I get many requests for gift vouchers. It is a most generous and beautiful gift to give. I love that I get requests for vouchers. It means I am doing a great job of encouraging more people to exist in their families photographs and document both the big and the small moments in their lives.
However, I always encourage caution when purchasing a gift voucher for someone else. WHY?? I hear you ask. Well, despite them being a lovely idea you have to remember that they are a VERY personal gift for someone else. It may be something YOU want, but are you absolutely SURE your friend/family member wants you making the decision about who is their family photographer??
I appreciate that being cautious about offering gift vouchers MAY lose me some clients/business; but I also hope that people will see my reasons come from a place where I truly want to provide a boutique and personalised approach to my service and not a one size fits all ideology.
If you are making the purchase for someone who already had a service booked in with me - then a voucher is perfect! If however they are not already clients of mine I suggest you read this next bit before you part with your cash and your heart felt gift.
Photography is an intensely personal and private experience.
Both from the perspective of the before, during and after the shoot. Clients need to share all sorts of things with me and I get to see your family during a shoot - sometimes warts and all! They need to work out before they hire me that they both trust and like me. And they need to know that I am intensely professional and well, what happens during the shoot...stays between the client and me and my camera!
Do they REALLY want a photoshoot?
If you want to purchase a voucher for a newborn session then I going to say - Buyer Beware! Newborns are best photographed between 5 and 14 days after birth - this is the most crazy, exhausting time of a new parents life! If they haven't decided pre baby they want (and have committed to) a newborn shoot, then purchasing a newborn shoot for someone who isn't totally sold on the idea is paramount to torture for them! They have to REALLY REALLY want it! To the point where they have already contacted me and I have a date set for them. If this is not the case I STRONGLY suggest you discuss this with them first - I know that spoils the surprise and I'm sorry but you have to discuss it first. And trust me - what seems like an ok idea when your pregnant can very suddenly seem like something you really don't want to do at about day 6 after a baby arrived. And no one wants to buy a gift that causes angst.
Also photographing families with small children can be quite an ordeal - getting them dressed in nice clothes, staying clean, getting everyone to the location and then wrangling everyone can be tricky and if its not something you really want to do .....well it kind of shows in the photos that you weren't really all that into your photoshoot!
Photography is an art and what I create might not be everyone's cup of tea.
When you buy someone the gift of photography it's because you like my stuff and have probably done some research on who I am and looked at my website. But what about the recipient of the voucher? Do they know me, ever heard of me, like my style?
This is a biggie - why? Because almost every gift voucher I have ever provided has left the recipient with a shortfall to then pay to meet my minimum package . Ask yourself IF, when you give this gift, are you happy to tell them - 'there will be something you also need to pay depending on what package you chose to buy.' If the voucher is going towards a session they are already booked in for and have committed an amount of money to, then the gift voucher is a massive bonus to them. And I think that's the key thing to remember... they had already committed to the session and were aware of the costing involved.
Vouchers can lead to terrible miscommunications - particularly if they think the voucher pays for the whole shebang. There is nothing worse than giving a voucher with nothing but kindness in your heart only to find your friend can't afford the shortfall and then they never use it.
Broome is transient.
For both potential clients and for my family. They might leave town or we might leave town. Where does that leave all of us then? Any Broomie will understand this reason and I don't really need to explain that many of us just up and leave town - sometimes with very little notice or time to redeem a gift voucher for a family photoshoot when your madly cleaning and packing to vacate.
I'm sorry if this has turned you off your purchase of a gift voucher! I have written this because I have always had the belief in my business that I want only the best for my clients. And I need you (as the purchasee) to know what you are buying and the recipient to understand what they are getting.
If however you are sure about your purchase then by all means shoot me an email and I will sort out a lovely printed and gift wrapped voucher for you to give. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
NB: my gift vouchers all have an expiry of 12 months from purchase and I will not honour any vouchers on the occasion that my family have decided to leave town. Vouchers are not redeemable for cash.