Running a business is one of those things where you have to wear many hats. For MET Photography, I am a photographer, post-processer, marketing director, social networker, designer, pricing coordinator, and head of branding and packaging. Just like anyone else running a small business, it all is generated from the work YOU put in.
Today I want to discuss a little about branding and packaging. These are the two things I need the most work on personally, but also the most enjoyable aspect for me. I love making things fresh and pretty!
Most of the products I offer that I personally ship out myself are DVDs of images. I use external printing companies for prints of images and a printer for albums I design, who handle shipping for me in most cases. Currently, when I send out a DVD copy with a printing release to my clients, I use a simple R-DVD and print a label to affix to the front. This label has one of the images from the session on it, the clients name, date of session, and my business name. I use basic jewel cases and try to coordinate the color to match the color scheme for the session, especially for weddings. Then I tie it all up with a nice piece of ribbon.
Now, this isn't all that high end professional, and I know that there are sites that will print me custom fold-out cases and make me customized writeable DVDs with my logo and other information printed directly on the disk. There are a couple reasons I don't do this. The first is simply, my business is beginning and still young, I just don't have the funds up front to invest in that right now. My clients are happy with the packaging I have been using, and it works. The second reason is my pricing scale is adjusted based on my location, the demographics of likely clients, and the amount of time I put into a session, from shoot to post-process, to packaging and shipping. My prices are quite a bit lower than those of other photographers I admire who do invest in custom, streamlined packaging. To make a budget for high end packaging, I would have to raise my prices. If I raise my prices, I am alienating a percentage of the potential clients in my region. At the moment, it just isn't worth it.
I take pride in making my own packaging and put a lot of time and effort into every item. I design my albums and customize everything, I create every DVD label myself; any of the little details I can customize and tailor to each client, I make the effort to do so. Creating a unique, personal and professional packaging option is achievable with a little imagination, hard work, and direction. Even when your supplies are available at your local Staples.
Do you have a small business? What tricks do you use to brand and make creative and appealing packaging?