Hello!

frequently asked questions

The Basics

+ WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED? DO YOU TRAVEL?

I’m located in Scarborough, Ontario, and travel throughout the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Niagara, Barrie, Burlington, Belleville and beyond. For sessions outside of the GTA, mileage is charged.

+ DO YOU EVER TRAVEL TO THE US/EUROPE/ETC.?

I do not travel to the United States or other countries to work. If you wish to hire me, I suggest you travel to Ontario and schedule a session. Road trip!!!

+ HOW DO I SCHEDULE WITH YOU?

The first step is to contact me at info@jessbellphotography.com to discuss available dates and to ask any questions you might have. We will then schedule a time to meet in person to go over details, chat about your pets, discuss what you hope to get out of the session and to review samples, products and pricing.

+ WHAT DOES A PORTRAIT SESSION CONSIST OF?

Once we have decided to work together, there are three distinct steps that we will go through.

  • DESIGN & PLANNING I will meet you at a place of your choosing to meet you (and ideally your pet(s)) discuss what you would like to achieve on the day of your photo session, any particular images you would like to capture, and to review samples, products and pricing.

  • PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION Your experience will be completely unique to you. Your portrait session will take place at a location of your choosing and will last for a previously agreed-upon time period. Each session is fully customized to each client’s wants and needs.

  • IMAGE REVEAL & ORDERING After I have processed your images, we will again meet to view your gallery. This is the time that you make your image selections and finalize how you would like them printed. Clients normally spend between $800 and $3000 on their artwork at this point.

Once we have selected your favourite photos and how best to display them, I will edit the images to perfection, review them with you then send them off to my printer. I will examine each print order personally to ensure its quality. You will receive your art within 4 to 8 weeks of our ordering session. Smaller photographic prints will be sent to you via mail. Larger pieces may be hand-delivered or couriered.

+ HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I SCHEDULE?

Expect to schedule at least 2-3 months in advance. Special efforts to schedule sooner may be made for terminally ill or elderly pets.

+ DO YOU MAKE SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS FOR ELDERLY OR TERMINALLY ILL PETS?

I understand the heartbreak of losing a beloved pet. Having some photographs of your pet taken before they pass can help lessen the pain of loss. If you contact me to schedule a session for an ill animal, I will make special efforts to schedule it as soon as possible. Please notify me of your pet's failing health. If your pet takes a turn for the worse, I will attempt to re-arrange my schedule to see you that day.

I always keep in mind the abilities of my photographic subjects. Portrait sessions for elderly or ill animals are very gentle and low impact.

 

At the session

+ HOW LONG IS THE PORTRAIT SESSION?

Most sessions are between one and two hours. However, I do not stop shooting until I am satisfied that we have captured everything we have set out to, as discussed during our initial Design & Planning Meeting.

Don't worry! You and your pet will be given plenty of opportunities to rest throughout.

+ WHERE AND WHEN DO WE TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS?

WHERE: This is up to you! I will travel to meet up with you and your pets at a place where they are most comfortable. I frequently suggest you and your pets come by one of my special areas in the east end of Toronto. I'm most familiar with the locations and know how to make the most out of them. Consider if you would like photos taken at a beach, in the woods, in a field or in beautifully manicured gardens.

I charge mileage to attend at a location outside of Scarborough.

WHEN: I am predominantly a natural light photographer; I rely on daylight to take photos. As such, portrait sessions are located outdoors and at times of the day when the light is most favourable (normally first thing in the morning, or shortly before sunset). If the day is grey and overcast and we have a sunset session scheduled, I may contact you to discuss starting earlier to maximize available light, or rescheduling the session to our rain date. Good light makes great photos, and I will do everything I can to create for you the best photos I can.

+ WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?

Bring toys, drinking water for both you and your animals and more treats than you think you need. We use a lot of rewards to get the behaviour we want and to ensure that our animals are enjoying themselves. Also ensure that you bring a leash for each pet and multiple waste bags for when nature calls.

I recommend that you enlist a friend or family member to help handle your pets during the portrait session if we will be working with more than one animal, or if we are working with larger animals such as horses.

+ WHAT DOES MY PET NEED TO KNOW? WHAT IF MY PET MISBEHAVES?

Your pet is not required to know anything! I can work with any level of training.

It is helpful to have a pet that knows how to sit or stand still while I move around them to set up a shot, and while their handler is several feet away. (But this is not a requirement!)

Some helpful and picturesque behaviours are perch (paws up on an object), head down on the ground, the animal holding an object in their mouth, paw/wave, stand up on back legs and recall. Dogs that will play fetch, and animals that are reliable off leash/at liberty make for some great photos.

WHAT IF THEY MISBEHAVE? Animals will be animals sometimes. They keep us humble. Even if your pup won't hold a stay, or if your horse won't settle, I can still find ways to create beautiful images for you. I have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to managing "misbehaviour".

+ WHAT SHOULD MY PET WEAR?

As little as possible! Use as little as you can, as long as you can do so safely. Unless you have something in particular that you want your pet to wear, like a special collar or tack, minimal gear is best. The less we use, the easier it is for me to remove digitally afterwards. That means, if possible, I prefer to use thin collars & leashes for dogs, cats, etc., and rope halters & neck ropes for horses. But, again, safety comes first and I will not ask you to use any equipment you are not completely comfortable with.

+ WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

Do you want to be included in the photos? If so, I recommend wearing something somewhat formal. Dark colours tend to be slimming. Light colours can be light and airy. Try to have your outfit comprised of subdued, matching tones. Wear solid colours, not prints or patterns. Avoid short sleeves or short pants.

Would you rather stay out of the frame? Wear something comfortable, and something you don't mind getting a little dirty. If the weather has been damp, make sure you're wearing shoes that can get muddy.

Whether you intend to be in front of the camera or behind it, please be ready to work! Portrait sessions are a lot of work for the animals, their handlers and their photographer. If you have any concerns or physical limitations, you are welcome to contact me to discuss how best to achieve the images you want with them in mind.

+ WHAT IF IT RAINS? WHAT IF I HAVE TO CANCEL?

When we schedule a session, I normally try to schedule a rain date as well. I keep close tabs on the weather reports as our chosen date draws closer and will contact you if it looks like we may need to postpone our session to the rain date. If it is also raining on our rain date, we will reschedule to another mutually convenient date.

In the case of illness or accident, we will work together to find a mutually convenient date to reschedule.

Cancellations for other reasons may result in the forfeit of your deposit.

 

Products and payment

+ WHAT KINDS OF PRODUCTS DO YOU OFFER?

It is my job to help you find the very best ways to display your art. I will personally walk you through the process of planning your images, capturing them, selecting them and finding the very best method to display them.

I offer a variety of beautiful options of wall art, albums and prints ordered à la carte. All print orders are filled by a wonderful Toronto-area print lab which produces high-quality work and professional framing.

My favourite items are large-scale metal prints to give your images some serious WOW factor, or canvas mounted in a sophisticated float frame. For details on some of the products that I offer, please see my artwork page.

+ DO YOU OFFER DIGITALS?

Once a threshold has been met, purchases of wall art or albums come with gifts of corresponding web-sized, watermarked digitals for sharing online with friends and family. These images are for sharing online only and do not come with a print license.

If you would like high-resolution digital files, they are purchaseable. Contact me to discuss rates.

+ HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECEIVE MY ART?

A reveal and ordering session will be scheduled within a month of your portrait session. At that time, you’ll get your first look at your images. You will select your favourite images and decide how you wish to display them. Prints will be delivered within 4 to 6 weeks of the order being finalized.

+ WHEN AND HOW DO I PAY?

A deposit is required to secure a date. This deposit is then put towards your session fee. The remainder of your session fee, including mileage and any extras purchased, is invoiced to you prior to your portrait session.

Artwork is decided upon and purchased at the reveal and ordering appointment. An invoice is provided shortly thereafter. Images are not released to you until your account has been paid in full.

Payment can be provided via electronic fund transfer, cheque, cash or Paypal.

 

Image use

+ MAY I SHARE THIS PHOTO ON INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, ETC.?

Yes! My wall art packages, albums and collections come with watermarked, web-sized digital images that you are welcome to post them on social media. I request that you ensure my watermark is visible whenever you display my work.

Word of mouth is how new clients find me, so linking to my website/social media accounts and relaying some kind words to your friends about your experience is much appreciated.

Sometimes I will post a teaser image from a session shortly after it wraps up -- these images can be shared from my pages.

You are not allowed to crop, alter or apply a filter to my work after it is provided to you. You may have purchased the photo, but I retain the copyright to every image. As such, they must remain unaltered and as they are provided to you.

+ MAY I USE YOUR PHOTOS TO ADVERTISE MY BUSINESS? MAY I SUBMIT THEM TO CONTESTS?

My art is provided to you for personal use. This means that you may display it in your home or online for non-commercial gain.

If you would like to use my images for commercial purposes (advertising animals in your breeding program, advertising the gear the animal is wearing, displaying on a business website, etc.), I would be happy to discuss commercial use with you. Purchasing images for commercial use will require an additional fee that is dependent on the type of image, what it would be used for, where it would be used, the duration of its use, etc. Contact me for further details.

You cannnot submit images to contests for prizes/public display, or for published material calling for entries for material without the permission of the copyright holder (which in this case would be me). Please contact me if you wish to use my work in such a way to discuss commercial usage and fees.

 

Miscellaneous

+ DO YOU OFFER ONLINE COACHING OR MENTORSHIP?

At the moment I am not offering any coaching or mentorship programs.

I do not have any tutorial videos or write ups online.

However, I am happy to speak with you briefly if a fellow photographer has specivic questions about my work.

+ WHAT GEAR/PROGRAMS DO YOU USE?

I shoot with a Nikon D5 and normally either my Nikon 300mm f2.8 for action photography or my Nikon 105mm f1.4 for portraits.

I edit every image with Adobe Photoshop CS and Lightroom CS. I also use Topaz Gigapixel when preparing to print large files.

+ DO YOU OFFER PHOTO EDITING SERVICES?

I offer artistic image editing to photographs on a limited basis (with explicit written permission from the original photographer). Original images must be of a certain degree of quality and of a large size in order to be eligible to be used. Contact me with any inquiries about suitability of original photographs, process, and rates.

Images are returned to you as .JPGs. Additional fees are charged if you wish to have a Photoshop document returned to you.

Toronto Dog Photographer Jess Bell Photography - photography session information