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  • Writer's pictureMichael Thomas


Updated: Apr 7

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. I have learned over time my clients enjoy an in-person Ordering Appointment after their portrait session, because anything less is an incomplete service. Since I started doing this people have asked me 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 proofs (edited) from your session. This meeting is alway done in-person and typically takes place in our Home 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. This is a disservice and an incomplete service to our clients. When you have the photographer next to you, you can talk about options. You can discuss where you’d like your photographs to be displayed in your home, which two images are best displayed side by side, and go through product options like albums or holiday card designs. But most of all, dedicate a quiet 45-60 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 know what you are getting... so the 80-100 images that are presented are printing-ready except for a few final tweaks. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t ask for further edits. In fact, for all our Wall Art we go over the image(s) extensively to make sure it’s perfect before it is sent to the print lab and hand delivered to you. At your Ordering Appointment we will view your images on a big TV screen, so you can see all the details, and go through them as described below…

THE PROCESS The appointment itself is fairly structured. First of all, we will watch a quick slideshow of your session. 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. We will go through each of your gallery images on the big screen. I will help you narrow them down to which ones you like and then narrow them down further by rating them, to narrow them down further (don’t worry, nothing is deleted in the process). 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 images you absolutely love and decide which printed products are best for your needs.

PRINTED PRODUCT OPTIONS When it comes to products, we also keep things as simple as possible as well. Once you see that image or two that you have to display in your home, we can talk about designing gorgeous Wall Art to display with pride. With the USB of images that you pick you can print any number of products up to a 12x18 for yourself, but we are more than happy to help you with anything you would like to put by your bedside. We are a full service photography company, so we are there to help you every step of the way. With every collection (package) there are small-medium prints already included (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 boutique presentation box, matted prints are one of the best ways to preserve and enjoy your images. And for those Families or Seniors who don’t really want framed portraits and love more than 20 images, an Album, Photo Book, or Wave Book is a great option. Now, Albums & Books are fairly new to my product list (fun fact, it usually takes about a year 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 they are already some of the most popular items. Families and Seniors love it because it typically 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!

PRODUCT DELIVERY 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. 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.

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 that I have found, 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 and social lives, 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!

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