When I meet with families, so many ask about just purchasing digital files from their photo session. And I totally get it. It's become the most common professional photography experience out there!
And while digitals are part of my Collections, I'm so thankful that I'm able to provide more than that for families, as well.
I recently asked my friend and client, Kaytee, to share her photo ordering experience with me, with you.
Kaytee is an avid reader and writer. On her blog, Notes on Bookmarks, she reviews books in short, easy-to-read posts. She doesn't mess around - if she loves it, you know, and if she doesn't, you know that, too - so I knew she was the perfect person to ask about her experience. (If you're looking for reading ideas - head there NOW! She has loads of great suggestions!)
If you've never hired a custom photographer, who holds your hand through the entire process - from planning your photo session to helping you get the most enjoyment out of your photos - you're going to want to read this post.
Going into your session, what did you have in mind for your photos?
When I saw your website and Instagram posts, I knew I wanted to hire you, Stacey, for our next family photographs. The moments you capture are so precious and fleeting, and I couldn’t wait to have some of my own family. Once we negotiated schedules, I sat down with my husband to talk about photos and ordering. We were sure we’d be able to knock out an order in no time flat once we saw the photos themselves. A print or two. Maybe a digital file for Christmas cards. We’d be all set.
Picture day came, and we so enjoyed our time together (both times: maternity shoot and newborn shoot!). We felt like we had a pretty good handle on what we might need when it came time to view those photos and place our order.
We were wrong.
Oh no! What happened?
We sat down at our dining room table for our ordering session and watched a short slide show of photos from each shoot. Then, Jason (my husband) and I leafed through the proofs, one by one, pulling aside the ones we absolutely loved. The ones we couldn’t live without having in our home. And there were a lot of them.
We were also torn: we had maternity shoots with both of our previous boys, but no newborn photographs taken of either one - just cell phone shots and my attempts with our DSLR. (Before taking your Remember the Moment DSLR workshop, I was somewhere between novice and intermediate). How could we balance the desire to have these beautiful photos of our family with the fact that we hadn’t taken the time - or invested the money in a session like this - for each of our older kids?
We were so overwhelmed.
Thankfully, you were there to help.
Yay! Helping people sort through their photos and decide how they’re going to enjoy them is one of my favorite things to do. What specifically did I do or say that helped you most?
You reminded us that THIS session, NOW, showcased our entire family. And you rightly pointed out that previous sessions would not have included our newest addition.
Knowing we wanted a wall display, you calmly walked us through our home and asked about the kind of photos we would like on our walls. More importantly, you really listened.
When we sat back down at the table, we had a better idea of what we needed and you helped us plan out a display we loved, complete with sizing and print choices. We were able to use the proofs you brought over to create an appropriately-sized vignette for our main living room wall. We ordered an additional 8”x10” print (the one that made me cry every time I looked at it) to pair with some prints we already had of our older boys. And then, with plenty of photos that we weren’t willing to let go of, we chose to buy the gallery box of proofs, as well.
How did these prints compare to prints you’ve ordered on your own after buying digitals from a photographer?
In the past, I have purchased family pictures in a variety of formats.
First, I purchased digitals because I was so sure I could do it better and cheaper on my own. As the months ticked by and the photos became more and more outdated, it seemed like I had wasted a pretty chunk of change on something that would simply become a Christmas card photo, since I couldn't seem to decide on how to place the photos on my wall.
In other instances, I was on TOP of it! I got those files and sent them straight to Walgreens for printing (yes, it's true). "How different could it be from the stuff that costs three or ten or twenty times as much?" I wondered to myself. As I look back on those prints now, it is easy to see how blown out they are. The colors are super saturated, to the effect that my (now middle) son's hair looks like a bad dye job instead of the gorgeous blonde that he is.
The only times I've been really happy with my photos? When I let the photographer help me out and order them from their preferred printer. I am exceptionally pleased with the ones I got from your order for me, Stacey. We chose five black and white prints and the blacks are genuine black and the grays are true gray. The one color print we received still makes me cry when I look at it, because it so completely captures the look and feel of my brand new baby's perfect skin. The detail that shows his individual eyelashes would most certainly have been lost in the cheapie prints that I typically buy.
How did this experience make you feel?
Although I felt completely overwhelmed when we sat down to order photos, I am nothing but happy with the result. Your guidance in our ordering session put us both at ease and made it possible for us to choose some prints that we genuinely love. Your eye and insights were both invaluable.
As I sit down on my couch and look at my completed gallery wall, I am struck by how well everything came together. I am so pleased with this new collection of photos and the surety that they capture our family exactly how it is right now.
In addition to our beautiful wall, we have a box full of memories that we can share with family, put in small frames on desks, and flip through whenever we choose.
We will continue to look at these photos and smile as the boys grow out of this phase. They are so precious at this stage, and I am just in awe of these little humans we created. Thank you, Stacey, for helping us capture this moment.
You are so welcome, Kaytee! Thank you so much taking the time to share your experience here. It was truly an honor to work with you and your family, and I'm so glad you're enjoying your photos every day!