I don't do online galleries.
There, I said it!
I offer a studio get together for your viewing with myself after your photography. Oh goodie, you get to see me twice! Well, yes! But it's much, much more than just enjoying my riveting personality. This is about you. How? Let me explain.
Imagine this scenario - it's a real one, which happens every day in photography businesses across the UK. You have just enjoyed a newborn session at a studio. You have fallen in love even more deeply with your tiny baby all curled up in the softest props. You and your partner leave the studio on top of the world, you are literally bursting with excitement and cannot wait to see your images. You tell everyone that baby was so good, you plan where your images might be displayed in your home. Now you wait for the email with your gallery link.
Fast forward a little.....it's a Tuesday, you're shopping with your baby in Tesco. Baby is grizzly and tied in his sling, you are attempting a one-woman Tesco shop and baby will probably give you approximately five further minutes before needing to be fed immediately. Just then, you feel your phone buzz....
You're delighted, the email has been sent from your photographer and it has your gallery link....a rush of excitement....you bounce baby in the sling with one hand and with the other - although you said you'd wait for your other half to be with you when you first see the gallery - you click 'Open'.
You whizz through the heavily watermarked images, trying to see baby's expression and swipe through the whole gallery in less than 20 seconds, then rush to go and sit and feed baby. The moment - is over. Your portraits are being viewed in the fruit isle next to the tomatoes, on a five inch screen amongst the sound of tannoy and....what is that? Oh yes, the grizzling of your little one as you comfort and feed them.
Later that day, after baby has finally managed to be put down and your partner has returned from work, somewhat exhausted, you snatch a moment to show the gallery to your partner. He is shattered - having just returned to work after paternity leave and barely has the energy to consider, critically compare and select images. He loves the images, but is in no state to decide anything. You leave the order for now.
Your gallery link expires after 7 days when suddenly you realise, neither of you have had one single moment to sit and think about images. Baby has (naturally) taken every spare second of your time and thoughts. Your photographer kindly extends your gallery for a further 5 days. You flick through your images, determined to choose something. The time is running out. You want to ask the photographer specific questions, you have no idea what the 'coastal frame' looks like, although it interests you, neither can you imagine what a 'deep framed canvas' looks like in the flesh in 36x24 inches. You would like to see it in person. Eventually, unable to decide and with a plethora of choices, you settle on an order of five digital images on USB, thinking you will enlarge them for yourself in the near future.
Your USB arrives and you download your images to Facebook. Your friends and family adore them. You plan in your mind your images for the house, whilst popping the USB safely in a drawer.
Life is a blur of baby massage, night feeds, NCT coffee mornings, cuddles and bath time, little one learns to push up, to sit, to crawl, then he takes his first steps......and guess what? Over 12 months pass by so fast and the USB of professional portraits is still in the drawer.
Ok, so this is perhaps a 'too perfect to be true' example of why online galleries fail on most fronts, but...it is not an unusual one. How do I know this? Because I was once that mum and I have just described my own experience. But I am not alone! Many, many parents explain how they have been to other photography businesses who work on the online gallery method. They are 'sold' the idea of the convenience of an online gallery to be viewed at home, when in fact they are being sold a disservice!
These portraits are your once in a lifetime, never to be repeated, newborn portraits. You cannot re-do this session. They represent your family legacy, to be enjoyed and to radiate love, for generations to come.
I think they deserve more than being viewed on a phone screen in a supermarket. I think you deserve more than being left without support to make such an important decision for your family's future visual legacy. I know your portraits deserve more than being stored on a USB in a drawer.
So. Imagine this second scenario - one I see weekly....we'll start at the beginning again. Imagine you have just enjoyed a fantastic newborn session at my studio...then fast forward...
It's your viewing day and I welcome you back into my wonderful studio where I have prepared your finished portraits. Little one has certainly already changed and grown and you even let me sit and hold baby whilst you all get comfortable for your viewing. Quietly I draw the blinds and the room grows still. It is time to see your perfect images.
Set to music, your HD slideshow plays whilst you grip your partner's hand. Tears prick your eyes and a lump grows in your throat as the most beautiful colours and tones move across the screen. Your beautiful newborn baby is featured large, in vivid detail. 'There she is, our newborn, the baby we made, our darling little one.' You can see every eyelash, every fingernail of your precious newborn baby curled in womb-like poses. Together, you sit in awe and happiness as you drink your tiny baby in.
My studio hums with emotion at viewings. Loving tears are shed. Parents hug each other....they sometimes even hug me too.
By creating a special space in your diary to view your portraits together, you are honouring the investment you have already put into your professional portraits. I will never simply send you an online link. THIS is why I am a full service photographer who will always provide you with the very best, totally bespoke one-to-one viewing session in which your newborn images are viewed large, in my relaxing studio.
But it doesn't stop there....as unlike a remotely-viewed online gallery, in a viewing appointment at my studio, I am right by your side to enable you to make the very best decisions about your images. I want to make this clear - I do not do pushy sales, it's simply not my style. Instead I will be on hand, if you like, to support you as you decide upon how to best present the images which sing to your heart.
Wall Art is something I can't help but be passionate about. I have a background in Fine Art, my mum is a graphic designer and we grew up in a house full of art and photography hung gallery-like on the walls of our home. I truly believe that the professional images of your children deserve to be presented in nothing but the best Wall Art. If this interests you, I will of course show you my studio samples and help you choose the loveliest and most beautiful Wall Art for your family.
Did you know, that numerous studies have shown that by hanging portraits of your children in your home you will remind your children of how much they are loved every single time they look up above the mantelpiece? Children living in homes with family portraits displayed, grow up with a sense of greater security in their family identity and they will feel more confident and loved. I can't think of a better reason to put simply stunning images of your family, pride of place in your home.
So what is the catch of full service photography?
Full service photography which includes a pre-consultation, extra special newborn session, totally bespoke to your style and ideas and a beautiful one to one viewing of your portraits with your photographer?
You will have the chance to view your images on a large screen as they were intended to be viewed, uninterrupted by watermarks, in superb detail. This will help you to make informed decisions about which images to select and preserve in your photo collection. You will have your photographer by your side to ask for information and support for your visual legacy and to advise, if requested, on the very best Wall Art for your home.
The risk? You may well take all your images! (actually, most parents do). But I can guarantee you will never wake the following morning, feeling the hollow pang of regret that you have left images you love, behind (as I have for a decade!). Lastly, you will have the chance to invite love and happiness into your home with tailor made legacy Wall Art portraits to last generations.
I can't see the catch in that.