Every day, I look for little extras I can include in my business to make my service just a little bit better. Now, I'm very selective about this because if I start throwing everything and the kitchen sink in for free, I will have to raise my prices to cover the additional cost. The things that are included with each session make the biggest impact on the final images. They are almost essential to the process, but a lot of the time photographers will either not take the time to do them, or won't include them for free.
1.In-Home Style Consultation
One of the hardest parts of getting ready for a portrait session is deciding what everyone will wear. This is why I schedule an in-home style consultation two weeks before the session. We can hand-select and coordinate every family member's wardrobe and you literally have one less thing to worry about! Accessories and shoes are also part of the process, so nothing is left to chance. And because the clothing we're working with are your own, the final product will always represent your personal look & style. The idea is that you look your best, with minimum effort!
2. Full Professional Retouching
Retouching is one of the essential steps when going from the image that the camera has captured to the final finished photograph. Simply put, the process of creating the final artwork is almost more important than the initial photo you start with! It's the part that sets professionals apart from everyone else (because really, the equipment isn't all the different).
So, retouching takes time (especially if you're doing it by hand in Photoshop). And it takes experience/knowledge to do it well. So it tends to be expensive. A lot of photographers will either not do it, or charge extra for it.. but none of that matters to me. The final portrait isn't DONE until it goes through the full editing process, which includes a whole slew of things as part of "retouching" (there will potentially be a full Blog post about this in the future!). The part that matters for my clients is that they don't have to worry about an unexpected bruise on their child's forehead, under-eye circles, or anything else that might compromise the cohesive quality of the portrait (like a temporary tattoo that might have gotten past Mom that morning).
3. Hair Styling
My session fee includes professional hair styling for Mom. Why? Because you can't fix hair in Photoshop. Hair needs to look good in the portrait and it matters quite a bit.. so it's simply part of the process. The way it works is, you arrive in the Studio, drop off all the clothes you brought with you, and I will walk you downstairs to the hair salon to work with the hair stylist, which takes about 20 minutes. If you have a daughter who is 3 years or older, she might also benefit from professional styling (it really does make a big difference) and you can add her to the process for an additional fee to cover the increased cost. I also have hair spray in the Studio for the boys that might need a bit of adjusting, which is free for anyone to use.
4. White Gloves
I use white gloves when handling printed photographs, 100% of the time.. so it's only natural to provide them for my clients. It doesn't matter if a client buys 1 image or 20, they receive a complimentary pair of cotton gloves either way. It's my way of starting them off with everything they need to properly care for their photographs, after all, we want them to last for a very long time and proper care is an essential part of that.
5. Flexible Scheduling
Here's the thing, kids get sick. Storms come in unexpectedly. Things come up last minute. When you have a family (and I do), stuff happens! And as we try to schedule the big things, like a family portrait session, we do our best.. but sometimes we end up needing to reschedule or adjust timing at the last minute. And the one thing to know, is that it won't be an issue. Now, I don't recommend rescheduling for every little thing (because then, I will have to charge a fee), but for anything that would seriously impact the session, it's simply not an issue. You can email or text me and I will contact you right away with future dates to choose from, and that's that.
6. Using a Credit Card
Sometimes businesses will charge a "convenience fee" for using a credit card... which always throws me off. Accepting credit cards should be part of running a business and it's definitely not a "nice to have" at this point. If you want to use a credit card, you won't be charged any extra. You can enjoy your travel points, or cash back.. and I will enjoy providing a super-easy way for you to make a purchase.
7. Payment Plan Financing
If you need a bit more time to complete your portrait purchase, we can work out a completely custom payment plan, with no interest. I know how important these family photographs become to my clients and I want you to have all the images you love. If that means stretching out the payments a bit, I go the extra step to make it easy and convenient.
8. Mobile Gallery App
This is new.. as in, I started doing this last month. I was able to add it to my list of "extras" because my online gallery vendor started to offer it as part of their service.. which means, I can now offer it to my clients without paying more (once again, anything I have to pay for means potential price increase for my clients to cover the cost of running my business). Now, the mobile gallery app will be included with every Collection, which means you still need to purchase 6 or more photographs from your session.. but it would be weird to have a mobile app with less photos than that anyway.
All of my clients are welcome to grab a drink from the mini-fridge in the Studio. I keep it stocked with different types of water and simple carbonated drinks. There are no juice boxes as I found kids tend to keep drinking them during portrait sessions and end up slightly crazed from all the sugar. There are also some special options, like coconut water and organic elderflower & rose lemonade, which are rotated in as they become available.
10. Wooden Photo Stand
This is another item that is included in every one of my Collections. When I transitioned my focus to printed photographs several years ago, I felt it was important to provide an easy way for my clients to display their images.. and this photo stand was the answer. Made from a solid block of walnut, it's not only functional, but also quite beautiful. Best of all, it allows my clients to enjoy their images right away, without doing any additional work trying to figure out how to display their portraits!
.. And I'm sure this list will grow! I really hope to offer more and more as new features or services become possible for me to add. And if you have any thoughts about what YOU would like to see included, please let me know by emailing email@example.com.