Q & A

Welcome to my photography blog / website! With a background in fine art photography, presentation and clear intent in my work are very important to me. Waiting for my body of work to grow and develop has been a priority above presenting my work to the world which is why I've only now begun my website. My main interests currently fall in the portraiture category, and my style leans towards photo documentary. You will rarely see backdrops in my portfolio (though it's tricky business saying "never"). I like to be on location, quietly observing the lives of my subjects, and in the process, reveal something they did not see before. At the very least, when my clients view their final images they'll be able to appreciate the subject or moment they have hired me to document.

Short introduction aside, I'd like to talk a little about who I am and my work philosophy. Since I am relatively early in my career these are sure to change with time and experience, but I will continue to write in this blog as I post new images. Feel free to leave feedback and questions!

1. Why hire a professional?

Today most everyone has a fairly capable digital camera. One can take as many images as they please without any upfront cost. On top of that, it seems everyone knows a "professional" photographer. Not everyone with a nice camera is a pro. Not every pro has a nice camera. It is not what you hold in your hand that makes the images; it is the person behind the lens. A professional by definition is someone that works in a field every day for a living. I am not a weekend photographer. This is something I have been doing day in and day out for several years (more if you consider my five years of education). I can guarantee that with the same subject and same equipment, I will not create the same images as you or anyone else. You hire a photographer for a different perspective, and in most cases, a perspective that you would not have considered. Being in a few of those photos yourself also helps! A person cannot be behind the camera at all times. You can bet that I will hire another professional photographer to document the important moments in my life. Why? Because I want to be in those moments. I don't want to have to think about apertures and flashes during a pivotal time in my life. I'll still be snapping lots of photos, but if I want the best images possible, I will let someone removed from the situation take some as well.

This is another reason the "family friend" should not be your only photographer. Even if they are beginning their career as a professional and need subjects (I've been there myself - by all means let them take some photos for you), it is still a good idea to hire a professional, too. Let your friends and family enjoy your special moments. You can't raise your glass for a toast and snap a picture at the same time. At least not a very good one. It can also be really tough to tell that person what your standards are - and even tougher to deal with the results when the final product isn't what you expect. I can't tell you how often I have heard "I wish you would have been the photographer for our wedding." "We should have hired you instead of my cousin's co-worker." I have a professional standard to live up to and I can't provide anything less than what I am contractually obligated to provide. A casual acquaintance can only promise to do their best.

2. Who am I?

Great! You've decided to hire a pro. Now a little bit about why you might want to hire me. My name is Megan Byrd and I am a professional photographer located in Chicago, IL. I received a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and I also spent part of my education in Australia at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University. Since graduating in 2008, I have worked in a studio, done freelance portraiture work, as well as event photography. My main job has been newborn photography, though it is not an area I wish to exclusively work. It is an immensely rewarding task to photograph families as they welcome their new arrivals, but I love photography because it's never the same no matter what you do, and that is one reason why I have not chosen to specialize in one area of portraiture.

3. What can you hire me to photograph?

Just ask! As long as you like my style (environmental, on site portraiture with mostly natural lighting) I am happy to take on new and challenging subjects. One thing I am not comfortable with is a "camera for hire" event. If you want someone to take photos for a few hours and immediately hand over the images, I am not the photographer for you. For me, crafting a narrative from photography begins before a shoot and ends well after. This is why I do not work on an hourly rate. Only contact me if you want a carefully considered documentation of a special moment, event, or person.

4. Where can you hire me to work?

I will come to any location within Chicago city limits for a session, but am more than willing to travel outside of the city as long as travel expenses are covered. This includes out of state work as well. I currently do not own a studio, and probably never will. Going to new places everyday is the best part of my job!

5. How much does it cost to hire me for a session?

An exact quote depends upon the job at hand, but on average, a portrait session is approximately $150. Because I am still very new to wedding photography, I currently charge between $800-$1000 depending on the number of locations. Your cost will always be stated before the session is scheduled. Combined discounts are also offered, such as maternity and newborn sessions or engagement and wedding photos.

6. What can you expect as a final product?

You will receive an agreed upon number of fully edited high resolution photos with the complete rights for reproduction. I generally produce between 150-200 fully edited images for a wedding, and 30-50 for a portrait session. These images will be uniquely different from one another (in other words, you won't get several versions of the same image). You will never receive a CD or DVD of unedited photos from me. I truly believe less is more, quality over quantity. I am only interested in presenting my best work to clients, and this includes digitally enhancing them. The images will be color corrected and photoshopped to some degree. I also provide several "ready to print" collage images in 5x7 and 8x10 sizes.

7. What is "high res"?

Your final images will be 300 dpi TIFFs that can be printed up to 10x13 in (though larger files may be created upon request). These file types retain the highest level of quality, unlike JPEGs that are reduced in quality each time they are saved. I will still provide JPEGS as part of your package so that you may share the images with your friends and family online, but these images will have small watermarks as seen on the images here in the blog. This distinguishes them from the TIFFS so that clients don't accidentally print the wrong file type. It is also a safeguard against the unlikely (though possible) theft of creative property by third parties. It's also good advertising!

8. How long do you have to wait for your images?

On average you will have to wait 2-3 weeks for the fully edited images. Weddings take a bit longer to edit, and are completed in 4-6 weeks.

9. How should you print the images?

Professionally of course! If you trust a professional photographer to create the images, then trust a professional to print your images. This is the only way to ensure you retain the high quality of your portraits. I highly recommend you stay away from any automated print systems that are common in pharmacies and big box stores. Since you own the rights to reproduce the images, you may take them anywhere you please. Just remember to show your release form that comes with the final photos.

10. How do you contact me to request a quote or schedule an appointment?

You may contact me directly through this website, or via email at info@meganbyrdphotography.com . Feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog as well!