frequently asked questions
1Where do you conduct your photo sessions?
We can practically conduct your session anywhere safe, with good natural lighting and with permission given if it is a private property. Example: your home / commercial buildings (with written permission) / public places / underwater at sea or in a swimming pool We also have a nice home studio based in Subang Jaya. Our packages provide flexibility for you to add an option for on-location shoot besides our studio option.
2When should I book my photo session with ALP?
Our schedule do book out 1-2 months in advance, hence we highly recommend that your booking confirmation should be done at least a month ahead of your intended shoot date.
3When is the best time for maternity/pregnancy session & newborn session to be done?
For maternity portrait sessions, ideally to be between Week 28 to 36 of your pregnancy term, before your baby bump gets too heavy and before water retention sets in which will make you feel more tired with swollen feet. As for newborn portrait sessions, we highly recommend it to be done before your baby turns 2-weeks old on the day of shoot as baby is sleepier & curlier in the earlier days. The younger the better! A surcharge may apply if your baby is older than 2-weeks old & we won't be able to guarantee a lot of variety of sleeping shots as baby may get more alert as they get older. However having said that, Asther will still try for the "sleeping shots" cos some babies are still sleepy beyond 2-week old age. Different baby has different character. If baby has become too awake or sensitive to touches for the "sleeping shots", we will then use a different approach for older baby, such as more shots of baby in parents arms, or baby lying down face up facing camera in a more candid style, because it's harder to pose awake baby as baby is very wriggly & likes to stretch a lot. Safety & comfort is our priority, hence we will not force your baby into a position that he/she will not like. Taking on a newborn session after baby is 2-weeks old is strictly under Asther’s discretion after a brief interview with baby's parents.
4Do you provide props & decorations?
Asther’s style of photography is focused mainly on true emotions through her clients’ interactions within their families. As much as she prefers a minimalist approach, she is open for special styling in her photo sessions upon requests. We have a lot of toys & props available in the studio to keep the little ones entertained as well as to create a more variety of backgrounds for our clients’ photo collections. For newborn sessions, we will provide most of the wraps, props, newborn attires during the session period.
5What is your payment term?
We accept payments mainly through online bank transfers into our Malaysian bank accounts. Personal cheques or cash are also acceptable. Occasionally, we will provide PayPal payment option, especially for our clients based outside of Malaysia and do not have a local Malaysian bank account. But a surcharge fee will apply to cover charges imposed by Paypal. Confirmation of booking is after a deposit payment is completed. Balance payment can be completed in a few installments upon request. Any amount due will be stated in the invoice with respective due dates, and you are given 5 working days to settle the payment from the time invoice is issued or session is done.
6How long does a session last?
Due to the nature of us working with small children most of the time, we try not to extend our photo sessions beyond 2 hours. With the exception of newborn sessions, whereby our cut-off time is maximum 4 hours. We always have small intervals during the shoots for everyone to refresh or change attires. Our sessions are normally dictated by the youngest ones in the family. We aim to end each session with a happy note.
7What should I prepare for my session?
We highly recommend (but it’s not compulsory) for our clients to come for their sessions with a fresh body & mind (get enough rest the night before!). Prepare your sets of attires at least a week ahead, and feel free to discuss with us on your styling ahead of time. We can chat over Whatsapp or email with photos as references. Most importantly, you and your family are comfortable in what you plan to wear together. As for the little ones, always bring along one or two of their favorite comfort items from home. Things like pacifier, or a favorite pillow, or a favorite toy. This will help calm them down with things they are familiar with in a foreign place. Food & water is highly recommended, especially for on-location sessions. Your children will need to keep their energy up throughout the photo session. We will provide light snacks in the studio. We will appreciate it very much if the children are not given any exposures to digital smart devices (tablet/iPad/TV/mobile devices) prior to your photo session. This will help them last longer in the session. We do find children being exposed to such gadgets will tend to get mentally tired faster and lose focus easily.
8Do you provide make-up & hairdo services?
We often work with a few professional make-up artists for our clients’ sessions. Do let us know if you require this service and we will give you a quotation.
9When can we expect to see our photos?
After your photo session is done, we will need anytime from 3 weeks to 5 weeks to complete editing your photos, with proof that the latest payment amount has been received. This highly depends on the type of packages you purchased, as well as the number of photos that need to be edited. Understandably, the more images = the more time needed to complete them. At this moment, Asther does all the editing on her own until she can find a suitable digital artist to work with us full-time. Therefore, we seek your kind patience & understanding while waiting for the completion of your photos, as Asther is also a fulltime mother/housewife at home.
10What if we need to change our photo session date?
In the unforeseen event of sickness/death in the family/work commitment, etc. ONE (1) complimentary postponement within 1-3 months will be given. Otherwise, client will forfeit their session booking. Extended postponement is possible with additional RM200 surcharge for every month extension there-of.
11What is your studio policy?
Each of our clients are very valuable to us and because we want to make each photography experience as easy possible and out of fairness to both our clients and ourselves we enforce the following studio policies for all sessions. Session Information: Please arrive for your session 15 minutes early to park, prepare your hair/makeup/select clothing/change and so on. If you are over 15 minutes late for your scheduled time, ALP reserves the right to cancel your session. Keep in mind that weekend sessions are in high demand and although we will go to great lengths to meet your scheduling needs, these session book well in advance. Or the session will be conducted for the shortened time frame. No time extension will be given for your photos session if you arrive late. Studio Space Limitation: Our studio space is limited; hence, we will have to limit a number of people in the studio at each session. Please arrange with ALP in advance on the number of people that is going to be part of the photography session and we will advice you on how to fit everyone in, or to try another alternative location. Additional Note: No Cameras/Cell phones, or other photographic, or recording devices are allowed during the sessions. No Exceptions! This is very distracting to the subjects (especially children) and the photographer. Please use cell phones in waiting area or different area where sessions are being held. If someone is using a camera without direct permission from ALP, then the session is immediately terminated, and the session fee is forfeited without an option for a reshoot.
12What is in your photography contract? Why do I need to sign it?
Our photography contract consists of matters pertaining to copyright, agreed information of your chosen package with us, as well as liability releases & model releases terms. This contract is very important to protect both parties from any miscommunication and unwanted misunderstanding. All clients of Asther Lau Photography (ALP) MUST sign a model release (which is part of the photography contract). This allows us to show our work to others like you who are looking for a “Personal Photographer”. When you book a session and are photographed by Asther Lau Photography (ALP), you are agreeing and giving Asther Lau Photography (ALP) permission to use and publish your images for promotional, advertising and any other like purpose. An exclusivity clause can be granted for a fee. There will not be a session without a signed contract. This is protection for both you as a client, and ALP as your photography service provider.
13What if I do not want my images to be shown publicly?
ALP's business is 90% depending on internet marketing, 10% by word of mouth as well as some magazine coverage from time to time. All our clients will sign the model release contract, allowing ALP to use some (not all) of their images for example such as Facebook page sneak peek, ALP website for blogging, and sometimes during our photography talks/workshops, as well as magazine write-ups. We have no plans to publish a book yet, nor do we plan to do an exhibition of our work. But that might apply in the far future when Asther is ready. By then, another permission request will be given to our respective clients with an agreed term & condition. Having said that, usually for prints publishing, Asther will pre-inform clients first just in case they prefer a certain photos not to be used. We are also trying to be fair to our other clients who let us use their images for the purposes mentioned above. We occasionally get this request and what we normally do was to negotiate a term both the client and Asther can agree on, which is that client will sign a release for 3-5 photos for her business usage instead of for the entire set. Client will help choose these selected photos. Option 2 will be that client pay an exclusivity fee to compensate for Asther’s rights to the photos, as well as the lost of opportunity costs and lost of continuity of business along the way due to the exclusivity clause. This will be 50% loading on top of the package. Option 3 is we refer some other photographers for you whom are willing to accept your exclusivity request. Let us know if you opt for this option and then we will ask our photographer friends if they're willing take on this job. After that we'll list down their contacts for you. :)
14Do you shoot alone?
For studio sessions, Asther will have an assistant helping out during the shoot & maintaining order in the studio for easy of work flow. For on-location sessions, Asther works alone most of the time unless there is an need for an extra pair of hands, then she will come with another assistant. For newborn sessions, Asther always work with a female assistant to either help with props or to soothe your newborn baby. We always ensure that our assistants are friendly to children, able to work with your family with safety & comfort in mid, and are able to offer assistance whenever we need one.
15What are your working hours?
Mondays to Fridays (half day only) = 8am to 5pm Saturdays = 8am to 1pm (Asther will still be working behind the scene throughout the day & night but will not be available for consultations or immediate discussions. Unless she initiates it herself with you.) Tuesdays & Sundays and some selected Public Holidays = OFF DAYS Shooting Hours: On-Location = 8.30am to 10.30am Studio = 9.30am to 11.30am