SESSION FAQ

Here are the frequently asked questions answered by this article:

  • What are all the session options?
  • What time of day should we shoot?
  • Where should we go?
  • What's the turnaround time on photos (i.e., when should we book to have time to send save-the-dates)?
  • What should we wear? Can we bring a change of clothes?
  • Can we bring champagne and glasses, or other picnic items and/or props?
  • Can we bring our dogs and/or our kids? Can we shoot with our cat?

WHAT ARE ALL THE SESSION OPTIONS?

  • 2 Hours / 2 Outfits / 1 or More Locations ($800 or included with Wedding Package A)
  • 90 Minutes / 2 Outfits / 1 Location ($600 or included with Wedding Package B)
  • 1 Hour / 1 Outfit / 1 Location ($450 or included with Wedding Package C)
  • 30 Minutes / 1 Outfit / 1 Local Location within 50 miles round-trip of Pollock Pines / $300
  • 20 Minutes / 1 Outfit / 1 Pollock Pines Location / $200


I (Rachel, lead photographer) photograph engagement proposals, engagements / save-the-dates (included with our Wedding Packages), family sessions, high school seniors, headshots, commercial sessions, lifestyle sessions, even pet sessions - whatever you need!

What time of day should we shoot?


If you aren't sure what time to choose for your session, 20 minutes before sunset is usually a great time to start for a 30-minute session, or 45 minutes before sunset is a great time to start for a 1-hour session - that way, we can catch the best lighting scenarios of the day, which, in my opinion, are just before and just after the sun goes down. (You can "google" the sunset time for your date and location - if you have it - to find out when sunset will "officially" occur.) For a 90-minute session, let's start an hour and 15 minutes before sunset, or for a 2-hour session, 1 hour and 45 minutes before sunset is an ideal time to start.


If we are shooting among trees and mountains, however, the sun may "disappear" sooner, depending on how high and thick the trees are or how high the mountains are to the West - so, we may want to bump up your session a bit earlier if you want to catch that golden glow as the sun hangs just high enough to shine within view. (Timing for that type of scene is something I'll help with once we do know the location.) Still, the light will be very good once the sun is low enough to be no longer in view, because after the sun is no longer visible is when the lighting is the most even. Ahhhh.... I love that light!!


The light that I don't love (as much) for photographing people is when the sun is super high up there. If there aren't mountains or hills blocking the sun or if there isn't thick, forest-type tree coverage, a higher sun creates a stark dynamic contrast of bright light with dark shadows, which isn't typically the most ideal lighting scenario for both subjects' faces and backgrounds. But, I will say - a high sun does mean BLUE WATER - which is what you might actually be going for, especially at a place like Lake Tahoe!


One other scenario that works especially well is SUNRISE. I mean, getting up super early, yeah, ugh - but the light will be beautiful, starting at about 20 minutes before sunrise and continuing through sunrise. Spectacular. (Sunset is, yeah, definitely easier though. I'm not a morning person myself - but I do love incredible photos - so I'm game!)


Now, all of the above depends on us having total control over the time of day we're shooting in. If you want to shoot at a particular venue instead of an open public area, you'll need to contact the owner to make an appointment, which may have to fall within their regular business hours and may not be the most ideal scenario for lighting. But that's okay! Yes, one of my jobs is to provide you with my technical photographic recommendations regarding the best lighting and background scenarios in my professional artistic opinion - but you are free to take or leave those recommendations. If shooting at a particular place is important to you, regardless of the lighting scenarios that may present themselves, let's do it! No matter when or where I'm shooting, I will find and use the best lighting and backgrounds in every situation! That's what I do!


One last thought about the session time: I only book one session per day! So, if we end up needing to change the time, that's okay! And, since there are so many amazing locations to choose from, you can certainly pick your date first and the location and final start time later!

WHERE should we go?


Here's a list of locations where I've photographed sessions, if you need help deciding where to go!


Mountain Views / Forests / Lakes & Rivers

Sly Park Recreation Area

Bridal Veil Falls Campground

Strawberry Lodge

Ralston Peak & Lover's Leap

Caples Lake

Carson's Pass

Thunder Mountain

Silver Fork American River

South Fork American River

Silver Lake & Potholes

Donner Pass

Hope Valley (especially in Fall for yellow aspens)

Sardine Lake

Yosemite National Park 


Redwoods

Humboldt Redwoods

Oakland Redwoods


Apple Hill Area

Silverthorn Meadows

High Hill Ranch

High Sierra Iris Gardens (late April to mid-May for the irises)

Boa Vista Orchards

TONS OF OTHER FARMS! Vineyards, Apple Orchards and more at https://applehill.com!


Lake Tahoe Area

Emerald Bay

Fallen Leaf Lake

Upper Truckee Marsh

Taylor Creek

Baldwin Beach

Edgewood Tahoe Resort

Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe

Zephyr Cove

Sand Harbor

Logan Shoals Vista Point

Spooner Lake

Chimney Trailhead & Beach


Placerville Area

Hangtown Placerville

Gold Bug Mine


Folsom Area

Lake Natoma Waterfront and Trail

Folsom Lake (especially in Spring for the purple lupines)


Roseville Area

Blue Oaks Park


Amador Area

Mokelumne River


Sacramento Area

Tower Bridge and Old Sacramento Waterfront

UC Davis Arboretum

Capitol Park

McKinley Rose Garden

Land Park

Austin B. Carroll Heritage Oak Grove


San Francisco Area

Baker Beach

Lands End Trail

Seal Rocks Beach

Palace of Fine Arts

Slacker Hill

Marin Headlands

Cliff House & Sutro Baths


Greater Bay Area

Bolinas Point

Bodega Bay

Stinson Beach

Alameda Beach

Mt. Tamalpais State Park


Monterey Area

Monterey Bay Aquarium & Lovers Point Park


Spring Flowers

Crystal Hermitage Gardens (especially in early April for the tulips)


Horse Ranch

Cool Hills Ranch


Alpaca Farm

Menagerie Hill Ranch


Sunflower Field

Various fields in Dixon (early to mid-July)


Almond Orchard

Various orchards in Woodland (late January to mid- February)


Vineyards & Breweries

Saluti Cellars

Cielo Estate Winery

Too Good Winery

Paradise Ridge Winery


For Kids (or Young at Heart)

Sacramento Zoo

Boa Vista Pumpkin Patch (Fall)

Old Sacramento Trains


This list is growing all the time, and I also LOVE shooting in places I haven't been, if you have other ideas!

What's the turnaround time on photos (i.e., when should we book to have time to send save-the-dates)?


My turnaround time for sessions is 3 to 6 weeks. According to Zola.com, "Within the grand timeline of wedding planning, sending your Save the Dates lands around 8 months for a destination wedding and 6 months for a local wedding." Here's the full article for more!


When picking a date and location, just be sure to keep in mind that every location has an "ideal season" (and I included some of them in parentheses above). For example: If you don't want to shoot in snow, don't pick Lake Tahoe in the winter (but if you have all-wheel drive and want a snow session, let's do it!) If you don't want to experience crazy heat, don't pick Sacramento in the summer. If you want fall colors, the last week of October through the first week of November is best. Spring flowers also have to be timed just right, from April to May.


Of course, you may need to simply git 'r' done to git those save-the-daters out, so if we need to get out there soon, I can tell you what to expect for the location you choose, whatever time of year it is.

What should we wear? Can we bring a change of clothes?


I recommend thinking first about your shoes, ensuring your comfort and ease of movement for the terrain and weather, and then about your outfit. As far as colors and styles, matching to the season or scene can be fun! (Here's another article on that.) But if you still aren't sure, white is always a great shirt color for a masculine partner, such as a white button-up shirt with a white undershirt and a solid color pant. (But if you have a "belly" - just don't tuck! Don't worry, Mark is big guy, too!) For a feminine partner, most colors are great, whether solids or patterns, to help you stand out.


Mostly, I want you to feel amazing in whatever you're wearing, and feel like you're being true-to-you. Generally, I would probably stay away from lime green, cherry red, or any other super bright color that may reflect onto your partner's face. You can test this by standing chest-to-chest in the sun and checking a selfie to see what colors, if any, are reflecting onto each others' skin. Last clothing bit: Flowy dresses can be AWESOME if weather permits, because they look great in photos! (Want more? Here's another article from The Knot!)


You can bring a change of clothes for a session over 1 hour, included with our Wedding Packages A (2 hours) or B (90 minutes). With an hour or less, we are chasing the best light all the way through sunset, and you don't want to be changing when the light is the most amazing, which is typically right in the middle of the shoot. With 90 minutes, you'll have time to get into that second outfit and we won't miss the magic! For changing outfits, do keep in mind that there may not be an "obvious" place to change, as we may be well away from the car by that point or any bathrooms (so you may want to bring a blanket to hide behind).

Can we bring champagne and glasses, or other picnic items and/or props?


Yes! Champagne pops are awesome, or even just a wine toast! And you can bring any other items you want! Just keep in mind we will be leaving the car behind as we walk around the location, so whatever you're carrying may end up in some photos (so a picnic basket or a cute bag might be ideal), or we can just stop and you can put the stuff down and we can just not shoot the in-between spots, which is also fine! And props are super fun, like signs with your date on them, and/or items that are special to your relationship, etc

Can we bring our dogs and/or our kids? Can we shoot with our cat?


Yes! For pets and kids, I also recommend bringing a third wheel to help with the pets and/or kids if you also want some photos with just the two of you.


To shoot with you cat, if you have a 2-hour session (included with our Wedding Package A), then we can start at your home to shoot with your cat(s) first, then head to our location, as long as it isn't too far from where you live!

LET'S GO!


Okay, if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask! You can reach me via email at info@rachelandmarkphotography.com or text at (760) 468-0398. Otherwise, you can schedule your session using my calendar below!


See you soon!