As a new business owner, I have spent quite a bit of time planning for what I would want my photography business to be. Not just the four months I spent getting everything squared away legally, the time spent building this website, or the hours I poured into welcome packets and financial costs of running a business, but for over a year prior while I was planning, dreaming, and working so hard on my photography skills. The one issue I kept stumbling over was products. The idea of just handing over a disc of images never felt right to me. And the times I did it for my friends who graciously allowed me to practice on their kids always felt wrong. I always worried once I sent their pictures out. Do they like them? Are they having any troubles loading them or saving them to their own computer? How do they look on their computer? Are they printing them? How do the pictures look printed? The questions went on and on. I always felt like I was leaving my job unfinished or leaving them hanging.
Then last summer I was introduced to the idea of selling products and giving full service and I loved it. It felt like the best way to serve my clients, as well as leave them with a finished product. No more of those silly worries, no emails back and forth asking me to change this, resave this, I can’t get to this, blah, blah, blah. All of that is handled in an hour in a face to face appointment making this the easiest and best use of both my time as well as my clients. And yet I worried. Would people really be okay with this? Won’t I lose clients because they only want the CD? Probably and I’m sure I have. However, I knew I was onto something important and would love to share with you why I decided to make that jump into print products anyways.
Let me ask you, the last time you hired a photographer and you received all of your images digitally whether a CD, USB, or digital download, what did you do with them? More often than not, the answer I’ve found is probably nothing. I know every time in the past that I’d hired a photographer and received a CD that is true. I downloaded them to my computer, put them on Facebook, threw the disc in a drawer and did nothing. I told myself I’ll get some printed next week. Next week turned into next month, next year, and so on. Here I am years later and I never printed a single thing from multiple sessions. Sound familiar? Stop and think about that, and I mean really think about that. Did you really pay all that money, go to all that trouble to pick out wardrobes, bribe your kids and go through the stress of the session all for Facebook? I know I didn’t. Yet life gets busy and the further out you get from the session, the less likely you’ll make the time to get those images printed. It’s just the way life works it seems. You deserve better than that. Your kids deserve better than that. I want to give you better than that.
So how can we can do better? Think of your busy life and when you have a portrait session, do you want one more thing added to your to do list? After all of that time focused on getting great pictures, now it’s all on you to finish it up. You have to decide what you want to buy, where you want to hang it, where and how you’re going to print it. Basically you’re left completely on your own to handle all of this. If you have any problems downloading or uploading files, any issues when your pictures come back and they don’t look as they should, who are you going to call? How do you fix it? And really on top of an already busy schedule, do you really want to have to deal with it? When you hire me, all of this is done for you. I bring finished prints to your reveal session, we talk over what products you would like, where’d you want to hang them and what will be the best value for your budget. You walk away with a finished, tangible product ready to hang with no more time taken from your schedule. How amazing does that sound?
Now I know the main question people think about all of this is, but won’t it cost me more? Sure, but you get a lot more in return. I have tested out lab after lab to ensure you get the best quality. Consumer labs just don’t compare. Everything I offer is heirloom quality meaning your kids, grandkids, and even their kids will be able to hold these pictures in their hands and look back on their family legacy. With constantly changing technology and hard drives that fail without warning, I cannot promise the same with digital images. I spend so much time preparing each and every image I present to you. I calibrate my monitor to ensure I am editing with correct color and brightness meaning your prints will look exactly as you see them. I hand edit each image as opposed to using actions that don’t always bring out the best in your pictures, and I prepare each and every file individually for printing. This isn’t a drag and drop process like you’re probably thinking. With this much time and love poured into your pictures, of course I want to carry that on to make sure you are getting the absolute best quality products. In the grand scheme of things, the cost you spend on photography for pictures you’ll have the rest of your life is so small in comparison to the amount we spend on cars, electronics, and other items that will only last a few years. And again, these are your precious memories, your family story we are talking about here. Shouldn’t the end result be an actual photograph you can hold in your hands?
Think about it. If you woke up tomorrow to find some natural disaster or act of God and you had five minutes to vacate your home, what would you grab? I’d venture to guess 9 out of 10 women would be grabbing for pictures, albums, or something to that effect. Our pictures are everything, and would suddenly become the most valuable item we own. It’s the one thing that can’t be replaced and can’t be recreated. What good does that do you if all your pictures are just sitting on a hard drive? You can’t see them, can’t touch them, you wouldn’t even be able to access them unless you can get to your computer.
After all that, do you really think throwing a CD in the mail after your session is the best way to serve you? I sure don’t. I feel like it’s selling you short, selling your kids short, selling your family short, like I skimped out on the second half of my job. Your photography session should not be where my service stops. It should follow you all the way through until you have a finished product in your hands. It doesn’t leave you on your own trying to figure all that out. It ensures you have the best quality products to leave your children and grandchildren.