Frequently Asked Questions About Outer Banks Beach Portraits

Q: How do we go about booking a Photo Session with you? Is there a contract?

A: We will email you a contract that you can either email back or print and bring with you when we meet.  We only book a certain amount of photo sessions each week, so that we can allow for any weather/scheduling issues.  You’ll let us know as soon as you’re checked in and settled, and then we’ll look at the weather forecast and choose a day that works for everyone. 

Q: What can we expect when we meet for our Photo Session?

A:  We’re an easy-going husband-wife team with kids of our own, so we try to make you feel as comfortable as possible.  Matt is the main photographer and Sue will shoot from different angles and try to catch any candid moments happening while other family members are being photographed.  Before we begin shooting, we often hear people say “I hate getting my picture taken” or “I don’t take good pictures”, but usually at the end, those same people are happy, saying, “Wow, that wasn’t bad at all!”  Between the two of us, we can move quickly and efficiently to make our time with even the most camera-shy people enjoyable and fun! 

Q: How long does a session last?  Do you break up large families into smaller groups? What about individual shots?

A: Each session lasts for about an hour, give or take, depending on how large your family is.  We try to move quickly when there are small children or older people who are sensitive to the heat and get them done first in case they need to go indoors to cool off.  When we have a large family, we usually start off with a big group picture, and then break it down into families, siblings with the parents, grandkids with grandparents, or whatever combinations you’d like.  We can take solo (individual) shots too!

Q: Do you come to us or do we come to you?

A: The choice is yours! We’re based in Kill Devil Hills and have two favorite locations that we use regularly, one of which is on the beach and the other on the west sound side of the island, so we can change up the scenery a bit.  If you prefer, we are happy to come to you anywhere between Hatteras and Corolla (we can’t go to Carova or Ocracoke, sorry!), but an added fee may be possible, depending on how far we have to travel. 

Q: Do you offer evening sessions, morning sessions, or both?

A: We schedule most sessions in the evening about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before sunset.  Our morning sessions can be at any time; however, it is important to keep in mind it can get very hot and the beaches are more crowded in the summer.  If you have small children, we can choose a time of day when they will be the most cheerful.

Q: Is there a limit on the number of images you take? Will we receive all of the images or just a few?

A: Every photo session is different, so we don’t have an exact number of images that we will take, but our goal is to give you as much as possible! We will give you everything we shoot, except any obvious duplicates, or instances where someone isn’t looking, eyes are closed, etc.

Q: How long does it take to get our photographs?

A: Our contract allows us 8 to 10 weeks for the photo processing, but on average, it takes 6 weeks or less. We know how hard it is to wait, so about a week after, we’ll send you a handful of “teaser photos” that will include some highlights from our session to tide you over while you wait for the rest that you’ll be able to share with your friends and family. 

Q: Let me get this straight – you will post all of our high resolution, unmarked images in a gallery on your online professional lab for us to download for FREE with permission to take them anywhere we want to make reprints?  What’s the catch? Are there any hidden fees? Can I add a photo DVD?

A: Yes, that’s right!  You will be able to download all of your images for free and do as you wish with the files.  We do occasionally run specials on photo prints and gifts through our professional lab because it does help us out, but you are not obligated to make purchases through us.  After asking our previous clients what they thought about free online downloading versus the DVDs, the majority said the online option is much more convenient because they can share the link with the whole family to download the images, and also because most new computers are being made without DVD burners.  You still may add a photo DVD for $500.00.   We give you such a great deal because we realize it’s our families who hire us again and again helping us to stay in business.  There is no catch and no hidden fees.  Of course if you feel the need to tip us, we will happily accept!

Q: What is best to wear?

A:  A lot of people wear the typical family portrait “uniform” of matching khakis or blue jeans and white shirts, which is fine with us, but there is no rule that everyone has to match.  We think colors look great on the beach and it’s nice to change things up.  We definitely encourage you to wear clothing you are comfortable in. Just try to stay away from too many ruffles that might blow over your face on a windy day!

Q: What happens if it rains or is too windy?

A: We have a few options in the case of inclement weather. First, we look at the weather forecast and try to reschedule. If that option is not possible then we can offer two other options. We can give you a rain check for the next time you visit or we can shoot the images creatively inside your rental home.

Q: Will the wind affect our hair?

A: Yes. The Wright Brothers didn’t choose the Outer Banks to fly the first airplane for no reason!  We are used to dealing with extreme weather conditions, so if it’s a really windy day, we will try to position you accordingly so your hair is not blowing in your face.  We suggest that you consider this when choosing your hairstyle for the session and use PLENTY of hairspray, which can sometimes help in the wind and high humidity. Feel free to keep fixing your hair as needed.

Q: Can you fix my windblown hairstyle?

A: No, unfortunately we can’t magically give you a new hairdo with Photoshop, as we are photojournalists and we document things as they are.  If you have one or two favorite photos and there is a small stray hair flying around, if our schedule allows us the time, we can try to see what we can do.

Q: My baby fell yesterday and has a big bruise! Will you fix the bruise with Photoshop? 

A: It figures, right? The day before the family portraits, your child has an accident! We take a large amount of photos, so it would be impossible to fix bruises on every image.  Should you have a particular favorite picture or two, if our schedule allows us the time, we can try to doctor the bruise up for you.

Q: Can you make me look skinnier in the photos?

A: No, we cannot make you look skinnier with Photoshop; however, we strive to capture your beauty, inside and out, just the way you are.

Q: Can we bring props? What about changing outfits?

A: Yes, we love that!  If the kids have any favorite toys, bring them along to help keep them happy during the posed photos and so we can catch some candid pictures of them playing on the beach.  We have groups bring funny hats or even costumes to change into for a few shots!

Q: We have our pets with us. Will you shoot them also?

A: Yes! We love pets!  They can be really funny and we have plenty of patience.

Q: Can we request special shots, such as jumping, writing in the sand, etc.?

A: Yes. If you’ve seen any specific photos in magazines or online that you like, we are happy to try to recreate them with you.  If not, we’ll just do our thing and pose you ourselves.

Q: Do you mind if our friends shoot alongside?

A: Honestly, we prefer to be the only photographers during our time with you. When other people try to shoot  when we are shooting, it takes about double the time, nobody knows who to look at, and they often create shadows on you images so it will definitely not be as good as if we shot it alone. Additionally, we have lots of signature shots that we’ve come up with over the years, so it’s not really fair if someone is shooting over our shoulders and then using those shots to beef up their own portfolios.  Everyone will have access to all of the photos as soon as they are ready.

Q: Do you also offer other services such as wedding photography, engagement, bridal, maternity, baptisms, anniversary, or other event photo sessions?

A: Yes! Last minute Vow Renewals and Elopements are very popular with Outer Banks vacationers, and we can even provide minister service or add violin to our photography packages. Please visit for all of the details! 

For more questions about Outer Banks weddings, click here!

Remember that we will give our repeat clients and their families a lifetime discount on future services.

Click here to book your Outer Banks family portraits on the beach with Artz Music & Photography!

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