Frequently Asked Questions

Why Lorei Portraits?   We create stunning and beautiful portraits that you'll have on your walls for thirty years and beyond. After all, what’s more important than your family?

What goes into a Lorei Portrait? Thirty years of love, sweat and tears.  Our portraits are created by a master artist.  They are beautifully composed, magnificently lit, and timeless. Every portrait that we create is individually hand finished, retouched, and custom printed.  Each one, large or small, is a work of art and comes with our 100% happiness guarantee.

Do you retouch? Every portrait receives our almost-famous 11 step retouching.  We take care of shine on the face, lines under the eyes, enhance the eyes, smooth the skin, tuck, tweak and (where appropriate) slenderize.  We want you to look like you--on your best day.

How long will they last?  We have artists on staff who finish all our wall portraits.  Our fine-art canvases are created with pigmented inks, said to last 100 years.  From the lightest areas to the darkest, there is detail, depth and richness.  Each piece is individually hand-lacquered. 

How much are your portraits?  Every portrait that we create is individually hand finished, retouched, and custom printed.  Each one, large or small, is a work of art. When you come in for your presentation & order day, you get 20% off when you order three or more portraits of any size.  We call that a collection.  With a collection, small portraits start at 99 and wall portraits, with a complimentary frame, start at 699. But the true value of a Lorei Portrait is the joy it brings every day and the reminder of what's important—your family.

Do you offer digital files?  We create timeless portraits for your walls.  Each portrait is individually retouched, custom printed and hand-finished.  Everything that goes into a Lorei Portrait is designed to create a tangible work of art. A digital file is a starting point.  Think of it as a blueprint not a finished building.  The artwork, the printing, the mounting and framing make it real.  

Do you offer social media images?  If you are looking for social media images, we can provide them with your order.  Some come complimentary, depending on your order.  

Do you archive your images?  Every image you order from is automatically archived.  Should you decide you need something in the future, we can make it.

Where are you located? We are near the Millcreek Mall, half a block from Barnes & Noble. Lorei Portraits, 5938A Spires Dr, Erie, PA  16509

Do you have a studio?  Yes.  Studio sessions have an elegance and artistry that is unmatched.  No need to worry about the weather or light, as we have complete control indoors and an impressive array of beautiful, hand-painted backgrounds.  Studio sessions are perfect for families and individuals wanting timeless beauty, fine-art black & white, or our Bistro art paintings.  

What if I want an outdoor location?  Awesome.  From beach to backyard, from park to private paradise, the outdoors offers spectacular scenery and a natural look.  Location portraits have a spontaneity and naturalness that comes from the great outdoors.  We create a variety of images, some more posed, others more candid.  Anytime we go on location, our goal is to create portraits that are more scenic, perfect for wall portraits.   We have photographed about everywhere in the region.  If you are in need of location suggestions, we have some great ones. 

What is your session fee?  Studio sessions range from $65 - $200, location sessions range from $250 - $350 depending on date and time of day.  We often run specials on our studio and location sessions, be sure the ask.

How can I get the best results?  We recommend that you come in for a consultation.  It is a great opportunity for you to visit our studio and ask questions.  We’ll look at samples, talk about clothing, location, mood, style of portrait, all the steps to make a great portrait.  We’ll also review prices and answer all your questions.  Besides that, we photograph friends better than strangers.

Are you open on evenings or weekends? While our office is open Monday through Friday, 9-5, some evenings and Saturdays are available for sessions. Location portrait sessions at sunset and on Saturdays are called Prime Time. They are very much in demand and get booked solid over the summer.  Because the evening light is so beautiful and the dates are so limited, the sessions fees are $100 more (typically $350 instead of $250) to schedule a Prime Time session.

What are your most popular times? The two popular times of the year are June – August when school is out, and October, for fall colors.  Families and high school seniors love the summer.  The weather is great, the days are long and there is no school or sports to complicate things.  The fall colors are quite popular—especially with families and children. The window of opportunity, however, is short, about 10 to 20 days, between October 10th to 30th. Since there are so few days and the weather is a bit changeable, the dates go very quickly.

Why should I book now? If you want to create a portrait between May 1 and October 31, we recommend that you book as early as possible.  Every single available evening of the summer gets booked--often months in advance.  

How do I get the images I want? We photograph friends better than strangers.  We invite you to our amazing studio to pore over the sample albums, to drink in the wall portraits, to tell us what you would like, what you are hoping for, in short, to plan your session.  This no-obligation consultation ensures the best results.  Bring your hopes and ideas. Then, at your photo session, we will capture a variety of expressions and a variety of looks and poses.  The number of outfits and the location(s) depend on the kind of session you choose. Some choose studio, some choose outdoor, some choose both.  Most portrait sessions take an hour or more, depending on what you like.  If you have specific ideas or wants, please share them with us. More than anything, we want to make sure you get portraits you love.   

What tips can you give me for my hair, glasses or makeup? Hair: If you get your hair cut, do it at least a week or two before your session. This will give it a chance to fill in or relax. Please don’t try a radically different haircut or style too close to your session.  What if you don’t like it?   Makeup: We like makeup.  Don't overdo it.  Like hair, don't try anything radically new.  If if is for senior or professional portraits, consider going to a salon.  We work with Panache Salon & Spa in Erie, PA.  (Before your session, stand two feet in front of the mirror and dab a small amount of cover-up over any noticeable blemishes. The less you see in the mirror, the easier it is to smooth your skin in the finished portraits.) Glasses: If you wear glasses all the time, you’ll want to wear them in your portraits. However, some glasses cause reflection and distortion.  Call your optometrist and arrange to borrow a pair of frames similar to yours. Most opticians will help at no charge; be sure give them plenty of notice.  If you choose to wear your glasses as they are, we do our best to minimize reflections.  Additional retouching may be necessary.

What do I wear? The general rules of clothing are:  dress from head to toe, solids are better than patterns (especially bold patterns), long sleeves are usually better than short, you can go casual or formal, but err on the side of dressing up rather than down, err too on the side of classic style rather than what is in fashion. Be sure to check out our clothing guide under the Info tab on our website.

What else can I bring?  Let your personality shine. For high school seniors, bring your favorite accessories, hat, musical instrument, pet, sunglasses, hobby, letter jacket or sports activity. When you bring extras, it makes your session unique.  Use your imagination. It’s fun. Whatever you come up with, we will create something great for you!

What if it rains or the weather looks bad?  About 90% of the time the weather cooperates, especially in the evening.  We track the weather constantly.  If it looks like rain, please do not assume your session is cancelled.  Call the studio or the photographer if you have any questions.  Do not change your schedule until you receive confirmation from the studio.  Keep in mind summer and autumn showers come and go quickly, some of the most beautiful portraits are right after a storm has passed.  If your session is cancelled, we will get you re-scheduled as soon as possible.

When will I be able to see and order my portraits? We invite you to return to the studio about 7-10 days after the session. You’ll not only see your images in a variety of poses, but we’ll walk you through your many options so you can make a comfortable, educated decision. The View & Order day is so helpful. See an approximation of your finished portraits, before ordering—including size and color—just like they will look on your wall.  We will help you sort out your favorites, listen to your wants, steer you clear of unnecessary items, and custom design a portrait package that saves you money. Remember, you save 20% on your order when you order three or more individual portraits of any size. This helpful process allows you to note all the pros and cons of each image and find the best possible price for the images you want. Be sure to have all the decision makers at the presentation because you’ll be placing your order at this time. If a decision maker is unavailable, we may have to reschedule.  Because of our very full schedule, we cannot always accommodate a second “view & order” appointment.

How much retouching and artwork will you do?  Our almost-famous eleven-step retouching process will address things like shine on the face, lines under the eyes, enhance the eyes, brighten the teeth, smooth the skin, fix backgrounds, address stray hairs, tweak the color and occasionally slenderize.   We can’t do everything, but our artists are able to do a remarkable number of things.  Be sure to ask.

Can you help me pick a frame? Yes.  We have a variety of stunning frames to choose from.  When selecting a frame, it is best to consider where you would like your portraits displayed. There is a tremendous difference between an 11x14 and a 30x40 hanging over a sofa. Interior designers recommend that a portrait occupy at least 50% of the wall space. If not, the viewer’s attention is often drawn to the wall rather than to the portrait. Personal-size portraits, like 8x10’s are meant for desk and shelf. As a courtesy, many of our wall portraits include a complimentary frame (or, for our largest sizes, a framing credit). We will help you pick the frame that is just right for you.

When will my finished portraits be done? When you place and finalize your order, we require 50% down to get things started. Buyers remorse is normal, but if you’re truly freaking out, you have 2 days to call with any changes to your order. After 2 days, the processing has started, frames have been ordered and the order cannot be changed. We understand the importance of why you’ve chosen us for your portraits. To ensure your portraits are amazing, each image is hand retouched and enhanced in meticulous detail before being printed in-house.  Each portrait is checked by an artist and lacquer-coated to ensure quality for generations to come. Typical orders take 8 weeks to complete. You will be notified by phone when your order is ready for pick up.  Everything has our 100% Happiness Guarantee.

How do I get a FREE Family Portrait Session?  If you are a past client, or, if you do your senior portraits with us, you may be eligible for a FREE Family Portrait Session (up to a $250 value) in studio, on location or at the beach.  Ask for more details.

Family Portrait Tips

5 Things You Need to Know   

We realize you’re busy and might not have time to read all of the material we sent. So, we’ve highlighted a handful most important things to get the most out of your family session.

Solid, long sleeve tops create the best portraits. For beach portraits, whites, tans and blues always work.
For woodsy settings, earth tones work best: something in dark brown, black, blue, or burgundy.
Please iron your clothes. Wrinkles last forever in photos.
Wear sandals or dock siders for the beach; dark shoes everywhere else. No sneakers please.
Bring any interests or hobbies like musical instruments, sports uniforms, or your specific passion.
Style your hair how you like it most. This probably isn’t the time to try a new hairstyle. Girls, remember to tweeze…and guys remember to shave.

Policies

  • You may cancel a location session up to three weeks prior to the scheduled date with a full refund. After that time, the reservation deposit is non-refundable. In case of emergency, please call. 
  • Because our location dates are in such high demand, and there is so much that goes into it, we ask that you make your appointment a high priority. We have scheduled our photography team weeks in advance. Last minute cancellations are unfair to them and their families. For example, for a high school senior getting called in to work, having a sporting event, or going to a concert is not an emergency.
  • If you have a portrait certificate and reschedule a location session without allowing three weeks notice, you forfeit $200 from your portrait certificate. 
  • Prime Time Sessions. By request, we shoot at sunset or on select Saturdays for a modest fee.. 
  • Destination Sessions. We love destinations. Locations farther than 20 miles from our studio will incur a $1.50 per mile travel fee. 
  • Weather. We track the weather constantly and will reschedule a session for rain or severe weather at least one hour beforehand. Rain during the day does not cancel an evening session. (The sky often clears in the latter part of the day and is spectacular. Be patient.) If you are uncertain about the weather, please call our studio or text the photographer. Do not assume a session is canceled until you confirm with the studio. We have rain dates built into the schedule to accommodate inclement weather.
  • Anytime we go on location, our goal is to create portraits that are more scenic, perfect for wall portraits 16x20 and larger. (The faces are generally smaller in relationship to the overall composition.) We ask that if we go on location, you commit to a wall portrait, as tiny heads on an 8x10 are not satisfying. Anytime we go on location, we are creating portraits that are compositionally designed to be 16x20 or larger. Our recommended minimum purchase for a location session is $995.