Let’s plan your portrait session

Scheduling your session is easy. Just follow the prompts below to pick a date and time that works for your family (and please call us if you’d like to chat about options).

During busy periods, the online calendar can book up fast. If you can’t find anything, just let us know and we can sometimes juggle things and make a spot for you.

There’s no payment required until you place your print order after the session. Scroll down for more info on this in the FAQ section below.

First, you might have some questions

Here are a few common questions. If yours isn’t here, please call us on 03 8824 9808 or email us at [email protected] – we’d love to help.

When’s the best time of the day to book for a session?

This is the single most important decision we’ll make in planning your session and we really want to help you make a great choice here, so please feel free to call if we can help. However, sometimes it’s easier to decide or you may not have time to call, so here are some notes. First is, avoid times like middle of the day and early afternoon because these don’t provide great light. Second, make sure that the kids, specifically the youngest, are well-fed, well-rested and happy.

Interested to have more knowledge on when to hold your session? This blog post might help.

Can I choose a different location?

Yes, absolutely!

There are four parks where we work very regularly (Wattle Park in Burwood, Braeside Park in Braeside, Ruffey Lake Park in Doncaster East and Kalang Park in Blackburn), and these have been chosen as places where we can make a private space for your family with flattering light, beautiful backdrops and very importantly, protection from wind or bright sun. We’re able to book these locations online because we know them very well and know what times and days work best at each.

However, we’ve also photographed families at lots of different beaches, in and around the city and even at family homes and gardens across Melbourne. We want your photos to be special, so if there’s a location which is special to you we’d love to hear about it. Just give us a call on 03 8824 9808 and we can help you plan the perfect time and place for your family.

Occasionally we also take Hugster “on tour” around Australia. Send us an email if there’s somewhere special that you’d like us to come and visit.

When and how do I pay?

There’s no payment required up-front to make your booking. You only pay if we’re able to create pictures that you love enough to want to have in your home to enjoy every day.

As a very rough guide, most families invest between $1000 and $3000 on their wall prints, albums or digital files.

When you place your print order, we accept all major credit cards including American Express, with no transaction fees. Payment plans are also available for larger orders.

What if I don’t photograph well?

This will sound like a cliche, sorry, but we really mean it. There is beauty in everybody when you take the time to look for it, and that’s exactly what we intend to do! Of course not everybody is beautiful in the traditional put-them-on-the-front-cover-of-a-fashion-magazine kind of way, but it would be a boring world if we all looked the same. The best portraits are the ones which capture the spark in an eye, a cheeky half-smile or a powerful, memorable moment, and that’s really the kind of beauty we’re here to capture!

Here are a few practical things we’ll do to help you though:

  • Let’s talk about it. We’ll call you a few days before the session to finalise the plans, and this is the perfect time to chat about anything that you’re self-conscious about. The more we know, the more we can help.
  • All of our sessions start with a two-minute posing lesson for grown-ups  which will give you a great base for flattering photos throughout the session.
  • We’ll take care of you in the editing of the photos, at your request. There are no fees for editing of the photos afterwards – it’s part of the service. Our policy is not to “photoshop” you unless you request it, and we’ll also advise you on the kind of edits that will look natural while steering you politely away from anything that will make the picture look weird.

How long does a session last?

Ultimately, we’re there for you until we have a set of great images, which generally takes 60-120 minutes. It depends mostly upon how long it takes everybody to warm up in front of the camera. Younger children usually need more time, so if your youngest child is 4 or under it’s likely that we’ll be closer to two hours than one. For a group of grown-ups, one hour will probably be enough.

How much will our prints cost?

There is a huge range to choose from and it all makes much more sense when you’re able to pick things up and ask questions at our Mount Waverley studio.

Our most popular products are our framed wall collections, which start at $1090 for a set of three framed prints and $200 for each additional print from there (so it’s $1290 for four frames, $1490 for five etc). Individual framed prints start at $390, Queensberry Albums (they’re the best album-makers on the planet in our opinion) start from $690 and smaller mounted prints are available from $145, so there is a lot to choose from.

How many of those you choose is entirely up to you. We promise two things:

  • that we’ll do our best in the portrait session to take so many great photos that choosing between them is difficult
  • that we’ll genuinely help you in the Big Reveal to make great choices, with no hard-sell or regrets.

What if my child isn’t in a good mood?

There are two things we can do to help with this:

  1. Let’s pick the session time together to maximise the chances of having happy kids. The best way to do this is to watch their mood over the next two days – when are they happiest, when do they put on the cranky-pants etc? In most cases, mornings seem to be best, but if there is a specific time that will work best for your family, please call us so that we can make it happen for you.
  2. Let’s take the pressure off. We all have off days, and kids are no different. If your child isn’t their normal happy self on the day of the session, we will be happy to reschedule to another day for you with no charge. Some families only get a chance to take time out for a portrait session every few years, so we want to help you make it a great experience.

What if it rains?

Almost all of our sessions are outdoors, and unfortunately the weather in Melbourne is a little unpredictable. Although it’s inconvenient for you and for us too, we really believe that it’s worth re-scheduling rather than braving the rain or hoping that the forecast will be wrong. Remember, you may not do this again for quite a while, so it’s worth doing it right 🙂

If the 48 hour forecast on weatherzone.com.au says there’s more than a 40% chance of rain at the time of your session, we’ll suggest a re-schedule. The good news is that our best photos seem to happen at re-scheduled sessions – it may just be a coincidence, but it’s true!

Can we get digital files?

Absolutely. We really specialise in creating beautiful printed products for your home, and although our USB boxes are pretty I must admit that they are also our least impressive product. If you choose a collection of beautiful framed prints for your wall or an album for your coffee table, we can often include digital files at a discount or even free depending upon the size of your order.

We understand though that some families just want files, and that’s totally ok. There are two ways to get them:

  1. Full-resolution, un-watermarked images are available in three packages; $690 for five, $1150 for ten or $1590 for thirty.
  2. With the order of any printed product, we can give you a ‘social media file’. These are sized perfectly for upload to the web and they have a subtle watermark on them which allows us to give them to you for free while also giving you some protection against misuse of the image online (you can be fairly sure that no advertiser will want to steal your family’s images for their ads if there is a watermark on them!)

What is the best age to photograph my baby?

This is such a big topic that we did a whole blog post on it, but here’s the short version.

Every bubba is different of course, but as a general rule there are a few great times to photograph a baby:

  • Newborn: 7-10 days after birth is the best time for these pictures, while your little angel is still tiny (and sleepy). You might be a bit worn out at this stage, so we’ll understand if you just want us to photograph bubba on his own.
  • First family photos (recommended): Approximately 8 weeks after birth, your baby will still be small but you’ll be getting a bit more sleep and his or her little personality will be starting to shine out of those now-wide-open eyes. This is a really beautiful time for pictures of your baby with Mum and Dad. Because our speciality is telling love stories, we recommend waiting for 8 weeks as it means you’ll have had time to really form a beautiful relationship with your child.
  • At around eight months your baby will be ridiculously cute and much more interactive. This is a great time to capture smiles, laughs, cuddles and tickles. You’ll see a lot of pictures on our website shot at this age, because we’ve got a big soft-spot for eight-month-old bubbas!
  • Any time after that! For the first few years, it’s really important to carefully pick a session time when your child is likely to be well-rested, well-fed and happy.

hugster family photography