FAQ : Client Gifts + J* Chocolate


Last 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 8×10 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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  1. Rachel Tatem

    January 10th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    That’s awesome! What a neat gift

  2. The New Diplomat's Wife

    January 10th, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    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.

  3. Kate Douthwright

    January 10th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    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.

  4. Jessica Vidmar Photography

    January 10th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Awesome inspiration…makes me think of everything I want to incorporate into my biz…thanks : )

  5. naomi chokr

    January 10th, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    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

  6. Kindra

    January 10th, 2012 at 3:26 pm


  7. Leigh-Ellen

    January 10th, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Everything you do has such style and class. They’re unbelievable.!

  8. Franklin Fitzgerald

    January 10th, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    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!

  9. ashley barnett

    January 10th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    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!

  10. Kristen

    January 10th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Wow! These look fabulous…AND yummy! πŸ™‚ I’m sure your clients will love them.

  11. Christa

    January 10th, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    To quote my inner Rachel Ray "Yum-O!"

  12. a little bit of whimsy photography

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    per your usual…. simple, thoughtful, freaking amazing, fabulous, noteworthy…got it.. thanks J*

  13. Alex

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    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!

  14. JennyRain

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    YOU are a rockstar.

    I send a thankyou card… but shoot that pales in comparison to your ah-mazing gift. *swoon-worthy* for sure πŸ™‚ no wonder your brides love you! I have so much to learn!

  15. Nancy Mitchell

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    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!

  16. Gabriela Fuentes

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Love love this. Soooo thoughtful! High 5 on your creativeness !!

  17. Nessa K

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    These are absolutely lovely!!

  18. Jessica K. Sullivan

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Oh my goodness…YUM! That is another fantastic idea Jasmine:)

  19. anda

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    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 πŸ™‚

  20. Abby Grace

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    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!

  21. Richard B Flores

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Awesome Branding!! I started sending gifts to our clients also and their expressions and feedback is worth everything!!

  22. Danyiel Johnson

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Swanky, love the chocolates. I really want one right now with my breakfast.

  23. Kyle Bromley

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    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.

  24. Stacey - Total City Girl

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    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.

  25. tricia

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    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 16×20 canvas pic of my fav image from their wedding. YAY for Groupon!

  26. Tammy

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    wow, something new I learned about you. What flavor are these chocolcates?

  27. Kristin Layne Peddicord

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    customized paper AND chocolate? GIRL you are too much! LOVE this.

  28. Adam Sullivan

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    We have been discussing the types of "thank you" gifts to give our clients. Great idea, Jasmine.

  29. Katie Nesbitt

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    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!

  30. Kathryn Andrews

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Jasmine – you never fail to amaze me. I love this!

  31. MLKL

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Thanks so much for the great tip! I love love love this idea… got my wheels-a-spinning πŸ™‚

  32. Claudia

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    WOW. You just make my gifts look bad:)

  33. Alicia

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    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

  34. Anni

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Oh I love your chocolates! I also love the idea of champagne, it’s always so fun and special to open a bottle together!

  35. Melissa Cramer Photography

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    These are amazing! I love your logo on the chocolates… so cool. Gifts to wedding clients now on my neverending To Do List. πŸ™‚

  36. Andrea

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    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!

  37. Giovanna

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    OMG Jasmine this is insanely original!… What a great idea and such a femenine gift. Plus it screams "brand" all over πŸ™‚ ..wonder how u convinced these people to make these for you. Hugs!

  38. em

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    cutest gifts ever! and who doesn’t like chocolate πŸ™‚

  39. Abigail Bradshaw

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    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! πŸ™‚

  40. Gabby / En Route Photography

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    That box of chocolate is amazing!!! Great idea! I’m sending books to my clients that I think they’d like! πŸ˜‰

  41. Elisabetta {Linen and Silk}

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    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

  42. Belinda

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I LOVE the box!!!

  43. Michaela S.

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    it looks incredible, jasmin! You rock! You’re my everytime inpiration!

  44. Gina

    January 10th, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Such a thoughtful idea! I really love it! Bravo!

  45. Keilah Engstrom

    January 10th, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    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! πŸ™‚
    Wonderful post.

  46. Corne Smetsers

    January 10th, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    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.

  47. Meredith Sledge

    January 10th, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    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!!!!

  48. teri

    January 10th, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    that is awesome! and now i must go find some chocolate…. πŸ˜‰

  49. Amy M.

    January 10th, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    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!

  50. Odalys Mendez

    January 10th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Those look so elegant and yummy.
    Way to go Jasmine!

  51. Regina Chayer

    January 10th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    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!

  52. Kira Noble

    January 10th, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    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…

  53. Jodie Lemke

    January 10th, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    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!

  54. Jennifer Medeiros

    January 10th, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    These look delicious! Kinda wish I was getting married again so I could hire you and eat them. πŸ˜‰

  55. rich

    January 10th, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    holy cow! j* chocolates! that’s AWESOME!

  56. Kathleen Clipper

    January 10th, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    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 πŸ™‚

  57. Karen Meissner

    January 10th, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Okay. you are super thoughtful…and all I can think about is eating them! Yummy!!!

  58. Jeni Brower

    January 10th, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    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;)

  59. Nora and Chris Photography

    January 10th, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    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!

  60. Paula Franco FOTOGRAFÍA

    January 10th, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    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!

  61. LEOLAK

    January 10th, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    MMMMM…..chocolate!!!! Very nice!!!

  62. emily

    January 10th, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    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 πŸ™‚

  63. Kristin Cook

    January 10th, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Can you send ME some of those chocolates?!?! They look and sound DE-LISH!!!!

  64. Kristi Hill

    January 10th, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    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.

  65. Erin Oveis Brant

    January 10th, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Beautiful + Delish!

  66. Holly Cromer

    January 10th, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Oh my god those are so amazing Jasmine! I don’t send out gifts either, sounds like I should!

  67. Dee

    January 10th, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    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*!

  68. Alexis

    January 10th, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    J* chocolates! What a novel and captivating idea! πŸ™‚

  69. Addie

    January 10th, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Very cool idea!

  70. erin

    January 10th, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    what i wouldn’t give for a box of j* chocolate riiiight about now πŸ™‚

  71. Wedding Snapper

    January 10th, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    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.

  72. Suzy G

    January 11th, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Oh love it. Such a beautiful and unique gift………………but nw I want chocolate. πŸ˜‰
    Here is praying you are amazing blessed this year.

  73. Kingdom Wedding Photography by Kat

    January 11th, 2012 at 12:39 am

    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.

  74. Mary

    January 11th, 2012 at 1:56 am

    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!

  75. Kimberly Kay

    January 11th, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Wow that is such a creative and impressive gift that really shows off you and your brand! Awesome!

  76. Katelyn James

    January 11th, 2012 at 2:59 am

    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:)

  77. Darling Paumen

    January 11th, 2012 at 5:39 am

    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!

  78. Karen

    January 11th, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Oh em gee. That custom wrapping paper is to die for! And that champagne ganache filled chocolate? Tres fancy.

  79. Wa Makeri

    January 11th, 2012 at 6:38 am

    I love this post and I love everything about the chocolates! Do you send chocolates to Kenya??? πŸ™‚

  80. Kelly Green

    January 11th, 2012 at 9:59 am

    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 : )

  81. Elizabeth

    January 11th, 2012 at 10:14 am

    that is so awesome!!! they look yummy as well…mmmmmm I guess I should start thinking about gifts as well.

  82. Coli

    January 11th, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    This says so much about who you are as a heart. πŸ™‚

  83. Perth Photographer

    January 11th, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    That’s such an awesome idea! You have such great attention to detail in everything you do!

  84. Mikaela

    January 11th, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    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 πŸ˜‰ love you!

  85. Aundrea Shafer

    January 11th, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Where the h did you get that custom paper. It’s amazing!

  86. Jamie

    January 11th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    What a lovely gift! So thoughtful and so very you. I seriously just want the paper so I can look at yawning Polo. πŸ™‚

  87. Mikaela

    January 11th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    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 πŸ™‚

  88. Sue Gauthier

    January 12th, 2012 at 4:04 am

    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

  89. Marian Majik

    January 12th, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    What a sweet gift πŸ™‚ You are really good in business…

  90. Evonne & Darren

    January 13th, 2012 at 8:11 am

    OMG, love your personalized chocolates. Where is your online store? πŸ™‚

  91. Carl Reid

    January 13th, 2012 at 9:00 am

    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.

    Carl from T.O.

  92. monica Salazar

    January 13th, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I love this idea and chocolate! πŸ™‚

  93. Fotograf Sofia

    January 19th, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Wow! Nice! πŸ™‚

  94. Betsy Wall

    January 19th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    These are beautiful! Can I ask where you got these chocolates?

  95. Jenny Beck

    September 9th, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    I love the custom wrapping paper! Where did you get it? Or did Gifts For The Good Life create it for you? So cool!

  96. Jackie

    August 13th, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    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!!

  97. Vicki

    November 2nd, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Chocolates, yummy. Where can did you get them customized, so personal.

  98. RBadal Photography

    November 6th, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Love it. Something I’ll be looking into…