FAQ : Client Gifts + J* Chocolate

L
ast year at a photography conference, I had the pleasure of meeting with a small group of photographers for an informal Q+A. This event--as simple and non-descript as it was--was one the highlights of my trip. Cramped in a hotel room with 20 photographers reminded me of everything I love and the blessedness of merely connecting with other people. I quickly came down from my high when someone asked if I gave gifts to my clients.

Awww, hold up...why you gotta put me on blast like that?!

The answer was no. No, I hadn't sent gifts to my brides...but not because I didn't want to or didn't think it was important. I just didn't plan properly and I didn't make it a priority. Right there, in that hotel room, I made the promise to send a small gift to my brides to express how much I appreciated them.

It took me a few months, but with the help from the girls at Gifts for the Good Life, we created a small gift to help ring in the New Year. Each box of personalized J* Chocolates was mailed to my 2011 and 2012 brides and here's a sneak peek...


Each box was covered in customized paper filled with personal images from the past year...which included quite a few from our travels and Polo, of course!


In light of New Year's, I ordered customized chocolates filled with champagne ganache...who doesn't appreciate a little bubbly?


It took me five years to finally send gifts, but now I hope to find new ways of incorporating them into my business. I heard of a photographer sending newly signed clients a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne (whoa, he's way fancy), another photographer sending cookies upon the couple's return from their honeymoon, and once I worked with a photographer who sent me to print an 8x10 during the wedding reception and handed the couple the framed photo before she left the wedding. Regardless of a photographer's budget, thoughtfulness goes a long way in business...even if it's a hand-written note.

After opening my box of chocolates, I'm excited for what 2012 has in store and I hope it's just the start of many sweet memories.
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Vicki - Chocolates, yummy. Where can did you get them customized, so personal.  11.01.13 - 11:49pm
Jackie - For a creative, not many things are done by accident-- for your signature 'J,' did you use the lower case purposely to look like a certain fish? I LOVE it!!  08.13.13 - 8:30am
Jenny Beck - I love the custom wrapping paper! Where did you get it? Or did Gifts For The Good Life create it for you? So cool!  09.09.12 - 11:42am
Betsy Wall - These are beautiful! Can I ask where you got these chocolates?   01.19.12 - 7:33am
Fotograf Sofia - Wow! Nice! :)  01.19.12 - 4:19am
monica Salazar - I love this idea and chocolate! :)   01.13.12 - 11:31am
Carl Reid - I love the idea of box of chocolates. My daughter cooks a mean set of chocolate chip cookies...who wouldn't appreciate that??!? Ofcourse milk is not included. Thanks for the inspiration. Regards, Carl from T.O.  01.13.12 - 1:00am
Evonne & Darren - OMG, love your personalized chocolates. Where is your online store? :)  01.13.12 - 12:11am
Marian Majik - What a sweet gift :) You are really good in business...  01.12.12 - 11:53am
Sue Gauthier - I Love Giving Photo-Gifts too! Usually, a hand-written note in one of my personalized (photographed from my Garden) with Flowers, etc., note-cards. I'm very big on hand-written notes; soon to be a "lost art"! ~ Sue  01.11.12 - 8:04pm
Mikaela - ps - I remember, very clearly, sitting in that hotel room with you...didn't know then that you would be my wedding photographer, but oh how I hoped :)  01.11.12 - 10:04am
Jamie - What a lovely gift! So thoughtful and so very you. I seriously just want the paper so I can look at yawning Polo. :)  01.11.12 - 9:15am
Aundrea Shafer - Where the h did you get that custom paper. It's amazing!  01.11.12 - 8:51am
Mikaela - so this super special gift makes me doubly grateful you were my wedding photographer!! jasmine, THANK YOU! was so excited to get this box in my hands yesterday, the customized paper is almost better than the chocolate...maybe I shall frame it ;) love you!  01.11.12 - 8:46am
Perth Photographer - That's such an awesome idea! You have such great attention to detail in everything you do!  01.11.12 - 7:19am
Coli - This says so much about who you are as a heart. :)   01.11.12 - 5:36am
Elizabeth - that is so awesome!!! they look yummy as well...mmmmmm I guess I should start thinking about gifts as well.  01.11.12 - 2:14am
Kelly Green - You beat me to it Jasmine!! This is on my list for 2012 and I am sourcing suppliers as we speak - can't wait to start sending out thank you gifts to my fab couples : )  01.11.12 - 1:59am
Wa Makeri - I love this post and I love everything about the chocolates! Do you send chocolates to Kenya??? :-)  01.10.12 - 10:38pm
Karen - Oh em gee. That custom wrapping paper is to die for! And that champagne ganache filled chocolate? Tres fancy.   01.10.12 - 10:13pm
Darling Paumen - Love reading your posts J* I've been thinking about gifts as well but still haven't come up with a concrete idea. Hope 2012 inspires me to come up with a gifts' idea. Thank you so much!  01.10.12 - 9:39pm
Katelyn James - it was the will of God that I was a 2010 bride and not a 2011 bride... because if I had gotten these in the mail, I would have convinced myself that eating fabulous jstar chocolates wouldn't affect my love handles... and I'm working REALLY hard to get rid of those suckers! :):) So thank you for not tempting me..... or my husband:)  01.10.12 - 6:59pm
Kimberly Kay - Wow that is such a creative and impressive gift that really shows off you and your brand! Awesome!  01.10.12 - 6:28pm
Mary - Jasmine, ever since I first found your blog eight or nine months ago, I've been reading it voraciously. I went through the archived posts as well, and I love your work. Your photographs aren't just static images; they're vivid moments of emotion, saved for years to come. I hope you don't mind if I ask your advice on something. I really don't know anything about photography, and I've been a (mostly) silent photog. blog reader, but I'm thinking about getting a camera and trying this out for myself. What I'm trying to say, is, what camera would you recommend for a complete newbie with aspirations to be an inspired photographer? Thanks for sharing your art with the world and your heart with your readers!  01.10.12 - 5:56pm
Kingdom Wedding Photography by Kat - I'm guilty of this myself. Last year marked the first year where I managed to design holiday cards, do a custom shoot for the cards, get little presents for my couples and then to actually SEND everything. Thanks for sharing - I love the customized chocolates.  01.10.12 - 4:39pm
Suzy G - Oh love it. Such a beautiful and unique gift..................but nw I want chocolate. ;) Here is praying you are amazing blessed this year.   01.10.12 - 4:26pm
Wedding Snapper - Wow, time to raise my game! I've been sending personalised anniversary cards to each couple and the occasional bottle of bubbly for their referrals which is always appreciated by them. I think the chocolates are a great idea, especially for a seasonal/end of year gift.  01.10.12 - 3:57pm
erin - what i wouldn't give for a box of j* chocolate riiiight about now :)   01.10.12 - 2:55pm
Addie - Very cool idea!  01.10.12 - 2:12pm
Alexis - J* chocolates! What a novel and captivating idea! :)  01.10.12 - 1:52pm
Dee - Love the chocolates with your logo! So fun!! I just finished Little Bee, so good!! I also just read Sister Of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni , I think you will love it! Can't wait to hear what you are reading next!! Happy New Year J*!   01.10.12 - 1:50pm
Holly Cromer - Oh my god those are so amazing Jasmine! I don't send out gifts either, sounds like I should!  01.10.12 - 1:33pm
Erin Oveis Brant - Beautiful + Delish!   01.10.12 - 1:00pm
Kristi Hill - Those are WAY cute! I struggle with this too for the same reasons as you. I found these cute little shabby chic picture frames that I've sent to my last couple brides and they loved them! I think it makes a really big impact.   01.10.12 - 12:13pm
Kristin Cook - Can you send ME some of those chocolates?!?! They look and sound DE-LISH!!!!  01.10.12 - 11:31am
emily - that wrapping paper is too cute, i don't think i would be able to tear in to it! i ordered custom m&ms last year after being in vegas, and can't wait to reorder now that i have rebranded! i'm so looking forward to my goal to one day be a j* bride, and not just for the chocolates! you are a fabulous example to photographers, especially us that are breaking in to the business much like myself :)  01.10.12 - 11:09am
LEOLAK - MMMMM.....chocolate!!!! Very nice!!!   01.10.12 - 11:06am
Paula Franco FOTOGRAF√ćA - It's a complete stylish and sweet gift for the couples! Well done!! You allways make me happy showing me that there are a lot of photographers with good heart and feelings. Thanks a lot!   01.10.12 - 10:36am
Nora and Chris Photography - OMG, Jasmine, these chocolates are so pretty. I love the boxes and the J* on each chocolate. So great to help customers keep you at top of mind!   01.10.12 - 10:25am
Jeni Brower - Chocolate - logo - personalized PHOTO gift wrap. I can't take it. I think I need to get married all over again & hire you. -Same guy, of course;)  01.10.12 - 10:24am
Karen Meissner - Okay. you are super thoughtful...and all I can think about is eating them! Yummy!!!  01.10.12 - 10:07am
Kathleen Clipper - We usually send out a gift card for either a movie date or dinner date to help them get away and take a break from all the planning. I love the chocolate idea! Such a special treat! I also love that your logo is imprinted on the chocolates :-)  01.10.12 - 10:03am
rich - holy cow! j* chocolates! that's AWESOME!  01.10.12 - 9:51am
Jennifer Medeiros - These look delicious! Kinda wish I was getting married again so I could hire you and eat them. ;)  01.10.12 - 9:50am
Jodie Lemke - OH GEEZ! Thats AWESOME! could you be anymore creative girl!!?? I wish i was a bride lol!! I want me some J* chocolate! haha! Great idea! love it! i am still struggling with an idea for my clients!  01.10.12 - 9:42am
Kira Noble - I love your personalized paper. Yesterday I went shopping for some custom paper to start wrapping client gifts in! It's kinda like having Christmas all year round...  01.10.12 - 9:40am
Regina Chayer - We worked with a local jeweler and had our company logo made into a silver pendant to give them to our special clients. It is totally unique!  01.10.12 - 9:39am
Odalys Mendez - Those look so elegant and yummy. Way to go Jasmine!   01.10.12 - 9:36am
Amy M. - What an awesome idea!! LOVE LOVE! Those chocolates look divine and they did a great job putting your logo on it! Love the personalized details and this just takes it to another J* level of fabulous-ness!  01.10.12 - 9:22am
teri - that is awesome! and now i must go find some chocolate.... ;)  01.10.12 - 9:22am
Meredith Sledge - OH MY HOLY MOLYYYYYYY. Jasmine, this is the coolest idea I've ever heard of!! Those chocolates are the most amazing things ever. AHHHHHHHHHH. They have your logo on them!!!!  01.10.12 - 9:14am
Corne Smetsers - Well, i don't do it yet. But that's just because i don't have a budget for it yet. But i have thought about it a while back. Like the chocolates with your logo on it! Really cool.  01.10.12 - 9:05am
Keilah Engstrom - Wow, that is in INSANELY cool! But even if I can't afford my own personalized chocolates (shoot!), you have inspired me to do SOMETHING, at least! And for that, I thank you! :) Wonderful post.  01.10.12 - 9:05am
Gina - Such a thoughtful idea! I really love it! Bravo!  01.10.12 - 8:56am
Michaela S. - it looks incredible, jasmin! You rock! You're my everytime inpiration!  01.10.12 - 8:54am
Belinda - I LOVE the box!!!  01.10.12 - 8:54am
Elisabetta {Linen and Silk} - This is such a beautiful touch. I've always told myself that I want to be the kind of wedding planner who will give gifts to her clients and who will print on pretty paper so as to make her clients feel special. When I go shopping and the shop wraps my purchase in paper, or when your receipts are not just stapled together but put in a little case, it makes you feel like you've purchased something really valuable, so why not make your clients feel the same way about your relationship with them? Thank you for sharing this, Jasmine. xx Betta  01.10.12 - 8:53am
Gabby / En Route Photography - That box of chocolate is amazing!!! Great idea! I'm sending books to my clients that I think they'd like! ;)  01.10.12 - 8:49am
Abigail Bradshaw - what a great idea! i've been trying to think of a good client gift for next year since this will be my first real year in business - i love those chocolates, they look so great with your logo! :)  01.10.12 - 8:49am
em - cutest gifts ever! and who doesn't like chocolate :)  01.10.12 - 8:46am
Giovanna - OMG Jasmine this is insanely original!... What a great idea and such a femenine gift. Plus it screams "brand" all over :) ..wonder how u convinced these people to make these for you. Hugs!  01.10.12 - 8:45am
Andrea - Those look soooo delish!!! Can I buy a box even if I'm not a bride? Please oh please??? Beautiful box, pics and the logo on the chocolate? Gorgeous!  01.10.12 - 8:45am
Melissa Cramer Photography - These are amazing! I love your logo on the chocolates... so cool. Gifts to wedding clients now on my neverending To Do List. :)  01.10.12 - 8:40am
Anni - Oh I love your chocolates! I also love the idea of champagne, it's always so fun and special to open a bottle together!  01.10.12 - 8:40am
Alicia - So what's the plan, sed these once a year, send them after the wedding? Do you keep the stock on hand or does your vendor do that. What a wonderful idea  01.10.12 - 8:38am
Claudia - WOW. You just make my gifts look bad:)   01.10.12 - 8:38am
MLKL - Thanks so much for the great tip! I love love love this idea... got my wheels-a-spinning :)   01.10.12 - 8:37am
Kathryn Andrews - Jasmine - you never fail to amaze me. I love this!  01.10.12 - 8:33am
Katie Nesbitt - I totally agree that regardless of your budget you should find a way to gift your clients and make them feel special! In the past I've given wood coasters from Pier One with some truffles when I mailed wedding images...I've recently started sending a bridal magazine and candy when clients book. I have a super small budget because I'm starting out, but I still think it's really important to make clients feel like they matter to me!  01.10.12 - 8:31am
Adam Sullivan - We have been discussing the types of "thank you" gifts to give our clients. Great idea, Jasmine.   01.10.12 - 8:30am
Kristin Layne Peddicord - customized paper AND chocolate? GIRL you are too much! LOVE this.   01.10.12 - 8:29am
Tammy - wow, something new I learned about you. What flavor are these chocolcates?  01.10.12 - 8:27am
tricia - I was actually pondering this myself, and wondering if one should send them to the client when they book as a thank you or after. Then I realized, for the 2 (I know I'm still new) I had sent the client a 16x20 canvas pic of my fav image from their wedding. YAY for Groupon!  01.10.12 - 8:27am
Stacey - Total City Girl - Jasmine these are great! I used to own a gift biz for many years. I always stressed to my clients that being creative and PERSONALIZED are key! Also the packaging is so important. You did great girl! I'm sure your clients loved them.  01.10.12 - 8:25am
Kyle Bromley - You must have read my mind. I was just wondering if other photographers did this! I was debating it and going back and forth in my head. I about died over that wrapping paper! I love the contact sheet paper. Can you order just the paper lol.  01.10.12 - 8:25am
Richard B Flores - Awesome Branding!! I started sending gifts to our clients also and their expressions and feedback is worth everything!!  01.10.12 - 8:23am
Danyiel Johnson - Swanky, love the chocolates. I really want one right now with my breakfast.  01.10.12 - 8:23am
Abby Grace - I love this Justin & Mary and Katelyn James all drove this point home, so I started sending gifts this year. Since my budget is a little more limited than theirs, I send Ring Pops in a DIY paper mache box. SO far the response has been great!  01.10.12 - 8:23am
anda - dang those look fancy amazing! i used to send chocolates, but now i need a new idea! OR, i need to send them once a year, during the winter. because ... i used to send the gifts when they booked and then again after the wedding ... and ... well ... two brides called to thank me and noted that the chocolate had melted ALL OVER their mailboxes in the midwest summer heat! how many others had this happened to?! omg, duh, i felt so DUMB. thankfully my clients are the most laid-back and nice ever, but anyways. you just solved my problem. send for new years, in the cold winter, instead!! thanks again -- what would i do without you? and i mean that in all seriousness, though it sounds sarcastic online :)  01.10.12 - 8:22am
Jessica K. Sullivan - Oh my goodness...YUM! That is another fantastic idea Jasmine:)  01.10.12 - 8:22am
Nessa K - These are absolutely lovely!!   01.10.12 - 8:21am
Gabriela Fuentes - Love love this. Soooo thoughtful! High 5 on your creativeness !!  01.10.12 - 8:17am
Nancy Mitchell - Awesome Jasmine! Your Brides will LOVE you even more. Can I ask where you got the paper with your photos on them? That is a super cool idea!   01.10.12 - 8:16am
JennyRain - YOU are a rockstar. I send a thankyou card... but shoot that pales in comparison to your ah-mazing gift. *swoon-worthy* for sure :) no wonder your brides love you! I have so much to learn!  01.10.12 - 8:15am
Alex - Jasmine, it may not have been on your list of priorities and therefore taken a bit longer than you would have liked - but I'm blown away by this! You always go ABOVE AND BEYOND and always shine bright in everything you do. Be proud, girl!  01.10.12 - 8:15am
a little bit of whimsy photography - per your usual.... simple, thoughtful, freaking amazing, fabulous, noteworthy...got it.. thanks J*  01.10.12 - 8:06am
Christa - To quote my inner Rachel Ray "Yum-O!"  01.10.12 - 7:56am
Kristen - Wow! These look fabulous...AND yummy! :-) I'm sure your clients will love them.   01.10.12 - 7:53am
ashley barnett - Um those look divine! There is a place back home in Charlottesville that creates the most amazing custom chocolates and flavors but I gotta say, champagne sounds delightful!   01.10.12 - 7:48am
Franklin Fitzgerald - You continue to amaze me with the things that you do. The game continues to change and you are the pioneering photographer leading the pack. You go girl!  01.10.12 - 7:45am
Leigh-Ellen - Everything you do has such style and class. They're unbelievable.!   01.10.12 - 7:36am
Kindra - Adorable!  01.10.12 - 7:26am
naomi chokr - this is just amazing!!!!! i have mine already in mind. I just cant wait to shoot my 1st booked wedding in feb to deliver their gift after. Seeing your post just solidifies that saying thanks in a nother way is still important  01.10.12 - 7:20am
Jessica Vidmar Photography - Awesome inspiration...makes me think of everything I want to incorporate into my biz...thanks : )  01.10.12 - 7:15am
Kate Douthwright - Whoa whoa whoa! I sent my clients chocolates wrapped with our logo on it but this a whole new level! Way jealisimo. I think another good idea for a smaller budget is ornaments with the year engraved on them and a picture of the couple inside.   01.10.12 - 7:01am
The New Diplomat's Wife - Gray's photography seems to have a lot of simple gift ideas (i.e. a starbucks card for the bride a month before the wedding) but i think the chocolates are cute. I think any gift, as long as it's heartfelt and expressed sincerely is always a nice touch.   01.10.12 - 6:40am
Rachel Tatem - That's awesome! What a neat gift  01.10.12 - 6:38am
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