FAQs:  Policies, Tips & More 

Eyes of black labrador dog
Animals are the bridge between us and the beauty of all that is natural. They show us what’s missing in our lives, and how to love ourselves more unconditionally.
— Trisha McCagh

Can I be in Portraits with My Pets?

Absolutely!  In fact, I recommend taking this opportunity to be photographed with your pet family.  The human - animal bond is extremely important so I look forward to being able to capture yours.  During every pet portrait session, however, your pet is always the star of the show so I will always be sure to create individual portraits of each of your pets.

What if my Pet Needs to be on a Leash or has Behavior Problems?

Leashes.  Most public spaces will require that your pet be on a leash.  In this case, I will photograph your pet in such a way that I can remove the leash in post-processing.  I typically will not remove the collar or harness, however, so I suggest you consider as attractive a collar as possible with no harness, unless your dog requires one for safety purposes

No Command Training. While it is definitely easier to photograph a pet that understands basic sit, stay and come commands, don't worry if your pet is high energy and not command trained.  I will ask you to help wrangle your pet and I have ways to capture its attention for a photograph. 

Behavior Problems.  The safety of your pet, other animals and people is paramount. For any portrait session scheduled in a public place, your pet will need to be well-behaved and sociable around adults, children and other animals.  Otherwise, we will need to schedule the session at your home or other private location where your pet is comfortable.   I will take the time to get to know your pet and to address any particular fears it may have.  If your pet shows aggression towards people, I may still be able to work with it at your home with adequate safeguards and preparation.

When and Where do Portrait Sessions Take Place?

Location.  We will select a location with you and your pets in mind.  Your home will usually be the preferred location for cats, birds, exotic pets, or dogs that are uncomfortable in public spaces.  Don't worry if your home or yard isn't fit for a magazine spread.  I have mobile lighting that allows me to add light and I can usually find suitable places to photograph in any space.  For dogs that enjoy an outing, we can photograph at a park, in town or at another location in Charleston or Mount Pleasant that allows dogs and professional photography.  You can select more than one location for a portrait session if time permits.  

Time.  The time of your portrait session will depend on the best lighting conditions for the location.  Outdoors, this will typically be near the end of daylight hours when the light is softest.  When photographing at your home, I will want to check out the best time of day for window light in your home or soft shade in your yard.

Do You Use Natural Light? 

Yes, but light is light and I will use whatever light is the best choice for the place and conditions.  I sometimes use both natural and artificial light with subjects that can remain stationary.  For other sessions, however, I may rely solely on natural light.  Indoors, I will search for soft natural window light but I may add some artificial light as well.  I also have a mobile studio with studio lighting and backdrops for a studio look if that is preferred.

Outdoor pet portrait using both natural & artificial light.  

Outdoor pet portrait using both natural & artificial light.  

Natural light portrait of black dog.

Natural light portrait of black dog.

Indoor pet portrait with artificial light.

Indoor pet portrait with artificial light.

How Do I Reserve a Portrait Session?

Once we decide on a mutually agreeable date, you can reserve your session by signing my standard contract & limited model release and paying your Session Fee & Retainer.  The Session Fee & Retainer is paid for my time, talent and experience and in consideration of the fact that I cannot schedule any other clients at that time; as a result, refunds are limited by the cancellation policies below. 

How Do I Prepare for My Portrait Session?

Every portrait session I create is customized with you and your pet in mind.  Once you book your session, we will meet for a planning and design session to discuss your dreams for your portraits, your style, and your plans for displaying your portraits.  You will also receive interior design advice, wardrobe assistance to make you look your best, and information about what to expect and bring to your session.

This is also an opportunity for me to meet your pet and further learn about its personality and behaviors.  You will need to submit a more detailed Pet Behavior Questionnaire at least two days before your session.

What Should I Expect at my Portrait Session?

Plan sufficient time so that you can relax and have fun at your portrait session.  A typical session lasts 1.5 to 2.5 hours but may be shorter or longer depending on the nature and locations of the portraits we have planned, the number of subjects being photographed, the attention span of little ones or pets, and the changing lighting or weather conditions.  There is no extra charge or rebate for added or reduced time but be aware that late arrival, particularly outdoors at the end of the day may reduce the time available for the session.

To avoid distractions during your portrait session, please do not bring children or pets that will not be included in your portraits.  Similarly, no cameras, cell phones or other recording devices may be used at the session.

How do I View and Order my Portraits?

Previewing your images.  We will schedule an in-person appointment about two weeks after your portrait session for you to view your proofs and place an order for your portraits.  At this time, you will be able to touch and feel sample products so that you can see the quality of the products before you order them.  

You will preview only those image that meet my artistic standards.  The number of proofs available for previewing will vary based on the duration of the portrait session, the number of subjects and locations being photographed, and the co-operation and attention spans of any little ones or pets.   As a result, I do not guarantee any specific number of images although a typical session will result in approximately 20 proofs to choose from.

With my image previewing software, you will be able to preview how selected images will look on your own walls.  To do this, you may send me snapshots of your walls or we can schedule a time for me to visit your home and take the pictures myself.  We can also preview how an image will look when cropped to different sizes and can discuss which images will work best together in wall groupings or albums.

Placing and paying for your order.  Since you will pay for your order at the viewing and ordering session, you will need to schedule a time that is convenient for all decision makers to be present and remember to bring your credit card or checkbook with you.  You will have three days to cancel or modify your order if you change your mind.  After that time, due to the custom nature of the products, all orders are final and non-refundable.

Most clients find this session fun and easy to decide on their order in less than two hours.  If you need an additional ordering appointment, however, you will need to pre-pay a $50 non-refundable retainer and administrative charge that may be credited toward any order of $500 or more.

Do You Retouch My Portraits?


Standard Retouching.  All of the images that you purchase are fully retouched by me.  Standard retouching includes overall image enhancements; eye and teeth brightening; blemish removal and skin smoothing for people; leash, drool and eye discharge removal for pets.  With any editing or retouching, I will rely on my professional experience to create what I believe to be the best artistic expression for the given image.

Special Requests.  I will do my best to accommodate additional editing or retouching requests but some requests simply are not possible and others may be so complex that an additional retouching fee is required.  I will inform you at the time of your order of any additional retouching fees.

Retouching Style.  My typical retouching style is clean, bright and natural.  In addition, however, I offer a stylized photographic art style that is available to those who want something truly unique.  We will discuss these options at your viewing and ordering session since not every image looks best in a given style.

          Photo Art Style Cat Portrait

          Photo Art Style Cat Portrait

Natural Style Cat Portrait

Natural Style Cat Portrait

Do You Sell Digital Images?

Just like you, I love to share images with my friends.   That's why every image you purchase in print form comes with a complimentary watermarked image suitable for social media sharing.  Every wall portrait that you order also includes the corresponding full-resolution digital image that you may reprint up to the size of the wall print; albums and desk display products include at least one full-resolution digital image that you may use for gift prints or greeting cards. 

I take a great deal of time enhancing, color correcting, cropping, sizing and sharpening each image printed by my professional lab and I review every printed product that you order before delivering it to you.   I cannot guarantee the quality of any printed image unless it is printed through me.  

Will You Deliver my Portraits?

Of course.  Your portraits will typically be ready in about four to eight weeks after you have placed your order.  After I personally inspect your order to make sure it is perfect, I will call you to schedule delivery.  I will deliver your artwork to your home or other agreed upon location in Charleston or Mount Pleasant, along with instructions on how to care for your artwork.  No products, including digital images, will be delivered until your order has been paid in full.

How Do I Cancel or Reschedule?

Cancellation.  If you change your mind, you may cancel your portrait contract up to 48 hours before your scheduled session and receive a full refund of your Session Fee & Retainer.  If you cancel after that time, your fee is non-refundable.

Rescheduling.  You may reschedule your session twice with 24 hours notice; additional rescheduling will incur a $50 rescheduling charge.  You will have six months to reschedule your session before it is considered a cancellation.  I may grant exceptions to these policies for illness or other bona fide emergencies.

Weather.  We may need to reschedule the session to a different time or place if I determine that the weather or other conditions will adversely impact the quality of the portraits that can be created at the session.  I may decide to reschedule for rain, high winds or excessive heat but a cloudy day is usually fine.

Permits & Location Fees.  For any location that requires a permit, we will need to reschedule the session if the permit is not granted or if pets are not permitted at that time.  If you select your own special location that requires a pre-paid permit fee, admission fees or other location charges, you will need to pay for those costs prior to the session; in the event the session is later cancelled or rescheduled, those fees are refundable only if and when they are refunded by the third-party.

What about Copyright Laws?

It is not only impolite to use, alter or print my images without consent, it is also illegal.  The Federal copyright laws make it illegal to print, scan, copy, screenshot, alter, remove a watermark, publish, sell or use any of my images without my prior written consent.  Thank you in advance for respecting my artwork.