Common Questions

The Session

Do I have to be in the pictures? Can’t you photograph my dog/cat by himself?

We certainly pride ourselves in capturing the curiosity, quirkiness and humanity of our non-human companions, but David's real claim to fame is portraying relationships among family members – human or otherwise.

So, no, you don’t have to be in the pictures, but why not? David typically does both, and any other combination you dream up. You get all the options, with no obligation.  It doesn't cost any more, and remember, during your consultation, you’ll be free to select whichever images you love, and leave the rest behind.

What should I wear?

We recommend attire that makes you feel confident, comfortable and that expresses who you are! Solid colors work best, but try to avoid both BLACK and WHITE, if you can. Jeans, layers and textured clothing (denim, waffle weave, corduroy, linen) will add warmth to your photos. These are just guidelines, not hard rules. If you have questions, just call us. You might also like to bring several options and make the final decision here.

Please avoid shirts featuring logos, graphics or bold patterns. Pay attention to your shoes (and your children's shoes) as your feet will almost certainly appear in some of the final images. Your big snow boots or giant basketball sneakers, for example, might detract from the overall mood of the images.

How much time should I budget for my Sutton Studios experience?

We are not only warm, we’re efficient! Though your sitting should last from 30-60 minutes, we'd like you to budget about 90 minutes with us on the day of your portrait sitting, especially if you're coming with a larger group. That's enough time for us to make our magic.

What will I need to pay?

When you schedule your appointment, you will pay us a $50 deposit to reserve your session time. On the day of your portrait sitting, you'll pay the balance of your sitting fee.

We do all of our ordering consultations in house. When you come back to the studio for you consultation, we’ll help you organize your images and your thoughts, and then finish by helping you finalize your print order. This occurs about a week after your sitting.

My dog doesn’t get along with other dogs/people. Will there be other dogs there?

Don’t worry, your dog is safe. We schedule portrait sittings with plenty of just-in-case time in between, so that animals who don’t know each other aren't being introduced in our space.

We therefore ask that you arrive on time rather than early, for your appointment. Please do make us aware of any behavioral or aggression issues your animal may have so we can be sensitive to those concerns, and keep both your dog and our photographer safe.

My dog is nervous.
My dog is afraid of flash.
My dog won’t sit still.
My dog isn’t trained.
Is that a problem?

Few of our clients’ companion animals are professionally trained. David has 20+ years of experience and he’s worked with more than 10,000 dogs and cats.

These dogs and cats have taught David effective techniques for working with a wide spectrum of animal personalities. Right behind liver treats, David's most important tool is his legendary patience. The most common feedback we receive after a session is "David has the patience of a saint."

Some dogs fear new places or new people, some are convinced that any trip outside the house is inevitably delivering them to a needle-wielding veterinarian, and some may be unhinged by the car ride that brought them.
David initially meets with your family (both human and non human members) in our reception area before beginning the photo session. He’ll greet your dog/s/cat/s and talk with you to create a reassuring atmosphere for all. Once everybody is acquainted, he will walk you into the camera room. In the camera room, your pets will be given ample time to inspect the room and reassure themselves about the darker corners before we ask them to begin to work.

Should I get my dog groomed?

Grooming is a personal decision – you know how your dog will look her best – but please bathe your dog a day or two before your sitting. If you plan on having her groomed, we recommend setting the grooming appointment for a day or two before the sitting. A grooming and a portrait session on the same day can be a lot of stress for your dog, and we want her to be relaxed and very much herself for the photos.

A word about nails: Your groomer will probably want to trim your dog's nails for you, but we'd prefer they didn't. Those freshly trimmed nails can be pretty rough, and they're hard on our hand-painted backdrop and, at times, on our photographer.

How will you get my child to smile for the photos?

Most children cannot smile on demand, and when they do, it seldom looks natural. In order to capture and highlight joy, there must actually be ... joy. That’s what David will work on with your child.

While it may be challenging for you to sit in the wings and refrain from shouting "Say Cheese!" we'd be remiss if we didn't inform you that Sutton Studios is a cheese-free zone. David has been directing photo shoots for over 20 years and has a way with both children and animals. He adores them, and they feel it. He’s even mastered the art of making funky noises to conjure the reactions he seeks. Your kids may smile. They may not. Relax. We think you'll like your pictures either way. No cheddar required.

After the Session

Can I purchase high-res files and print them myself?

Our brand is rooted in a cultivated, definitive look, which we strive diligently to preserve. Each David Sutton original “out in the world” is our ambassador. David inspects and approves (or rejects and we go back to work) Every. Single. Print. Our process results in the consistency and incredible quality that our clients trust and expect.

So, can you purchase high-res files and print them yourself? No, but for good reason. We send each of our clients home with not just a smile, but also fine-art-quality prints ready for display.

We deliver extraordinary customer service, which includes listening to and embracing our clients’ visions for the artwork they imagine for their homes, leaving nothing to chance. We employ personalized retouching services, and our clients benefit from our exclusive relationship with our perfectionist lab that adheres to exacting processing standards and processes your final prints on the finest materials available in the medium. Oh, and we’re control freaks.

But I got all the digital files from my wedding. . .

That's a horse of a different color. Wedding photographers use a different business model and customarily charge very high session fees up front, as part of a complete package that may include delivery of the digital image files (so clients can reproduce inexpensive, disposable copies for all the friends and relatives who want cake-face-smashing snapshots.)

By contrast, we charge a nominal sitting fee, which places the burden on David to create compelling, irresistible images.

You are never under any obligation to purchase prints. After you’ve reviewed your proofs and made your purchase, you can be confident that the artwork you're investing in has been handled by exacting professionals, every step of the way.

But I want to post the pictures on Facebook. How can I do that?

Easily! Once you have met with our Photo Design Experts and finalized your print order, we will, as a courtesy, place a selection of the selected images into an album on our studio's Facebook page (search: Sutton Studios Portraits). The images bear a handsome and discreet Sutton Studios logo.

These work great for all your social media and networking sites, while protecting David's copyright. You’re welcome to circulate these electronic images as you see fit.

How long until I can see my proofs, and how do I select the photos I want to purchase?

Immediately following your portrait session, we'll schedule your print ordering consultation. This consultation will occur about a week after your sitting (and should happen within thirty days.) During your ordering consultation, we'll help you put your final print plan together.

You’ll work closely with one of our Photo Design Experts who can talk you through your options and help you achieve the artistry you’re hoping for, whether you intend to create a gallery in your living room or make a bold, artistic statement on your wall complemented by a dramatic album or book. Don't forget personalizing your work space, and making gifts for your more deserving family and friends.

Please be sure to measure your walls before your consultation. Consider your proportion guidelines and limitations so you're prepared to order appropriate and complementary sized prints.

Do keep in mind that we keep proofs active for 30 days from the date of your sitting. If we haven't received your final ordering decision within the first 30 days, your printed proofs may no longer be available to see.

I like them ALL! Can't I just buy the proofs?

Sorry. Every photograph we deliver to our clients must earn David’s approval, and our work proofs simply don’t make the cut. Our proofs are neither retouched nor fine-tuned to our exacting specifications, and they've experienced a lot of handling, which undermines their stability and longevity.

They're GREAT as a jumping-off point to help determine your needs and plan your displays and albums, but they're not meant to last, and they never leave our studio.

If you find you’re in love with most of your pictures, our Italian Photo Album makes owning dozens of prints affordable.

When will my finished prints be ready?

Your finished prints will be available within 6-8 weeks of placing your order. During the winter holiday season (November/December), however, we compress our production cycle to accommodate your holiday gift giving needs.

Do you offer framing?

We have close relationships with professional framers who have been impressing our clients for years, and we're happy to provide you with all their information. Fine art framing is a specialty, like photography, and we believe it's best left to the experts.

Do you offer custom greeting cards?

Why, yes, we do! You can order greeting cards with photos from your session through our affordable, web-based greeting card associate, Pricing varies by product. We ask a $50 per-image file prep and initial set-up fee; then you can order as many cards as you like directly from

Will you be featuring my photographs in your promotional materials?

We’d love to; is that OK with you? On the day of your session, we will present you with a model release form. While you are absolutely not required to sign the release (we respect your privacy and will not ask questions about your decision) doing so allows us to use our favorite photographs in our exhibitions and promotional materials, as stock imagery, and in advertising.

My daughter's red hair is her best feature. Can I get one or two shots in color?

David's signature work is monochromatic, and we painstakingly process the raw images and take them through an exacting multistep process with the ultimate goal of achieving the timeless black and white look for which David is famous.

That said, you may have a daughter with gorgeous auburn locks or a Weimaraner puppy with piercing blue eyes, and want to highlight and display these features. Yes, any of the images from your session can be re-rendered into color prints for you. Just ask.


What if I have to reschedule?

We understand that some conflicts are simply unavoidable and we will try our best to work with your schedule. Should you need to move an appointment, we ask for one week’s notice prior to your scheduled day, so we can cater to all of our clients and their needs. A $50 fee will be applied for reschedules within 7 days of an appointment.

Can you come to my house instead?

Most of our portraits sittings take place in our studio where we have optimum control over lighting, background and environment (control freaks, remember?)

However, David can indeed come to you, if you prefer, and photograph your family in your home or the setting of your choice. Call us for details about our on-location fees.

It’s important to realize, however, that the pictures you’ve seen, those images that have drawn you to us, have all been created in the studio.

I work all day. Can we do my session at night? On the weekend?

If an evening or Saturday sitting is what you need, we’ll make the arrangements. We want to work with you, so we’ll do our best to plan your sitting within your scheduling constraints.

Do you do weddings and events?

Although David does not do event or wedding photography himself, our Production Manager, Daniela Cardili does, and we recommend her unequivocally. Dani has a photojournalist’s reflexes and a portratist’s eye, and she's well respected in the industry, all of which positions her as the ideal person to capture these momentous occasions.


Do you offer gift certificates?

We do indeed. We can work with you to design a sitting + print package that will fit both your budget and your gift giving needs. You can purchase your gift certificate over the phone or come in and make the arrangements in person. Call us and we'll talk you through it.