost.  It will gain personal significance as the years go on, but I get it!  Not everyone will find the same value in this!  No hurt feelings if you decide this isn’t for you and your hard-earned money should be spent another way!  As much as I would love to take pictures of every single event in Elmhurst (and I really would!), I understand that this is a luxury and it is a better choice to create quality memories of a few events rather than be booked solid and throw everything together while I burn-out in an exhausted heap.

If you just need a few pictures, consider a 15 Minute Quick Shot!

My house isn't one of those new huge ones. I have so many projects first...

You will want pictures of typical life at your own house! Even if your house isn’t perfect and you have projects yet to do! Trust me!

First off, most of us have fond memories of growing up in real homes.  They weren’t on pinterest and they didn’t look like they were out of a magazine and we certainly didn’t have professional landscaping.  I’ll often look through old albums just to see a glimpse of the background… the orange velvet wallpaper… the shag rug that I LOVED in my room… the country blue stenciled wall border… The tree that my sister and I named Kristy…  It is all part of who we are and we will cherish it more and more as the years go on.

Secondly, I tend to blur out the background anyway, so most of the house isn’t really the focal point unless you want it to be and suggest that in the questionnaire.  Please don’t worry about your house, yard or life being perfect… at all.  Perfect is totally over-rated (says a recovering perfectionist who only expects it for herself… but never anyone else)

And Thirdly… we could always meet at an Elmhurst park instead 🙂

Is it going to be enough time?

Thanks to 8 years of elementary school yearbook experience, where one is granted mere moments between adorable pictures and complete mayhem  —  I am an efficient photographer.  Quick Shots are 15 minutes and I squeeze in as many pictures as your family is ready for before the timer goes off.  At events, usually I am commissioned for approximately an hour, basically, until I feel like I’ve gotten all of the shots that I need to create a quality book.  Generally an hour gives me enough time to get a wide variety of pictures, including lots of groups and candids but not over-stay my welcome to the point of it being awkward.

Occasionally, it is not enough and increased time should be scheduled in advance, for example:

  • an open house when people are coming and going
  • very large parties or lots of posed group shots
  • a surprise party where there are pictures before the guest of honor arrives, upon arriving, and after…
  • events where someone might want pictures of all of the gifts being opened or games being played
  • family traditions that involve a process (like cookie baking or Italian noodles)
What should we wear? Should we bring anything?

Be yourself! I love taking natural, unique, beautiful pictures.  Scarves are fun and cute… if they are you!  But don’t feel like you need them.  If your daughter loves to dance around the house in her tutu, let her wear it!  If your son only wears athletic shorts, that is okay!  For small groups especially, it does help if colors are seasonal and coordinate but don’t match exactly.  Remember– CASUAL event photographer here.  I don’t really do outfit changes or flowing dresses while someone is wistfully gazing off into the distance… There are way better photographers for that sort of thing than me.

Especially if we are just going for a walk or photographing your home life – prepare and bring things your kids / family love! These pictures are so much more meaningful if they reflect who you are and who your family is.  Think about:  Blanket (especially if it is handmade by grandma!!), Soccer Ball, Teddy Bear, Wagon, Hat, etc.  In full transparency, I am not the kind of photographer that has a bin of fun randomness or a couch in a field, it isn’t really my thing. I love using some of your stuff, but I’m by nature a minimalist and just bring a blanket and a little something to sit on…

How many images will we get? Can we reprint them ourselves to save money?

It really depends on how things are going. Usually I take about 15-300 different shots?  But that varies on a million things, it will be more at a party and less for a little family quick shot.

You are welcome to share pictures with your friends using the link but in addition to the bad karma for attempting… the quality would be low to print, and even lower if you send them to print at a 1 hour, Walmart, or big box store.  High quality digital downloads can be added after the event.  If you go with the premium upgrade, it will also come with a usb flash drive with full resolution files, at that point, you can choose to print the pictures anywhere you like!

THAT SAID!  I am giving you the best deal that I possibly can on professional prints, albums, and canvas!  The quality is nothing that you could find without being a professional photographer.  None of these companies sell to the general public and I needed to be vetted before printing with them.  You will not be disappointed!  The images turn out SO GOOD when they are professionally printed!!

What if you get sick Kelly?! Am I just out of luck?!

Photographers can be a solitary and lonely lot.  Some photographers view everyone as competition and hence run their life and business like a lone wolf.  That is NOT me!  I am surrounded by an incredible support network of other fantastic local photographers.  I look at their stuff and I am blown away by it’s beauty.  I guess that is the great part about photography… even if we were all at the same event, our perspectives and images would all be unique.  All this to say, I have a LIST of highly qualified professionals who I can call in an emergency to take pictures of your event.  No worries!  If it is a quick shot, I will call you to reschedule or find you a replacement, whichever works best for you.

My event is at a location outside Elmhurst, will you take those photographs?

YES! I love to photograph private events! Even if it is at a restaurant or Pump it Up or a pool or especially a forest preserve!  But if the entire area is not specifically rented, it is too tricky to photograph (I guess unless everyone from your group is in exactly the same shirt and really sticks together?  I could probably try that.)

AND NO!  15 Minute Quick Shots are only available in Elmhurst.  I can either come to your Elmhurst home or we can meet at a park in Elmhurst, but unfortunately, I can’t travel for quick shots.

Will you be the center of attention at my event?

I am certainly not like the hired entertainment.  I don’t juggle or do magic or have reptiles or even bring silly photo-booth style costumes.  I’m only 5’1″ so naturally I don’t really stand out anyway.  People will notice that I am there but I’m not normally commissioned to stay for an entire event.  I am usually unobtrusive, stay for about an hour,  wander around and take pictures of groups of people together, both candid and posed.  If it is a family gathering, I’ll try to get family members together for some group shots, but all of that is up to you and decided in the questionnaire before I arrive– so that our expectations are on the same page.

Will EVERYONE from my event be in a picture?

For the most part, yes. I like to know in advance the star of the show and especially about people who should be a focus.  I will never force someone to be in a picture, even at a Quick Shot.  I won’t drag Johnny from under the couch or make Aunt Martha set down her bourbon while she hides behind someone.  I just reassure people that I have their back and I want them to love their pictures as much as possible so I don’t use anything unflattering… But I won’t force someone to take a picture.

This is sad, but someone I love is not well, will you take those pictures?

Please let me know details and the situation in advance so that I can mentally prepare and be ready (even if someone is newly diagnosed).  Being surrounded by so much recent heart-break, I know exactly the pictures I cherish or wish we had.  Ideally, these images will bring comfort and solace and a material reminder of the special connection that can never be lost.

Can you hold your vodka?

Really, at this point, I’m just seeing if anyone is actually still reading these.  If you are… special kudos to you!  I applaud your thoroughness (and PLEASE let me know if I have any errors)!  I’ll throw in a little something extra on your session… put an asterisk* next to the subject line when you are scheduling to book and I’ll know (wink wink)…

But no… I don’t indulge when commissioned for an event!  And yes… I’m Polish / Russian heritage (many generations back) and hold my Tito’s well… now Jose Cuervo and I, not such good friends.

I am so excited!! How soon will I see the pictures?!

Soon! I am just as excited as you!  I try to edit and process through them ASAP!  For Quick Shots, you will have the images within a week, sometimes within a day!  For events, those have A LOT more pictures to sort an edit.  It takes a lot more work, especially with color-balancing and designing the album.  You will have the digital event images within 2-3 weeks.

Prints, canvas, and albums take few weeks after final approval.  If it is urgent to get them sooner, there is an option to add express to your order.  It basically just pays for faster processing and shipping from the company, it still could take up to a week but moves much faster than standard shipping.

Will my private images be all over the internet?

My default, is that images are not posted on any social media or my website.  I understand that some people are private and elect to have their internet and social media presence limited for a variety of reasons. Regardless of how beautiful your pictures are, I will not post anything on my website or social media without your permission.  Even with your permission, if there is ever something that you feel casts an unfavorable light or is too personal, just drop me a quick note and I’ll remove it immediately.  No questions and no hard feelings.  These are your memories…

If you do OK permission for me to use your images, there is always a special thank you gift.  And I always appreciate photo-credits and shout-outs 😉

Photographs taken as a donation for non-profit events will be publicly viewable.