Frequently Asked Questions

1

What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a photographer?

My Dad had a plaque on his office wall that rings true and has always stuck with me. “Quality is like buying oats – if you want nice, clean oats, you must pay a fair price; however – if you’re satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse – those oats are a little cheaper!” ~Anonymous.

One huge piece of advise…make sure the photographer has the experience to do a great job…not just a smart camera that can take a good picture. There is a large chasm of difference between a great portrait and a good picture. With the rise of digital cameras, the world of photography has drastically changed – for the better AND for the worse. Now everyone is a photographer. As a result, the market has been flooded with new photographers over the past few years. Some have taken the time to learn their craft, while many just rely on the shotgun method – shoot hundreds of shots and hope to get a dozen decent ones. The portrait is becoming a bit of a lost art.

Here a few things that make the difference between a good picture and a great portrait.

  • Lighting – Learning how to control light is not easy. Great dimensional lighting is one big obvious difference.
  • Posing and Composition – These are actually two different areas, but they kind of go together. How you arrange your subjects in the frame – and in relationship to each other – has a huge impact on the final image.
  • Storytelling – This is probably the most important ingredient. It is also the hardest to learn. A good portrait goes beyond showing us what a person looks like, but rather shows us who they are. This is done by getting to know the subject and finding out what kind of image they want to portray.

2

Describe three recent jobs you’ve completed.


It’s so hard to think of just one or two jobs that stand out. We photograph people in so many awesome locations. We recently photographed a family near their home on Lake MacBride. Everything came together perfectly. The weather was great and we had an awesome time photographing them. Then there are the REALLY COOL jobs like the one we just completed for the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. We photographed over 400 pieces of art by Marvin Cone. Way cool!!!

3

What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What’s your answer?

The most common question people ask is: Can you make me look thinner?
My answer: Did you know that wearing the wrong clothes can make a 20 pound difference in the way you can look in a portrait. I see photographs all the time that people bring to me from other studios. Oh my gosh…no advice in clothing at all.

So imagine if you put the wrong clothes on a person and then put that person in the wrong pose,-disaster! I pride myself in giving you time tested advice that has separated me from all the other photographers in the area. I help you look your very best from start to finish. I want you to look great and feel great too!

4

What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?

You know, that’s the great thing…you just have to know you are ready to have a portrait created that you will absolutely love and cherish for your entire life. As for the rest, that’s exactly what we do here. We help you figure out exactly what to do for your portrait. We’re not like those “fast food” types of studios. We are going to set up a time to chat with you, even before we schedule the session, to work through some ideas. We call this time our Ideas Consultation.

5

Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.


There are two types of photography we kind of specialize in, Family Portraits and Senior Portraits.

Family portraits are kind of a broad brush stroke at our studio. Of course we photograph families, often in or at their home. We have a really cool studio, big enough to handle nearly any size group, but we just love to work on location. And of course families also include photographing everything from maternity to babies, toddlers to teenagers! I love seeing and working with a family over and over again!!!

Senior Portraits are unique unto themselves. I’ve been doing senior portraits since I was just barely older than a high school senior myself. Sometimes I forget how old I am because every year I get to hang out with seniors. I love doing senior portraits, we have the greatest time just being silly and having fun. And the portraits are always so cool!!!

But that doesn’t mean we only create family and senior portraits. We photograph pets, a few publicity portraits, and even do commercial work for companies.

6

Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?


  1. A Desire To Please – A photographer must have a burning desire to please the client and not just do it for the money. To me, seeing the smiles and tears on a mothers face when seeing her family portrait for the first time is the most wonderful feeling in the world. We desire to create for you a portrait that helps each of you look your very best and also which gently makes an expression of your families character and personality. We will spare no expense to please you. We truly want to create the finest portraiture for you.

  2. “No Nonsense” Guarantee – One of the first things you should seriously consider is if a photographer has a no nonsense” guarantee. I consider this one to be the most important of all. Imagine this….you finally decide to have a portrait taken and after all the plans, clothing selection, location and then having the portrait taken…you go to the photographer to view the images and the photographs are very disappointing. The lighting was wrong, the posing looked unnatural etc. If the photographer has the proper experience…that photograph should not be disappointing in the first place…but if it is not up to your expectations…the photographer should cheerfully refund your “entire” payments made…”No questions asked and no hard feelings either.”

    I am very proud to stand behind my portraits and I have a “No Nonsense” 100% Guarantee, which simply states… “I absolutely guarantee, when you see your portraits for the first time you will love them so much you will cry tears of joy!” And if you don’t, I will do whatever is necessary to see to it you do love them that much, or I’ll give you all of your money back. No hassles and no hard feelings either. That’s the Heartscape Guarantee! I’ll even pay you $20 for wasting your gas and time! No kidding!

    Plus… I want you to be absolutely 100% in-love with your portraits! If for any reason we fail to keep all our promises to you, even AFTER your portraits leave our studio and you have them displayed in your home, I’ll refund your money! Period! No Gimmicks, No Loopholes, No Nothing!

    And if you think that’s unbelievable…

    If your portraits should be damaged, regardless of fault, (even if it’s yours or because of a fire, tornado, or flood) I will replace your portraits at no charge to you for up to three years after your session. And, some of my portraits even have a lifetime replacement guarantee.

  3. Looking Good – One of the biggest concerns people have is “I don’t want to feel uncomfortable and look stupid”. My answer is always “You can rest assured that I myself will get down and show you what to do before I ask you do it.” What this means is, if I feel comfortable, so will you.

    You see, I know that most people do not feel comfortable in front of a camera. I have a secret weapon that I have been using for years to relax people. It’s so simple that it’s funny the other photographers don’t think of it. But they are so into the “technical” part of things, they forget they are dealing with people and not machines. My clients always tell me they had fun doing it.

  4. Clothing – Did you know that wearing the wrong clothes can make a 20 pound difference in the way you can look in a portrait. I see photographs all the time that people bring to me from other studios. Oh my gosh…no advice in clothing at all.

    So imagine if you put the wrong clothes on a person and then put that person in the wrong pose,-disaster! I pride myself in giving you time tested advice that has separated me from all the other photographers in the area. I help you look your very best from start to finish. I want you to look great and feel great too!

  5. Each Portrait Is A Work Of Art – I don’t shove your portrait in a paper bag and send you on your way. There’s more to it than that. My belief that a portrait is a work of art is another reason that the portraits are so beautiful and complimentary. It is my careful, loving touch, which helps separate the portraits of Michael Ask from those created by any other portrait photographer in the country. I carefully work each image before it is printed. When your portrait is completed, you will be “thrilled” at the results!

  6. Location – When the people that commission me to create their portrait first call, they most often tell me…”I’m looking for something different.” The reason for this is that most studios cannot leave to go to other locations because they have to get as many bodies through the door as possible. This is the “get em’ in – get em’ out” mentality. So typically they will use a “background” that everyone else will have in their photographs. Otherwise, the studio cannot survive.

    I want to help you be different. I can go to your home, the park, downtown or most any place of your choosing and create for you not only a portrait that you will cherish, but also one that will be handed down from generation to generation. I love being different and so will you!

  7. My Time Is Your Time – I actually photograph fewer sessions because I want to take the time and do it right…the first time. My guarantee, clothing, location, looking great, and now the time I invest in creating this portrait, will have your friends and family just marveling at what we have accomplished. I don’t want to rush. As a matter of fact, my clients always seem so happy when we are done… not because the photography session was boring, but because they are anxious to see the final portrait proudly displayed in their home.

  8. Planning – Oh this is a biggie! The planning of the portrait is just as important as the portrait itself. A photographer must be dedicated to creating the finest portrait possible, in order to do that – planning of the day, time of day, clothing, location, detailed finish work, and all work in harmony to create a one of a kind masterpiece to proudly display in your home. Most studios are too busy to talk to you beforehand or even care about discussing these things. I am proud to spend time with you before, during and after the portrait so that you will be ‘thrilled” with the results!

7

If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?


There are a few Inside secrets but the one thing I think it’s important to know is that photographers come in all levels of proficiency. Unfortunately, there is an abundance of people out there with really smart cameras calling themselves photographers. I mean, heck we all have to start somewhere, but 30 years ago when I started, you really had to learn your craft. No high tech electronics to help you skate by.

One of the first things you should seriously consider is if a photographer has a no nonsense” guarantee. I consider this one to be the most important of all. Imagine this….you finally decide to have a portrait taken and after all the plans, clothing selection, location and then having the portrait taken…you go to the photographer to view the images and the photographs are very disappointing. The lighting was wrong, the posing looked unnatural etc. If the photographer has the proper experience…that photograph should not be disappointing in the first place…but if it is not up to your expectations…the photographer should cheerfully refund your “entire” payments made…”No questions asked and no hard feelings either.” I am very proud to stand behind my portraits. You must be “thrilled” when you make your selections or you get all your money back! Period! No Gimmicks, No Loopholes, No Hassles, No Nothing! And if you think that’s unbelievable… Your portraits are guaranteed for a lifetime. If your portraits should be damaged, regardless of fault, (even if it’s because of a fire or tornado) I will replace your portraits at no charge to you.”

8

What do you like most about your job?


Are you kidding??? I love everything about my job. I feel so lucky to be able to wake up every morning and do what I do. I just love it. Okay, just one thing I like most? We’ll I’d have to say the relationships I develop with my clients. For me it’s like photographing a friend. Did I mention I just love what I do?

9

If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.

Honestly, because our pricing is so flexible that makes it a bit complicated to explain on the phone. We like to have our clients come in and chat with us about ideas for their session. That way we can explain exactly everything in the price list. Once we show you how it works, its easy to understand.

CONTACT US

Phone:
(319) 377-4085
Address:
329 10th Ave. SE., Suite 201
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
Email:
info@heartscape.biz

CONNECT WITH US



CONTACT US

Phone:
(319) 377-4085
Address:
329 10th Ave. SE., Suite 201
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
Email:
info@heartscape.biz