Jenna Cole Packaging

Waaaaaaaaaaaay back in June of last year, I asked for help brainstorming packaging for Jenna Cole. I admit it took me months to get my act together and jump into action, and things progressed very slowly. I took your ideas and tweaked some of them and today I thought I’d show you what my clients are getting when they order discs or products. What I’m showing you below is an example of a “deluxe” mailing, sent out to my wedding clients. For all of my other orders I look at what they bought and decide from there what to include.

I’m slowly working on developing a consistent shooting and processing style and figuring out what I want the overall Jenna Cole brand and experience to be. I’m going to start incorporating the tagline “Fresh. Original. You.” into my copy and my mailings, and I hope that the elements you see here combined with the images you see on Jenna Cole blog help convey that message.

All of the elements. The wig and other logo elements were designed by Jess Lehry Designs. Jess really deserves all of the credit for helping me figure out where to start in developing the Jenna Cole brand. If you’re starting your own photography or creative-related business I can’t recommend enough how important it is to hire a designer (if you aren’t one yourself!). You’ll look more professional and I think it helps your clients feel confident that you are someone who can get the job done.

A letterpress business card by Duet Letter Press.

A key lime sucker made by Vintage Confections tied with a letterpress printed tag by Duet Letter Press.

Wedding clients are given a Little Kiss album with images selected by me and the design by me as well. It’s my gift to them, done whether they order an album or not. I give these because I so strongly believe that everyone should have a wedding album to show off their images, even if it’s a little tiny one. Trust me, as I learned from experience, hardly anyone will ever see your wedding photos unless you get them printed out somehow and people tend to like flipping through a book to see them.

A case for the Little Kiss designed by ChrysQ. I had her design a case for my own wedding album, using buttons from our wedding. I need to take some pictures so you can see it, it’s so beautiful!

Each mailing includes a hand written thank you note (the notes were ordered through one of the printing labs I use, ProDPI). I try to minimize the amount of handwriting my clients see because mine is so awful, but I like the personal touch of a handwritten note.

See that awful handwriting?

Each DVD has a printing rights release so clients can print wherever they please. (Although I beg them not to go to Walmart or other such discount printing places. The results are atrocious, I’ve tested it several times myself!)

Larger orders such as weddings also include a set of blank letterpressed notecards, my gift to my clients, also printed by Duet Letter Press. I wanted something that was universal (and a bit luxorious) but would also remind them that they got it from me. I think my wig is generic enough that someone would send these out to say hello to a friend, right?

Discs are continaed in a metal tin, which I learned about when Kelli Nicole delivered my wedding images in a similar tin. The tin came from American-Digital, the brown labels are from Labels by the Sheet and printed using our printer at home. The little tag is made by (who else?) Paloma’s Nest.

All of the materials are tucked inside a box and wrapped up with kelly green tissue paper.

I ordered the box through Rice Studio Supply and I use a custom stamp I had made ( to mark the outside with my wig logo.

With everything tucked safely inside and the box closed up I break out the kraft paper (I buy mine in the postal section at Walmart). To further minimize the use of my handwriting I use labels printed with the client’s address and my own address. After all of that work, it’s finally ready to be sent on its way!

As some of you have probably guessed, all of the elements in this package added together equal a pretty large price tag. I made the decision to pour a little bit more money into my packaging after attending the Spread the Love workshop put on my Justin and Mary. They talked frankly about how they felt they had wasted money on print and online advertising, and showed all of the attendants their really amazing packaging and gifts they send to their clients. It made me realize that I wanted to head in a similar direction. These packages that I send out are often the last interaction I have with my clients and I wanted to put together something that would make them smile, and hopefully leave them wanting to tell their friends and family how much they loved the entire Jenna Cole experience.

What do you think? I’m sure I’ll constantly be refining, but do you think I’m headed in the right direction?

98 thoughts on “Jenna Cole Packaging

  1. It looks REALLY good! I love the photographer I hired for my wedding, but she doesn’t include ANY of that. when got our engagement picture disc it was in one of those flimsy white paper holders. I love your professional packaging! It makes it feel like a present! Just curious though – how much does this raise what you charge clients? Either way – it is impressive and slick.

    Jenna Reply:

    Though the packages are pricey compared to what most photographers send out, the total for all of the elements adds up to no more than $100 (I’ve never computed the cost of each individual item but I’m confident that it’s less than that). I didn’t really *raise* my prices to do this, I just decided to funnel any money that would go into advertising, bridal show spots, etc, into my interactions with my clients. I’m really at a price point where I don’t think clients are going to choose me over someone else because I cost $100 less, you know? So it’s important to me that their overall experience has them walking away feeling glad they decided to invest their money with Jenna Cole.

    There are certainly clients out there who wouldn’t want any frills at all, and would rather save money, in any amount, but I don’t think that is the clientele I’m attempting to reach.

    I would say that a good comparison would be Etsy. Have you ever ordered from a seller who had beautiful packaging? I know I’ve never personally though “Well, that was a mistake, I should have found someone else who charged me X dollars less”. Instead I find myself so excited about the entire experience, and my purchase starts to feel like a gift. And I LOVE gifts!

    alisha Reply:

    I completely agree with you on the extra 100 dollars not making much of a difference when wedding photography is involved. People are already spending thousands of dollars and I think you are right – an extra 50 or 100 dollars isn’t going to be the deciding factor. I hope my question didn’t come off as me saying that you are inflating your prices – I was just genuinely curious how you recoup your “losses” :)

    Again, the packaging is really beautiful and quite professional looking!

    Jenna Reply:

    Nope, glad you pointed it out! Good clarification for any clients who may be considering hiring me.

  2. absolutely lovely!! i bet your clients smile from ear to ear when they receive their packages.

    what printing sources do you recommend to your clients (since Walmart is so bad)?

  3. I don’t comment often, but felt today I had to! Your attention to detail here makes me want to get married all over again just so I can hire you and receive such an elegant package in the mail. It certainly would make me smile and share the experience with friends. I just love the little KISS book, I wish I had one of my own. Beautiful work!

  4. This post reminded me of a weddingbee post– I totally loved it, and it almost made me want to go back to weddingbee to see other instances of creative perfection :)

    As a client, I would prefer a cheaper total price tag to nice touches like this, but I also have sworn that the only time I’ll hire a photographer for hours on end was my wedding, so I’m also not the type of client you would need to try extra to keep around. I have to say, though, that all the gorgeous newborn pictures, the maternity shot, and the birth pictures on this website are making me rethink that resolution.

    Regardless, this sounds like a very sound and well executed business move– your husband should be impressed :)

  5. ooh FUN! I think wedding people especially would appreciate it as they’ve probably recently spent time looking at letterpress (even if like me they couldn’t afford it) and Paloma’s Nest and etsy shops and such. our wedding photographers did a great job, but I actually wished they had more of an up to date brand and would have looooved the extras.

  6. LOVE this! I adore the pops of kelly green and the font you use. Everything is clearly united by your logo but not in a super matchy-matchy way – it looks great!

  7. VERY nice, Jenna. If this post was the only thing I knew about you and your work I’d still hire you on the spot. I wish more photographers would put thought like this into their branding/packaging. I adore our photographers but I think this part of their business is lacking.

    Your clients are going to love this, I just know it :)

  8. I love love LOVE your packaging.

    We got our wedding video on DVD and it was in a terrible package and they printed the wrong date on the disc – so frustrating!

    Have you done a review of KISS books before? It’s the first I’ve heard of them and the site looks pretty interesting. Would love any more info you have!

    Colleen C Reply:

    Oh bummer, I just noticed that they are for professionals only. I guess I should stick with Blurb that I was going to use. Disregard my question!

    Hannah Reply:

    Don’t use Blurb! WHCC is a US company that now services the public as well as professionals. You can get leatherbound, flushmount style albums for a very reasonable price.

    Linda Reply:

    Ugh, I know what you mean. My packaging for my wedding video was similar, the DVD case and cover it came with so disappointing. The cover was obviously printed on an old home printer on cheap paper.

  9. I love your packaging! As a marketing and branding whore, I think you are doing a great job keeping your branding consistent and using your logo as often as you can. This is VERY IMPORTANT! You have established your style and you are sticking to it. Kudos.

    P.S. Don’t tell the other photographer we hired who has been in the biz for a long time, but the work you did for us is eleventybillion times better!!!!

  10. I love what you’ve done with your packaging.

    As a girl planning a wedding, it’s the little touches that sell me on vendors. The thought of everything being parcelled up with such obvious love and care would absolutely push me over the edge and really help in my making a decision on hiring.

    Nice work, and LOVE the details!

  11. Wow! I think your clients are going to feel like it’s the best Christmas morning EVER! I wish more photographers were willing to include the DVD and that small book is darling! I think this will only help your business.

  12. When I was planning my wedding, I was really concerned with price (I won’t say “only” concerned because I knew I wanted beautiful photos first, but price was a big factor). Though our photographer was fantastic, he didn’t do the “little things” like this. Of course I was elated to get our pictures in the mail, but they were just blank CDs in regular jewel cases. They didn’t even have our name or his name on them. So anticlimactic!

    I guess thinking back on it, I would have loved to get something like this and it would have made the experience of seeing our wedding pictures for the first time seem as special as it was, but I also would probably wonder how much letterpressed notecards or custom lollipops figured into the overall cost.

  13. I think your packaging is gorgeous and so well thought out, down to the last detail. I really appreciate those sorts of things, and I’m sure your clients will as well. I love the sucker–the printing company I’ve ordered prints and books through includes a sucker in the shipping box and I laugh every time I open one…then eat it as I look through my order! Like you said, you want to make them smile, and all those little details certainly will do that!

  14. Stunning! And dude, you include a lollipop??!! That is le AWESOME.

    Question: You said for clients not to go to Walmart to print their photos. I don’t live near a WM, so I don’t print photos there, but do you have any recommendations for other places for us to print our wedding (or other, important) photos?

    Jenna Reply:

    I think the best option is Mpix.

    I’ve ordered the same print from Walmart, Costco, Mpix, and my pro lab, and in order of best to worst it goes:

    1. Pro Lab
    2. Mpix
    3. Costco
    4. Walmart

    Whenever I meet with clients I show them the difference between the prints and they are always amazed at how awful the Walmart photos are. I wish I could take a picture of the pictures to show you, but I don’t think that would do them justice. Maybe I’ll try though…

    Linda Reply:

    I would love to see photos of the difference, even if it doesn’t show how horrible their photos are. But, I agree, I’ve printed photos at many local places like drug stores, Walmart, and Costco…by far Walmart is THE WORST!

    phruphru Reply:

    Super helpful, thanks!

    Kelli Nicole Reply:

    I have to say, when I tried all the vendors (Costco, WalMart, Mpix, etc), Mpix actually came out the worst. The pictures were all really yellow and awful. WalMart was better. Because you’ll get different printers every time you order (there’s not one massive WalMart printer that sends out everyone’s pictures), you don’t really know what you’ll get each time. Totally sucks.

  15. I love so many things about this. I think it is great the way that you include the green color on the printing rights card, in the tissue paper, and in the lollypop.

    I agree with other posters who say that for brides who want to save money, there may be questions afterwards (internally or voiced) about the cost of the goodies. However, you are correct to brand yourself to your target market. if you are staying at the Ritz, you don’t ask questions about why there are chocolates on your pillow everynight. If you are staying at the Marriott Courtyard, then you might say “hey, take five bucks off my bill and don’t leave me chocolates.”

    I think it is so silly that some photographers make ordering an album a major challenge or expense. The best way to gain business, I think, is to get your work out there! If albums are cost-prohibitive, brides can’t show off your work. The Little Kiss is a great idea.

  16. Jenna! WOW! I want to hire you JUST for the packaging alone! I loved every single little touch you added. It’s very thoughtful and would make me remember you for sure! Great job!

  17. It looks fabulous! I love all of the care and detail you put into your packaging. Our photographer didn’t do anything – zero – zlich – nada and we paid over $5000 for our wedding photography! We got decent pictures, but as the bride I feel like he didn’t really care. Just another payday for him. Can I have a wedding do over with you?!

  18. I love your new packaging! I’ve been wanting to switch mine up for awhile…

    Quick question, what kind of label do you put on the CD of images? Do you even put a label? I find myself handwriting their names & the date because I can’t seem to find anything I like!

    Jenna Reply:

    I use the DVDs that are all white and can be printed on, but I don’t have the right printer so I don’t print on them. I just stamp them with my Jenna Cole wig stamp and then put them in the labeled case. Maybe the stamp would work for you as well?

    Laura Reply:

    That’s a good idea! I had seen the printable ones, but like you I don’t have a printer that does that. I had never thought of just stamping it! Thank you!

    Rebecca Reply:

    Whitni Parker has this etching machine that is built into her computer and she puts one of the images from the cd as well as her logo and I think a title on it and it looks AMAZING. So basically the image is etched into the CD. So professional and classy.

  19. Those are absolutely amazing! My photographer did nothing like this…all I got was a DVD. It was kind of anti-climatic…this SCREAMS wedding and I bet your clients feel super special when they receive something like this. :)

  20. Oh this packaging is just GORGEOUS! I love all of the special touches. maybe as time goes on you will be able to find a way to do it all.. but more cost effective?

    Regardless, it is all just gorgeous!!!!

  21. Oh Jenna everything looks so wonderful! I love when vendors have a personal touch to their packaging. I’m currently trying to figure out my own packaging as well. Wonderful work, girl! :)

  22. Love your packaging! I think luxurious is the best word for it. I was excited when I received my wedding photos and my photog wrapped the disks in a pretty ribbon; if I received this, my mind would be blown!

  23. Wow, Jenna! I adore your packaging. There is so much LOVE that goes into it. I imagine that when one of your clients receives this from you, they feel that you care just as much about their photoshoot as they do, which is pretty amazing!

  24. Um I am totally in love. I would be a giddy little girl if I opened a package with all of these lovelies! Very creative and totally worth it!!

  25. Jenna this is gorgeous! I was impressed with just the thank you card and tin that I got — I even had the TY card “framed” on a bulletin board for awhile. See?

    Jenna Reply:

    Love! You make me want to get my act together and hang some stuff up in my office. I should have my wig in here somewhere, right?

    I feel bad for all of my past clients who are reading this and comparing what they got to what I’ve come up with now :)

  26. I really like the little album and custom cover. I think the overall packaging is great. It really shows you put some thought into it and also increases the quality of your already fabulous photos. Your clients are very lucky!

  27. I’m not someone who would have been looking for a photographer in your price range. I wish I could be, but we made our choice and I don’t regret it. Our photogapher put our pictures together for us in an album, it was simple but I liked it, and I like the fact that they were printed and ready to take come.

    If I was paying for a real photographer though, I would say I would expect more. Reading other people’s comments, really, you paid $5000 and all you got it a basic CD case? That would make me feel that now that the photographer has been paid they’re done with me.
    If I was paying the cost of a professional photographer I would be delighted to get such cared for packaging because you can feel that you care not only about your work but about your clients and how they feel about it.

    I’ve printed my pictures at walmart, hate me. But then again they’re not professional ones anyway. Now you’re making me consider mpix, any recommendation regarding the paper choices? Is the basic one sufficient?
    I would probably use that for gifts or very special pictures I would want on my wall I think.

  28. This is something Mack and I are working on right now! Your stuff is so cute… I’ve now been re-inspired to be back on the horse and finish our designs. Gorgeous!

  29. That’s all too cute! I would’ve loved to get a package like that from my wedding photographer. But he was a boy, and boys don’t do cute things like that ;)

    And because you asked… I think the blank note cards area little confusing. I’m not sure if I were a client I’d understand why they are in the package. Just saying, cute but I’d scratch my head a little.

    Jenna Reply:

    I’ve only sent them out twice, and each time I noted them in the thank you card. Hopefully it helped my clients understand that they were a gift from me!

  30. Hey Jenna,

    I loved this post. Your packaging is beautiful and the extra little touches are wonderful. I know when my wedding photographer sent me our engagement disks, she included some great items that surprised me and made me love her even more.

    I think that it’s great that you already have this worked out. It’s an overwhelming process, building a brand, and you seem right on top of it.


  31. I recognize this packaging! I know I pretty much already told you this, but I thought I would confirm some of your thoughts here. As a client, it definitely left a superb last impression on me with the amount of effort and all the extra gifts. It was just one of MANY signs during working with you that you really cared about us. I actually ended up opening the package in the car because I didn’t want to wait to get home when I saw how cute everything was and all the goodies! As if I needed another reason to recommend you to others!

  32. ok I think I should revoke my ‘girl’ card, because to me it is way over the top. I do think it is very well put together, but I think I would look at it and wish you had put that time and effort into my photos. Not saying that you don’t put that much love and effort into your photos, I am sure you do, just that to me other than maybe the KISS book and the CD holder the other stuff would just get tossed. Granted I am a minimalist, so all the other stuff to me is just clutter.

    Overall I think the design and cohesion are very thought out. I do think it looks to be a lot more than just $100, which could be good and bad.

    Good luck with it and I hope this all gets you a bit closer to where you want to be with your business!

  33. Beautiful! I love it, and it makes me want to get married again so I can have my pictures done right.
    My photographer gave us two huge albums of our pictures (which were terrible) but the albums are large and uh….tacky. I keep them in a closet.

  34. Jenna, these are all beautiful choices! And you’ve given me lots of ideas and where to go to when I needs these of my own to give these to clients in the semi-short future. :)

  35. Love it! This would be an adorable after-wedding surprise when all of the hoopla has died down. The lollipop is my favorite :D. I hope you are still in the Chicago area when my friends start getting married! (They live in southwest MI, not a bad drive?)

  36. Oh, Jenna, these are gorgeous! I just love it! I am such a sucker for packaging.

    The doula gig is a different beast altogether, but I am in the process of getting my own logo designed and this makes me so excited to see the results.

    What a gift to be one of your clients!

  37. Cuteness Overload! =) If we had the $$$ to hire you, you lived near Pgh and we didn’t already have 2 photographers, you’d so be hired for our wedding. ;)

  38. looks lovely Jenna.

    I wish our photographer had thought about her brand. We got our photos in an unmarked box and an unlabeled cd. I was also disappointed with the photos (not because they weren’t nice, but they weren’t amazing either, and I had hoped they would be.)

    by that stage I had forgotten how much we’d paid as we’d got married and been on our honeymoon by that point. so I would have loved it if she cared a little about presentation. she gave us one large album page to try and induce us into ordering an album, but we didn’t like it at all.

    when i need maternity photos I am so paying someone who cares about all this for something better. x

  39. Oh Jenna, this all is gorgeous! I think you’re doing a fabulous job tying everything together. I think the green painted edges might be my favorite element! Or the lollipop…

  40. i can guarantee you I would tell at least twice as many people about your work after receiving a package like this (so long as I really loved the work you did for me–and I’m sure I would!)

    This is a fantastic marketing/branding tool!

  41. Beautiful! All that attention to detail really makes a difference and shows you care.

    One question, though, is that contract legally binding since it doesn’t have your real name or signature?

    Jenna Reply:

    I operate under an Assumed Name, and filed a certificate to do so. My understanding is that I can use both Jenna Cole and Jenna Andersen interchangeably when it comes to my business.

    I know there are a few people with law backgrounds who read, maybe one of them will know if I’m assuming correctly?

    FM Reply:

    Lawyer here. I don’t know the answer to that, but I would think you should check under Illinois law whether (a) your Texas filings are sufficient for you to do business in/from Illinois, (b) whether you can use both names as you had been and (c) whether you should change the governing law of your contracts to Illinois law and whether anything else in your contract should change if the governing law is Illinois law (the answer is probably that nothing would need to change in your contract because contract laws affecting actual contract language aren’t generally THAT different between states but it might be worth confirming).

    On another note, my photographer sent us our pics on a USB stick (branded) with instructions to save the images on multiple computers and make some discs to give to others or put in a safety deposit box so that the images would be safe if something happened to our harddrives. I was grateful for that advice. He also claims that discs deterioriate much more quickly than USB sticks (as in, our image quality on a disc would start to noticeably deterioriate in a small amount of time – can’t remember exactly but maybe 10 years? – and USB sticks would not deterioriate for decades longer). I don’t know if that is true. I also don’t know if it’s meaningful, because both technologies seem likely to be obsolete in ten years judging by the fact you can’t get data from a floppy disk anymore. But something to keep in mind for people who think they don’t need any backup of their photos. Prints last a pretty long time so it is good to think about getting prints too (which some people don’t do in this digital age).

    Hannah Reply:

    I could not agree more re: getting prints and backing up!

    As for USB sticks, they can corrupt just as easily as a hard drive of disc.

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