Gift Certificate Holders FAQ
Congratulations on having scheduled your gift certificate portrait session. As you are likely new to the studio, this FAQ is meant to address most every question you may have about ordering and information about investing in your portraiture.
The only surprises should be in how much you love your portraits. Please feel free to contact us if you have any thoughts or questions.
Your Order Appointment
What is my order appointment?
Your order appointment is when you return to our studio with all of the family financial and aesthetic decision makers to see your portraits, choose the desktop or bookcase image that is included with your certificate, and choose any additional portraiture that you would like to own to display in your home. This appointment is essential for all of our clients.
What should I expect to happen at my order appointment?
We will show you a slide show of the portraits that we have created and prepared of your family. Then, we will work together to narrow down your selections and choose which images would be best to display in your home. (We are very good at making what might seem like an intimidating process as easy as possible for you.) Since the images are projected on a screen, you can view them at the actual print sizes we offer to help you determine what dimensions are most appropriate for your home. Once you determine what you would like to own, we will review the investment, let you know what else may be included with your order, and finish by helping you put together the order that you determine is best for your family.
When are order appointments scheduled?
In Los Angeles, they are generally scheduled Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 10am, 2:30pm, or in the evening. Weekend days are always set aside for sessions.
How long does my order appointment normally take?
We ask you to set aside several hours so that you will have all of the time you need and not feel rushed. Some appointments have lasted less than an hour, two hours is more common, and three is not unusual. We do our best to be as efficient with your time as possible, while still giving you as much decision making time as you need.
What if I am coming to Los Angeles from out of town?
Please let us know in advance and we will work with you to schedule your order appointment as close to the session date as possible (and sometimes as soon as the following day).
What if my session is at your Santa Ynez studio?
Sessions and order appointments when we are in Santa Ynez are scheduled as matched pairs, with the session taking place during the weekend and the order appointment the following Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday (at noon, 4pm, or 7:45pm).
What can I do to prepare for my order appointment?
It is best to come with an open mind, plenty of time on your schedule to make your decisions, and a list of measurements. We suggest walking through your home and measuring all of the possible places where it would be appropriate to display art (be sure to measure the width and height of the wall space). Since your portraits will all be in a square format, our pieces are either finished as squares, or presented in frames that include two or three portraits framed together (making them either long or tall). It is certainly helpful to know what size you think may work best in advance, but more important to actually know the size of the walls themselves. You may find that you wish to move what is currently on a particular wall, so it is helpful to measure as many spaces as possible. You will also find it very beneficial to take snapshots around your home and bring them with you to the order appointment (camera phones are ideal for this purpose).
Investing In Your Portraiture
What does my certificate include?
Your certificate includes a studio photo session, and most certificates include a print that is appropriately sized to display on a table top (we refer to these as bookcase and desktop prints). Your certificate also includes your order appointment, which will be your opportunity to select the image for the print that we have donated, and order any additional portraits that you would like to own.
What is expected of me?
For the financial and aesthetic decision makers in your family to attend the order appointment together to properly consider the images we have created for your family.
Am I required to purchase my portraits?
Absolutely not. It is our task to create portraits that you find irresistible, not your responsibility to purchase.
WHAT IS THE COST OF THE ARTWORK?
To thank you for your donation, and to best serve you, we offer a special price list for gift certificate holders who donated to a charity or school to receive their gift certificate. This is our very lowest pricing, and is applicable only at your order appointment. We respectfully request that you don't share this pricing as we offer it as a courtesy just to those select clients who come to us by making a charitable donation at an event.
Your artwork begins at $1095 for a 14×14 signed museum giclée, canvas, or wood mounted print. The cost increases approximately $350 for each five inches of size. As an example, a 27x27, which is considered the smallest size we normally suggest for a family portrait, is $1995. This pricing is only available at your order appointment. It is not uncommon for clients to choose several images to display as wall art when they were only planning on choosing a single image (prior to having viewed their portraits). We consider the investment you will make in your portraits to be very reasonable given the high quality of the original artwork, the time and craftsmanship involved in its creation, and the value it will have to you over the coming years.
WHAT KIND OF INVESTMENT LEVEL IS “NORMAL” FOR YOUR STUDIO?
Since every session is different, and every family had different tastes and needs, there is no single normal level of investment. We focus on creating art for the walls of our clients homes.
Do you offer collections?
Rather than try and fit our clients into pre-selected sizes and combinations, we offer additional value based on your investment level. For orders placed at the order appointment, we typically include a number of smaller prints, and often also include a folio (our name for a photo album). These additions don’t add cost to your order, but are rather included based on your investment level. It has been our experience that this additional level of flexibility has been beneficial for our clients, and is a better value than having traditional collections or packages.
Why do you offer lower prices and additional incentives to order at my order appointment?
There are many decisions to make in putting together any portrait order. They include choosing the best sizing, selecting the right images for wall art, and choosing additional images for folios and smaller prints. Your order appointment is designed to make that process as easy as possible, and to help you make the best decisions for your home and family. Trying to put together an order after your appointment is a far more difficult process for you, and for us as well. It is particularly difficult and unreliable to select portraits from memory. We have chosen to reward clients who order when we present the portraits by offering pricing and other incentives to do so.
What about framing?
We work closely with a professional framer and are able to handle the entire framing process for you. Our simple pricing gives you the choice of a range of frames and framing options. We know that many of our clients have relationships with existing framers, and we are equally happy to work directly with your framer to help insure that your artwork is well displayed. This decision is completely yours, and you can expect outstanding service whichever option you choose.
Should I expect a high pressure sale?
No. It is our task to lay out options and make suggestions, and to help you see the value in owning the work. We highly recommend that you plan on making your selections at your order appointment, as there are very significant savings for you in purchasing at that time. It is not unusual for our clients to be unprepared to love the work as much as they do when they see it, and for that reason we suggest you keep an open mind to choosing whatever order is best for you based on the work itself. Please be assured that you are always free to leave after the first presentation of your work, and that you will be treated with kindness and respect no matter what decision you make about choosing to purchase.
How does your investment level compare with other photographers?
Mr. Halper’s photographic artwork is highly unique, definitively timeless, and unusually sophisticated. Generally speaking, we are in a different cost category than department store studios or shutterbugs who chase kids around the local park. The time, work and talent involved in the images we create are at a level that is far more demanding than what many other photographers are willing or able to offer (including, we believe, studios with higher price points). We invite you to compare the quality and value of the artwork Mr. Halper will create for you with any other portrait studio in the world.
Who Should Come to the Order Appointment
Why is it is important that my spouse attend our order appointment?
The decisions you will make at your order appointment will be important in your life for years to come. We want to be sure that all of the financial and aesthetic decision makers in your family have input into this investment. Since we offer incentives to purchase at your order appointment, and begin the process of preparing your images right away, the decisions made at the order appointment are considered final. The portraiture we create often exceeds our client’s expectations, and it is very common for clients to choose to invest at a level they had not expected to prior to seeing their portraits. Without having seen the artwork properly presented, spouses may not understand the decisions that were made in their absence. We want to be sure that all of our clients have an outstanding experience, and that we help maintain harmony within your family. The best way to insure that the right order is placed for your family is for both spouses (and any other decision makers) to properly view and consider the work.
Why do you ask that the parents of all children in the portraits attend the order appointment?
We can’t imagine that any parent would want to miss the opportunity to see their child’s portraits, and to consider owning them when the pricing is most advantageous. We do put a tremendous amount of work into preparing each session’s work, and for that reason we also want the opportunity to have the people who are the most interested clients at the order appointment to consider the work. This, in part, makes it possible for us to donate our sessions to worthy organizations.
Who should not come to my order appointment?
We highly suggest leaving babies and young children at home (they will likely be a distraction that will make it harder for you to focus during your order appointment). Older children who can sit comfortably and quietly may be brought at your discretion. We suggest not bringing anybody who will in any way make your decision making process difficult for you.
Can I bring a guest to my order appointment?
Absolutely. We want you to be as comfortable with the process as possible, and we welcome any guests who will make the process more enjoyable or easier for you.
Who else should attend?
Many of our clients have chosen to bring grandparents, other family members, and friends who might be interested in owning these amazing images of your children and family.
The way in which you work is different from another studio that I know of, why is that?
The way in which we work is what has worked best for the majority of our clients, and has also allowed us to continue to donate to worthy organizations by providing us with an opportunity to sell our work. We consider projection the gold standard for presenting photography and choosing appropriate sizing.
Can the work be presented online, or provided as proofs?
In keeping with our highest standards, we only present your portraits where they can be properly seen and understood. Presenting work online diminishes the work in both scale and image quality. Proofs would add substantial additional preparation time (and therefore increase the cost of your portraits), and also communicate the work relatively poorly in comparison with proper projection. Additionally, we respect and protect the artistic integrity of your family’s portraits, and there is no copy prevention technology that cannot be easily circumvented.
Why do you choose to donate portrait sessions and prints?
We take pride in being able to help worthy institutions and organizations, and silent auction donations are a very good way to show that support. We also see our donations as a way to introduce new clients to our business, to have the opportunity to demonstrate our talents, and to make our portraiture available to those clients who wish to display our work on the walls of their homes. Without that opportunity, we could not have donated your session and your print.
Can I schedule a second order appointment?
Each session includes one order appointment, to which you are welcome to bring anybody who might be interested in owning the portraits we create for you, or helping you with your decision making process. Additional order appointments can be arranged with a minimum purchase of one piece of wall art or a folio. Our standard pricing, rather than our order appointment pricing and benefits, would then apply.