It’s 2:36 am. And, you forgot your 20th wedding anniversary. You need a gift and you have questions about ordering a print. Unfortunately, I’m either sleeping or in Utah photographing a lunar eclipse.

Either way, at this hour, it’s unlikely you’ll get an immediate email response. So, to help save your marriage, I’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions.

Question:  I want to order a print. Is your website safe for my credit card information?

This website uses a SSL Certificate. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. It encrypts data as it whizzes through the internet. The “lock” icon in your browser address bar indicates that this connection is secure. Additionally, I never receive credit card data on my servers. I only handle your photography order information: items purchased, name, address, phone number and email for shipping or in case I have questions.

Photography purchases and credit card transactions are handled through Stripe® Payment Processing. Stripe® is an extremely reputable company similar to Paypal. If you have questions regarding Stripe® please visit their website.

Your information is never shared with third parties. View my privacy policy here.

Question: How long does it take to get an order after I make a purchase?

Print Only (no frame) orders are shipped in 2-3 business days. I personally print each photograph, sign it and coat it with a UV spray for longevity. Framed pieces take a little longer since, well, they have to be framed. Normally, 5-7 business days until it ships. And then however long UPS takes to get your package from me to you. I use a local Sioux Falls art gallery to have each print framed. Then it has to be packaged and shipped.

Unless otherwise arranged, all orders are shipped using UPS ground. Shipping rates are calculated automatically at checkout using UPS official rates. See, all fancy.

Question: I can’t find express shipping options. Can you get my order to me tomorrow?

Hey, I’m a procrastinator too, so I operate under the philosophy that most things are possible. For a price. If you need your order quicker than UPS Ground shipping, use the contact form here or give me a call. I’ll see what I can do. Additional shipping charges will be passed along to you. A potential rush fee will apply and will be based on how fast you need it and if I’ve had my espresso yet or not.

Question: What is your refund policy.?

I want you to be bouncin’-off-the-wall happy with your print purchase. If you’re not, I will refund your entire purchase price with the return of the item. You cover shipping. However, I am a perfectionist. And I don’t ship anything until I am happy completely with the product. I sign my name to it, so it’s gotta meet my standards. If it doesn’t, I redo it until it does.

Also, I take extra, super-duper care in packing your order for shipment. Especially with framed work. When you get your package, I want to you to feel like you are opening a gift. If your order is damaged in transit, I’ll work with you to get another item sent immediately, or issue a refund. Your preference.

Question: Are you really as short as it says on your homepage?

Yes, 5 foot 6 and 7/8 inches. But mentally, I am a giant.

Question: What are your commercial photography rates?

Each project is different. But generally, I am not the least expensive nor am I the highest priced. I like to discuss the project before I give an estimate. I can be contacted by phone or email here.

Question: Do you really drink a lot of espresso?

Yes. At least 4 shots a day. On a good day, 6. I’ve even gotten into roasting small batches at home for the next day’s consumption. When I travel, I love finding mom-and-pop coffee shops. They are usually an incredible source of travel information and have helped me find locations that are off the beaten path. Plus, the small local shops are dying and need business. No Starbucks for this guy.

Question: Are your prints good quality? What kind of paper?

I’m a nut when it comes to quality. All prints are produced on Canson Infinity Baryrta Photographique 310gsm Paper, hand signed using archival ink pens and receive a UV Protective Coating for longevity. If you can find a better paper anywhere at any price, let me know. This particular Canson paper is a Lustre Surface and Archival Quality. 310gsm is a very heavy-weight paper. So heavy in fact, it really can’t be rolled without damage and, for that reason, is shipped flat. With the ink and UV coating combination, my photo prints are protected against color fade for well past 100 years.

Question: Who takes care of your framing?

Currently, Piper Arts in Sioux Falls, SD handles framing for all orders. I’ve worked with Piper proprietor, Jon Piper for 20 years (try to say that 3 times quickly) and trust him and his quality. He cares about each project as much as I do. Additionally, if there is ever a problem, he stands behind his work.

Question: Do you offer custom sizes or framing options?

You bet. I use an extremely high resolution digital camera for my landscape work. The images hold up well to enlargement and retain both tonal range and fine detail. Piper Arts, who handles framing, can accommodate pretty much any size and has an endless selection of frame options and mattes.

You can work through me or with Piper Arts directly. Piper has framed and shipped all over the world. Literally.

Question: I’m asking for donations for a charity event or silent auction. Will you donate a print?

Most likely yes, but it depends on the charity and where it is located. Contact me here to discuss.

Question: What kind of camera do you use? I want to get one, can you make recommendations?

I’m not a huge gear guy so I’m probably not the right person to ask. The philosophy I subscribe to is this: If you don’t know what you are doing, a good camera will just allow you to take sucky photos in higher resolution. My advice is to go cool places, find good light and experiment. Learn what good light is. A wise man once told me, light is everything, son.

However, I am currently using a Canon 5Ds for my landscape work. The 5Ds is an extremely high resolution body. For commercial projects, I’m shooting a Canon 1DX Mark II. I use Canon L Series Lenses. I’ve used less expensive lenses and their build quality typically is not great. Canon is just my personal preference. Most camera manufactures make excellent products. Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Leica, Fujifilm, Pentax are all good. Remember, it’s not the camera but who’s behind it that makes the difference.

Question: Do you photograph weddings?

No. Absolutely not. Never. Not for any amount of money.

Question: Will you give me photography advice? Or help me work my camera?

I love photography. I love teaching people about photography. Back in the day, I even taught a few classes for college credit. When I started out, I read everything I could get my hands on. I shot a lot and experimented more. I plan to hold workshops in the near future. Perhaps, get back into film. I still have a working darkroom and film cameras.

Question: Do you alter your images?
For commercial work, all the time.

I remove logos from shirts, make people skinnier, make grass greener on the other side and take out the weird dude in the background. I’ve been asked to do boob jobs, butt lifts and everything in between. I’m a regular plastic surgeon. See Photoshop and Retouching Services here.

However, when I shoot landscapes, I try and to accomplish everything in camera.

I wait hours for the right light. Visiting a location several times is common. I use polarizing and neutral density filters often. That said, I do use software to enhance photos. I would say similar to what I used to do in the darkroom with dodging and burning techniques. To quote Ansel Adams, “Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships.” If he were around today, I am confident he would be using software to post-process images. I’ll probably get emails for that statement, but I know he worked extensively on his prints in the darkroom and there is no reason to believe he would not utilize today’s technology.

Question: Are you married.?

Yes. For over 20 years. And for the record, I married way out of my league.

Question: Do you book senior portraits?

Long answer. When I left the ad agency world and started out on my own, I took 12 seniors a year to make my studio lease payment. I loved it. I worked with an incredible makeup artist and we treated each shot like a fashion shoot. It was a great experience for the kids. Some of my favorite portraits were from those high school senior sessions and I’m still friends with some of the families. It taught me to move quickly and helped hone my natural lighting skills. Short answer. Maybe, on a limited basis.

Question: Do you photograph families or children?

No. I’m not good with groups and my schedule limits me to landscape and commercial work.

Question: Do you photograph models for comp sheets?

I’m open to interesting projects if they are a good fit. Use the contact form to reach out.

Question: Do own a dog?

No, he owns me. He is a German Shepherd with Czech blood. His name is Zeppelin. Cool name, huh? We have a deal. I feed him. He protects my camera gear.

Question: Will you follow me on Instagram if I follow you?

Until May of 2017, I thought Instagram was a new Polaroid camera. So, sure, but make it interesting, I’m a busy guy. @HeckelOutside

Question: I Googled you and can’t find you on Facebook. What’s up with that?

I may be the last man standing not to have ever had a legitimate personal Facebook account. And I am proud of it. I think I have a business account that I needed for Instagram but never use it. I promise I am real.

Question: I found a ton of typos on your website. Does anyone proof this drivel? Or can’t you spell?

Damn it, Jim. I am a photographer not a miracle worker. I am well aware of my inability to spell words correctly form time to time. My copy writer turned Creative Director friend, Clara, points this out to me every chance she gets. I do know that Creative Director has a capital C and D. But is it capitol or capital?

Anyway, I can’t afford her services. She’s too experienced and too expensive. Plus, she’d want to rewrite everything.

Question: I Googled your address and it came up as a UPS store. Are you even real?

I drop off and have packages shipped to the UPS store. Very handy when I travel. As for being real, I think I am. Although, if you look closely enough at the photos of me on this website, you never see my face. I am always in shadow, silhouetted or my face is covered. Mysterious, huh? Maybe I’m just a figment of your imagination.

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