Thank you for your interest in Bjorn Portraiture. We love working with families and individuals and every portrait is the result of closely working together. As a specialty studio, part of the portrait success is your participation in our process, which is outlined below.
Planning the Session
Setting a Goal - Start to consider an ideal location for your new artwork. Bring images of potential wall space and measurements.
Time of the Session - Plan your session for when you know your family is available. Please note there is a $100 cancellation/re-scheduling fee, if you need to reschedule in less than one week prior to the appointment. Because it is best for the vast majority of our clients, we set aside Saturdays and Sundays just for photography. Please be prepared to provide options for your session.
Our Style - Because these are portraits that you will likely own for the rest of your life and eventually pass down to your children, it’s important to make your decision based on work that speaks to your heart.
The Studio - The vast majority of sessions is done in our studio at 1310 Wayzata Blvd. E, Wayzata, MN 55391 (see contact tab for directions). There is ample parking available outside the studio. There is a changing room with a mirror available.
As a specialty studio, our background and lighting are exactly calculated to render your portrait as an exquisite piece of art. It is important for the success of your portrait that certain styles and colors of clothing be used. We ask that you please dress formal. For many, this becomes the most elegant portrait they will possess in a lifetime. Most portraits do not show below the knees. In general, we ask that you wear dark clothing so as to keep the light reflecting on the face and eyes. Our contoured lighting, and darker backgrounds do not work with light color shirts. Our experience suggests that the following works best:
Men - Dark jackets (tuxedo or suit), white shirt, tie, and dark pants.
Ladies - Dark (black, navy, burgundy, dark green, etc.) dress, gown or pant suit. White lace around collar is fine. Little or no pattern is preferred. Classic jewelry such as diamonds, pearls, etc. are encouraged.
Young Girls - Dark or jewel toned solid dresses are preferred, but ivory, cream or off-white are also acceptable if they are age 4 or under. Long sleeves are recommended for adults, but it is preferred for girls to wear short or sleeveless.
Young Boys - Same as men, or a solid dark shirt/sweater. If under age 4, a white shirt with bow tie can be appropriate.
Note: If you absolutely prefer casual dress, adhere to the following guidelines for success:
- Wear dark colors solid, not busy. Also, a style that will look acceptable 20 years down the line, as many people make the mistake of wearing trendy clothing only to regret it when fashions change. Remember it’s your face and eyes that should draw the attention in the portrait not your clothing.
- Dresses that flow below the waist are usually preferred rather than a tight fit.
- Timeless clothing that doesn’t look dated is always a good option.
- Wearing the same color as a couple or family exudes a feeling of togetherness and unity rather than separation.
Your Facial Appearance
We will ask you to arrive well rested, well fed, and with a positive attitude. In college, a professor of mine once remarked that I would get out of the class what I put into it, and working with our studio is very much a similar experience.
Hair and Make-up
Women – Over the years, we have learned that you identified your favorite hair style and make-up application and recommend you are working with the experts you have identified. Our studio provides ample space and light to prepare. Please discuss timing with your professionals and arrive earlier, so the portrait session can start as scheduled. We are more than happy to recommend hair and make-up professionals that we successfully worked with.
Men – Ideal timing for your haircut is 1-2 weeks prior to the portrait session.
If you are mostly known wearing glasses, please wear them. We aim to take a portrait that is true to your identity. Remember it is about how you appear to others, not to yourself. We will light accordingly to avoid reflections. If you have more than one pair of glasses also consider which appearance is most likely to stand the test of time, i.e. not too fashionable or trendy which can become outdated.
Our portraits aim to focus on the eyes. White teeth showing can be a major distraction toward that goal and also can be perceived as inauthentic. As a matter of fact, big toothy smiles have become an often ridiculed standard for modern portraiture. While it makes sense that you want to convey the always happy face when promoting detergents or coke, the baseline facial expression should aim to be content (not overly happy, not serious) with a relaxed face (practice in front of a mirror). Harsh shadows around the mouth due to big smiles are also toned down significantly as a result of this approach. Take some time to look at classic portraiture by James Singer Sargent, Rembrandt, Gilbert Stuart, etc. and you will notice the same demeanor. More contemporary examples are the classic celebrity portraits by Annie Leibovitz, artistic and real life royalty photographed by Yusuf Karsh, and most fashion photography is following the same recipe for portrait success that aims at timelessness.
The Photo Session
Our clients usually spend about two hours at our studio, during which we not only photograph the family groups, but focus on individual portraits as well. Our objective during the session is to create artwork that you will fall in love with. Don't be surprised if we put you out of your child's vision so that we don't have to compete with you for their attention; we want to honor your decision to work with us by creating the best possible imagery for your family. Being photographed is usually more work that most people expect (especially for the parents), but we’re almost always told that the children have a lot of fun. Feel free to bring along grandparents or friends to support you.
Ordering your Portrait
Around one week after your photo session, you will have a moment to relax with some refreshments while we prepare to show the images in a slide show. After that, we review the images and decide which ones you would like to order and in what size. At this point we also discuss your framing selection.
- All decision makers/both parents and anyone wishing to place additional orders need to be available to attend this appointment. Additional viewings can be scheduled for a $300 non-refundable fee.
- Please allow approximately 60-120 minutes for this process. If you have little children present, please ensure you have someone to watch them or identify one parent that is “on duty” that day. If necessary, additional appointments can be arranged for a fee.
- We ask you to pay the complete order at this meeting. We accept checks, and credit cards. Please be prepared to make your payment on your session day.
Our studio offers fine art wall portraits - stunning museum quality pieces that your family will cherish for generations (as opposed to photographic prints or images on flash drive, which we do not provide).
Everything that walks out of our studio is meticulously finished on fine art canvas in our signature style. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to receive artwork of this caliber. We do not offer online viewing, as we have found it is completely inadequate to properly convey the imagery and not suitable for choosing appropriately sized artwork.
Our goal is to create a pressure free experience, although many clients have found that they love the work more than they had expected to, and the work itself can be naturally persuasive. To make the ordering experience as comfortable as possible, we review the investment with all of our clients prior to the session date. We also request that you measure your walls in advance (see above) to help you select the most appropriate sizes, and to set aside adequate time to make decisions without feeling rushed.