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Frequently Questions

This should answer many of your questions regarding a Santa visit with us.

Can I use my own camera to take photos or video?

Yes, with stipulations...

It is very confusing to the subject to have more than one person taking photos at a time. It is also unfair to other patrons to make them wait while you take time trying to get "your" shot. Our portrait professionals are skilled at working with kids to get natural and relaxed smiles whenever possible. Part of that is having the kids focused on US, not on another camera person.

We also have a LOT invested in making this the best Santa in Alaska, and part of that is the quality of the finished portraits and images. It is not possible for you to create the same quality of images with your own camera or phone without professional lights, etc. What you would take would not be representative of Apogee Studios, The Mall, or AK Santa. We provide a very affordable image license option which gives you a high resolution file and reproduction license with our professional quality images for your personal use.

If you would like to take video or snapshots DISCREETLY from OUTSIDE the fence area and without distracting the child or interfering with other patrons, we do allow that. If we feel it is detracting from the experience in any way, we will politely ask you to stop. Thank you for your consideration.

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Can I make copies of the prints?

We strive to offer the best quality in Alaska and part of this is providing the best possible prints. We offer an image license option that provides you with a Digital Copy with the high resolution image file and a license statement allowing you to post it to the internet, print it yourself at home, or take it to a professional lab and have lab prints made. This is the best option if you would like to make your own prints or post them to the internet. Our license fee is very reasonable and is included in many of our packages for your convenience.

All our images are protected under Federal Copyright Law and we hope you will value the service we provide enough to not steal our work by making unauthorized copies of our images. Please feel free to call if you have any questions about this policy or our license agreement.

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What if my child is uncooperative?

We have been doing this for a while. It is VERY rare that we are unable to provide an acceptable portrait. Of course, there are those times when the child is simply NOT going to be a positive participant in the process. We do not charge for "attempts". We want your child to have a positive experience seeing Santa and Santa himself is usually quite successful at persuading kids to come see him if given the opportunity. Many times the best thing you can do is take a step back as the parent or caregiver and let us do our work. If the child feels pressured to perform, they may melt down. If you are able to laugh and smile and take it in stride, letting us develop a connection with the child that calms and reassures them, we can often salvage an otherwise stressful visit for everyone.

If it is simply NOT going to happen, we will suggest you take them out and walk the Mall, allow the next patron to go so they can see it is not scary, etc. We do this both to protect your child, and also so as not to create a "group panic" with other kids in the line... We have all seen a group of kids start off perfectly fine, but if one goes south, they can all follow in a very short time. If we ask you to remove your child, please do so in a respectful and positive manner, not admonishing the child for not behaving, but reinforcing their safety and security concerns while encouraging them to give it another try later. They are, of course, still welcome to a candy cane, and there is never a charge for attempts that are unsuccessful and do not result in a printable image.

Most importantly, if you have concerns about your child not being excited about this experience, we encourage you to come in when we are slow. Weekdays before the Anchorage School District release days are usually a rather slow time for us. This is the BEST time to bring in children under the age of 5 who are not in school and may need additional time to warm up to the Santa idea. If you come on a weekend or busy evening, be prepared to make a couple rounds if necessary, as we can not force other patrons to wait an extended period of time while we work with your child (or children). We try our best to provide an un-rushed experience, but we are also limited by the patience of the other patrons. Please try to be understanding in this regard.

Lastly, if one child in a group is misbehaving, we may suggest you pull that child, take the rest of the group and then try to get that child by themselves. This can sometimes make them feel more cared for and focussed on, and has provided acceptable portraits in the past. Resist the urge to yell "SMILE" or "NO, NOT THAT SMILE! YOUR GOOD SMILE" from the sidelines. Kids do not know how to do their "good" smile on demand. We can often illicit that smile if we are allowed to talk with them without interference. Again, let us do our work.

And, if all else fails, a crying Santa portrait is pretty classic as well, and often is a perfect representation of the state of mind of the child at that age... It is up to all of us to make this a fun and exciting experience.

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What if my child is sick?

We encourage you to come see Santa ONLY when you child is fully healthy, fed with a rest period to settle their stomach of not less than half an hour (30 minutes or more), and has had a good nap or is well rested from the prior evening.

PLEASE DO NOT BRING SICK CHILDREN TO SEE SANTA!

We see over 2000 children a year, and we do our best not to spread ANYTHING between them. You can help us with that by not bringing a sick child to see us. Santa is a limited commodity, if he is sick, he WILL be unavailable until healthy. Help us provide the best services to as many patrons as possible by not coming when you are sick. Thank you.

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Do you have age restrictions?

The simple answer is NO! You are never too young or too old to believe.

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Can I bring in my pet?

The Mall has given us limited permission to photograph non-threatening domesticated critters on a limited basis. Pets should only be brought into the mall on weekdays and should be brought in through the new entrance next to Steam Dot Coffee Bar. They will need to be brought directly to the kiosk, photographed and then brought directly out of the mall to your vehicle. We can not have pets waiting in line for either the photographer or the sales staff.

Please be respectful of the wishes of the Mall owners and operators by complying with all directives from staff and security in the Mall while your pet is visiting. It is a privilege to be able to bring pets in for portraits and we want EVERY patron to have a great experience doing so!

We also suggest that you have at least one "pet wrangler" for each pet you are bringing in. This SHOULD NOT be a person who is going to be IN the photograph, but a person the pet knows and trusts who can get the attention of the pet, take care of bringing them in and out of the Mall if necessary, etc. Having these extra hands can be the difference between a great experience and a complete dissaster.

If, at any time, we feel that your pet is posing a danger to the Mall or any patron, we may terminate your session without notice. It is YOUR responsibility to have your pet under control and behaving at their best at all times. Aggressive behavior of ANY kind will NOT be tolerated. Please call us if you have any questions about these policies.

WE LOVE PETS!

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How much does it cost?

We have a variety of packages to fit most budgets and you can always customize a package to meet your specific requirements. We are competitive with other similar Santa setups in Anchorage, but we are also a premium service with more staff, better facility, etc. than other setups, so you should expect to pay a slight premium for our services.

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Can I see the images before I order?

YES! We were the first Santa experience to provide instant previews for your convenience. We usually take several images and you are encouraged to choose one or several for your packages. We will show you your images on your own monitor at full resolution so you can see the details and the expressions you are looking for. This is not simply a "here, look at the back of my camera service". We want you to be certain you like what you are getting before you give us ANY money. Each package must be from one unique image, but multiple packages (and multiple images) are encouraged.

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When will I get my pictures?

We were the pioneers in instant digital delivery here in AK and continue to provide the fastest and best possible print delivery. Most packages are available in a matter of seconds. Our elite packages may take up to 15 minutes. Specialty products, which can be ordered through our website, are mailed directly to you and may take several days.

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Can I order additional products?

Our upper level packages include complimentary image loading to our website at www.apogeestudios.com so you will always have access to your licensed image, as well as have the opportunity to order additional products from those images, including additional prints and cards, puzzles, mugs, hand bags, t-shirts, tiles and MUCH more.

If you order a basic package, for a small fee we will be happy to load your image to the site so you will still be able to order these additional items indefinitely. You can also download your file directly from the site using these digital delivery options.

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Do you do private events?

YES! We are very happy to provide a Santa encounter in your home, office or corporate party. We can also provide portrait services on-site, including instant portrait printing. No event is too small or too large and our rates are very reasonable. Please call to discus your needs and we will be happy to assist you.

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