Frequently Asked Questions

A Note About the FAQ: Responses to the various questions are labeled {SS} for information universal to the entire studio (e.g. our privacy policy). Responses that are unique to our various staff are labeled as follows: {CN} for Courtney Nelson [link to her profile or portfolio], and {JW} for James White. 


COVID-19 | About Our Studio | Portraits, Headshots, Environmental | Family PortraitsCouples, Throuples, Foursomes, and Moresomes | Wedding and Engagement Photos | Kids Photography | Maternity and Newborn | Boudoir and Sensual Photography | Event Photography | Commercial Photography | Video | Deliverables/Your Photos | Products | Payment | Shooting Location


COVID-19 and Your Safety 

Even as restrictions on activities start to ease, we are committed to providing a safe experience. We follow the current best practices for photographers and COVID as maintained by the Professional Photographers of America


About Our Studio 

What is your philosophy regarding photography? 

We believe the old cliché that a picture can tell a thousand words. At Silly Serious Photography Company, we have set out to change lives, and maybe even the world, a thousand words at a time. More specifically, we have built our photography practice around visual activism in support of marginalized communities such as the LGBTQA+, disabled, houseless, and SW communities. As a studio, we are particularly interested in imagery that empowers and uplifts - storytelling that evokes emotion and incites positive action. 

What is your photography style? 

{JW} Having spent my teen years in Seattle during the grunge era, I really would like to say that my style is gritty and raw. Unfortunately, that isn't quite true. I like vibrant, sharp, high-contrast photography that shows depth and movement. Bright, beautiful colors with naturally high saturation. I shoot skate and hip hop and lifestyle fashion (in addition to personal portraits, aerial photography, boudoir, and the like), and like to shoot with super side angle lenses. I often shoot portraits in a landscape orientation, and I frequently shoot landscapes in a portrait orientation. 

{CN} My photographic style is connected to my values. I like to capture the real lives of real people doing things in their daily life. I like the gritty underside of a place. The things you may miss when you visit touristy locations as a tourist. I want to capture those things in high contrast and bright colors. 

What type of camera/equipment do you use? 

{JW} I shoot primarily with a Canon 5D mk iii and either a 24-70mm f2.8 or 70-200mm f2.8 lens. My backup and travel camera is the super light Canon SL2. I also fly a Mavic 2 Pro, although we will not be offering drone photography as a commercial service until at least summer 2021. 

{CN} I shoot with a Canon 7D and can often be found sporting a Sigma 50-500mm lens.

Do you backup our images? How can we ensure that our images won’t be lost?

{SS} We have several layers of redundancy in our backups - both physical backups to multiple hard-drives in a redundant array AND online cloud backups. Because of storage constraints, we cannot guarantee retention of images longer than three (3) months after final delivery for personal photography services and twelve (12) months after final delivery for commercial photography.

Do you have Liability Insurance?

{SS} Yes. We carry both General Liability ($1M) and Commercial Property ($500k) insurance policies.

You charge so much. Why should we hire you?

{SS} The photography we practice is both a trade and an art. The trade is one that we have spent thousands of hours learning and practicing. The art is something that we have devoted our entire lifetimes to hone. Just like you CAN hire the next-door neighbor's teenager to help you hang cabinets instead of hiring a professional contractor, you CAN hire a mom with a camera or the kid down the street who had a quarter of photography in middle school. And you might be incredibly pleased with the end result. If, however, you are looking for something better than you can get with your cell phone camera - if you are looking to capture images full of emotion and beauty - that is when and why you hire us.

Can you [something other than the styles described here and represented in our portfolios]?

{SS} In our portfolios and our menu of offerings, we have pursued the types of photography and photographic subjects that excite us and bring us joy. However, if you have an idea or a need that doesn't seem to fit easily into one of our available sessions, or seems different from the types of things you see in our portfolios, feel free to reach out - there are lots of things we would like to photograph or that we wouldn't mind photographing but just never have.


Portraits, Headshots, Environmental

What are environmental portraits?

{SS} Also sometimes called "In Situ Photography," environmental portraits place the subject in their normal surroundings - often either home or the workplace - and typically depict the everyday life and activities of the subject.

{JW} This is by far my favorite way to shoot - not just for personal portraits, but also for fashion, beauty, product photography - just about anything you can think of. I would much rather show fashion in daily use (e.g. what does that skirt look like when you are climbing into your Uber, or hurrying into a staff meeting? How do those jeans look when you're relaxing in the park?) that I would shooting catalog photos against a seamless white background (which I don't think we own).

Will you take photos for my dating profile?

{SS} Absolutely. A great picture (or set of pictures in this case) really can speak a thousand words (although, fair warning, a great photo can't make you a great person - that part's all on you). Check out our Social Media/Dating Site Profile Session for more information.

Do you do senior portraits?

{SS} While "senior portraits" per se are not a specialization of ours, "portraits" are. Rather than the super-posed, kinda creepy senior photos that we've seen a lot of, we recommend either our Branding or Branding-Lite sessions, which are both environmental portrait shoots (capturing your about-to-be graduate in their natural element - hopefully as they really are) combined with headshots (so you have something to send Grandma and to post in the yearbook [do they even do those anymore?]).

Do you photograph men?

{SS} We are welcoming of people of all gender identities.


Family Portraits

Do you photograph families?

{SS} Oh yes, absolutely. We love to photograph families of all kinds and configurations. Whether by birth, marriage, adoption, or by choice [link to article on chose families], the emotional bonds (happy, sad, indifferent, traumatic) between family members can make for intensely beautiful (or just intense) images.

Do you take posed family photos?

{JW} No? Or at least I try my best to set up each group shoot in a way that I am able to capture the natural and genuine interaction between group members. I believe strongly that the memories that bring us the most joy are the ones that come closest to capturing those we love and our relationships with them as we know them and as they really are.

{CN} I can! However, it is not my preference to have every person in a photo carefully posed and smiling at me. I’d like to capture the genuine you. So when you receive those proofs, you may see a mix of posed and candid to choose from. 

What if my children misbehave?

{JW} So?

{CN} What James probably means is that this is a good opportunity to capture your child's personality. We have fun with it.

{JW} Yeah. Something like that.

How should we dress for our family photos?

{JW} In clothes. (Yes, I AM a dad. What gave that away?) Preferably clothes that are familiar and comfortable. At least personally, I would much rather a photo with my youngest daughter in her well-worn and deeply loved Nirvana t-shirt than in a new spring dress that she is only going to wear the once. She might disagree (but she isn't a photographer, so I suppose she doesn't really get a vote on this page).

{CN} It depends on the look that you're going for. It also depends on how personal you want the photos to feel. Do you want to remember the way your family looked day-to-day? School or play clothes might be the way to go. Are you hoping for something more formal to hang over the mantle or send to Grandma? A more dressed-up look might be more appropriate.


Couples, Throuples, Foursomes, and Moresomes

SSPC is friendly to all manner and configuration of legal, consensual relationships, and we would love to help you commemorate them. Whether it is a first anniversary, a twentieth, or just a fun thing to do together, a photo shoot is always a great idea. We are a poly-friendly business.


Weddings and Engagement Photos

Do you shoot weddings?

{SS} No*

Do you do destination weddings?

{SS} See above

How do I get my wedding published on other wedding blogs or magazines?

{SS} 🤷‍♂️

Do you need to attend our rehearsal?

{SS} We're invited? We don't shoot weddings.

Do you offer engagement sessions?

{SS} In case you missed the theme, we do not.

*In full disclosure, we do make occasional exceptions for personal friends and the rare handfasting.


Kids Photography

I'm worried that my child(ren) will misbehave. What should I do?

{CN} Define “misbehave!” In my 20 years of caring for children, I’ve very rarely found a child at the exact moment where they are willing to comply perfectly. Is your child being kind of goofy? I’m going to keep shooting. You may be frustrated and then find later that those are the most endearing photos. Is your child clearly upset by the presence of a camera? In that case, we may need to redirect. I will be counting on you, as the parent, to help keep them engaged during the process. You know your child best, and they trust you the most.

{JW} Whatever you do, don't follow any of Mother Goose's advice.

What about very young children?

{CN} We are happy to take photos of the littlest littles.

What do I need to prepare for my child(ren)'s photography session

{CN} Children seem happiest when they are well rested and fed, so that’s a good place to start. I would also appreciate if you arrived early enough that your child has a chance to become acquainted with me and my camera before we start. As far as supplies go, please consider bringing a couple outfits that will be easy to change in and out of, as well as a toy, book, or treat that may help to sooth and ground them if necessary.

{JW} A big plate of spaghetti. Spaghetti sounds delicious today.


Maternity and Newborn

When do newborn sessions occur?

{SS} We usually recommend newborn sessions happen during the first couple weeks after the baby is born, and still has all the brand-new factory marks. But it is relative and also not that critical.

What I really meant was - what time of day is best for newborn sessions?

{SS} We find that after naptime is much better than before.


Boudoir and Sensual Photography

I'm not as [young/pretty/thin/tall/short/curvy/tan/etc etc] as [I would like to be/the models I see in magazines/my favorite singer]. Is boudoir still for me?

{SS} This is something that we hear a lot. And it's a valid concern - we, as a society, are constantly bombarded with images that conform to a very narrow set of beauty standards that are not necessarily representative of what we or anyone we know looks like. We at SSPC are affected by the same worries about ourselves. But we also have the strong belief that it is our customers themselves that are beautiful, and that our role as photographers is to help bring that to the surface where we can photograph it.

Do I have to wear lingerie?

{SS} To us, the core concept of boudoir is capturing the singing-with-a-shampoo-bottle-in-the-mirror version of you that you only let out when you are alone. As if you were in your boudoir with nobody watching. What do you wear when you are alone and want to look beautiful? Wear that. If that's lingerie, awesome. If that's jeans and a hoodie, great. Panties and a t-shirt? One of the best looks, in our opinion.

How many outfits should I bring?

{SS}Some of this is a part of the pre-shoot idea generation and planning, and also depends on the session type you choose, but we generally advise that you bring at least two more outfits than you expect to use. This is even more important for critical but often overlooked items such as stockings. Bring extra.

Where should I purchase my outfits?

{SS} Look to our blog in the next couple of months (written March 2021) for some great tips on places to find beautiful lingerie and lounge wear for bodies of all shapes, sizes, and identities.

Will you share my images?

{SS} We will always ask if you are comfortable sharing some or all of them, but our default is that your private images remain private. Occasionally we run an offer giving significant discounts on session fees but requiring a model release - these shoots are specifically for portfolio building and do require that your images be sharable to get the discount.

Can I bring a friend to my shoot?

{SS} Absolutely. Due to COVID restrictions we are limiting chaperones to just one, and they must wear a mask and maintain socially distance during the shoot. Just make sure that they are your greatest cheerleader and hugest fan.

I’m not sure what I want to order yet, can I decide when I see my photos?

{SS} While some studies offer big session and product bundles or make you pre-purchase all of your prints, that just isn't our style. Your session comes with a number of final digital downloads and a print release so that you can have your own prints made if you desire. Your proofing gallery also offers a convenient way to order beautiful prints and other products directly from our professional print lab partners.

What if I want beautiful pictures of myself but don’t really want to do boudoir?

{SS} Maybe a lifestyle (also called environmental or in situ) shoot would be a better fit. We offer a number of different session types.

I’d love to do an intimate boudoir session with my significant other – do you offer this?

{SS} We offer couples boudoir sessions. Just make sure that your significant other is aware of and fully on board with participating. (As an important note, this also goes for purchasing a surprise boudoir session for someone - we will only photograph someone with their pre-existing informed and enthusiastic consent. This means that they have to know what they are getting into and are willingly consenting).

Where can I find some ideas for clothing, poses, etc.?

{SS} We will be covering this in our blog over the next couple months (written March 2021), but there are also some great resources on our Pinterest page.

Do I need to buy new outfits?

{SS} This is a tricky one. What we really want is you to feel comfortable and beautiful. Do you have outfits right now that make you feel that way? Awesome - wear them. If not, and you do buy something(s) new, we recommend that you spend some time in your new outfit - both to avoid that "just taken out of the package" look, but also so that you have a sense of the outfit and how you feel in it.

Do I have to use your HMUA or can I use my own?

{SS} You can have your hair and makeup done by someone you know and trust, or you can have it done by one of the amazingly talented HMUAs that we work with - hair and makeup is an option when you book. Please note that we have to schedule our HMUAs in advance, and hair and makeup fees are non-refundable.


Event Photography

Do you shoot Quinceaneras, Debutants, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, or Corporate Events?

{SS} Maybe? Drop us a line and we can talk about it.


Commercial Photography

Do you do product photography?

{SS} Yes, we very much do. We offer a number of services tailored to small and medium businesses (SMBs). Drop us a line or visit our SMB Services page.

Will you come to our office to take photos of our business?

{SS} We would love to. Please drop us a line or visit our SMB Services page for more information about what we offer, and to get things started.



Does your studio provide videography?

{SS} Not at the moment


Deliverables/Your Photos

Do you deliver every image you shoot?

{SS} Oh goodness no. Some of the shots we take during a session just don't work out, and some of them are down-right terrifying (e.g. accidental macro nostril shot). We cull out shots that have technical issues, duplicates, and the like before color correcting the set and uploading it to your proofing gallery. Each session type comes with a number or range of numbers of final digital downloads as part of the session fee. The proofing gallery is where you select those. You can also order prints and other products from the proofing gallery.

Do you edit all of our photographs?

{SS} If by "edit" you mean cull the ones that didn't work and color correct the set, yes. All of the images in your proofing gallery are color corrected and may have light retouching. After you have selected the photos that come with the session, we may do some additional retouching to just those images, if necessary.

What format do you shoot in/deliver in?

{SS} Digital downloads are high-resolution jpeg images. Prints and other products are delivered directly from the professional print lab.

Can you "fix it in Photoshop?"

{SS} For personal photography services we generally only do very light retouching. If there are things you are concerned about, let's chat about them before the shoot - sometimes it's infinitely easier to de-emphasize things photographically with posing and lighting than it is to repaint them in an editor.



What if I just want digital copies?

{SS} Each of our sessions comes with a stated number of digital downloads.

What rights do I have to the digital prints?

{SS} For personal photographic services, digital downloads come with a print release that allows uploading to social media and allowing you to print an unlimited number for personal use only.

Do you provide RAW images?

{SS} Not for personal photographic services.

How many pictures will we receive?

{SS} It depends on the session you purchase, but smaller sessions usually include 5-8 images, while larger sessions include anywhere from 15 to over 30 images, depending on the session type.



What Payment Options Do You Accept?

{SS} We use Square as the payment gateway for our bookings, and Stripe for our prints and product purchases. Square accepts "most internationally-issued magstripe or chip cards bearing a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, or UnionPay logo." Stripe accepts American Express, China UnionPay (CUP), Discover & Diners, Japan Credit Bureau (JCB), Mastercard, and Visa.

Do you charge travel fees?

{SS} We do not charge travel fees for shoots within 30 miles of our base of operations (which is usually Gresham, OR).

When is payment due?

{SS} We require a credit card at the time of booking as part of Square's no-show protection, but your card is not charged until the day of your session.  No-show protection kicks in if you don't come for your session or if you cancel with less than three days' notice, and takes the place of the non-refundable deposits that we used to charge. The no-show fee varies by session type, but is usually half of the session fee. Cancelation or rescheduling with at least three days notice does not incur a fee*.

* We understand that life can be chaotic sometimes, and so allow sessions to be rescheduled (with at least three days' notice) up to two times before we cancel the booking and charge the no-show fee.

Do you offer gift certificates?

{SS} We do! Click here to order yours.


Shooting Location

Where will the session take place?

{SS} By default, the client (that's you) is responsible for finding and securing the location, including permission to shoot. We do offer location services for the greater of cost or $350, and work with a number of rental photography studios, hotels, short-term rentals, and other locations, depending on the concept and mood of the shoot.

Where do you live and how far do you travel?

{SS} Our base of operations is in Gresham, OR. For personal photographic services, we operate in an approximately 30 mile radius from home. But we are also open to conversation if you have a project that is worth working on.

Can you provide my venue with a certificate of insurance?

{SS} Yes

Do you offer in-studio shoots?

{SS} Yes - choose the location services add-on when you book.

Do you allow for multiple locations?

{SS} Some of our packages do.