Frequently Asked Questions

What should I expect?
Once you've made the decision to commission a sitting. A meeting will be arranged to meet with me in person and discuss the details and expectations of your shoot. This is the time to bring any issues to the table as well as thoughts and ideas that you would like to have incorporated into your sitting. Usually at the end of that same meeting, I will take a series of color Polaroids to study. I use the Polaroids to help determine collectively how to "accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative" (should there be any). If costumes are required, it may take 2-3 weeks to design several concepts. We will meet again to select the design(s), and then meet once more to have a working fitting. During the working fitting, I will drape the garment directly on you and draft the pattern afterward. A working fitting can last from 1-3 hours depending of the item(s) being made. It may take a week or more to make the costume(s), depending on its simplicity or complexity, or my workload. Once we have all the elements in place, we schedule the shoot. The shoot usually lasts no more than 3 hours. The images to be printed will be selected at the end of the session. Printing is normally done in 2 weeks.

As you can see, it's very much about the PROCESS. It's not about walking into the studio for the very first time…click, click and we're done.

How long does it take?
A normal sitting will last about 3 hours. This usually doesn't include hair or make up. Just shooting time.

Should I have my hair and make up done professionally?
Yes, but it's not necessary. Many women can do their own hair and make up quite well. At the present time, the studio does not offer services for hair and make up. We always suggest that hair be very simple, usually pulled back, and the make up be light and neutral. All work is shot on black and white film, so make up should reflect that.

I have tattoos, should I cover them?
I always like to see the tattoo before making a suggestion. I know tattoos are very personal in nature. It's like a logo for the body that helps define you. In many cases, I like to incorporate the tattoo if appropriate. If it isn't appropriate, we can either not shoot that body area or it can simply be covered with make up.

I have piercings, in addition to the ones on my ears...!!
If it's essential to who you are, then we include them. If not, I like to evaluate it on a case-by-case senario.

I have tan lines from my bathing suit. Is this okay?
Actually, tan lines aren't good. I recommend either getting an all over tan to even out the skin tone (naturally or tanning salon) or use Clarin's self tanner. Last resort would be to schedule your shoot in the winter.

I'm having a baby, and I want to commission a nude portrait!!!
C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S! Having a baby is such a special time in your life and a time that you will want to crystallize in the form an heirloom portrait. There are special preparations needed to make your sitting special. Ideally, a pregnancy portrait should be done just at the end of the 2nd trimester. It's when the effect of your belly is fantastic and that the stress of the 3rd trimester hasn't set in yet. I also like to know if you know the gender of the child (and yes, I can keep it a secret if you don't want it to get out) and your due date, because we may tie in imagery to represent the child's birth sign, making it truely a customized image.

I've had a child and I feel my body isn't in the condition I want it to be.
Perhaps you should wait and come back when you feel more confident. How you're feeling will be reflected through the lens and recorded on film. If in doubt, wait. Frankly, it's too expensive to risk not feeling your personal best in front of the camera.

I would love to have my portrait taken, but I have one concern. I have a scar from childbirth (c-section), plastic surgery, or accident...
Some women like to incorporate that aspect of their life in their heirloom. A proud artifact. For others, it's something they wish was not there. I need to know where you stand with your experience, and we can take it from there. It's not an obstacle either way.

I've never been photographed nude before. Can you give me suggestions to make me feel more comfortable?
Yes. I always suggest the week before the shoot that you spend as much of your time possible being nude. While you are at home, eat, breath, sleep in the nude. You'll be fine when you get to the studio.

I have a favorite set of lingerie that I would like to be photographed in.
I'd like to see what that is. I would suggest that you bring all your 'wardrobe' ideas to the 1st meeting. I usually find most lingerie very dated and a bit corny. There's something very honest about just being nude.

Do you recommend any personal grooming?
Yes, we can discuss those items after our initial meeting.

Can I be photographed like one of your models from 'The Altis' series?
Absolutely. It's incredibly fun to pick a persona from The Altis. The possibilities are endless. Costumes and props can be custom made expressly for you. These keepsake items are yours to have after your sitting is over.

I don't live in New York City, but I would like to commission a sitting…
I generally work out of my OrchisArts studio here in New York City. I would suggest that you schedule a visit to the city for the shoot; however, many of the preparatory things can be done long distance, like the Polaroid test I mentioned earlier for example.

Is it possible to have my portrait taken in my home?
I generally like to shoot in my studio, however, any special arrangements can be made if we feel it's right.

Do you work with couples?
Depends. It's a hard call. Working with more than one person presents its unique challenges. I reserve to say until I speak and meet with you both.

Can I bring my husband or boyfriend along to the shoot to watch?
Long answer, yes; short answer, no. I prefer to work one-on-one, but if it's something that will make you feel more confident, then by all means.

I love your style and I'd like to commission a portrait clothed, not nude. Can you accommodate me?
Yes. Although my specialty is the nude body, there are cases where I have taken on clothed commissions.

I'm looking for a more erotic, harder edge look. Can you do that?
My work is usually not sexual in nature, although there will always be a sensual element because of the nude body. That's a given. My suggestion would be to discuss your needs and wishes with me in a frank and honest way. I am confident to say that I am a master of subtle sensuality. I can find that element in every person. If you are looking for images that are more sexual, I respect your wish, but I may not be the right choice for you---but let's discuss.

How much do you charge for your services?
Each sitting is quoted on a case-by-case basis because of the many tailored options. But the range is usually around $3,000 for a simple sitting to $15,000 for a more in-depth sitting that includes costumes and the DVD documentary option. There is a 50% deposit to start the sitting. The deposit is non- refundable. No exceptions will be made.

Can I have my session video taped for a keepsake?
Without a doubt. That is the Special Commission DVD Documentary option. It's a documentary created about you. We film each segment of the process, as outlined above and edit it down to approx 4-5 minutes per segment. For example, if you have opted for a session that involves the initial consultation, a costume fitting, the shooting itself, and the presentation of the prints to you (post interview), there are 4 segments. Your documentary will be approximately 20 minutes long. It's a genius choice.

Do you offer framing?
We sure do. We offer a 100% archival (acid- free) framing service that is done to my specs. Pricing is based on the size of the piece.

I would love to have Martin take my portrait, but it's so expensive. Are there other options??
On a rare occasion, if I'm looking to cast models in a project, we can exchange your time for a print, but that's again on a rare occasion… but you should ask. Don't be shy.

What if I'm not satisfied with my portrait?
We strive for 100% satisfaction. That is our goal. One of the ways that make my process unique is that I shoot on a very special Polaroid film. It allows us to have an instant dialogue…there's no waiting for proofs or contact sheets. In 23 seconds, we can see the image we just took. We'll instantly know whether we are on the right or wrong track. However, if you sign off on the image(s) to print [therefore acknowledging that you are happy] but to find yourself unhappy in the end, you will forfeit your deposit, but will incur no other charge. All deposits are non-refundable. No exceptions will be made.

Who owns the copyright to my images?
You do. You paid for it. They are your property although I store almost everyone's negatives here at the studio, in case you wish to make other prints at a later date. But of course, the Polaroid
positives and negatives and DV cassettes will be returned immediately to you upon your request. You just have to ask.


I hope this has answered many of your questions. Please feel free to contact the studio directly if you would like to discuss any of your ideas or simply to get more information. +