FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about Arboretum portraits

Now that the links have gone out, the questions are coming in. Here are the answers to some of the questions I’m receiving. The Q&A here might change a little as more questions come in.


Q. What exactly did I pay for at the Arboretum?

A. The $15 (or, less often, $30) you gave me at the Arboretum paid for the taking of the photo and for one 4″x6″ print (or two, if you paid $30). I call this your complimentary print, because I am a photographer, not a printer, and the 4″x6″ print you get from me is done locally and is basically just a memento of your visit to the Arboretum. You will get that print in the mail directly from me. So your $15 paid not only for the taking of the photo, but also for the print, the envelope, the postage, and a legally required percentage to the City of Dallas.

Motherhood: A portrait taken at the Dallas Arboretum, Mothers Day weekend, May 2011.


Q. How do I let you know which picture I’d like you to use for the complimentary print?

Email me, please, and just say something like “I would like a print of photo #3” or whichever one you like. The photos in each gallery are in a fixed order and I don’t mess with that order after I upload them so referring to the photo by number should suffice. If you want to give me more detail (“the one where I’m holding my daughter upside down”), that’s sometimes helpful but not usually necessary.

To be honest, this is the first year I’m letting you pick the photo for the 4″x6″ print and it may not turn out to be a good idea. In the past, I’ve picked the complimentary photo for you, and it’s clear now, that was a more efficient way to get these inexpensive prints out quickly. And I will pick your print for you this year, if I don’t hear from you fairly soon after I send you the link.


Q. What if we want more prints of our favorite photo, or a print at a larger size, or prints of other photos in our gallery?

A. Additional print orders can be placed right there online. Above each photo, there is a “Buy” button. Hold your pointer over that button and you’ll be able to order that photo, or save it for ordering later. You will then complete the ordering process entirely online, providing the online service with your credit card number, delivery address, etc.

Print orders placed online are printed and shipped by Mpix, one of the country’s best photo labs. Every print is manually color-corrected by Mpix, and your print will be made with top-quality ink on top-quality paper. I order all of my own prints from them and they’re excellent.

I receive notice of all orders placed online, so that I can review them. This allows me to upload a high resolution copy of your photo file (for the best print quality) and if necessary to make any tweaks to the photo beforehand (like sharpening, making it a little lighter or darker, etc.). I do NOT receive any info whatsoever about your credit card. Orders placed online are handled by two third-party services (my online hosting service, Zenfolio, and the pro lab in California, Mpix).


Q. The photo I like online seems a little dark, or isn’t cropped quite right, or looks a little too green, etc. What’s up with that?

A. There are at least two potential answers here.

First, most of the photos in your gallery online have received little or no post-processing. Before I send you a print, I will always make some final adjustments, at least small ones, to your photo that will make it look better. The most common “problem” (which isn’t really a problem at all, in the end) with the photos as displayed online is that the midtones (including faces) seem a little dark. Your prints will usually be a little brighter than the photos displayed online.

But second, please keep in mind that there is a huge variance in the quality of computer displays. I work on a large, carefully calibrated display that shows colors properly, renders images in a crisp fashion, and generally makes things look good. Your old computer monitor at work (or on your smart phone, or your laptop) might simply not be a very good screen for viewing photos.


How soon will we receive our complimentary print in the mail?

A. Because I decided to give everybody a choice this year, I expect that the entire turn-around process now will take into next week. Within about 48 hours of sending you your email, I’ll start placing orders for prints here in town. I then have to pick up the prints, stuff and address the envelopes, and drop ’em off at the post office.


How long will the photos stay online, in other words, how long do we have to place orders for better-quality prints?

A. Until the end of June.


Q. I’d like to link to my photos. Can I do that?

Sure. There’s a “Share” button right on the page above each photo. However, be aware that the links created by the share button won’t be permanent. I don’t promise to keep these galleries online forever. If you really like a photo, the best thing to do is contact me. I’ll explain how you can become a friend of “William Porter Photography” at Facebook, and I’ll be happy to upload and tag your photo there, so all your friends can see it, too. There’s no charge for this. Friends are priceless.


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