Some Important Information For You…

Simple, plain outfits photograph the best like solid colors, as they are not distracting.  Our aim is to produce a timeless, beautiful portrait of you and your family, and the best way to begin is to remember one word… SIMPLICITY!  Your clothes should be plain and simple, not loud and busy.  Always wear long sleeves if possible!  It takes away from distracting arms and also gives a thinning look.

If you wear glasses, take this into consideration:  You can have your optician supply you with empty rims for the day of your appointment, as not only do glasses catch reflections, but they can also distort the face-line in some portraits because of the lenses.  Contacts are no problem.

Hair and Make-up:  Make-up should be applied lightly and not over done (less is more in this case); the center point of interest in a portrait is the eyes, so keep this in mind (make up can enhance this in a portrait).  Normally, you can wear your make up as you normally would.  It is a good idea to bring your make-up with you in case any minor touch ups are required.  Hairspray is also good to bring with you.  You can NEVER tell what Mother Nature is going to do with the wind and/or rain.

Be sure to shave just prior to your appointment as there is no way to hide a “five o’clock shadow” in color photography.

Special Notes In Preparing For You Portrait

Remember the objective of this portrait…a beautiful, sensitive portrait,  which shows the relationship and personalities of each person in the  portrait.  For this reason, keep the clothing very subtle, but be careful, so as not to dress anyone in an outfit that is not an expression of their personality,  or that they do not want to wear.  What you want is to avoid having any one person “jump” out of the portrait because he or she is dressed in a lighter and brighter outfit than everyone else.  Work for balance, harmony,  and color coordination.  If you have any questions at all, please call us anytime!

If you choose to bring your clothes in for the final clothing appointment, Tod will personally assist you in any possible way.  Don’t worry about anything, we will help you with everything, and your completed portrait will be superb because of this careful planning!

  • When you discuss the upcoming photographic session with your children,  do not instruct them to “smile”, or “do exactly as Tod says”, etc.  Simply  let them know how exited you are about the photography, and leave everything else to Tod.
  • One of the keys to success and beauty of Tod’s work is his ability to help you feel at ease during the photographic session – so don’t worry about anything.  All of you will have a great time!
  • If there is anyone in your family who is particularly worried about photographs, or has a particular problem, be sure to let Tod know in private before the session by phone or email.  There are countless techniques and special methods which we can use to minimize these problems, so be sure to bring up anything you wish to discuss!  The secret to success here is communication, we are here to help you, and our only objective is to create an outstanding portrait, which you  will treasure forever!


The 8 Things To Look For In A Family Portrait Photographer:

#1 – Make SURE They Guarantee Their Work!

“If you are not thrilled beyond your expectations when you look at the photographs – you don’t pay for them.”

This is a big one, and it’s the most difficult one to find.  Most photographers would never think of guaranteeing their work.  They will say “but it’s ‘art’, and you can’t guarantee art!”  Well, I think that’s crazy.  You’re investing your hard-earned money in these photographs, and I believe that you should ONLY pay for them if you’re absolutely thrilled.  That’s why Tod Gomes Photography offers a complete 100% guarantee.  No kidding, if you are not completely thrilled with your photographs, I will create additional images for you at no charge, and if you still don’t love them, I will cheerfully refund all your money.  I am absolutely committed to creating the finest portraits you have ever had (or ever will have) made.


So, make sure that any photographer you are considering offers this same guarantee.  Just make that one of the first things you ask when you call on the phone:  “What’s your guarantee?”  If they don’t immediately, and without hesitation tell you that you don’t pay if you’re not thrilled – go to a different photographer!


#2 – The Photographer MUST Meet With You FOR FREE, Prior To The Actual Photography Session!

“Make sure the photographer meets with you personally BEFORE (at no extra charge) your portrait session to help you with every decision – this insures you and your family will look perfect in your photographs.”

This is such an important step!  There are only a handful of photographers in America who do this, and it’s such a vital step.  You see, a fine family portrait is much like decorating the inside of your home.  It involves careful planning, and everything must work together to make a great result.  For example, if you were redecorating your living room, you would NEVER choose what color wallpaper to put on the walls if you didn’t know what color carpeting you were going to have.  Or, imagine shopping for new furniture for that room, without knowing the exact dimensions and layout first.


It’s the same thing with your family portraits.  Any photographer who claims that he or she can just “plunk” you and your family down and “shoot the pictures” and have them turn out great is NOT a great photographer.  That’s someone who is not concerned about creating a fantastic, perfect photograph of you and your loved ones – this is someone who is only interested in cranking through as many clients per day as possible.


You are NOT on an assembly line here!  Your family is completely unique, and unlike any other family on Earth.  Therefore, your photographs must reflect that as well.  That’s why it’s so important the photographer meet with you before the session.  At that time, the photographer will help you choose the perfect clothing, how to do the hair and makeup, what will be the perfect location to photograph in as well as the lighting conditions (which is one of the MOST important elements of creating a photograph).

I’ve been in the business of photographing families full time for 12 years, and I have found that by doing this, it creates a much more pleasant experience and helps the final portrait that much more (And I DON’T CHARGE A CENT FOR IT)!  Make absolutely sure your photographer will do the same, and make sure they don’t try to charge you extra for it.


#3 – You Can Have The Photograph Created ANYWHERE YOU LIKE, At No Extra Charge!

“No boring ‘painted background’ in a studio – you can have your photographs created outdoors, in your home, at the beach – wherever you like.  Plus, the photographer should help you choose the perfect location, also at no charge.”

How personal is a photograph of your family going to be if it’s not created in a location that is beautiful and personal to you?  The location will be like an additional personality in your photograph.  Imagine, instead of having your family crammed into a dark, boring studio, you are all gathered at the beach, or in your backyard, or in your favorite room in your home.  That photograph now has all new life to it.  We are so fortunate here in the Bay Area to have access to many beautiful locations for outdoor portraiture!  So, if you don’t have an idea of where you’d like to have your photograph taken, I’ll be able to give you some fantastic ideas.


If your photographer tries to charge you extra to photograph on location instead of in his or her “boring” studio, they are not the right photographer for you.  No photographer should charge you extra to do what is right for the photograph in the first place.


#4 – Make Sure Your Photographer Has A Photographic Enhancement Artist On Staff – Perfect Portraits Are No Accident…

This goes SO FAR beyond “digital retouching” where a computer guy goes in and removes blemishes or touches up wrinkles.  This is so much more.  AT NO EXTRA CHARGE, we will have our Personal Portrait Enhancement Artist go over every inch of your portraits and give them another dimension of life.  Don’t worry, no one will EVER be able to tell that any enhancement was done to them, but this one step can take a good photograph and make it perfect.


#5 – Your Photographer Should NEVER Tell You To “Say Cheese” To Get A Natural Expression!

“When I create a family portrait, natural expressions are guaranteed – I not only have ‘focused’ (no pun intended) on my photography skills, but I’ve also mastered ways of working with subjects to get the best and most natural expressions every time.  Your photographer should have done the same.”

We’ve all seen photographs where the subjects looked fake and posed – and those photographs never look good.   Why have a family photograph created if your family doesn’t look natural?  There are a number of ways to insure that each of your family members look their best in the photographs.  And, I’ll give you a hint, it never involves having any of your family members “say cheese.”


I’ve spent just as much time perfecting the “art” of human relationships and psychology as I have perfecting my photographic techniques.  When all is said and done, the most important thing in your family portrait is – YOUR FAMILY.  Their relationships – their expressions – their personalities.  If you’re at all like most people, you don’t feel very comfortable in front of a camera.  Believe me, I know how you feel.  I’m a photographer, and I don’t even like being in front of a camera.  That’s why I take the time to get to know all of your family members very well – what their hobbies are – their likes and dislikes, so that I can talk to them during the session, and loosen them up.


No one EVER looks stiff or “posed” in my photographs.  Never.  The one comment I get more than any other from my clients is:  “We all look so natural, and so great!”  You’re trying to capture a family memory.  To me, a family memory must look REAL, not fake or posed.  Every photographer should think that way, but most of them don’t.


#6 – Find Out Why Your Photographer Became A Photographer!  Many Become Photographers For The Wrong Reasons!

“Because of my own family, I understand how important these photographs will be to you.” 

When I was growing up, my family always used to say “Hurry up Tod, you are taking to long”.  Then when the photos came back, they said “your photos look so much better than everyone else’s”.  I later discovered that it was because while I was looking through the view finder I was looking at all the details making sure that nothing was out of place.  I guess I just had the artistic eye in the family. You see, I didn’t get into photography because it seemed like a surefire way to make money.  I got into photography because of my love for my family, and a love for helping other families capture the memories that will last a lifetime.


That’s why I got into photography.  I love photography, but even more, I love families.  I love creating priceless memories.  This love and respect for family relationships as well as my love for photography helps me to consistently create photographs that go well beyond traditional portraits.


#7 – A Photographer Should Do NO MORE Than 2-3 Sessions Per Day – If They Are Doing More Than That, They Will Be Rushing Through Your Session, And Won’t Be Able To Devote The Time To Do It Right.

“I will only do a MAXIMUM of 2 full portrait sessions per day.  What does this mean to you?  It means that I will never be rushing to get your session done so I can move on to the next.  Your photographs will be perfect, because I devote all my time and focus to your family.” 

This is so important!  A lot of photographers will try to cram 5 to 10 sessions into one day!  That’s crazy!  They have about enough time to set up a couple lights, snap a few images, then fly out the door on their way to the next session.  I made the decision 8 years ago that I wasn’t going to work that way.  You get my undivided attention, and I’m not going to be rushing off to do another session, leaving you and your family with less-than-perfect portraits.  I grew up being taught to do things the right way.  To this day, I still believe that 100%, and that’s why I’d rather do 2 great sessions a day, rather than 10 “okay” sessions.  It’s a matter of pride.  You’re trusting me with your family’s memories.  I take that responsibility VERY seriously.


Ask any photographer you call how many sessions they typically do in a day.  If it’s more than 2, move on to another photographer.  Believe me, this makes such a HUGE difference in the quality of your finished portrait.


#8 – Make Sure To Ask Your Photographer If This Is Their Full Time Job or Will They Be Going Back To Their “Day Job” When Tomorrow Comes.

You really need a photographer who can devote 100% of their time to your family portraits and not have to worry about the stress of “Company XYZ” at the end of the day.  Photography is my Full time “Job” and I don’t have to go back to the “Salt Mines” day after day.  I really hate calling it my “Job” because I don’t see it as “work” since I love what I do!


Call Me At 925-787-1063, And We Will Chat About Your Family Portraits – No Cost – No Obligation.