Session Policies

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Sweet Light Studios Portrait Session Policies

Terms & Conditions just sounds like too much work to us!

The following policies cover all Portraiture Sessions including Individual Headshots, Personal Branding Sessions, Legacy Family Sessions, Makeover Sessions and Special Offers. 
Scroll down for 
Commercial Product terms and conditions.

COVID UPDATE: Due to the state of things currently in CA, we are not able to offer any in-person or studio sessions at this time.  All orders will be refunded immediately.

Please check back when the state moves to Stage 4 of the SIP orders.

At Sweet Light Studios we strive to keep things simple & drama free.  With this in mind, we try to keep our overall studio policies kind of basic:

You give us money, we reserve a mutually agreed upon time to photograph you.  

When we meet for your photography session, we will make the best images we can for you given the agreed upon parameters of the session and the cooperation of all attendees.  After we make your portraits together, you will be given the opportunity to review the images. If you don’t love your images, you don’t have to buy them. If you haven’t paid for your session before reserving, payment in full is expected at the session.

If you don’t turn up for your reserved session time, we will keep your money.

Call beforehand, it’s easier that way -- we’ll work things out.  If the studio schedule and your datebook allow for a reschedule after a missed reservation, we will still make every effort to set a new time… because we want to make pictures for you!  

Sometimes reshoots happen.

If you don’t love your images and there is time, we will reshoot immediately.  If there is no time left in your session, we will book another session as soon as possible.  The more effort you put into preparing for your photo session beforehand, the better it will go.  

If you decide after you see the images that you don’t like the outfits you’ve brought along and want to try again another time, no problem.  If your hair/child/spouse or whatever isn’t cooperating the day of the shoot and you are not loving the images, we will reschedule whenever possible.  Images from your first session will be destroyed, never to see the light of day again, ‘cause you didn’t like them, right?

Print vs Digital.

At Sweet Light Studios, we sell portraits and value the print … without a print you are left with 1’s and 0’s (the digital file).  When you order a portrait, we retouch it and make it ready to print in the size you ordered. Larger portraits require more scrutiny, thus more editing.   We will then print it and give you BOTH the digital and it’s matching print!
If you don’t want the print, that’s fine, you don’t have to take it -- it’s a gift as we see it, because we value the print.

Self Acceptance is not something I can Photoshop in.

It’s important to us that you love your images, however, we’ve learned over time and lots of transformations, that every now and then things just don’t work out.  For instance, if someone really doesn’t like the way they look they may never like their pictures, because they don’t like the way they look, and that can become a vicious cycle. So, fix what you don’t like about yourself if you can, accept what you can not fix --  and love yourself no matter what.


When a makeover is done in the studio, we give our subject the opportunity look in the mirror and tell the artist how she feels about the transformation -- and we then fix any issues before the photo shoot.  If you don’t like your hair and makeup styling before you go to the camera, how will you ever love your finished portrait? This is the time to be brutally honest and make sure you love your makeup and hair styling.

If, after review of your images you still don’t love your pictures due to makeup we will be happy to schedule a reshoot.  The reshoot must take place another day with your own makeup or artist chosen, as a camera ready session. No refunds are available on makeup services.

Copyrights and wrongs.

Some of the other photographers have whole pages and documents saying they own the images they make and specify how their clients are allowed to use the photos made, how to credit the photographer, never ever to reprint or add filters, blah blah blah.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhgh!

We have a simpler take on all this…

US Law automatically gives the image maker a copyright on the image, and we reserve the copyright to your images for everyone’s protection. We understand that when you hire us, you not only want us to make images for you, but you also want to use those images! And, later on in life, you may come up with a new way to use the portraits we made together. When you purchase an image from us, you may use your images for your use: Online & in Print. Just don’t sell your images and we’re good.

Models Release.

Everyone I photograph must sign a models release and waiver.  Everyone. This release allows me to send the images to print, post on your gallery, etc.  It also includes a waiver of liability, in case of injury… which appeases the insurance company that covers the studio.  
No worries, I’ve yet to lose a model ;)  

Rights We Reserve

Our livelihood depends on us sharing what we create to inspire, motivate and enthuse others to hire us to make awesome photos for them, too! Unless you tell us otherwise, we reserve the right to use the images we make with you to promote the studio.  We’re gonna’ talk about this at the session when you sign that release, so if there’s an issue we can find a workaround!


Not all of our images are retouched! 
Economy Sessions and Monthly Specials may include images straight off the camera.  You can always add retouching later for a fee, be sure to ask if you have any questions on what is included in your session.   All other sessions are sold as a package including retouching. To us, retouching includes your basic adjustments for blemishes, color correction, skin smoothing and minor adjustments such as an errant hair or pushing in a fold of fabric.  Manipulation is always extra and covers more extreme work.


We will ask for your approval on the retouch before sending to the lab for printing.  Please understand that we cannot guarantee any changes can be accommodated to the the print order if they are requested 1/2 hour or more after your order has been submitted to the lab for printing.

Problems, Issues, Concerns, Complaints?

Let’s Talk!  Please, let us know directly if you have any concerns so we can work to resolve them … our goal is to make amazing images of you that you love.  If we have fallen down at our task in any way, please let us make it right! Drop us a line or give us a call, we love to create win-win scenarios.


Location, Location, Location!

Face it, we’re in the SF Bay Area, home of infinite traffic, some parking woes and loads of busy-bodies!

Because of these little facts of life, we need to charge a little more to leave our safe nest to get to you.  We limit our distance to 25 miles from South San Francisco. It’s our policy to only shoot on your private property, this eliminates a lot of hassles for both of us.  If you really want to have your family photo session on the beach, that’s great, we’ll do that for you, however, we require you secure the permit.


 Out-Takes and All those "extra images".

It's true, not everything shot is displayed. Not every image we make is suitable to see the light of day. This may be because you blinked, or made a funny face. It may be my aim was off or the light didn't fire the way I expected. Sometimes, on instant review, you delete them yourself. All these nasty files go in the X file and are binned on archival. Your viewing images are left to select from. Viewing images are not usually retouched beyond adjustments to light, color, and cropping. They are given a nice soft skin smoothing.

To receive all the viewing images from your portrait session purchase the Whole Shebang (a Makeover Session with a Folio Box + 16x20 + All Digitals)!

That's it, that's the only way to receive all the photos from your portrait session.


Archiving and Image Retrieval.

Once we send your images you are responsible to archive your delivered digital images, meaning save them to your own computer or drive or cd for use later.  While we do archive in-house, we do not guarantee safety in any way. We understand it’s all too easy to lose a file, and have indeed, over the years lost a few files due to disc failure or hardware fault ourselves, because things happen.  Thus we encourage you to store your files in more than one place.

The Files we do archive are your digital Negatives that were not binned, Final Selections and your Models Release.  Should something catastrophic happen and you lose digital files created by Sweet Light Studios please contact us to see if we still have your negatives.  
Archival Retrieval fee $50 per session will apply on sessions older than one year.

Specials -- and the limitations that come with them.

We offer specials because we believe that EVERYONE should have the opportunity to have gorgeous photos that they love, at a price that fits their values.

Specials Offers are sessions and products that I offer out of love and at cost, and as such are limited to One Per Person or Family and to the terms given for each offer.  Generally speaking, unless otherwise noted there are no makeup services offered, you should expect the session to be quicker than a full price session and all specials must be paid in advance.  No reshoots are available on Monthly Specials or No-Frills Family Sessions.

No-Frills Family sessions take place the First Sunday of the Month, by appointment, first come first serve on a limited basis.  No Family Sessions the month of July or December.

Monthly specials are good throughout the month, by appointment on a limited basis.  Purchase by the last day of the month and schedule up to two weeks out, as availability allows.


Portraiture Clients are responsible for and pay any sales tax due on the full session fee of all portraiture sessions, excluding Individual Headshot Sessions.


Custom Commercial Photography by Sweet Light Studios


The following policies cover all Commercial Product sessions, including in-studio sessions, model sessions and online commercial product photography.

COVID UPDATE: Due to the state of infection in CA, we are not able to offer any in-person or studio sessions at this time.  All orders for these sessions will be refunded immediately.

As of May 25, 2020, we are accepting Online Commerical Product Photography projects only with the following updated procedures:

 - All products must be shipped or convenient delivery arranged.

- All sessions must be paid in advance online.
If product returns are required, please include a prepaid shipping label or make other shipping arrangements. If no prepaid shipping label is included and a return is requested there will be a $10 Handling fee plus the cost of the USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate box.

 - A quarantine period of 72 hours will be in place for all packages received.
               You will be notified when your package arrives and the condition it is in. Package with then be opened & you will receive confirmation and project start time.

- All studio surfaces will be sanitized prior to opening your package and all photo sets will be sanitized prior to placing your product onto the set.

- Photographers will wear masks and gloves during your product photo session.

 - All products will be returned to the same packaging they arrived in for shipping if the return is requested.


The following terms and conditions remain in place.


Terms and Conditions: Product and Food Photography for Advertising | Commercial Headshots

Prior to Photographer’s commencing an Assignment or Securing a Date, Client shall pay Photographer in Full in Advance.  (Custom Projects over $1k: a minimum of 50% is required of which advance shall be applied against the total due).
All fees/deposits/advances are nonrefundable.

Payment. Prior to Photographer’s commencing an Assignment or Securing a Date, Client is expected to pay Photographer in Full, on jobs over $1k the client shall pay the remaining Balance Due at the end of the shoot.
The Client shall be responsible for and pay any sales tax due. Sales Tax is due on assignments with Tangible Products only. Should images be requested in a tangible format, the client agrees to pay estimated sales tax of 9.25%  for the entire assignment.
Should additional time or services be requested of the photographer at the session additional fees will be included in the final balance due.  An add-on amendment agreed upon and signed at the time is required.

Delivery of Images. Custom Commercial Photography Images will be delivered electronically (through the interweb, online gallery/folder, or via direct download off of the camera memory) only.

Commercial Headshot Sessions are limited to the number of selected images stated on your receipt. Additional out-takes, proofs or extra files are not included in delivery.
To purchase out-takes, proofs or extra files images please be in touch to request a custom quote to purchase out-takes.  
Pricing: 6 to 50 images = $100; 51 - 101 images = $200; 102 - 200 images = $350.

Custom Commercial Photography Contracts (formerly known as WFH or Work for Hire Contracts) generally include all images, delivered directly off the camera, no retouching or processing included. Please be in touch to request a custom quote if retouching or processing is required.

Reservation of Rights. Unless specified to the contrary in your agreement the grant of rights shall be limited to exclusive web use and the right to use the high-resolution images purchased in print within the United States for the life of your company/product.   All rights not expressly granted in your agreement shall be reserved to the Photographer, including but not limited to all copyrights and ownership rights in photographic materials.

Additional Usage. If Client wishes to make any additional uses than specified in the Grant of Rights Release, Client shall update the Photographer.  Payment of an additional fee for enlargement or additional retouching may be required to prepare the image for different media use. 

Releases. Property/Model/Stock. The client agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Photographer against any and all claims, costs, and expenses, including attorneys' fees arising when no model/stock/property release has been provided to the photographer for the client's commercial product photography shoot.

Grant of Rights Release. The release shall be made available for the use specified on estimate after receipt of the final payment due has cleared. The grant of rights gives grants our clients an Exclusive, Unlimited Usage License for Web Use and the right to use the high-resolution images purchased as specific print rights.  Be sure to tell us everything you plan to do with the images so we get it right!

Expenses. All estimates of expenses included in your custom quote may vary by as much as ten (10%) percent in accordance with normal trade practices. In addition, the Photographer may bill the Client in excess of the estimates for any overtime which must be paid by the Photographer to assistants and freelance staff for a shoot that runs more than eight (8) consecutive hours in a day.

Reshoots. If Photographer is required by the Client to reshoot the Assignment, Photographer shall charge in full for additional fees and expenses, unless the reshoot is required due to Acts of God or is due to an error by a third party, in which case the Client shall only pay additional expenses but no fee. The Photographer shall be given the first opportunity to perform any reshoot.

Cancellation. In the event of cancellation by the Client, the Client shall pay all expenses incurred by the Photographer and, in addition, shall forfeit deposit or fee's paid in advance. The fee/deposit/advance is nonrefundable.

For weather delays involving shooting on location, Client shall pay (50%) percent of the fee if the photographer is already on location in the event of cancellation.  Photographer will reschedule for weather delays if she has not yet left for the location.

Releases. The Client shall indemnify and hold harmless the Photographer against any and all claims, costs, and expenses, including attorney’s fees, due to uses for which no release (model, property or trademark) was requested or uses which exceed the uses allowed pursuant to a release.

Display & Portfolio. The Photographer reserves the right for any photograph created during sessions to be displayed in the studio, portfolio, or in any other advertising directly associated with Sweet Light Studios or Shelah Osbrink.