The Coffee That Changed My Business

Coffee—there's just something so magical about it.

Without trying, coffee happens to take part in many of my posts...and for good reason! It brings friends together for a time to relax and reminisce over years gone by.

Little did I know that one particular coffee date would radically change the course of my business.

It was a sunny Wednesday morning, and my dear friend Michelle and I were sitting in our usual spot at The Local Moose Cafe in Manchester. Coffee in hand (for me, it's the Maple Latte!), we were swapping memories of our younger selves—laughing at our failed attempts at running, face-palming ourselves for how awful we were in soccer, and happily remembering how wonderful it was to live so close to each other. Our families were basically inseparable.

 
Ashleigh Mayhew of Ashleigh Laureen Photography and Michelle Weber at The Local Moose Cafe
 

Somehow the conversation transitioned to business (as it often does, for we are both small business owners), and I mentioned to Michelle my initial thoughts of moving to printing my photos. She said she loved the idea but then paused.

"You know, it's been four years since you took our family photos, and not one has gone up on our walls."

I sat stunned. How could not one have been put up? Wasn't that the purpose of having photos? But when I thought about it more, I realized the fact they never had them printed wasn't their fault.

It was mine.

Yes, I gave them their CD of photos and the release to print; but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had truly abandoned them. Without knowing it, I had basically said, "Here you go, here's your CD. Good luck trying to figure out what to do with those!"

But I'm not doing that anymore.

Since that conversation, I have been molding and shaping my business model to fit my new mentality. I am realizing more and more the importance of having tangible memories—photos that you can hold in your hand as a print, photos that are laid out in a beautifully designed album, or photos that hang on your walls as constant reminders of the ones you love most.

I now consider myself a "full-service" photographer who offers you a more personalized experience than I ever did before. We will talk before your session about what you're interested in, how you want to view your images in your home, and what products I can offer you. During your session, I will have all those thoughts in mind as I craft the most beautiful images to fit your needs. And finally, after your session, we will pick your favorite images, match those favorites to my products, and order those items that will grace your home for years to come.

The old ways are gone. No more will I just hand you a flash drive and leave the rest up to you. Yes, it's nice to post a photo or two online—look at all the "likes" you're getting! But what happens a week from now when that photo is "old" on Facebook? It basically disappears, just as your flash drive did when you threw it into your sock drawer. And that's my fault! For that, I apologize. I say all this because this is exactly what I did with my wedding—I've barely used our photos! But I don't want to leave you stranded anymore.

I now offer wall art options like canvases and print blocks (I'll explain), albums and photo books laid out with my creativity, and regular prints (available in semi-gloss or fine art "museum etching"). Seeing these products up-close-and-personal is the best way to appreciate their beauty, so if you would like me to show you sometime, please let me know! For now, to give you a little taste, I have taken a few photos of some of my samples.

My personal favorite wall art option is the Print Block. Your images are printed on Kodak Endura Metallic photographic paper and wrapped around wood, creating a stunning and sleek way to mount your memories on your wall. It comes ready to hang with a simple nail (hanging hardware also available). Print surface is UV laminated, leaving the product durable and scratch resistant, able to be cleaned with a damp cloth. This is by far one of the most beautiful wall art options I have ever seen!

 
 
 
 

Next up: your photos are printed on beautiful canvas, wrapped tightly around a solid wood base and finished with a thick, black backing, ready to hang with bumpers and how-to instructions. Canvas is coated with UV protection that allows the product to be wiped clean with a damp cloth. You will definitely notice a difference from the Print Block in texture and appearance.

 
 
 
 

Here is a quick side-by-side of the two textures—the print block is more shimmery and the canvas is more textured.

 
 

Both of these, along with my regular prints, will look lovely on your walls! I have been working on some fun example collections—which start at $300—and you can see some of them throughout my website! For now, since Jamie and Stephen continue to look so fine as my product models, here is a mockup of a wall art gallery from their engagement session

 
Wall Art Gallery from Engagement Session in NH
 

My final product is one that I am so very passionate about—the Signature Heirloom Album. What a beautiful thing it is to hold one of these gorgeous books in your hands, to turn the sturdy pages one by one as the images come alive! This album is heirloom quality, giving it lasting value and a chance to be handed down to your grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. Fifty years from now, do you not want them holding something like this in their hands? Imagine that moment your grandchild runs his or her little finger across the pages and laughs at the silly things you did on your wedding day.

I will be including my Signature Heirloom Album with every newly-booked wedding from here on out (giving my past clients the option to get one of their own!). I am so excited to do this because it is one of the best ways to see the documentation of your day in its most beautiful form. See for yourself...and don't miss the video preview at the bottom!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ashleigh Laureen Photography Journalistic Wedding in New Hampshire, Signature Keepsake Heirloom Album
Ashleigh Laureen Photography Journalistic Wedding in New Hampshire, Signature Keepsake Heirloom Album
Ashleigh Laureen Photography Journalistic Wedding in New Hampshire, Signature Keepsake Heirloom Album
 

Though my wedding packages will include a 12x12 Signature Heirloom Album, I will be offering these albums in varying sizes and with multiple cover options. For those who may not want something this elaborate, I will be offering a 5x5 leather album called the "Little Black Book" and an 8x10 hardcover coffee table keepsake (see images below). All options are available to anyone, wedding or not.

 
 
 
 

I want to reiterate my purpose behind this—moments come and go, and as your photographer, I am lucky enough to capture those memories. But I don't just want to capture them with my camera and stow them away for a rainy day. I want to get them into your hands! When your images are printed, they are moments that will last because you will walk by them day after day, remembering each sweet look and every little giggle.

You can't hang a floppy disc, a CD, or a flash drive...but you can hang a print.


Thank you to The Local Moose Cafe for being the most fabulous atmosphere for life-changing experiences...and life-changing coffee.

Thank you, Michelle, for always supporting my crazy ideas and helping me along this ride. You are a beloved friend and a business babe!

Thank you to all my clients in these example photos. My time spent with you was so wonderful, and I'm thrilled that the moments I captured are now part of a longer-lasting art.