As photographers, we are constantly refining our process to make our client experience better. At times, what may appear easier on the surface is not always the case. Giving up online galleries for clients to select photos was the best decision because it offers a much more custom experience.
Online galleries seem like a no-brainer, we’re not spending extra time with clients and they look through them in their own time and leisure. We did it for years before, suffering through the shortcomings, largely ignored galleries that parents promised would get to. Not wanting to consider alternatives and firmly believing there is no alternative; we had close calls of large digital libraries almost disappearing from hard drive malfunctions. Making the switch to an in-person selection, made a world of a difference.
You’re getting a gallery of images of you and your family and assuming you chose a photographer you love. You’re going to love the images and altogether an overwhelming chore of what to choose from. You’ve spent time booking a photographer and to have pictures of your family and kids and you made the effort to look decent. Why wouldn’t you love them? Most see all their photos and get overwhelmed. Think about all your wedding pictures. They tell themselves, I’ll come back to them later. Life gets in the way and a week passes than a month. Before you know it, a year has passed, (ahem, let’s just say there are a few unclaimed galleries accumulated over the years and has likely been forgotten). Some people are great at making quick decisions, but they go through it with a drill sergeant approach: “Billy’s smile is a bit crooked in this one, we’ll drop it” . . . perhaps Billy’s crooked smile is what’s endearing about him now, and in 3 years, when he’s straightened out his teeth have lost some of the charms. And that’s why we’re here, to remind you not to be so quick in dropping those memories. They may not be perfect at the moment but years from now, that memory will make this unique.
For us, online galleries have the disadvantage of being forgotten and misplaced. From our end, imagine a busy month, where we have allocated several family shoots and set aside time to edit and deliver to our families. Then Tommy’s mom from 3 months ago realizes Christmas is approaching and she finally makes her selection and asks to have their gallery edited and rushed. Lily’s parents who took photos last year had made her final selection and had forgotten to notify us. She needs those photos right away. And so on. What was a well-thought-out month for us, now becomes stressful and overwhelming. The quality of our work suffers making this an undesirable experience for everyone.
So while online galleries may present the easier approach, working together to pick the best photos for your family makes for a much better experience.