During the off-season, I love to spend a few days revamping my client gifts and packaging for the new year. Client gifts are nothing new to the photography business and most photographers put a lot of pride into the gifts they put together for clients. They want their personality to shine through while giving their couples and families a lasting impression of gratitude.
This off-season I started thinking about the longevity of the gift I was giving and, at the same time, started seeing the importance in a digital age of printing our photographs. (This article from TODAY is a great eye-opener.) It pretty quickly became evident one of the most thoughtful gifts I felt I could give my clients was a collection of beautifully packaged prints from their family session or wedding day.
Why Prints Make a Great Client Gift
If you’re a photographer, you may be wondering if gifting prints to couples after their wedding would prevent couples from ordering an album. Currently, about half of my couples order albums as part of their wedding collection and I still see the benefit of giving them prints from their day:
- Of the couples who order albums, they typically wait until many months after the wedding and honeymoon to even think about starting their album design. While I certainly want to be sure my couples are refreshed after months of planning, this also means they aren’t getting albums in-hand until 9-12 months after their wedding. By sending a gift of prints, they have a physical reminder of their day that they can share with family and friends just over a month after their big day. This keeps them excited about their memories and more likely to start the album process sooner.
- Couples also get a sense of how the photos will physically appear and which photos will be “must-haves” for their album. This is so important! When looking at over 500 photos from their wedding, it can seem almost impossible for clients to tell me which photos are the most meaningful. Flipping through their prints, they are already starting to make the connection of which images they are continually drawn to, meaning designing their wedding album becomes even easier.
- Receiving a gift of physical prints seems to remind my clients and their families of the importance of getting those files off your computer and into your hands. Sometimes in the excited craziness of wedding planning, it’s hard to imagine life after the wedding day – and also a life again without a constant stream of vendor payments! I even had a bride’s parents contact me after seeing the prints and order a parent album so they could also hold on to the memories of the day and pass them along through generations. We had spoken briefly about parent albums when their daughter booked me many months before, but they admitted they hadn’t seen the purpose until they saw the photos in print.
Packaging Inspiration & Sources
Once I settled on my client gift, it was time to start finding the perfect packaging. This is something I could spend weeks curating – I always want my packaging to be special, personal, and unique to my brand. My biggest inspiration for my packaging update came from Justin & Mary (can we talk about those perfectly branded keepsake boxes?!), BHLDN’s branding by Meaghan Murray, and my many trips to Ladurée when I lived in NYC. But, let’s be honest – as much I love wooden keepsake boxes, gold foil, and the thickest paper you can imagine, I also need the packaging to be affordable; I would much rather put a client’s gift budget into more prints of their memories than into packaging they may or may not keep.
Now when my clients receive their gift, they open a simple, crisp keepsake box (Paper Presentation) unfold the tissue paper (Paper Presentation) and find their gift wrapped in the most gorgeous hand-dyed silk ribbon (Froufrou Chic). As they untie the ribbon, they find the following: a custom wooden flash drive (photoflashdrive.com) with all of their high resolution images, a handwritten note with a custom wax seal (Stamptitude), my business card (Moo), and a collection of prints from their day (Richard Photo Lab).
I hope this will inspire you to put together meaningful, beautiful gifts for the clients who trust you to capture their big life moments. I would love to see the gifts and packaging you put together for your clients as well – feel free to share links below so we can all be inspired!