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Frequently Asked Questions

Photographers differ not only in style but also in policies and best business practices. Researching those in advance will help you understand our processes, properly prepare, set realistic expectations, and avoid unpleasant discoveries. Below are the common questions we were asked by hundreds. It's a great starting point which will help us get to the business in no time when you first contact us. We believe we covered pretty much everything but if you have any unanswered questions, please ask, we'll be happy to discuss!

General

1Do you take "normal" photos? All these dramatic pozy shots in your portfolio...
Of course we do! In fact, most of them are "normal" and may not differ a huge lot from an average photographer. We just don't show them in our portfolio or blog, however cute and important they are to a client. Artists show their best so if you see mostly "normal" shots elsewhere, chances are there aren't many better ones. You can get those from us and on top of them, something different and not as attainable by the others.
2Do you only work with beautiful people?
Believe it or not, we hear this often and take it as a huge compliment... The short answer is: we make them beautiful. While our body of work does include a prominent fashion clientele including models, it is what we mastered and practiced in that fashion industry that helps us implement the best posing, lighting, and retouching techniques which may turn an average person into a magazine-worthy subject if this is your preference.
3You advocate the all-day sessions a lot in your blog. How do you define them?
The beauty of all-day portrait sessions is their "all-you-can-handle" approach so there is no limitation other than our endurance. Our longest shoot was about 32 straight hours long (hint: you cannot break it into two days without paying for two).
4What is an "all-day" wedding coverage?
For the weddings, this aims to remove the hourly rate concerns and encompass everything between the middle of a bride's preparation and cake cutting, regardless of the actual number of hours. Should you still wish to extend the coverage beyond this, we'll happily oblige and offer the hourly rate just for that extra time.
5Can we hire you just for the engagement session (without the wedding coverage)?
Ah, you've probably heard that these sessions are one of Zorz Studios' hot and hardly matched specialties! :) They are our true creative outlet, what helped persuade a fashion photographer to brave the wedding industry. Certainly, we can help you turn an engagement session into an adventure as only a few others can, even if you aren't our wedding client! Please be aware that to give a special treat to our own wedding clients, their pricing is lower. If this is your way to try us out, you'll pay more but we'll discount your wedding package for the difference should you hire us later for the wedding.
6Do you shoot birthday parties, Quinceaneras, Débutantes, Communions, Mitzvahs, Sweet 16, or Corporate Events?
Absolutely, these are just different types of events. Photographers who excel at their big crazy brother Wedding look at these events as a piece of birthday cake!
7Can I see a full event from start to finish?
Of course you may and should! We obviously only post our best shots to our blog and portfolio but we want you to see how well we perform throughout the event, including traditional family portraits. We'll be happy to provide you with the access to the current events.

Business/Legal

1What is the best way to get and stay in touch with you?
There are plenty of ways to initially get in touch with us—our contact form, calling, emailing, texting, through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and a bunch more. However, we'll lose our mind trying to remember who said what and where; such need arises more often than you'd think, especially when communication lasts for months and years. To navigate smoothly between all the social hubs and technology, we need to funnel all business correspondence through a single channel, email. We get your addiction to texting or Facebooking but this convenience is short-sighted. Phones with their messages get replaced and lost, social channels and accounts come and go, and we don't want to entrust our business communication to services like Facebook whose security and long-term fate is less certain than email’s. Art is a beauty and leisure but to us, it's also a business. Email is the gold standard for any business to stay organized and accountable in the foreseeable future. So, shortly after our initial exchange we will request to switch to email and will be rerouting your texts and IMs back to email. :)

A noteworthy exception is the day-of coordination by texting, we like that!
2I work during the day and can only call in the evening, can I reach you?
We, too! :) Back in the day, we didn't value family a lot... We still clock in 72+ hours per week but evenings became important in our personal lives. We loooove to talk to clients during the day but our phone system goes down at 6 PM. It comes back at 6 AM, though! If you work late hours, let's chat during the breakfast! Or, perhaps at lunch or other breaks? For the same reason, any emails received after hours will be addressed the following business morning.

Some exceptions are the initial meetings with wedding clients and Skyping with overseas clients: those can occur any time of the evening or night!

And, of course, none of it pertains to the actual shooting! We shoot any time of the day and worked through the nights when needed. Our longest shoot was about 32 straight hours long.
3Do you work on weekends?
Yes, certainly on Saturdays and for weddings—also on Sundays. This only applies to shooting; all email and phone communication resumes on Mondays. Kindly read about the reasons in the previous question.
4Will I have the copyright to all photos?
Usually, no. The term "copyright" is often misunderstood and confused with "usage rights". Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976 and Copyright Law of the US Title 17 Chapter 2, when the shutter is released, the photographer who pressed the button owns the copyright. It gives the photographer the ownership rights to display, reproduce, and distribute the photos. An exception is when the image falls into the “work for hire" category, i.e. when the photographer is an employee hired to take photographs for the employer—an example would be a photojournalist who is an employee of a newspaper but not a portrait or wedding photographer who is hired for one event (Carolyn E. Wright of PhotoAttorney.com).

Now, the copyright may be temporarily licensed or permanently transferred for a fee and this is the case with our higher-paying commercial clients. A portraiture session fee or a wedding package covers time and talent but not such transfer of copyright; you may purchase it separately.

So what are you left with, then? Usage rights. As our contract stipulates, we grant you the right to use the photos for any personal, non-commercial purpose, including personal printing and displaying on personal websites and social media. You may not sell the images for profit or publish them in non-personal media without the written consent of Zorz Studios. If you use them for any commercial purpose, we'll just need to discuss the fair profit distribution. :)
5I don't want my photos shown in public, will you respect such request?
Foremost, this is a very important notion to point out prior to booking, not afterwards. There are three main cases when we will oblige to such request unconditionally: boudoir, maternity, and sessions with young children. If you do not fall in such category we can still work it out with a certain understanding. We are artists, we want our work to be widely seen not only for the continued self-esteem boost but also to attract new clients. When shooting, we try harder knowing that hundreds of people will see the results... It would be insincere of anyone to claim otherwise. Every new publishing leads to something. Depriving us of this opportunity has a direct effect on bookings so we can certainly respect your request but have to charge a higher fee for the loss of unrealized profit.
6My venue requires all vendors be insured, are you?
Yes, we are covered by a $2,000,000 Liability Insurance required by many venues for working on their premises. Certificate of Insurance will be provided to the venue upon request but since it takes time for the insurance company to prepare a venue-specific certificate, it must be requested at least three weeks in advance. If you do not inquire with the venue in advance and we are asked for it days before the event we will not have it ready and the venue may not allow us in.
7Studio A or studio B does it a different way, can you do as well?
What you probably found out just a few days or weeks ago was already known to us years earlier yet it did not affect the policy. Majority of our policies are shared by hundreds of established studios leading the industry on a national or international level. We cannot match every local studio or a part-timer willing to offer just about anything to earn your business. On the same token we do not price-match. Some attract with price, others with product, and you have a benefit of choice.

Location/Travel

1Where are you located and how far are you willing to commute?
We are based in NYC but travelled to 21 states and 23 countries on assignments between Alaska and India. A shoot in upstate New York, the Hamptons, Delaware Water Gap, or Washington, DC is local to us! You can take us anywhere, even in questionable places (in fact, Ed is always aching for those). Comfort, safety, and distance are not of a primary concern.
2Do you do destination weddings?
Yes, and the scope was mentioned in the previous answer. Weddings in the Caribbean within a 3-hr flight don't quite feel like a destination anymore after working in Europe, Middle East, and South Asia. And, we are low-maintenance so bringing us there will not break the bank. See the next question.
3What is your approach to travel fees and arrangements? How expensive do they get?
Local assignments: we do not charge any transportation fee within Manhattan while for the outer boroughs, Greater New York, and tri-state area we bill for all travel-related expenses such as gas, tolls, parking, cabs, or other fares. We cannot pre-add them to the packages as they vary greatly and would not be fair to those who are too local to pay them at all.

Remote assignments: we are eager to keep the costs to the rock bottom: instead of a typical approach of charging a bumped flat fee to cover all realized and unrealized expenses and—righteously so—time away from business, we only bill for some of the actual costs. Yes, the list may get detailed but it will end up being cheaper to you. Clients are responsible for all travel and accommodation fees including those in NYC (e.g., a cab to/from the airport or a long-term parking there). When transporting heavy equipment, the airline will impose an extra bag fee. The cheapest flight option will usually work out even if it means a wee-hour, red-eye, or a long connection. Running the business always pulls us back and we usually minimize the stay even if it's a sunny beach in the Hawaii. There were cases when Ed flew in and out within one day for a 2-hour session. Most would have taken the opportunity to rest and enjoy a new city, perhaps. A typical exception is extending our business trips to India where we pay for anything unrelated to the assignment, including extra nights.

We do not require any premium accommodation and we opted for some untraditional options in the past (because it's an experience!!). And, we more than welcome accommodations with clients' friends or family members instead of hotels. Also, we never bill for food. We are low-maintenance.
4We have some frequent-flyer points. Can we buy air tickets for you?
Absolutely, whatever brings the costs down! BTW, this is our overall credo on the client's expenses.

Financials

1What are your prices?
We know this is a burning and hard-not-to-ask-first question... Portrait sessions start from $400, weddings from $1,900, commercial shoots vary widely. There is a lot more to consider so we'll come up with a more accurate range or quote once you contact us and we hear more about your needs.
2What forms of payment do you accept? Is there a cash discount?
Our dedicated secure online booking system accepts Mastercard and Visa credit cards, eChecks, and bank transfers. Personal checks are good and just require an additional time for clearing. Cash is also fine but there is no discount on the package base prices, unfortunately.
3Our wedding is on Friday (or Wednesday). Can we get a discounted rate?
Yes, if we can work less hard and passionately. ;)
4Do you run any specials or offer any discounts at all?
Yes, we offer several specials throughout the year and some clients plan accordingly. Examples are Free Engagement Session contest, Boudoir Marathon, Mama's Love, or Operation Smile charity event. Note that such specials come with a catch such as a need to make more of the own effort during the preparation, time and location limitations, or as number of retouched images. We also run overall sale events but they happen rarely and to catch them, it is best to be subscribed to our mailing list. We are actively involved with charities and public service and we do have special pricing for some honorable industries. Finally, our returning clients receive a special loyalty discount and our industry peers qualify for a reduced pricing.
5Do you require a deposit? What is your payment plan?
In general, a 50% retainer is required to hold your date and get us committed, fully thinking, and preparing for the shoot. For portraiture sessions, all concept development and research start after the retainer is received.

The balance is due two weeks prior to the shoot date (weddings and events), on the day (portraits), or upon the image delivery (commercial). Sorry, we do not offer balance payment on the day of album/image delivery for our wedding clients. Our more than 10-year stellar reputation is more important than cutting a few corners so there is no ground for worries of under-delivery. :)
6Is there a refund if I need to cancel?
No, the retainer is non-refundable but no money is lost with Zorz Studios! It will simply turn into a studio credit with no expiration date and you may even transfer the credit as a valuable and unique gift to your friend or family member. We faced a few such situations but all cases lead to making up and a happy end!
7What if we run over your contracted time?
We understand that things get delayed and will not coldly pack up on the dot. We do give a 15-minute grace period but as the time approaches, we'll notify you and ask if you are interested in extending the coverage. Only if you approve will we stay and later bill you on an hourly basis. If two photographers were contracted, the rate will be a combination of both unless we decide that one of us has adequate means of leaving the venue/shoot location and you agree that only one photographer is sufficient for the additional coverage.
8We'll have a bunch of potential clients at our wedding and will bring you lots of business. Can you give us a discount, then?
The truth is, this is usually the case with any wedding. We demonstrate our passion, effort, and vision to your guests and want to believe that it will have a solid and favorable effect, earning their future interest. Our happy clients' referrals flow naturally, too. :)

Before the Shoot

1How far in advance should I book you?
It depends on your flexibility and desire to secure us to work for you. If it's for a portrait session and you are flexible during the workweek, you can book as late as few days prior to the shoot. Weekends, on the other hand, are often booked up 2-3 months in advance or further around summer. If you worry about committing to the date too far in advance, no need to—we are happy to reschedule!

With weddings, you'd be taking a chance as you cannot move the date when finding out we are no longer available. The closer you are to your date, the less of the chance we will have. Those not taking a risk book 1-2 years in advance. It is prudent and safe.
2Can you pencil us down and hold the date?
Unless you are "married" to us already as a growing number of clients demonstrate, it is advisable to talk to 3-5 studios to find your best balance of artistry and budget. It is not expected that you will jump on booking right after our conversation but we cannot hold your date. Our automated online booking system leaves dates open to anyone who moves first.
3Could you let us know if another couple is asking for our date while we are still thinking?
We are very reluctant to do it as we know some businesses use a crafty technique of imaginary "other clients" and we do not want to be perceived as such. We will work independently with both couples knowing that whoever is ready to work with us will act sooner. Our self-serve online booking system leaves dates open to anyone ready to act.
4Have you shot at my venue before?
We hope we did not! What could be better for an inquisitive mind always looking for new inspiration and opportunities? There is actually a good chance we've shot there but if not, we will aim to get to the venue early to scout it. We also do online research prior to your date.

During the Shoot

1I've never done such shoot and clueless what to do. Will you guide me?
Ah, this is one of the best things about Zorz Studios experience. Most of the shots you see in our portfolio are of people like you who also had minimal to no experience. They look like professional models, don't they? This is what we know how to achieve. Our experience in fine art and fashion industry, including building portfolios for aspiring models, lets us implement the trade secrets and techniques on how to pose and direct. Ed calls himself a sculptor and you should see him create his artwork! Not a single finger of yours will be left without his meticulous attention, not a degree of your head turn will be off, not a pose will be cliche and unflattering. However, he can let those comfortable and truly natural or knowing what to do take the lead and freely express themselves. It's only an easier thing to do.
2We don't like stiff and posed photos and want ours very natural-looking, can you help?
Yes, especially if you can act naturally. A funny thing happens when those wanting to look natural are asked to be natural... They freeze and look lost. They stare and ask: "Eh... What do I do?" And then they make silly movements... Very few can do without a photographer so however you are appalled by the word "posed", you will likely benefit from our direction and posing. It's the art of making the poses look natural and not as editorial if you prefer.

After the Shoot

1How soon will I see my photos?
Typically, you will have the first look at them in one week to two months depending on the season and current workload. Technically, we can show the images the following day but you would not see what you expected when hiring us. What we do takes above the average effort and extensive time. We always have a standing job queue and, just like you would not appreciate others cutting the line in front of you and pushing you back, we cannot bump your order at the expense of others waiting even longer.
2Will you feature my shoot in your cool blog?
Ah, our blog is indeed a visual treat and we love featuring our clients there! It involves a huge effort, Ed is personally working on it, and some posts take an entire day to write, mixed with common business distractions. As much as we'd want to feature every shoot, the blog remains a perk and oftentimes it is just impossible to work on without the dangers of worsening the backlogs. There were quite a few cool shots that had to be skipped in favor of maintaining the flow.
3How many photos will I get?
You will get all photos except for test shots, accidental duplicates, missed-focus, and unrecoverable faulty shots which are deleted during the initial revision. While we don't cap ourselves, we normally don't "spray and pray" as less experienced photographers may do. We shoot very selectively, either taking our time building up and developing a shot prior to pressing the shutter, or watching an action closely from the ambush, ready to snipe that shot at the right moment. We are after quality, not quantity. As such, we cannot commit to or target a given number of photos: it will depend on the flow of the session or event.
4Is retouching included and to what extent?
Many photographers will rely on the camera's auto-processing and not post-process any images, or will only process selected photos. Resulting images may be imperfect (too dark, tinted, unnatural skin tones, etc.)

We, on the other hand, only shoot in camera RAW format which allows for the greatest manipulation and adjustment of images. Since the camera makes no automatic adjustments, every single photo has to go through a manual post-processing on a computer on what we call a Standard level. The photos are adjusted for exposure, levels, contrast, color balance and color channel adjustment, clarity, tone mapping, sharpness, saturation, noise reduction, cropping, and a few more parameters. A filter may be thrown here and there. This is what many studios do and deliver. As you might guess, this is not the level you've seen in our portfolio. An advanced processing rules there and we call it Master level. It involves a ton of crazy mixes of beauty retouching and artistic techniques. Ed, being a painter and fashion photographer, knows the secrets. Plus, his artistic background allows him see a bit more. Each package contains a given number of such Master images, between 5 and 50.
5Will I get all photos in high resolution?
High resolution images come standard in all commercial, event, wedding, plus all-day portraiture sessions as an incentive. All portraiture sessions that are half-day and shorter provide only fully retouched Master photos in high resolution. Their number depends on the length of the session (e.g., 5 to 20). Our reasoning is that to maintain the acclaimed brand identity, we discourage printing large photos which were not properly retouched. All those un-retouched photos (a.k.a. proofs) are just the "paths" to the Master images that reflect our intended vision and are given to you in their full glory. :) However, you will get all the proofs! They will be in a web-friendly size and you can still make small prints with them. We just don't want them on the walls—we give our Master images for that.
6Will I get to choose the photos for your retouching?
As a rule, we make our own decision for the portraiture sessions since this only serves as the logical finale to the visual thought process started during the shoot. We know exactly what we were aiming to achieve at the shoot and we want to finish the job we started and fully materialize our artistic vision the way you expected from us. On a technical side, it is also much easier for us to assess which images would benefit the most from the advanced retouching or have a hidden potential for a dramatic enhancement.
7Can we get the engagement photos before the wedding? We want to do something with them.
There isn't likely anything that we could not do with your engagement photos for the wedding. Save-the-date cards, sign-in photo books, table and wall displays, favors, slideshows, and so much more! Thus, we do not release any high-resolution files before the wedding, feeling secure about the polished outcome under our own quality control and meeting our studio's standards. Unfortunately, we have seen some unflattering manipulations and public displays of our work in front of hundreds of guests. We hear clients assuring us of intended good quality but most of them simply do not know better, just because they will go to a consumer-oriented lab. Professional labs do not work directly with consumers. It is the professional labs that deliver top quality, unmatched by the consumer labs. Yet, if you believe you have a truly hard-to-match idea for your engagement photos, share with us and we'll see if we can bend the policy a bit.
8I'm looking at this insanely dramatic shot of yours, will my Master images be along the same lines?
Maybe, if the shooting conditions were similar. We do not enhance photos for the sake of using Photoshop and throwing as many techniques on them as we mastered and demonstrated in the past. In other words, different photos fit different enhancing approaches. What worked for that image may ruin or look out of place in your photos. We see some photos calling for only subtle artistic changes while others have all the ingredients for drama (e.g., the sky, dynamics, shadows, tension). A lot depends on the environment and flow of the shoot, so just in case, please do not expect the same outcome. Let's leave some room for a surprise.
9Where can we see our photos first?
Each booking automatically creates an online gallery and this is where all photos will go when ready. The gallery is initially password-protected but you can freely give access to your friends and family. Hiding any number of images prior to sharing is possible. This gallery is used not only for sharing but also selecting your own favorites (if applicable) and ordering printed products (prints, canvas, cards, gifts, magnets, etc.) via a secured shopping card for a direct delivery to anyone who gets access. No need to collect and track others' orders!
10Will you give me a CD or a thumb drive with photos?
All jobs are delivered via the same online gallery (see previous question). Disabled during the studio's initial exclusive printing rights period, downloading of the images will be enabled two months after the gallery goes live or placing your post-processing/print order, whichever is later. If a CD or a thumb drive is absolutely required, we'll be happy to provide for an extra charge.
11Can we do our own prints or albums?
By all means! First, after the image preparation (see "How soon will I see my photos?") you will have your own online gallery to view and share with your friends and family. What's more, the same gallery serves as an ordering system during our initial 2-month exclusive printing period so your guests can order their own prints without ever bugging you!

Here's something to ponder on: for your own printing, you must be thinking of a consumer-oriented service, either online or at a local store/pharmacy. They are fine if quality isn't critical: bulk printing cannot sustain the quality of product or customer care for too long. We, on the other hand, use pro labs closed to public. They only service professional photo studios, print less, have exclusive state-of-the-art equipment, and value our B2B relationship, striving to keep us elated and returning. They do charge more but you could see the difference. And yet, you may be surprised how relatively inexpensive our printing prices are!

If the small price difference between our pro lab and your preferred consumer lab isn't convincing, you will be able to print all your high resolution photos whenever you wish after the final delivery.
12How long will that online gallery stay?
The online gallery is a paid service provided by a third party. Zorz Studios covers the first three months of hosting the images so this is how long your gallery will be freely available. We believe this gives more than sufficient time for us to finalize our selections, place any print orders, and do the delivery via downloading. The gallery will be taken down afterwards but can be brought back later for a fee for another month.
13Will you always have a backup of our photos in case we lose them?
Not always. There are 2-4 copies of your images on separate drives/machines while we are processing them. However, once we deliver, the studio can no longer hold responsibility for storing the images; eventually they get permanently deleted from the archives as well. You are strongly advised to make own backup copies and store them in safe separate geographical locations as the studio may be unable to help you recover any lost images.
14I'd like to leave a feedback, where can I write a review?
This would be kind of you and greatly appreciated! It is useful to us and the potential clients so we put everything together for you here. Thank you in advance!