A common question that comes up in many groups is what type of gifts photographers are giving their clients. Gift giving can be as simple as a handwritten note and a gift card, or as elaborate as custom made items. Either way, giving your clients a gift can give them one more thing to rave about – especially if that gift comes on their first anniversary, or their baby’s first birthday. For wedding photographers, this type of reminder can help your client tell their newly engaged friends about you. For family photographers (or wedding photographers who also photograph families), a gift can bring new bookings, for many years to come.

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Here are our tips for successful gift giving, when it comes to your clients:

Do choose a gift that reflects your brand.

Nothing is more jarring that receiving a gift that makes it clear the gift giver doesn’t really know you at all. Chances are, if you wouldn’t love what you’re sending, neither will your client. Consider the type of wedding or portrait session you photographed – was it formal and traditional? Laid-back and candid? Tailor your gift giving to the type of client you love to work with.

Do choose custom items, or handpick each gift instead of buying in bulk.

If you remember your bride loves cupcakes, sending over a dozen on her first anniversary in her wedding colours is going to have her gushing about you to everyone she knows. Likewise, a mom receiving a monogrammed blanket with her new baby’s name on it is going to tell all of her friends about the thoughtful gift you sent.

Do pay attention to what is going on in your client’s lives.

Did your couple just welcome their first baby? Send a gift for the new arrival. Did your biggest family session from Christmas last year buy a new home? A housewarming gift will be a welcome hello. (Don’t stalk your clients, though! This tip is only for photographers who connect with their clients via social media.)

Don’t put your logo on it.

Nothing says bulk buy like a bunch of promotional items emblazoned with your logo. Your client hasn’t forgotten who you are and is less likely to keep an item that has your logo on it, unless it’s also something useful. Save the items with your logo on it for tradeshows, client meetings, and other times when someone might need to remember your name.

Don’t send product.

The worst possible gift you can ever give is photo related product. Your client knows that you don’t pay retail for what you are giving, and it feels lazy and cheap. An album upgrade or a print you know they’ll love is great for the couple you loved working with, but let them know you’re doing it as a special way of saying thank you – and then wow them again with a gift and a handwritten note a few months after their wedding.

We’d love to hear from you! What is your favorite gift to give a client? What has been your favorite gift to receive?