"We found Albena through an add in Golden Gate Mothers' Group. And we're so pleased we did. Albena contacted us well in advance to get us thinking about location, style of photograph, attire, and general feel we were going for. She referred us to her own page for ideas, and encouraged us to tell her what styles on her page (or other photo shoots we found online) that we did and did not like. This prompted efficient email exchanges in advance of the shoot, and she helped us understand some of the issues at play with regard to location, specifically. In the end, we were able to do exactly what we had suggested - with some safety nets to increase likelihood of success (i.e. flexibility in timing to make sure light was good, changes of clothes in case kids got wet/dirty, etc.)
On the day of our shoot, Albena was there early, and very personable. She was great with the kids - not too forward, giving them time to warm up to the idea of what was going on. I felt as though she had the right balance between directing us, and just letting us be. And she was very open to our own ideas - she was equally directive as receptive. She brought some of her own props, of which we actually ended up using a few. But mostly it was semi-candid shots of our family of 5 (kids 2, 3, and 5) by the beach, on the rocks, having fun.
Her turnaround time was awesome. She gave us the option of sorting through all 500 or so photos on our own to determine our favorites, or her sorting through them to the best 50 or so, so that we could then in turn select from those. We were grateful for that - HUGE time saver to have her do the initial screening. Within two weeks, we had chosen our 35+ favorites which she gave us digitally, and our 5 favorites which she gave us digitally with master editing performed.
This was a wild success, Albena was gracious, kind, professional, and produced high quality work. We were absolutely satisfied. I think it is hard to meet expectations when performing a photo shoot of a family - to capture our kids in a way that we think does them justice! But Albena did just that, affordably!"