It’s no secret that I’m all about the paper. (If this URL didn’t give you a small clue…) All of my client forms, contracts, releases – all of it – are on paper and not digital. I just can’t make the switch. It works for others and works well, but for my own business I want a client’s John Hancock signed on a non-digital line. It’s not easy being green.
So every year in January I start “the great binder switch” and get everything in order for the upcoming year before I start shooting again. One of those binders goes with me to every session, without fail. It has alphabet-tab dividers and the contact / session forms (and printed directions) for every client I photograph. I also take the signed contracts with me for the particular session I’m photographing. That way there’s no awkward “how much do I owe you?” pause. I can just flip right to their section of the binder and say, “Well it looks like…” with their signed contract right there in front of them. It’s also handy for when clients can’t remember the products they selected for their package as I’m showing album, canvas, and announcement / card samples. Their contract has an itemized list right there in black and white.
In the past, my system has been rather simple. A new polka-dot binder goes with me to sessions. A solid binder stays behind at home with the remaining contracts and releases for that year.
However, this year I was intrigued by the Avery Signature Binder.
UPDATE: New photos of my 2nd binder if you want a peek! Check the comments.
You start by choosing from 3 different sizes of binders – 1″, 1.5″, or 2″. (Photographs shown are of the 1.5″ version.) You can use a pre-designed template or make your own, including full-bleed.
There are no minimums, so you can make / order just one. They have a FAQ if you have additional questions. The binders come with four inside pockets as shown. Those will come in very handy for extra model releases (just in case) and pose-sheets if needed.
This is branding that will make you instantly-recognizable to a client if you are shooting on-location. It gives them a chance to see your work and your logo as you approach.
I think these would also be fantastic for bridal / wedding packages. If you presented a client with a binder with your photographs and logo / URL and all of the paperwork necessary for their portrait package with you — but also included tabbed dividers for other vendors (such as bakeries, florists, bridal shops, DJs, transportation companies, travel agencies, etc.) — there’s a very good chance you will have just handed them an “official wedding organizer” featuring your images and branding. And as anyone who has planned a wedding knows, that organizer goes everywhere the bride does for quite some time. It allows your name to be seen not only by countless wedding professionals, but also by the couple’s friends and family who may just be planning weddings of their own one day. With price points that start at $18.95 it’s not the cheapest of options, but if wrapped into the cost of your session / package fees, the potential free-marketing is limitless.
Avery has also teamed with Zazzle to offer this same product. Zazzle has several templates available that make my basic custom design shown here pale in comparison. (My binder was created to look exactly like the contracts and information packets my clients receive.) Zazzle even has a wedding planner design available from Hallmark!
Check back soon because new guest post features are currently in the works! If you’re interested in having your own business packaging, marketing ideas, or photography-related products featured please contact me (my e-mail is in the sidebar and is robyn @ this domain – or you can leave a comment).
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