CREATIVE                                              PORTRAIT                                             DESIGN

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Creative Possibilities

Having your portrait created is a unique and creative undertaking, almost unlike any other in your life. We use our experience and talent to make your portrait a one of a kind original. As a work of art, we want you to display it with the pride of knowing that it communicates powerfully. Not only to your family, but for all who happen to view it, now and in the future.

 There are many decisions and choices to be made, but rest assured we are here to guide you every step of the way. Whether you prefer formal, or informal, a classic or contemporary feeling, a romantic, or realistic mood we can recommend the best approach and location for the setting. We has over twenty-five years of experience in "setting the stage" for an exciting and timeless result.



Step I: The Consultation

 This is the initial consultation. In this interview we will work with you to determine your particular preference regarding the style and type of photography to be created. This conference can cover any and/or all aspects of your portrait session. At the conclusion of this session, a general agreement is made and a date is set for your sitting. Items which are usually decided at this time are who, what, where, and when type of questions.

Step II: Clothing Conference/Optional Home Visit

 Concerns about appropriate wardrobe are handled at the pre-portrait clothing conference. This is scheduled at the studio to give both you and the Photographer a chance to examine your choices of wardrobe, to confirm appropriateness of style and color. You may bring as many articles of clothing necessary for this usually brief informal meeting.Questions regarding props, jewelry, and make-up are also decided at this time.

 An optional visit to your home can be scheduled. This additional step can be helpful in pre-planning the specific design, color scheme, or location of the portrait in your home. The more specific you are about the placement and final look of your portrait (before photography has taken place), the easier the entire process becomes. You will find, in these notes, a section dealing with how best to pre-plan things like size, placement, and framing. Please be sure to read over that section: it can be extremely helpful.





Step III: The Photography Session-A Fun Experience!

 Whether you are on location, in the studio, with children, or alone, the actual photography session is a fun and entertaining process. we excel in making subjects of any age relax and forget they are being photographed. Our special ability to communicate, entertain, and even at times to perform for children never fails to break through that rigid posed look barrier. Perhaps you never enjoyed having your photograph taken in the past because the results were always disappointing and less than flattering. We will help you relax. At the same time we know how to capture those precious, fleeting moments that reveal personality. The results are photographs with natural expressions and tremendous emotional appeal. Our unique style of shooting combined with our keen eye for composition, light, and color may be the reason we have accumulated so many professional kudos, as well as such a loyal following among our past clients.

Step IV: The Projection Method of Seeing Your Previews

 Approximately one week following your shooting session you will be invited to come to the studio for a unique show. Itís a show in which you, and/or your family is the Star! Your images will be presented in a multi-projector slide show. It is vitally important that all parties that have a final and direct role in the decision making process be present for the projection. Please allow 60 to 90 minutes for your visit. We suggest that you leave small children at home so that you can relax and enjoy your presentation.. During this step in the process we try to consider everything pertaining to your final order. This includes such details as the number, size, final retouching, framing, and planned delivery date. A fifty percent (50%) deposit for all orders is required at this time.

Step V: Presentation of Finished Portraits and Frame Selection

 Voila! You come to the studio to pick up your finished portrait. Because of the many complex steps involved the presentation of finished portraits requires about six weeks. Those steps include: negative retouching, canvas retouching, and other tests. From start to finish, from the day of the shoot to final delivery, please allow a minimum of six weeks.

 Now is also the perfect time to make your frame selection! Seeing the right frame on your portrait is as important to us as any other step in the process of delivering a finished work of art. You can choose your frame based on our selection of samples. A custom hand-crafted frame will be made to order and often can be ready for you to pick up when your final print is delivered. We like to think of it as putting the icing on the cake.




The Choice of Background

 One of the key elements of your portrait is the location and choice of background. Both location and lighting are essential elements to consider. They determine the overall look and feel of a portrait. Portraits can be created in the studio, with controlled lighting, or they can be done in a natural outdoor setting with nature providing the light. Both can be magnificent. For example, a beach setting done in the soft glow of the late afternoonís golden sunlight against a pastel violet sky can be spectacularly beautiful. Alternately, an image done in the studio, illuminated with the same classic sculptured lighting of the Old Masters then combined with a glimpse of an antique chair and a feeling of soft brush strokes in the background can be equally powerful.

 Because we are blessed to live in such a naturally beautiful environment there are many outdoor locations. Most are only a short drive from our studio. For example a beautiful beach is within a forty-five minute drive. We are  always "scouting" the location for ideal angles, and the best times of day for the light. The seasonal changes here offer subtle colors, and beautiful texture. All this is considered before deciding on the location, and background for your portraits. Virtually anything is possible so donít hesitate to ask if your have an idea or a location you would like to try.


 You donít need props to make a portrait powerful, but sometimes they can contribute to make a portrait more personal. They can suggest a story, or a theme that is meaningful to the family. Items such as a golf club, tea set, quilt, Christening gown, a piece of jewelry, or an heirloom, could add a special feeling to the portrait. Even pets can be considered since many people feel their pets are part of the family. They just require the right planning and proper setting. Again, please don't hesitate to ask regarding any idea you may have. We encourage your creativity and personal inspiration.


 Clothing is one of the essential ingredients contributing to the final look and style of your portrait. For that reason we like to be very involved in the selection of the wardrobe. (Please see Step Guide II in Procedures List.) Because you want your images to stand the test of time, and not to appear dated by current fashions, your choices should be very simple, and classic. The most beautiful portraits are often those done with the most understated wardrobe. By all means avoid especially eye-catching patterns, colors, and prints. Solids work best in general. Simple all white, black, or muted solid colors work especially well. Because bright colors like red, and yellow are so dominant, they tend to take over the picture. The idea is to make you the most important element in the portrait, not the clothes.

 Jewelry can contribute to making a statement, but in general a small item, or two is most adequate. Of course, if a family heirloom is part of the concept in your portrait feel free to wear it. But remember, we want to convey a clean and uncluttered image. If you are in doubt, please feel free to ask about any item of clothing or jewelry.

 As a rule of thumb, 3/4 or long sleeves work best for both ladies and men. Your clothing should fit comfortably. Avoid clothes that restrict movement, or sitting positions. For example, we may ask that you try sitting on the carpet or lawn, or on the edge of a chair to get an attractive angle. Looser fitting clothes will make this easier for you.

 Using like, or complementary colors can make a large group blend together, and create a feeling of family, and togetherness. Ideally, no one person should stand out due to color or style of clothes. (Unless, of course, you want them to). Ideally, all colors should blend harmoniously.

Hair Styles

 Hair should be styled and groomed in a manner that is completely natural to you. Now is not the time to experiment with a new look, or a major change in styling or color. Bear in mind that you want your portrait to represent you and your family for years to come.

 We sometimes have a tendency to over groom our children. Try to keep young boyís and girlís hair natural, and not overly perfect. Also, itís always a good idea to bring your own brushes, hair-sprays for last minute touch-ups. Hair should be clean, a neatly arranged, and combed so as not to cover the eyes. Little girls look especially pretty very often with a little hair clip, bow, or hair band.

 Both men and boys should avoid the just cut look by having hair trimmed a week or so before the sitting. Men should be clean shaven. If facial hair is part of their style, it should be neatly trimmed.


 Ladiesí eye shadow should be applied lightly, and with care. The center of greatest interest in a portrait is the subjectís eyes. Do at least one application of mascara on both upper and lower lashes. Use your normal foundation. Sometimes itís beneficial to increase the amount you would normally use by about ten percent. Be sure to blend very well and avoid obvious demarcation or tan lines. Itís a good idea to bring your make-up with you in case any additional application or changes are necessary at the sitting. Because this is a portrait, and not a "fashion" type of look, we recommend you just follow your normal make-up routine and not become overly dramatic. If you have any questions about shades of make-up, or application please feel free to ask. Children and men donít require any make-up. Clean, natural skin is the only requirement.




 Glasses, because of their reflection and magnifying characteristics can distort the eyes of the subject. Glasses that darken in a brighter environment also pose a problem. A good way to solve this problem is either not to wear them or have your optician supply you with a similar frame as you're own, but without lenses. Contact lenses, of course, present no problem.



 To help avoid misunderstandings, and promote customer satisfaction, we would like to provide you with a few simple standard guidelines. We have found over the years that these practices really benefit all parties, and assure clear communications.

 Upon your initial consultation and decision to have Theis Photography Ltd. do your portraits you will be asked to pay the portrait session fee. As our time demands  have grown increasingly over the years we have found that this policy helps to insure that the time spent with you is the most productive time possible and results in the most satisfying relationships.

Fees Structure Explained

 The final cost of your portrait will reflect two basic charges. The charge for the actual photography session and the cost of portraits. The explanation of these services and portrait charges is as follows.

 The Portrait Session Fee is the nominal charge we apply to the actual photography session. It includes the time and materials used in photographing the session. A photography session can typically go 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and may run slightly longer, or shorter depending on a variety of factors. For example, children have a built in time of constraint, and after a certain amount of time they are too tired to continue working. This is perfectly natural, and we always work within the childís limits.

 As mentioned before, your Session Fee is paid in advance of the sitting. The Session Fee is based on the number of people being photographed, and the location. Again, there is a slightly higher fee for shooting at a location that requires considerable travel time away from the studio.

 The cost of portraits ordered including size, type of finish, and the quantity of portraits, all factor into the final total. Bear in mind that this type of fee structure allows you the greatest freedom in choosing your final product, and determining the final cost.

 There are no required number of portraits, or kind of finish that you must buy. Everything is a la carte and is your choice. Cost for portraits does vary with the size and style of the finish. Since photographic portrait prices can change, please inquire at the studio for current price quotes on specific size and style portraits.


Making Your Print Selections

 To aid you in the process of choosing the best images for portraits we provide the "Studio Slide Presentation System" referred in the Five Step Guide to our procedures. (See Step IV.) In this manner we can project your portraits in all available sizes, and you can actually see how they will appear in your home in relation to size and image proportion. The benefit to you in this system is that it eliminates guess work in your final size selection since images appear to have different qualities when enlarged. By actually seeing the images projected in the size you prefer, you are able to experience the power and impact of the portrait as it will appear in your home. This method of selection gives you complete confidence in your choices of both size and finish.


Payment Schedule

 Due to the custom nature of our product we ask that you pay a 50% (fifty percent) deposit on your final order at the conclusion of your projection-slide presentation.

 The remaining balance is due upon completion of the work. Because of our limited storage space and for insurance reasons, completed orders must be picked up within 30 (thirty) days of notification. We accept cash, checks, MasterCard, Visa and Discover.

 Please note that every effort will be made to insure that your images are handled with proper care and necessary caution. However, if due to circumstances beyond our control, damage or loss occurs to your images, the Studio is limited in liability for only the return of deposits made prior to the loss, or damage.



 Your selection of the style, type of finish, and sizes are among the most important choices you will make concerning the finished product. The final look and feel of your portrait are a direct result of these important decisions.

 The most enduring and striking finish for your prints are without a doubt our "ImperialSovereign." As with the Old Masterís Portraits, the finest printing techniques are used to produce the portrait. Next, the image is carefully and permanently bonded to a fine linen canvas which is then mounted on a stretcher frame or masonite. The final touch of delicate brush strokes is then applied to enhance the tones and compositional elements of the portrait.

 Another choice, "The Embassy," is a truly handsome finish, not as dimensional as the Imperial Sovereign, but altogether very pleasing. All retouching, artwork and surface finishes are completed before the portrait is mounted on canvas and masonite. Our Embassy portrait exhibits many of the desirable features found in the Imperial Sovereign, but at a lower price.

"The Marquis" is simple in style and moderately priced, this portrait is mounted on heavy artboard or masonite. The Marquis lacks the dimensions found in the more expensive processes, but still exhibits all of the special photographic techniques you have come to expect from an original Steve Theis portrait.

 Another possible choice, which is increasingly coming back into vogue, is the beautiful, and artistic Black and White Print. Here again, we offer some choices in the type of finish. The Silver Relief Black & White Print has been, and continues to be the exhibition standard for the photographic arts.

 If you have any questions about any of the types of styles of finishes mentioned here, or elsewhere, please feel free to ask. We will be happy to assist you with any photographic questions whatsoever.





Ownership of Images

 Please note that all original film materials, including negatives, slides and prints are copyrighted and the property of Theis Photography Ltd. The Studio reserves the right to use any images for display advertising, publication, competitions, or other purposes. Technically, by copyright law, all images remain the exclusive property of the Studio, and any reproduction, or attempt to reproduce them without express written consent of Steve or Chris Theis is illegal. We will try to accommodate all reasonable requests. Please feel free to discuss your needs with us so that we may have the opportunity to serve you better.




 Congratulations! You have read a comprehensive booklet detailing how we work, and all the steps to achieve your goal-a magnificent portrait. I can assure you that your active involvement and dedication in this process will pay big dividends. For us, we can only say that it is our utmost desire that you will find the process enjoyable, and the final product the best one ever.

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