Professional Photography Client Gift Ideas for ALL YEAR
Oh man, I feel like I’m hearing this more and more and more this year: the professional photographers that I mentor and work with are stressed, overwhelmed, and feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day.
I totally get it, it can be hard to keep up in the thick of busy season! If you are still doing all of your own editing, it can be even WORSE, because you are spending hours and hours in front of a computer monitor trying to get everyone else’s family to look just right, when you are hoping your own family forgives you for seeing primarily the back of your head for the next three weeks.
Then, on top of it, there are all of these blog posts about client gifts, and the labs start to email you with fantastic gift ideas!
Yep, those gift ideas really are awesome, and I have worked with several of them, but when it is busy season and you’re already stressed, the thought of adding in client gifts to the mix is maddening. You barely have time to get gifts for your own kids, much less your clients too!
Freaking out yet?
I work with so many professional photographers to grow their businesses, and I see this over and over again. Wedding photographers’ seasons usually end a little earlier, so November and December aren’t crunch time, but for portrait photographers, it is a crazy, crazy season.
I have a TON of tips to help throughout this season, but because this stress keeps coming up over and over again, I wanted to put this one out there NOW:
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GET YOUR CLIENTS GIFTS JUST BECAUSE IT’S DECEMBER.
Yes, it is the gift giving season. Yes, there are several holidays in December that have conditioned us to receive gifts around this time. Yes, it is fun to spoil your clients.
But the reality is, you can spoil your clients year round, you don’t HAVE to do it just in December! And guess what – everyone else and their mother is sending your clients gifts right now. Be different. Stand out. And don’t stress yourself out over getting gifts out in December!
So please, just take a moment, and take that OFF OF YOUR PLATE. Deep breath. Let it go.
And then pencil in a time the second week in January to plan your client gifts for the year. AFTER the holidays. AFTER Elf on the Shelf and Santa and naughty time under the tree and weird Uncles that tell you inappropriate jokes at family gatherings and apple cider mimosas and new year’s resolutions you’re probably not going to keep anyway.
Give yourself some grace, chill the f*** out, and LET IT GO.
Okay so NOW that we have decided NOT to do gifts in December, we can either A. focus on getting some shit done to spend time with family or B. get excited because we get to actually plan some client gifts instead of just throwing stuff together, hoping to get it there before the end of the year. Or a combination of both.
With that done, I present to you, some gift ideas to spoil your clients YEAR ROUND – not just in December. In an effort to keep this post short, see the list below, but To download the FULL list of gift ideas with links to purchase for photo gifts, click here. There are zero affiliate links here, just good stuff that I love and have used.
A quick note: ALL of these gift ideas require discretion on your part, and knowing who your ideal client is and what they would love. I work with adult women, so I can get away with some naughty gifts, but they wouldn’t be appropriate for senior girls. Likewise, a mom might love a photo ornament of her kiddos, but a woman might not want her boobs on the tree. So really put some time into considering what your clients would love!
First up: Photography client gift ideas that are photo specific. Meaning put the photos that you took for your clients, into the gifts.
I can already feel the resistance to this one, so hear me out – a photo ornament. NO, it doesn’t have to be in December, and here’s why. This ornament isn’t particularly Christmas centric, and has an easel on the back, so it can be displayed on a mantel or table top year round, and then when it’s time to put that tree up again, it can go on the tree. PS – make sure to spell the names right.
Address labels can be used YEAR ROUND, and if you have an adorable family photo, what busy mom doesn’t want a quick label she can slap on something pretty to send out without having to make it herself? PS – make sure the address is right.
Personalized stationery or thank you notes. Yes, I know that lots of photographers design holiday cards for their clients – which totally makes sense, right? But guess what, clients need pretty thank you notes year round, for when grandma sends them a check for their birthdays! Thank you notes are easy and fast to design, and aren’t date or season specific, so they can be used all year!
Mini accordion albums – another all year kind of awesomeness. These are the perfect size for a purse or desk, and will give your clients a way to show off your work easily and quickly!
Desk prints that are ready to go and don’t require a frame! These are metal prints, and can be ordered with an easel on the back. So your clients don’t have to work on getting the right size frames, they’re quick and easy. What an awesome gift to send your clients in March, and tell them you’re “lucky” to have them as clients? (St. Patrick’s Day… see where I’m going there?)
Dry erase boards – perfect for the fridge or desk, you can incorporate a photo and gift your clients something they can use daily.
There are a ton of ideas that do NOT incorporate photos as well – because sometimes those clients are amazing and buy all the products you have and you just want to send them a little something special! Again, discretion here, think about what your clients would personally love!
Spa gift cards
Bottles of wine or champagne (happy new year, am I right?)
S’mores kits – summertime!
Date night kit – a popcorn tub (microwave) with an Amazon gift card for a movie rental or a DVD, and candy
There are SO MANY ways to love on your clients year round, please take this pressure off of yourself in December. K? K.