Products & Packaging

I just this week delivered the final products for my shoot with Maddox.   Maddox’s mom Cathy lives a bit of a drive away so we agreed to meet at a Starbucks halfway and I got to see her reaction to everything in person (and to chat, we have so much in common we could talk for hours!)

That day, I made sure to make time to photograph some of the products before I handed them over to Cathy so that I could show you all how they came out.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to shoot the large canvas because it arrived only a few hours before our meeting, but it was stunning!   I also didn’t get a chance to shoot the 10×10 coffee table album, but I’ll show you a few pics of my studio sample album using the same template.

First, here are the WHCC accordion minis with custom cover:



back panel

I just love how these came out! I used a template from Simplicity Designs. It also matches the  DVD/CD template that I used (also from WHCC):

CD holder front

cd holder back

cd holder spine

So I knew that I wanted to create a custom design for the actual CD, but wasn’t sure how to go about it..I read that those cd label kits that I used to use back in my musician days are really bad for the cd players/computers and can come off, so they aren’t archival quality by any means. I know there are places that will print a bunch of CDS with your logo design, but that means you can’t do a custom design per client. So after a lot of research, I decided to invest in an EPSON artisan printer which has the ability to print DIRECTLY onto the CD/DVD!

This is the one I ended up buying:   Epson Artisan 710 Wireless Color Inkjet All-In-One Printer and I have to say that I am in LOVE with the CDs it prints. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a wireless printer (which is super convenient!) but I am just amazed at the quality of the cd printing. Of course you need to also buy printable CDS as well. I ordered these and they have worked like a charm. And they look.. well, I’ll let you be the judge:

If you don’t want to invest in the Epson, I believe some labs let you buy a custom printed CD (Mckenna maybe?) but I think it will pay for itself in no time.

In fact, now that I am selling digital images in all but my lowest package, I wanted to create a nice presentation for those digital files.  There have been some great threads on clickinmoms sharing the idea of using a trifold press printed card from WHCC in conjunction with stick on CD hubs and I just loved how they looked.

WHCC had a sale on their trifold cards last week, which was just the kick in the pants I needed to get off my but and design them. I decided at the last minute to use the watercolor paper because I would need to sign my name and add the client’s name to the print release section and the watercolor paper is extreme matte so nothing would smudge.. it was a great decision because I LOVE how the paper feels.. it’s like letterpress without the indentations.  I have to say that overall, the trifold is not super sturdy feeling as the weight of the press paper isn’t that heavy, but it looks pretty and is definitely good enough for the lower packages.  I like that it still looks beautiful, but doesn’t compete with the custom cd case that is included with my top package.  Anyway, enough talk  already, here are the pictures!

In the picture above I used a blank printable CD because I hadn’t designed a template for the CD area, I had initially planned on using my logo or some variation.. but then again, it’s so easy to drop a picture on there I may just decide to do a custom image from the session like I did here:

I said I was going to post pictures of the album, but I think I will save that for another post devoted exclusively to albums. Figuring out albums took me a LONG time and I still feel like I’m learning as I go so it’s definitely a topic worth it’s own post.  If anyone has any albums specific questions let me know so I can try to address it then.

Oh- I almost forgot the last two presentation ingredients..boxes from HB-Photo!:

and the clearfile image protector sheets from B&H.

I also ordered large size custom stickers and bought some coordinating ribbon at a local craft store and I finally feel like I’ve got my packaging act together (a little bit anyway!)

I used to purchase the “executive” packaging add on from my lab for my orders, but it costs $7.50 per order and in the long run, I wanted to use my branding and colors to personalize the whole look. I think if you are going to charge boutique pricing you need to also have boutique marketing materials, so I’m a little farther on my way towards getting where I want to be in that regard.

I hope these details are useful for some of you also just starting to navigate the long and windy road of products and packaging – let me know if you have any questions!

More importantly, wish me luck for tomorrow and Jasper’s first plane ride!!!! I hope to be blogging when I’m away-  how can I not keep you updated on Jasper and his “twin” Liam meeting for the first time? Or meeting Kimberly & James, or Shane Ava and G?  I will try, but I have no idea what if any internet coverage I will have, which is why I wanted to get up this last post before I leave – gotta leave you with something of substance :)

Hope to be posting from La La land soon…


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Luna says:

Ariana, you are amazing! Thank you so much for posting information like this. It is so helpful for me. I have been needing to buy a new printer and one where I can print on printable cds so thanks for doing all the research for me!! :-)

Susie Marks says:

Hello Ariana,
I’m new to your blog and I’m lovin’ it! I was wondering if you would be willing to share what you include in your CD packaging as far as copyright release, etc. I have a simple copyright release form I’ve been using, but I feel I need to add some additional clarification regarding personal use, etc. as I’ve had some customers rather abuse the priviledge. If this is at all possible, I would so appreciate it!

Kristen says:

Ariana, thank you soooo much for this post! I’m about to start PBing (d700 on the way, yeay!) but definitely need something to go with the CDs I’ll be giving. Is there any way you can guide me to find what you printed inside the cd covers? Is it printing suggestions and a copyright summary? I’m not on CM anymore, only ilp.

I have the wireless Artisan 810, so this idea is perfect! Thank you!

Kimberly says:

This all looks SOOO beautiful! I wish you could be my regular photographer!
And… YAYAYAY!!!! I can’t wait for Friday… we are going to have SO much fun! Safe & sane travels!

Samantha says:

Your packaging looks beautiful, thank you for sharing. I have never seen the CD hubs before- I love that idea!

Kristen S. says:

Thanks for this post! I’m looking forward to your albums post also.

ariana says:

Thanks Kari! I think I remember reading somewhere that the cost breakdown for most cosmetic products (for example) is something like 90% packaging and 10% product, so you’re not alone :)

Cristina, I LOVE my simplicity templates! The cd is stuck with the hubs that I linked to above, but here it is again:stick on CD hubs

So true about the WHCC sales! I missed most of them, but this one I made sure to take advantage of since I’d been wanting to try this anyway :)

kari says:

i am a packaging whore… i mean.. i LOVE packaging, and buy a LOT of things based solely on which package i prefer. (can you say consumerism???)
anyway – your packaging is lovely – professional – well thought out – adorable… i could go on.

brilliant marketing.. these moms are going to show every single one of their friends and be talking about their amazing experience with AF photo from start to finish.

top notch!

cristina says:

HI Ariana,
I love it.I’ve been eyeing those templates from simplicity for awhile. This just might give me the push to get them.I purchased her product guide and for now its just what I needed to get the products together.
I wanted to know how you stuck the cd to the trifold?I love the look of the art paper. I always stick with linen but this looks so professional and beautiful. Congrats on printing.I know whcc sales get us movin’:)