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Q & A

Where is your photo studio located?

My studio is located in New Hyde Park, New York (Nassau, Long Island). It's 30 minutes outside of New York City & Brooklyn and on the border of Queens. I offer location shoots as well.

What type of services do you offer?

I specialize in studio portraiture and create magazine style beauty portraits for everyday women of all ages and sizes (no experience necessary!). I offer personal branding & headshot sessions for male & female professionals; business owners, entrepreneurs, creatives, social media influencers, models & actors. Additional services include maternity, family, seniors, couples, bridal, boudoir, commercial product photography, high-end retouching and graphic design.

Why have professional images that you love?

Photographs are cherished forever and passed on to generations to come. Looking back at captured memories will become priceless as time goes by! Also, you can market yourself today with powerful images that you're proud of! A picture truly is worth a thousand words, especially in this day and age. Why should only famous people see themselves in their best light? Photos in magazines were not taken with a camera phone, there is a huge difference between a snap shot and a fine art portrait taken with professional lighting & equipment and is professionally edited and retouched.

What is a beauty session like and who should do them?

This experience is for everyday women! We are all beautiful and unique in our own way and I love bringing that out in people and capturing that. A beauty photo session with me will change the way you see yourself and I will guide you every step of the way! Check out the "before & after" page to see some of our beautiful transformations. We all love transformations and they're always fun and empowering! Beautiful professional hair & makeup is included in the session fee and you will love my fabulous creative team and how gorgeous you will look! A pre-shoot style consultation is also included so we can custom design your personalized photoshoot and go over hair & makeup looks, wardrobe options and shoot ideas. You can also look through the studio wardrobe & accessories and borrow anything you like for your shoot!

Beauty photoshoots are also for models, hair & makeup artists, stylists & designers who need professional images to build their portfolio and showcase their talent, skills & work. Even if you've never done a professional photoshoot before, no worries! I guarantee you will have a positive experience and love your images!

Why do a personal branding session or get new headshots done?

My personal branding & headshot sessions are great for men and women wanting to promote and market themselves, their business and services. From entrepreneurs, business owners, teams, athletes, musicians, creative artists, coaches, real estate agents, doctors; everyone needs professional images that powerfully represent themselves and their brand. YOU are your brand, let's elevate it! What do your current promotional photos say about you and your business? Are they current and do they truly represent you well?

Allow me to take professional and powerful images that capture your essence and personality. Use them for your business, website, social media, online profiles and share them with your loved ones! I invite you to a complimentary consultation. We'll discuss creative direction & styling, as well as my process, product options and pricing. Contact me for more details and to schedule our phone or in-person meeting.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

I'm very passionate about my craft and creating a luxurious, positive experience for all my clients. I've always been a creative & outgoing type and love collaborating with others. I've been told that my enthusiasm is contagious! I love sharing my passion for photography. For me it's all about getting to know my client and what they are looking for, establishing a comfortable connection together and making it a creative & fun experience! Making people look and feel beautiful is very rewarding. I feel honored and blessed to work with many wonderful people, it's very inspiring!

It took me a long time to build my photography business and I've always held on to my vision. I believe it's so important to do work in life that you're passionate about. Living a life with purpose and meaning makes the journey so much richer and more enjoyable! I love creating images for people also because I believe portraits are priceless; especially to you and your family one day when looking back at your life or when losing a loved one. Capturing a moment in time and having images that show the inner & outer beauty of a person is truly something special.

What is your typical process for working with a new customer?

It usually starts with an email and then we schedule a complimentary consultation so we can connect and talk. This can be done in-person, on the phone or via Skype/Facetime. I always enjoy getting to know people and finding out what kinds of images they're looking for. Each photo session is customized to my client and together we design their personalized, unique photoshoot. We also look at inspirational images so I can get a clear sense of what styles my clients are most drawn to. From there, I create a vision board for the shoot I'll be producing so I can plan all details. After discussing creative direction and styling, we go over my production process, as well as the products I offer and my pricing information. I believe it's important to educate new customers from the start. Time is extremely valuable to me so we must go over everything to see if we are a good match. Establishing a comfortable connection is also very important, it makes the whole experience positive from start to finish which is always my goal.

I guide my clients throughout the photoshoot and give lots of direction. No experience is required, all you need to do is be yourself and trust me... I know what beautiful looks like and I can find it in you! I will unravel your layers and capture your inner & outer beauty and personality. I've been told that I have a natural ability to make people feel relaxed and confident in front of the camera which helps people during the session.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I started doing photography when I was 18 years old and it's been a long road of learning and growing since then. I've been working in the creative industry 20+ years and graduated in 1999 with a BA in Contemporary Arts/Communications and an AAS in Graphic Arts/Advertising. Since then, I've worked for many top companies while pursuing my own photography business on the side. I gained most of my related experience while working for top advertising/portrait photographers as a Studio Manager/Producer. I learned all aspects of running a professional photography studio, how to coordinate photoshoots for large productions, how to work with creative teams and lots of equipment, and what it takes to do a successful shoot. I've also taken numerous online master classes & workshops taught by top photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Sue Bryce, Lara Jade & Lola Melani to name a few. It has taught me so much about lighting, retouching, graphic design, sales and marketing. I'm also a member of Sue Bryce Education which teaches portrait photography and the business of photography. Sue Bryce is an industry leader in the portrait photography field and her business model is studied by thousands of photographers worldwide.

Do you have a standard pricing system for your service?

My session fee is $250 and confirms your booking. It includes the style consultation, professional makeup & hair styling by a top artist from my glam team and your guided photoshoot with various wardrobe & set changes. Images are sold separately. Collections start at $450 and go up from there. There is no hard sell, you only buy the portraits you love! Payment plans are available with 0% interest. Your image reveal/ordering appointment is 1-2 weeks after your session. You will receive the high resolution & web sized digital files of the images you purchase including unlimited usage rights. I offer beautiful keepsake folio boxes that hold your archival matted prints, as well as framed fine art prints and canvas wall art. Please get in touch for pricing details and to see product samples. If you refer someone to me and they book a session, you will receive a $100 gift voucher that you can use towards a session or collection!

How did you get started doing this type of work?

My father was a photographer in his early days and I started shooting with his old camera when I was a teenager. I've always been a very visual person. In college I took a photography class and fell in love with taking pictures of people and the art of image making. I used to develop film and print my photos in the darkroom and was just fascinated! My passion for photography continued to grow and it still excites me today. I'm inspired by many amazing photographers & artists and love collaborating with people. There's always something new to discover and learn. I'm proud to be part of the incredible photography and portraiture community.

What types of photoshoots have you done?

I've worked with a wide range of clients; business owners & entrepreneurs, models, actors, musicians, families, couples, maternity, babies/tweens/teens, engagement/weddings, hair & makeup artists, stylists, live music venues, art galleries, hair salons, commercial products, real estate and various types of event coverage.

Describe a recent photoshoot you are fond of.

A recent photoshoot I enjoyed a lot was working with a lovely woman who wanted to shoot 4 different looks. We did a professional look for her business, a soft, pretty beauty look, a more dramatic, bold look, followed by some sexy, playful images to give as a gift to her husband. She was so happy with her photos and her husband was pleasantly surprised and loved them too!

What advice would you give a potential client looking to hire a Photographer and what are professional photography industry standard rates?

I think it's important to look at different photographers work to see if they fit the style you're looking for. Does the lighting look professional? Do they have a strong portfolio on their website? Many artists work with various budgets; it can range a whole lot! We usually charge a session fee and then sell packages that include different amounts of images and various types of products. I believe that high quality photography is well worth the investment. For example, if you need a headshot for your business, that photo on your website and LinkedIn profile will speak a thousand words! You are your brand so make sure the photos are professional and that they reflect your best self. You may not always want to go with the most affordable option because it can be risky; the image quality and their level of experience may not be the best. As for me, I'm proud to offer high-end images & products and an unforgettable experience. My clients appreciate my photography work and value my talent, experience and time.

What questions should customers think through before talking to a Photographer?

Customers should think about what style of photography they love and how many different looks they would like to do during their shoot. I suggest looking at images on Pinterest to get ideas! You can visit my Pinterest page and browse through the mood boards I've put together there for lots of inspiration: www.pinterest.com/nicole_vision

Also, beautiful hair & makeup is very important when doing a photoshoot, you want to look your best! My session fee covers professional hair & makeup. Others may charge for this separately so I would ask about that. I would also find out pricing information for the shoot and learn about the product & package options they offer to make sure you're the right fit.

Common concerns: What if I have no experience? What if I'm nervous? I usually look horrible in photos, should I still do a photoshoot? I want to lose weight first, should I wait to book my shoot? My skin broke out, can I reschedule?

This is your time to not be stressed, have fun and shine! No need to be nervous! You are in professional hands, I will make you feel comfortable and I will be giving you lots of direction throughout the shoot. By the time we've captured your first look; you'll be a pro and will have forgotten any nerves you had. Don't worry, you'll see yourself like never before. Your photos will change the way you see yourself. It's uplifting and you'll reconnect with yourself in a new way. Every woman who walks into my studio has an incredible experience and gets a folio of the best photographs she's ever seen of herself. Don't wait to lose weight first, I will be posing you to flatter your body and capture all the right angles. If you're skin breaks out before the shoot, no worries! All final images are professionally retouched, your skin will look flawless and your images will look beautiful and natural.

I have another question you didn't answer, what do I do?

Please email me at nicole@nicoledewaal.com and I will get back to you ASAP. We can schedule a call from there or you can come to the studio for your complimentary consultation!