Your clients agonize about every detail of their wedding day. Their family and friends are summoned as wedding planning assistants and crisis-management wingmen. Guests travel across town, across the country, and sometimes across the world to be there.
The often-elaborate wedding invitation sets the tone for the wedding day. Your client's thank you cards should be as well-crafted and thoughtful as the invitation. Just because the wedding day is over doesn't mean it's time to get sloppy. The memories are still fresh in their loved ones' minds, and any expression of gratitude should be hallmarked by a thank you card of equal significance in respect to their wedding day.
This is where you, the wedding photographer, come in. You're the capturer and archivist of their wedding day, and technology is your friend now more than ever. In my studio I have a vintage-style display rack where I present all these extraordinary press-printed thank you cards that inspire my clients. I use these as promo cards for new clients to take with them, and as our company's unlimited supply of note cards.
When I have my initial consultation with prospective clients, they are already talking about their own thank you cards after seeing our display. It really gets them excited about their photos to come. I think when clients come into our studios, the studio space needs to work for us. Clients should see the innovative ways you're using your images in order to create premium products for their own photos. The cards we create for our clients usually have one or more photos on the front. Just like the coffee-table albums have a lot of fun layouts--why not the thank you cards as well?
The inside of the card may have a photo or custom text. Often we'll ghost the image that's inside the card so clients can write their personalized message right over the image. Then a small photo is placed on the back of the card with a complementary background color and our logo. We use an array of papers. Heavyweight inkjet watercolor stock is great for a hand-torn-edge effect (the ultimate in fine-art note cards).
There are so many labs and printers that are using the linen stock, glossy, and pearlized papers (the last one is the most popular at our studio). Miller's is a great source for printing these types of cards. They have a fast turnaround time, great quality, and wonderful customer service. Most printers will supply basic white envelopes with your order. If your client really wants to "max out" their thank you cards, vellum translucent envelopes will provide a mysterious, elegant effect that will enhance their recipient's thank you card receiving experience.
Parchment or Strathmore envelopes in their wedding colors is a perfect idea as well. Some great paper resources are www.actionenvelope.com, www.jampaper.com, and www.katespaperie.com. Before we were creating the press-printed cards with the four-sided printing option, we were using Pictage and similar services. About 95 percent of my clients will purchase these new cards. When we were only providing the older photo cards, it was about 50 percent.
People liked those other cards, but the reaction we get from these newer cards is unbelievable. It's like the thank you card is an experience. People are always surprised to see the photo inside and then on the back. It's quite impressive. Some clients will create four versions of their card. Instead of the same cover photo option for all the cards, they'll use four different images. It becomes a lottery of sorts. There are four different versions of their thank you card. Only 25 percent of their guests will receive the same card.
I remember when I got married in 1999 and had my own thank you card dilemma. There was no way I was going to give my guests those awful slip-in cards with the wallet photo. I slaved away on my little Epson 700 printer with sheets of watercolor paper creating what would be the prototype for Modern Wedding Photography's signature thank you card. I remember how excited our loved ones were when they received our thank you cards. I want our client's guests to share in that same experience.
Denise Chastain juggles her time between commercial and wedding clients as the principal for Modern Wedding Photography (www.modernweddingphotography.tv). She is an award-winning member of the WPJA. Modern Wedding Photography was a 2008 pick for "The Knot Best of Weddings."