Illustrate the Chapters of Your Life

Our studio tag line has proven to be more than just a feel-good, business catch-phrase, it is literally what our clients allow us to do.

Prior to establishing Prints Charming Photography, weddings were my main specialty, but when I hung the sign in 1996, I directed my marketing resources exclusively toward High School Seniors. I knew that I was "in it for the long run...", so I thought long-term about my plans. My speculation was that our senior girls would see enough of our wedding samples to remember us as something more than a portrait photographer on the other side of a proposal.

Little did I know how fast that time would come, never mind how fast their future kids would grow before my camera as well. "Illustrate the chapters of your life." was more of an observation, than an affirmation, and the images of this entry are my confirmation.
There are several of my "former seniors" that signified that my vision was a success, but none more obviously than the Mistretta family.

Since the late 90's, they have offered me their trust for nearly every photographic service we provide. High school senior, college graduation portraits, engagement session to, daughter Corey's wedding to David Martin which then branched off to their own family of services. One of our favorite "Watch Me Grow" clients, with pregnancy newborn and all significant stages of their first son Joey as he instantly morphed into a toddler.

I once checked my web-monitoring tool to discover that my top 3 leads from Bridal forum "The Knot" as well as "mommy blogs" were all traced back to Corey. They even purchased a full portrait plan as a gift for another of our familiar faces, the Heberlein family. If you are one of our many growing VIP plan clients, you can thank the Mistretta Martin family that they exist. Upon exceeding the maximum of our WMG portrait plan, it was during Joey's two-year session, that Corey's entrepreneurial dad was masterminding in our new camera room after the session. 1 - how to get more business visibility at the end of our long driveway, and 2 - how could you create a package that would last longer than the two-year plan that we had.

Unselfish brainstorming on how they could help me increase business was clearly more important than saving themselves future money. Proof of this was delivered to my door! They gifted me a PRICELESS custom "address sign" for the studio. The most AMAZING gift that I could have ever expected from a client.

While our SW Portland location was under construction, we leased a 5 acre studio in West Linn that was hidden by a long drive through a small forest. Visibility of us was not good. Joe and Beth's business FOODesign Machinery and Systems Inc. in Wilsonville OR, proved to be far more than custom industrial cooking machines. Joe proved to be an autoCAD master by crafting a life-sized photographer-with-tripod sign with our "600" house-number in place of the crown in our logo.

Beyond the trust, trade and gifts that this family has delivered to me, is the intangible bonus of inclusion. Inviting me, "without camera" to family events (though I could not resist) where I was able to see more of my work on display than we have in our studio!

Showing up for a shoot at the Martin house has become a welcoming event, now that Joey can open the door. Being greeted with "BRIAN'S HERE!!! Come in Brian. This is my mom..., This is my dad..." as I arrive to photograph "Little Bro" Charles. It's a dimension to our tag line that I could have never imagined.

More so it is a surreal experience to see this happy little greeter, birthed from one of my high school seniors that I could swear I just photographed yesterday.
Corey reminded me that he'd likely be one of my first full-circle clients when Joey became a high school senior himself. All the more reason for me to remain youthful enough to not become "some old codger" that his mom made him go to for photos over the years.

It gives me even more incentive to continue taking great care of the clients I have, and to continue improving my work so that I can meet the expectations of my future seniors and, if my knees hold out, their weddings too! Thank you Mistretta-Martins for allowing us to illustrate SO MANY chapters of your life, and growing our family of clients too! Click here, or the last photo to see Charlie's most recent session as a movie...
Brian GerathsComment