Hello there!

My photo
My name is Susan, and Designs by Prater is what you could call my creative outlet that pulls together my photography, art and graphic design endeavors! The most important thing you should know about me is that my life revolves around my God and my Savior Jesus Christ, my family (especially my husband Todd, son JD, and puppy Lexie), family and friends. Other than that, I am pretty much obsessed with photography, Coca-Cola, and the color green (and all shades of green for that matter, especially teal). I love sports but cannot play them worth a lick. I would not trade my time as a college student at Mississippi State for anything in the world. The friendships and memories made there will stick with me forever...Hail State and Go Dogs! And I am very picky about my chocolate chip cookies, grilled cheeses, and shaved ice (gotta be SnoBiz watermelon flavor).

What to Expect {portraits}

So, you think you might want to book a portrait session with me but still have a few questions about what's next? You have come to the right place! I hope this guide will answer all your questions about each step along the way from booking your session to displaying your lovely images in your home. :)

BOOKING A SESSION

Call or email me with the dates you are interested in for your session so I can let you know what is available on my calendar. Once we nail down a date that works for both of us, you'll need to pay your non-refundable session fee. Personal checks can be made out to Susan Prater and mailed to me at 1102 Abbeville St., Collierville, TN 38017. You can also pay by credit card via the little button on the Portraits page or by asking me to send you a paypal invoice OR meet up with me to hand deliver cash or a personal check. Once your check or credit card payment posts to my account or cash is in hand, your session is officially considered booked.

NEEDING TO RESCHEDULE

Should you need to reschedule for any reason, please give at least 24 hours advance notice so I can alter plans accordingly. I will make every effort to reschedule your session for another date on my calendar that is open for both of us. I know that in some cases, though, accidents happen or someone comes down with a sickness unexpectedly. So please try to give just as much notice as possible if that were to happen.

CHOOSING YOUR SESSION TIME AND LOCATION

I shoot all my sessions on location using mostly natural light. So your session will need to take place before the sun goes down completely (although sunrise and sunset sessions have awesome light and are totally doable). I only offer weekday sessions from late spring to late fall when the daylight allows me the option to shoot sessions at 5:30 p.m. Otherwise, I am available most Saturdays for sessions in the morning or afternoon and also on Sunday afternoons. As earlier mentioned, sunrises and sunsets typically give the most amazing light and are often referred to as the golden hour. Straight-up noon usually gives the harshest light and is typically the hottest part of the day. So I recommend times like 9 or 10 am or anywhere from 2 to 5 pm (or even up to 6:30 pm for a late afternoon summer sunset session).

As for location, any outdoor space that is special to you can make for a wonderful location. Popular choices include the Historic Downtown Collierville Square, the Johnson Park Greenbelt in Collierville, Downtown Memphis, Oaklawn Gardens in Germantown, your hometown park or any field full of flowers, hay bales, tall grass, etc. I also love to do sessions with clients at their homes when they have lots of windows letting in gorgeous light or perhaps a nicely landscaped yard to really capture family life in your native environment! We can even fit in multiple locations close in proximity to each other with the regular FOCUS session allotting up to two hours. Just call or email if you want to brainstorm locations or want to run a new or unique location by me. :)

PREPARING FOR YOUR SESSION

In the CLIENT LOUNGE section of the website, you'll find my "what to wear" guide with bonus "what to bring" feature. In it you'll find examples of how past clients have chosen to style their session along with some helpful hints from me. But the most important thing to know is that the images from your session need to reflect YOU! So when making the decision of what to wear or what props to possibly bring, keep in mind that the photos you'll love the most are the ones that reflect YOUR personality. So unless you just love the whole white shirts with khakis or black shirts with jeans combo, throw any old rules out the window! :) (p.s. it is totally OK if you love those combos, though!)

You'll also want to start thinking about why it is important to you to have these photographs made and exactly how you might want to display them after you've seen your proofs and fallen in love with them. Take a look around your house for any empty walls that need artwork or any old portraits that need updating. I'd love to work with you to create a cluster of framed prints, canvas gallery wraps, or metallic standout prints in different sizes to really create a WOW factor in your home that will garner many compliments from your friends and family for years to come! And go ahead and think about presents you'll need to give friends and family members within the following year as a coffee table book or a framed print might be just the idea for someone in particular.

ARRIVING TO YOUR SESSION

You'll probably want to plan to arrive at the designated location about 10-15 minutes early to make any last minute restroom runs or wardrobe and hair adjustments. Then be on the lookout for me! I'll be the short 5'2" girl with brown hair and brown eyes loaded down with a camera and bag standing around looking for you, too. :) And you may just want to read up on me a little bit more as you never know what fun bonuses might be hiding out throughout this website ;)

DURING YOUR SESSION

Your session will fluctuate from instances where I might pose you or your family to instances where i will ask you to just interact how you normally would so i can catch all the fun candid moments that naturally happen. this is where we really showcase what makes you YOU or what makes your family so much FUN! So don't worry about needing to always smile for the camera or wanting every shot to have everyone looking at the camera. sometimes the most treasured images after the fact are the ones that we didn't really set out to capture but happened to catch on the fly!

As for time, I won't really have you on a stopwatch like how we all imagine a therapist might do and say TIME'S UP when it dings. each FOCUS session covers up to two hours so that we can incorporate location and wardrobe changes. So it shouldn't be a problem as at the two hour mark, you are probably ready to be finished anyways. :)

AFTER YOUR SESSION

I will post a sneak peek photo from your session to my blog and facebook page within a few days. When I have finished editing all your images and posting them to my proofing site, I will send you a link to share with family and friends. If you let me know beforehand that you want me to password-protect it, I'll send you a password for your gallery, too. This gallery will remain live for 30 days and you'll have to pay a $25 re-posting fee to activate it should you need it posted again after it expires. For local clients, we will work to book an in-person ordering appointment at my home for the first two weeks following your gallery going live.

You can expect your prints and products that do not require additional design to be ready for pick-up or shipping within two weeks. For other items such as coffee table books or holiday cards that require additional design, your proofs will be ready within two weeks. You'll have up to two rounds of revisions included in the cost of your item. After that, revisions will be charged at my graphic design rate of $50/hour. These items will then generally have another two week turnaround for them to be ready for pick-up or shipping, except for albums which may take up to 12 weeks.

REFERRAL REWARDS PROGRAM

So you've fallen in love with your images and received many compliments from your friends and family? Well, why not receive a little reward for sending some of them our way as clients themselves!? Refer another FOCUS session portrait client and receive an additional $50 credit after they book. Refer another wedding photography client who books and receive an additional $100 credit. Your credit is good toward another FOCUS session or any print/product. Referral rewards expire 6 months from the date they are offered.

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