Resources for Graduation Event Professionals

Why pre-orders for commencement photos should not be taken

The concept of pre-ordering graduation photos is one where students or their families decide in advance what photographs they wish to purchase.  Money is remitted weeks (or sometimes months) ahead of time.  Later, once the commencement ceremony has taken place, the photography company will fulfill that order and, while doing so, will make pose and option choices on behalf of the customer.

preordering-commencement-photos-is-a-bad-ideaGradImages is capable of accepting pre-orders for pictures before the commencement ceremony.  However, we strongly discourage our client schools from utilizing this option.  From a customer satisfaction standpoint, pre-orders for commencement photography are rarely well-received by graduates or their families.

Why some companies encourage pre-ordering of graduation photos

Even though pre-orders tend to result in significantly lower customer satisfaction, some photography companies still encourage the practice because it can boost sales revenue.  Furthermore, they know that many customers who are dissatisfied with their pre-ordered photographs will simply not go through the trouble of returning prints for a refund.

What really happens with pre-orders for commencement photos

When customers are encouraged to pre-order photos from their graduation ceremony, they're being asked to pay for something "sight unseen."  Those customers have no ability to decide whether they even like their ceremony proofs, let alone visualize how various options and offers will affect the appearance of their order.

If customers cannot see their graduation ceremony proofs before ordering, they:

  • are unable to determine which poses (handshake, ceremony portrait, close-up, etc.) are preferred;
  • have no idea whether complexion touchups will be needed, and if so, which options would be desired;
  • are unable to make a decision on whether to crop their images, and instead must rely on the photography company to make that determination;
  • cannot visualize how their individual images would look with different print finishes.

The GradImages perspective

GradImages customers are presented with a significant number of possibilities while ordering, including choices in their poses, print finishes, image cropping, complexion touchups, etc. Our opinion is that accepting pre-orders is not a proper way to treat graduates or their families.  Each graduate's photographs are different, and there are too many variables to consider while ordering.

A reputable photography company should want graduates and their families to see the quality of their images first, and then decide for themselves whether to order and which options to choose.

Topics: Customer Choices Best Practices Commencement Photography GradImages