Every photographer runs their business a little differently.. and what happens after the session is one of those very important parts of the process. And when you’re considering which photographer to work with, you might prefer one method over another.. or are confused why some photographers approach this specific part of the process so differently from others.
All of my clients enjoy an in-person Ordering Appointment after their portrait session. And I often hear people wonder why I do it this way. After all, isn’t an online gallery easier?
Read on to find out why I love doing an in-person ordering session and what the benefits really are..
So what is it?
The Ordering Appointment is a meeting that takes place about 1 week after your photoshoot - this is when we sit down and look at the final (retouched) portraits from your session. This meeting is alway done in-person and typically takes place in the Studio. So why in-person? Why not just throw those final photos up in an online gallery and send off the link for each client to review on their own time? Because while the online gallery approach might sound ideal, it doesn’t benefit at all from the expertise of the photographer.
When you have the photographer next to you, you can talk about options. You can discuss where you’d like your photographs to go in your home. Which two images are best displayed side by side. Go through product options like albums or holiday card designs. But most of all, dedicate a quiet 30-60 minutes to simply sitting down and making all the decisions.
In the end, an in-person meeting is faster, more productive, and a better experience than an online gallery. It might seem like a lot of work, but because I am there to help, it’s a lot easier than trying to figure everything out on your own!
How the images are presented
For the Ordering Appointment, it’s important that you see the final product.. so the 20-30 portraits that are presented are fully retouched. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t ask for further edits. In fact, since these images are presented digitally, we can modify them as needed before they are printed and delivered to you. We look at them on a big TV screen, so you can see all the details, and go through them as described below…
The appointment itself is fairly structured. First of all, we will watch a quick 2-minute slideshow of your final portraits. This is the best way to get a good introduction to your images! All you have to do is sit back and enjoy.. because after that, we will be making the decisions.
Deciding on which images to purchase is also made as simple and straight-forward as possible. You will receive a printed contact sheet and a pen, and we will go through each photograph one by one on the big screen as you mark your preference on your paper (don’t worry, nobody is looking!). This is often quite fun to do with a spouse because the next step is to see which images are a YES. Now, never during this process is there any pressure to select a specific number of photos or choose images you don’t actually like. All we do is see how many portraits you absolutely LOVE and decide which printed products are best for your needs.
Printed Product Options
And when it comes to products, things are kept pretty simple as well.
If you love only a few of your photographs, we can talk about a large frame for your home or a matted print you can display on a tabletop. You can opt to get 8x10” prints or add a wooden photo stand to your order. Since Collections starts at 6 images, you might even consider that for a savings on each image (each Collection includes built-in savings!).
And if you’re considering 12-20 portraits, one of the top Collections is a fantastic choice. Nestled in a beautiful Japanese silk presentation box, matted prints are one of the best ways to preserve and enjoy your images. These Collections also come with some great perks, like a video slideshow (the one you enjoyed at the beginning of the Ordering Appointment), a complimentary photo stand, and even a framed portrait when you buy 20 images. The Collections are meant to be a standalone product, 100% ready for you to display and enjoy without having to do any additional work.
And for those families who don’t really want framed portraits and love more than 20 images, an album is a great option. Now, I’ve just added the album to my product list (fun fact, it usually takes about 2 years for me to research and add a new product - why? because I am very selective! and also because it really has to be the best product option out there for that specific item) but it’s already one of the most popular items. Families love it because it includes ALL the digital images from their session and as a custom-designed piece, it can perfectly fit into their decor without taking up much space. A lot of my clients actually don’t have the wall space for large frames (or live fully decorated homes with no need for artwork). So, the feedback so far has been incredibly positive. Stay tuned for a Blog post devoted entirely to The Album in the next few months!
After all the decisions are made at the Ordering Appointment (and the order is paid for with any credit card of your choice), your order goes into production. Turnaround time for the Collections is about 1 week since items are kept in stock. Frames and albums are custom ordered and take about 1 month. You always have the option of picking up your order from the Studio or having it hand-delivered to your door, whichever is most convenient for you (products aren’t shipped to avoid damage or loss). I also personally hand-inspect every item to make sure it meets the high quality standards of museums and nothing is ever delivered without being absolutely perfect. and as a little bonus, all photographs include a Lifetime Guarantee, because you just never know what could happen.. and these portraits are meant to be there for your children and grand children, no matter what!
I’ve done image presentation and ordering all sorts of different ways.. and the process is still evolving as I improve and refine based on client feedback. The in-person method is by far the best, in my opinion. Yes, it takes more of my time. Yes, it’s an actual sit-down commitment from the client. And yes, you do have to come prepared to make your decision at that time. But in this world of busy parenting, unless you sit down and dedicate some quality time to your portraits, the decision-making will end up taking the back seat to everything else that’s going on that week. And the whole point of this is to have something that will outlive us. Something our children can cherish when they are older.. and isn’t that worth a few hours? I sure think it is!