From my initial e-mail in response to a client inquiry from a betrothed couple, to the last photograph I capture of their wedding reception before wearily walking to my car, I give my clients everything I’ve got.
Some soon-to-be newlyweds are easier than others, with few questions, few demands and a serene trust in my ability to capture their special day to their liking. Others, require a bit more hand-holding.
But whether its writing them back a thoughtful response when they ask my opinion on whether the money dance is passé, scouting engagement session locations for hours trying to match a very specific pinterest-inspired concept or staying up until 4 am to post a sneak peek from their wedding – I joyfully go above and beyond for my clients time and time again.
Except in my image packaging. My image packaging sucks. There are probably nicer ways of saying that, but none more accurate. It’s lackluster, shows very little thoughtfulness and I’d say even goes as far as to give off the impression that I don’t think what I’m presenting to them is special.
But I do believe it is special! I believe the images I create for my clients are precious pieces of personal art, created to archive some of their most magical moments. I believe the images I photograph and painstakingly edit will give my clients the ability to relive their carefully planned wedding day again and again – and even someday give their future grandchildren the chance to see what great and historic love was celebrated on that day.
Stuck in a rut of just trying to stay on top of my To Do list – I never took the time or made the investment in making the situation any better. I’d burn my blank DVDs, scribble the Newlyweds’ names and wedding date on it in Sharpie, sheath it in a cardboard sleeve and pop it in the mail. I tried fancier envelopes – I even tried more interesting postage. But every time I’d drop the final images off in the mail to send to my beloved clients, a sinking feeling would hit me that I just wasn’t doing my best.
Was a burned disc in a cardboard sleeve really the lasting impression I wanted to leave my wedding clients with? After their huge investment of finances and trust in me to stand by their side and archive their nuptial process, is this really the taste I wanted to leave in their mouths? Cardboard?
So with a caught up To Do list and the desire to do better, I set off on my quest of finding a better solution. I found it in Artsy Couture. A custom printed USB Drive delivered client-ready in a 5×7 presentation box? It sounded like a win to me. After quickly designing my pieces and placing my order (which was a breeze), I anxiously awaited the products arrival so I could inspect the quality.
Having worked for photographic labs for more than 5 years (both retail and professional grade labs), my quality standards are exceptionally high. And every one of them was met by these products. I’m a stickler for tight corners on my gallery wrapped canvases, and I was sure I’d find fault somewhere in the corners of these boxes – but they turned out perfect! The printing was stellar, the products themselves were high quality, they arrived quickly, were packaged efficiently and the customer service I received when I called to ask a question was friendly and informative.
And I’ve been dying to share them with you! I wanted to wait to post until my clients received their package so I didn’t spoil the surprise!
The printing on the presentation boxes wraps all around the edges of the top shell, the bottom shell is a gorgeous kraft paper (though they have a few other options to choose from, kraft fits my style the best). The grosgrain ribbon tied across the front was the perfect little “handmade” touch – though I have no crafting skills whatsoever, so ordering my “handmade” objects works perfectly for me. A little rubberband action at the knot allows the ribbon some wiggle room to get on and off the box without untying it. Perfect for opening and closing a few times without getting damaged.
As I slid off the bow and lifted off the printed lid, the kraft paper crinkles began to rustle. Their fullness makes this product feel more complete and added the perfect nesting material for me to set the custom USB drive on.
Though certainly not confusing by any means, I was grateful for the included little directions card from Artsy Couture in how to properly open up the USB drive. These aren’t flimsy, but they’re not exactly solid either. I wanted to be sure I was gentle with it and that my clients understood how to open and use it as well. What good is a sweet little custom USB drive if they can’t figure out how to access their wedding pictures from it? I wouldn’t consider using these USB drives as a permanent archival solution for images, but it sure is a fun delivery device. I encourage all my clients to save their images to a hard drive, burn copies on to DVDs, place one in a safe place in their home and mail a few copies to dear friends and family members across the country for safe keeping. If a few people have a copy in a file cabinet somewhere, surely there’s no risk of you losing all your images entirely forever because your hard drive crashes.
Just as I keep explaining to my husband before my birthday, Christmas, Valentines Day and our Anniversary – everyone loves presents, but to make someone feel really special, you need to hand write a card. So of course, along with this gorgeous box and nifty USB drive, I handwrote a thank you card to my fantastic clients who chose me and trusted me to witness and capture their wedding day. I love these fun notecards I found on clearance at Target awhile back…. They fit my brand so well, I’m sad I’m running low!
And with clients who treated me as fantastically as Jason and Arman did, I couldn’t just stick my new packaging in a USPS Priority Mail box with packing peanuts and call it a day. At their wedding, Jason surprised Arman with a choreographed dance to “Fireball.” So I chose to pack their box with Atomic Fireball candies instead of the usual styrofoam.
Many thanks to the fabulous staff at Artsy Couture for making me look so good. I finally feel like I can be proud of the note I leave things on with my clients and feel confident they’ll think fondly of me when they have photography needs arise in the future or friends ask for a referral. Anything tastes better than cardboard, but Artsy Couture truly takes the cake when it comes to client image delivery.
And to Jason and Arman: I will blog your wedding soon, but meanwhile, please know just how grateful I am that you chose me. It was truly an honor and my pleasure. FIREBALL!