Frequently Asked Questions

What Does A Session With You Include?

All sessions last 60-90 minutes* and include shared copyright of 20-25 hi-resolution images.

Sessions also include a customized blog post and private online viewing gallery. The gallery is accessible using a password I create for you.  I will also provide a pin number that can be used to enable downloading. Receiving your images couldn’t be easier! When downloading from your gallery, all files will be emailed to you in a single zip-file.

All clients will receive a copy of my terms and conditions prior to the session to review and will be expected to sign it at the time of session. A receipt will be emailed to you after payment is made. Session reminders are also included! Expect a card via snail mail to hang on your fridge, and an email reminder 2-3 days prior to your session.

While you will be provided with the opportunity to download all images for your personal use, I recommend ordering all prints through my professional lab to protect your investment. For information on ordering, please see below.

*newborn sessions can last up to 2 hours to accommodate feedings and feelings. 🙂

What Does Shared Copyright Mean? Can I Print My Photos?

Shared copyright means that I am sharing ownership of the images with you. Many photographers do not release their digital files and will force you to purchase prints if you want them. I believe you should receive a copy of these images so you have a back up copy and can keep them for a lifetime.

Even when providing shared copyright, releasing the images I create does not mean they are open to further artistic manipulation. I work hard creating the exact look that I want and do not allow any major cropping or any type of color enhancement. Many photo labs, such as Target, Wal-Mart, etc. use “auto color correction” when developing images. DANGER!! If you ever see this, do NOT use the lab, or at least un-check that box. Your photos have already been color corrected and will look way over-saturated and just plain awful if “corrected” again.

You have invested a lot of money to get perfect photos. If you choose to display them in your home, please preserve the work I have done and the money you have spent by printing them through my lab. You can see how important this is by visiting this link: http://www.arikareed.com/why-you-should-order-prints-through-a-professional-lab/. This blog post also shows some obvious differences: http://www.arikareed.com/20-thinwraps-and-print-comparison/

I keep my prints costs as low as possible to encourage your orders.  You will be keeping these for a lifetime. Memories on the wall will be looked at everyday, and when you break down cost per day, we’re looking at next to free.  Trade the fancy coffee drink for a print; it will last a whole lot longer and cost about the same. 🙂

If you still choose to print elsewhere (shared copyright gives you this right), I will recommend Costco. I’ve seen some of my images that clients have printed there and they turn out better than the other places (although it’s still no comparison).  Just be sure to bring your receipt stating shared copyright with you. For books, the best printing I’ve found is Blurb. They won’t be nearly as nice as the ones I can create for you, but they beat Snapfish and other online venders I’ve used in the past.

How Long Does It Take To Receive My Edited Images?

I do not have a fixed deadline for you to receive your images, however, it typically takes about 3-5 weeks for me to complete the editing and provide you with a finished product. Once your photos debut online, you may download them instantly! Please don’t forget that I would love meeting with you after you receive the images. This way, I may answer any questions you may have, as well as  facilitate any anticipated orders. I will also have product samples that you may review.

Can We Have The Session Take Place Somewhere Other Than My Home?

By all means, yes! I use natural lighting as my main source of light, so I recommend keeping things outside.  There are many locations that I frequent, and I am always open to new suggestions! For your convenience, I have put together a location page with ideas and tips: http://www.arikareed.com/about/locations/

Newborn sessions work a bit differently.  If I am taking photos of your new arrival, I typically work in the client home provided there is ample natural lighting. Floor to ceiling windows and doors are highly recommended. At this point, I do not set up any professional external flash equipment as a studio does. If you schedule a newborn session with me, you can expect an email full of tips and suggestions prior to our session.

How Far Do You Travel?

I am located in the Escondido/San Marcos area, and most of my work will take place within a 30 minute drive. However I am willing (and often excited) to travel beyond this range. Please note however, that travel times exceeding 30 minutes will result in an extra charge to cover gas and time. Please contact me with questions.

What Types Of Payment Do You Accept?


I currently accept cash, money orders, and personal checks for session fees.  Credit cards are accepted for all print and product purchases.

Who Do I Make Checks Out To?


Checks may be made out to “Photography by Arika Reed.”

When Is Payment Due

Payment is due at the time of your session. This way there will not be any issues with lost mailed payments, etc. When ordering prints and products, payment will be due at time of order.

Do You Require A Deposit To Hold The Date Of My Session?

No. But please see my cancelling and rescheduling policy.

What Happens If I Need to Cancel or Reschedule?

If you cancel a session that has already been confirmed, you simply need to contact me to confirm the cancellation. The next time you schedule a session, however, the payment will be made (in full) as a non-refundable deposit to hold your new session date.

Do I Need To Bring Anything To Our Session?


If you have a child, please bring a snack and drink to break up the session and refresh the subject. Fruit snacks are a kid favorite and they don’t leave crumbs! If you would like to incorporate any special items into your session, please feel free to bring them. If I am taking pictures of your small child, a favorite toy is recommended, especially if it makes noise. Iʼve found grabbing the attention of a baby is obtained best by distraction.  Be sure to bring an extra outfit if you plan to change clothes, and please donʼt forget your payment!

Is It Possible To Purchase Additional Images?

Yes, it is.  All sessions already include 20-25 images. I charge $100 for an additional 20 images. I select them as I do the first 20-25.

How Do I Purchase Prints and Products?

There are several ways to order through me and receive professionally printed products!

The easiest way for you to order is to meet with me. I help facilitate the process making it fun, and ensuring you know what options are available. I will provide product samples as well so you will make an educated purchase and know exactly what to expect.

You may also email me your order.  I will then create an email invoice via PayPal, and payment may be applied securely with a credit card (you do not need a PayPal account to submit payment). If you are ordering a book, or other personalized item, I will send you a preview to review prior to making payment.

Lastly, you may order directly through your online gallery. This is a great option for those who have family and friends wanting to order prints and products. However, I personally review and fulfill all these orders as well, so if it’s for you, feel free to bypass the gallery and contact me directly.

Prints will have a lustre/matte finish by default unless you specify otherwise. A standard print order should be delivered in 7-10 business days. Custom products may have a different time frame. I include a price list for my most popular products in client emails (and upon request), and the full list of options may be found here: http://www.arikareed.com/about/turn-your-images-into/

Why Don't I Get More Than 20-25 Images? Didn't You Take A Trillion At Our Session?

As stated above, you are welcome to purchase 20 additional images for $100. Each image included in the gallery has been lovingly edited to perfection. The main reason why I donʼt put all the pictures in the gallery is I simply canʼt afford to.

My sessions cost $275. This includes all taxes, travel time (usually around an hour+), the gas to get me there and back, my time at the session, followed by several hours of editing. It also includes the cost of marketing materials and the time I spend creating and maintaining files. Note that I am first and foremost, a stay at home mother, and can only take on a session or 2 per week at most.

I hope that gives a bit of insight to the cost of this job and why I charge the way I do. If you ask me why you donʼt have more prints after you receive your images… Iʼm just going to copy and paste this back to you.

Can I Have 'X' Image That's In Black & White, In Color Too? And 'Can I See That Picture You Just Took?'

There are times when I specifically include a black and white image without it’s color counterpart. This happens when I think the image looks better in black and white and not so great in color. If the picture looks great both ways, I’ll include both. Also, if you ask me to see the pictures I’m taking at your session, most likely I’ll decline. You may see why in this blog post: http://www.arikareed.com/why-i-dont-show-my-pictures-at-our-session/

Do You Shoot Weddings Or Events? How About Head Shots or Commercial Work?

Starting in 2014, I am focusing on child and small family photography only. (This means groups of 6 people or less). While I love weddings, and shooting everything possible, I simply cannot find enough time to do it. In order to survive and succeed, I have to streamline by business. Hopefully, once my son starts school in a couple years, I’ll be able to take on more business.

What Should I Wear?

Something that makes you feel fabulous and confident.  The camera likes colors that flow well together, but don’t necessarily match. For example, if everyone wears black shirts, and a parent holds a child in front of them, then the child can turn into a floating head while the blacks blend together (a bit too much!).  I’d recommend browsing through my family gallery or checking out the blog archives to get an idea of what looks best.

Remember your session location when choosing a color palette. If your session takes place at Spanish Village, brighter, bolder colors look better than pastels. If you have your session at Old Poway Park with a vintage feel, it’s best to wear more neutral colors that blend better with nature. Beach settings allow almost any sort of attire aside from formal. You may visit my location page to preview the backdrop to your session here: (http://www.arikareed.com/locations/).

I often ask my clients to kneel and to walk a lot. I also encourage playing with the kids, running and having fun together. It’s best to wear clothing that will let you move freely, safely, and comfortably. If your child is wearing a dress, I’d highly recommend little bloomers or shorts on underneath. If you insist on breaking out a new pair of 4 inch heels, PLEASE bring flip flops too. Your feet will thank you. 🙂

These are some things that I recommend NOT wearing: No pinstripes or narrow stripes. Digital processors on the camera (as well as sharpening in post-processing) can alter their appearance and can cause distortion. This is less visible on a print versus viewing on the computer, but it’s best to avoid it entirely. Try not to wear something with a distracting pattern or logo. Remember, we want people to be the subject of the photographs, not the clothes. Also, be cautious with white, as it reflects the colors that surround it. This is especially true if you have your session at a green park and/or if your family members wear another bright color, such as red.  If you really want to wear plain white, I’d recommend having your session at the beach.

More no-no’s: No phones in men’s pockets, or wallets in the front pocket; It looks awkward. If you wear transition lenses, and have a pair of glasses that do not turn into sunglasses in the sun, please choose to wear those instead. Lipstick on the teeth and dried, crusty stuff on kid’s faces are especially hard to edit out. It’s best to bring a wipe with you if you have children prone to running noses.

Do You Really Spell Your Name 'Arika'

Sadly, no. My legal name is plain old Erica. However, back in high school, one of my best friends always spelled my name “Arika.” Coincidentally, she also said that if I ever owned my own business, I needed to spell it that way. (Guess who’s been planning to run their own business since high school?) 🙂 I’ve never liked the way the ‘E’ looked anyway, and my personal email has always been ‘arika.’ Business wise, there are a million Erica Reeds that do photography, and A comes first in the alphabet, meaning I’d always be listed first in alphabetical listings. I learned that in Business 101 while getting my degree in entrepreneurship. Do you want to know the BEST reason for spelling it “Arika?” Because having an alter-ego is just. plain. cool.