Let’s plan your portrait session

A professional family portrait session is something you might only do once every few years, so it’s worth meeting each other beforehand so that we can make a great plan (location, clothes, date/time etc) and also answer any questions you might have.

It’s also great for the kids, as they get to meet our photographer before the portrait session and will be able to just relax and enjoy themselves on the day.

Booking your planning appointment 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 to book the planning appointment. Scroll down for more info on this in the FAQ section below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few common questions. If yours isn’t here, please call us on 03 8824 9808 or email us at hello@hugster.com.au – we’d love to help.

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

Don’t worry, we’re going to help you choose the perfect session time, date, location and clothes at your planning appointment.

Time of day is an important decision though, and it’s a combination of a few things:

  • catching your family in a great mood,
  • making sure everybody is available,
  • the light at that time of day and
  • the weather at that time of year

We’ve got a blog post with a lot more info on this actually.

When and how do I pay?

The session itself costs $200, which covers our time in helping you prepare for the session and blocks out time in our calendar to shoot, edit, design and produce your wall art. This can be paid over the phone or during your planning appointment, and at that stage you’ll also be able to see our full range of products and get a really good sense of which products suit your home and your budget.

After your portrait session, We have a huge range of products available starting at $290 for individual art-mounted prints, $590 (or $15/week) for canvas, timber or framed wall prints or wall collections (our most popular product) starting from $1590 or $34/week.

When you place your print order, we accept all major credit cards including American Express, with no transaction fees. Interest-free 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 really 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 the traditional put-them-on-the-front-cover-of-a-fashion-magazine kind of beautiful, 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. Tell us about your concerns and anything that you’re self-conscious about before your session (our initial phone chat or the planning appointment are great times to discuss these things). 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 pictures look weird.
Do you offer payment plans?

Yes, and the best news is that they’re interest-free.

We’ve partnered with a Melbourne-based, Australian-owned company called Payright, to offer easy payment plans. Here’s how it works:

  • Payments can be spread out over 3, 6 or 12 months
  • You can choose monthly or fortnightly payments
  • There is a small fee for the service, which usually works out to around $10/month, and that’s it!
  • There are no interest charges and no fees for paying out the plan early
  • Once you’ve paid a minimum deposit of 10% and your plan has been approved, we start producing your beautiful wall art immediately, so you can have them up on your walls as soon as possible
  • Applications usually take 5-10 minutes, and all you need is a drivers license and a credit card
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. If we’re photographing kids, parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins (we call these “Whole Clan” sessions) it may take longer, but we’ll make a customised plan for you.

How much will our prints cost?

There is a huge range to choose from and we’ve hand-selected the best suppliers to ensure that your prints will last a lifetime.

Our most popular products are our framed wall collections, which start at $1590 (or $34/week) for a set of three framed prints, canvases or timber panels. Individual wall prints start at $590 ($15/week), finished and ready to hang. The prices for all of our finishes (classic frames, glassless frames, canvas or timber) are all the same.

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 (sorry!)
  • that we’ll genuinely help you in the Big Reveal to make great choices, with no hard-sell or regrets.
Where will the session be held?

At your planning appointment we’ll help you find a location which suits your family best but also photographs beautifully.

Our portrait sessions are generally held in parks, beaches or bushland around the southeast suburbs of Melbourne. We’ve got some favourites, 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.

For kids, we always recommend picking the type of place that they feel comfortable, but it’s ideal if the specific location is a bit new to them. That way, your children will likely want to explore this new environment with the family, rather than doing their own thing on their favourite swing or up their favourite tree.

There are also times when a park, beach or bush isn’t going to work. You may want to involve an elderly relative in the session who can’t walk far or maybe you have a new baby. These are some of the many reasons we decided years ago to personalise our portrait sessions for each family and to collaborate with you to find the perfect location for your photos rather than being one-size-fits-all (let’s face it, it never does!).

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.

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 talk to us at your planning appointment so we can get this right 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 this 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. There are two ways you can do it:

  1. All of our print products come with free digitals, so most people choose what they want for their home first, and then decide on any additional digitals. Smaller products come with a matching digital of the same image, but larger wall collections come with extra digitals (in some case, all of them)
  2. If you mainly want digital files, you can choose from one of our digital packages starting at $690 (or $17/week) for five images. Each digital package comes with a credit towards wall art as a bonus.
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.

Make sure you ask us about our Baby’s First Year plans, where you get 3 or 4 sessions throughout the year so you can capture all of the changes. The albums and wall designs we’ve made for our Baby’s First Year families are pretty special and we’re very proud of them.

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