This time of year we get a lot of questions about photo packaging for senior portraits; what items to use, how to use them, etc. So, we decided to put together this list of the top photo packaging products for your seniors. Let me also preface this article with a disclaimer: this is not intended to be a sales pitch; it is intended to be informative and educational. Yes, we offer all of the products that I am going to tell you about but so do many other companies. We would love your business, but more importantly… just use packaging and buy from the company that best meets your needs.
Here’s our list of the top products used in the photography industry as photo packaging for senior portraits:
Portrait Folders and Mounts
Portrait folders and mounts are commonly used to hold, display, and protect senior portraits. They showcase your work and tell your clients that you are a professional. These items frame your pictures and enhance the print in the same way a picture frame would. Folders and mounts are also commonly used to deliver prints that are purchased by clients as a part of small packages. You might, for example, offer your clients a package that includes (1) 8×10 print, (5) 5×7 prints, and several wallet prints. You can use folders and mounts to display the 8×10 print and 5×7 prints, and a wallet box to deliver the remaining prints. Already packaged in folders or mounts, these images [aka memories] are now ready to be given as gifts to family members and loved ones. The recipient of the gift will likely keep the print in the original folder or mount that it was delivered in to display or to save as a keepsake. Folders and mounts are designed specifically to stand and to display images on table tops. They also protect images and keep them safe for many years to come.
Boxes and Photo Cases
Boxes and photo cases are very popular options for senior photo packaging. A box is the most expensive and elegant way to package your prints. If done correctly, a box can offer the highest perceived value for the client. Now, when I say “done correctly,” I mean the use of one box-one print or at least several boxes per delivery. I do not mean stuff everything into one box and deliver. If you are charging several thousands of dollars to a client for their senior package, you can use more than one box in that delivery. Remember the 5% rule (spend no more than 5% of the total package price on your packaging, but do factor in some money for professional products). You are a professional and your packaging will help convey that. Boxes can also be enhanced with accessories like tissue and ribbon, and branded with foil imprinting.
A photo case or portrait case is an alternative to a box. It is made out of paper with scored edges and can usually accommodate 1-12 prints. Photo Cases, like boxes, can be accessorized easily for a high end look but are typically less expensive and take up less room. These are also great if you are shipping packages to your client or a client’s family members.
Bags are, well, bags! Bags can be very useful when delivering products to your clients. Additionally, they are a great and inexpensive way to advertise your business. Here’s an example that always comes to mind… imagine your next client walking into your studio for her senior portraits session. What is she carrying? A purse of course, but in her other hand she is likely carrying a shopping bag with a change of clothes for different poses. People—including myself!—save nice bags to reuse. If you deliver your products in nice bags, your clients will likely keep those bags and reuse them. Then what do you have? A bunch of people walking around town with your bags… FREE advertising!
Bags are also available from a wide number of suppliers in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Your studio logo can easily be imprinted or printed on bags, and they are relatively inexpensive.
USB and USB Packaging
USB and USB packaging is becoming increasingly necessary as delivering digital images and files to clients via USB drives is becoming more popular. There are TONS of options out there for USB and USB packaging from boxes and cases to envelopes and albums. But the thing I want you to remember here is that you are a professional… if you use USB drives, put them in professional looking packaging and have that packaging branded with your studio name or logo. If you use USBs, put your name on them. These items will be kept FOREVER! So make sure you’re taking the opportunity to spend the extra dollar or two to put your name on anything and everything packaging.
Again, if someone is going to pay a lot of money for that digital file, put it in something that says it’s valuable. I hate to sound like a broken record but remember the 5% Rule. The 5% Rule says that you shouldn’t spend more than 5% on your packaging—but that still gives you up to 5% to spend!
Add-ons: Folios, Tassel Frames, and Signature Albums
If you’re looking for a few additional items to add to your senior portrait packages, folios, tassel frames, and signature albums are great additions. These are relatively inexpensive items to purchase but they add A LOT of value to your packages. Use these items as package fillers that will add value to the larger package prices while increasing your costs minimally.