Frequently Asked Questions
Some of these I really do get asked, but I'm putting many of them here because I just thought you'd like to know ...
About Me and my Photography
About Me and my Photography
About the Products (Prints and Frames)
About Ordering and Shipping
What camera do you use?
First of all I don't believe that the brand or model of camera matters all that much when participating in a hobby that requires many other important attributes, such as patience, anticipation, planning, and imagination. But for those that really want to know I am currently using a Nikon D90 SLR. I don't have a strong opinion on camera models, mainly because I really don't bother keeping up-to-date on new models until I am ready for a new camera.
Are you a professional?
No. My "day-job" is that of a software engineer for a Fortune 500 company. Photography is mainly my hobby that has turned into a side business. I began selling my work for two primary reasons: (1) to give me some outlet for my photos, rather than have them gather virtual dust in the depths of my computer hard drive, and (2) to make a little extra money, so the hobby at least pays for itself.
Digital or Film?
Digital, although this is not really a relevant question anymore.
Do you manipulate/Photoshop your photos?
I use digital processing software on ALL my photos. Basic processing, such as color balance, sharpening, contrast, etc., is a necessary step in digital fine art photography. It is akin to the darkroom in film photography. Regarding "manipulation", or altering of an image for artistic purposes, the answer is "sometimes". When I do it is fairly obvious and I usually make note of it in the description.
Do you do weddings?
No. I have photographed only two weddings for close friends/relatives. I currently do not have the time or experience to do commercial wedding photography.
Will you photograph ABC for me?
Probably not, but it can't hurt to ask. The main problem (for me anyway) is getting the right light. I usually photograph on my own terms (subject matter, time of day, time of year, etc.) because that is what my schedule allows. It would be very difficult for me to photograph a subject of your choosing with any degree of certainty that I will make a "good" photograph in a reasonable period of time.
I am a student/amateur. Can I shadow you as you photograph?
No. Although I would like the company I really don't want to disappoint you. I often shoot by the seat of my pants, and my schedule is very ad hoc. This does not lend well to having someone tag along.
Can I hire you as a consultant/teacher?
If you need to learn basic skills then I can certainly help you out. But again I am not really an expert in anything so please keep your expectations relatively moderate.
How should I contact you if I have questions?
I prefer e-mail, but you can also call me. I usually respond within a few hours, but in some rare cases if I'm traveling for business it may take a day or so. Please jump to my Contact page for the contact information.
Do you have a studio?
No I don't, but if you want to see any of my work in person we can set up an appointment at my home.
About the Products (Prints, Frames, and Canvas)
Who makes your prints?
I use a high-end photo lab in the Midwest. Their quality is very good, their prices are reasonable, and their turn-around time is usually 1-day.
Do you use glass or clear acrylic in your frames?
That depends. I may use either type up to 16x20, but I am now using acrylic for frames over 16x20. This mainly due to the weight (acrylic is much lighter) and the lower risk of breakage during shipping.
Are your prints archival?
Yes - I use all archival (acid-free) materials, except for the frames which are usually wood.
Do you do your own framing/matting?
Yes. I cut all mats by hand from full-sheets. I order fully-constructed frames and I personally put the final piece together including mat, glass, frame, backing paper, and hanger wire.
Do you make your own canvas prints?
Not any longer. I did for a time but I sold off my high-end printer. I now use a professional lab for my canvas prints.
What DPI are the prints?
This can be a misleading question, mainly because the final print sharpness depends on many factors. A low-res photo (or highly-cropped photo) can be "up-rezzed" to 300DPI, and the quality will not usually be as good as a true 300DPI image. On the other hand an "up-rezzed" image that was originally a very good exposure can look better than a true 300DPI image if the exposure was mediocre or poor. I try to ensure that all prints have sufficient sharpness for the size and style of the image (e.g. abstract images are not affected much by sharpness).
About Ordering and Shipping
How do I order?
Ordering is pretty straightforward on my website. Simply click on the Add to Cart button next to the product you wish to order. It will be added to the virtual shopping cart. You can continue to add items, or alter the cart contents until you are ready to order. To complete your order enter your shipping ZIP code on the shopping cart page in order to calculate shipping costs (or "local" for local pick-up). When you are ready to order click on "Proceed to Checkout". You will then be sent to Paypal where you will enter your payment information. I will receive an e-mail soon after you complete your payment, and I will then confirm your order with a personal e-mail. That's all there is to it.
What happens after I order?
I will send a personal e-mail response to your order, usually within a few hours after the order is placed (please check your Spam folder!). I will provide an estimate of when your order will be ready, which can vary by a few days depending on the day of the week. When your order is shipped I will follow-up with another e-mail to notify you.
How long will it take to get my order?
Unmatted and matted prints will take me about 3-4 business days to make. Framed and canvas prints will take a few days longer. Then add shipping transit time on top of that. I use USPS Priority mail, which usually takes 1-3 days to ship from Pennsylvania.
I live nearby. Can I pickup my order instead of having it shipped?
Yes. My address is listed on the Shopping Cart page, so if you want to save on shipping costs (epecially for larger or heavy orders) just enter the word "local" in the ZIP code box and the shopping cart will omit any shipping cost. I will contact you to arrange for the pick-up as your order nears completion.
How will my print or frame be packaged?
I ship all prints in quality shipping boxes (e.g. not shoe boxes), usually recycled from my print and frame suppliers. The products are well protected with bubble wrap and other packaging material. In the last seven years I have not had any problems with products that I have shipped. This includes framed prints with glass.
What if I don't like my order?
I will replace any order that arrives damaged or otherwise does not meet your expectations. In the unusual event that you are significantly dissatisfied I will gladly refund your money.
I saw your work at a festival. Why are some of your online prices different than the show prices?
At shows I often sell a lot of certain sizes of prints, so I am able to offer slightly lower prices due to the efficiency of producing such prints in quantity. All online orders are treated as custom orders, and that means it may cost me more to create single or very low quantities of prints for such orders.