Stunning Texas Wedding Album Design for Katelyn James

Album Designs
To date we have done 119 (!!) album designs for Katelyn James. We have had the honor of working with her and her beautiful images since 2013 and we have been SO BLESSED by her friendship to us! If you don't know Katelyn, you're likely not a photographer -- haha! She is well known for her educational courses and resources that have equipped thousands of professional photographers to be more successful. Not only is she amazing at what she does, but she is one of the kindest, most caring humans on the planet. She really has a heart of gold!  
Katelyn shoots so many gorgeous weddings, but this one is truly special. The bride, Melanie, is a photographer herself, and every detail about this day -- from the stunning Texas venue, to Melanie's flowing veil and her groom's playful bowtie were meticulously thought through. Melanie was also very particular with her album design -- as she should be! -- and made many changes throughout the revision rounds to make sure it was just perfect. We love how it turned out! 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this design:

To see this stunning design in full, click through the slideshow: 
Thank you Katelyn for your friendship and for allowing us to work with your beautiful images for so many years!
Design by: Kari (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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5 tips for picking album images fast

Tips & Tricks

above image by Kristen Browning Photograpy 
The process of image selection for an album design can be more of a hassle than it truly needs to be. Many photographers get hung up on this step in their workflow, but there is hope! When done right, picking images for the album design can be fast and easy. 
Here are our 5 tips for picking album images fast: 
1 -- Pick the images yourself; don't wait for your clients.  
I talk about the benefits of pre-designing in depth in this post (read it if you are still asking your clients to pick their images -- it will rock your world!!) but one of the main benefits is that your workflow will not be hung up by waiting on your clients. You can get an album designed within weeks of the wedding. PLUS this takes an unnecessary burden off of your clients' shoulders and allows you to create an initial album design that uses your best images and serves as a starting point for their changes.  
2 -- Cull one time. 
Don't make image selection for your album designs a separate step in your workflow. When you cull through images from a wedding, do it ONLY ONCE and make all of your choices in that first pass-through. This tip is so key that I'm going to share two different examples of how various photographers do this so hopefully one of them will resonate and make sense for you: 
Example A: Melissa Jill (that's me!) 
I cull my images once and rate them strategically according to intended use. I cull in Lightroom and rate my images as follows:  
3 stars -- my favorite images I will pull from for the blog post, publication submission and my website portfolio (80-100 images)  
2 stars -- additional images for the album design (100-150 images) These are typically family portraits, more getting ready images, and dancing images, and are used along-side the favorites to create the album design. 
1 star -- additional images for the full gallery (300-500 images)  
So on PASS, my online gallery solution, the client will see 500-800 images total (all of the images with a rating of 1, 2 or 3 stars). Their album will be designed from approximately 200 image options (some of the images with 2 or 3 stars -- I send them all to Align and allow my designer to choose which 2 star images to include). And my blog post will include about 30-50 images (some of the images with 3 stars).  
Example B: Abby Grace 
Abby Grace is an Align client and she also culls only once, but she eliminates the step of rating images for the album design all-together. She selects favorites in her initial cull and sends only those images to Align for the initial design. Then she has her Align designer include one blank spread in the album design that says "family portraits" and 1-2 blank spreads that say "dancing" at the appropriate places in the design. When she sends the initial draft to the client for revisions, she asks them to select a set number of images for each of those spreads. That allows her to skip selection of family portrait and dancing images when picking her favorites and saves time on revisions for those spreads. By giving her clients a very specific number and type of images to select, it ensures that they won't be paralyzed and overwhelmed by the task.  
Regardless of which route you choose, make sure you are rating your images for every type of use rather than culling once for the client, once for the album design and once for the blog post or Facebook.  
3 -- Be selective. 
When choosing images for your albums, be very critical and pick only your best. The average album designed by Align has 18 spreads and an average of only 90-100 images. That's not a lot. When culling, make sure you don't pick images that are too similar. Pick the best one from each set of similar images and move on. 
4 -- Choose for cohesion. 
Even though you don't want to select images that are SUPER-similar, you do want to pick enough images from the same portrait location or event during the course of the day to allow for your designer to make cohesive spreads. Make sure you select enough bride and groom portraits for 3-4 spreads (at least 20 images minimum), and make sure every image has at least one buddy that works with it. Include both horizontal and vertical images to help aid in the ease of the design. 
5 -- Include images that fill out the story. 
It's obvious that you need to select images full of emotion and action that lead the viewer through the story of the day. But don't forget to include scene-setting images that introduce each location (shots of the inside & outside of the venue), as well as detail photos from each part of the day to help fill out the story and add dimension and interest to the design. 
Hopefully one or more of these tips will help streamline your workflow and make image selection for your albums a breeze!  
Since we're on the topic of workflow speed, I wanted to throw a bonus your way and share with you what I have found to be the #1 time-saving tool to speed up my workflow. The best thing is, this tool is free and quick to implement. It's definitely a game-changer! Click here to download this time-saving hack for free today! 

5 tips to help photographers efficiently pick album images and speed up their workflow
Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Romantic Seaside Elopement Album Design for Riley Jean Photo

Album Designs
This is the very first album that we designed for Riley Jean -- an Oregon-based wedding and elopement photographer -- and boy are we excited!! When photographers of Riley's caliber and kindness find us and trust us with their images and clients, we are beyond thrilled and so, so honored.  
This is a sample album that Riley had us create of a dreamy seaside elopement she photographed. I think it's BRILLIANT that she created a sample of one of her favorite events -- that way she can show it off and hopefully book more! Plus, sample albums are the #1 KEY to selling albums, so Riley is also on her way to increased album sales!  
We cannot get enough of this elopement! Here are some of our favorite spreads from this dreamy design:

To see the design in full, click through the slideshow: 
Thank you, Riley, for allowing us to work with your beautiful images!
Design by: Denise (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Downtown Michigan Wedding Album Design for Niki Marie

Album Designs
Niki Marie is a Detroit-based wedding photographer who has an incredible talent for creating some of the most iconic black and white wedding photos we have ever seen! We typically do a happy dance whenever she submits a new album design order because we know we're in for some serious inspiration and a design that comes together flawlessly! 
Niki shared that this particular wedding is an all-time favorite of hers, and we can see why! The veil, the vintage car, the stunning couple! It's pure MAGIC! 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this design:

Click through the slideshow to see the full design: 
Thank you Niki for allowing us to work with your beautiful images!
Design by: Sarah (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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How to Rename Your Images for a Smoother Workflow

Tips & Tricks

Hey, photographers! Today I want to talk about a foundational, nuts-and-bolts aspect of your workflow that can really help streamline your album process: renaming your images.  
There are a number of reasons that the naming of your images is so important when it comes to the rest of your album workflow: 
1 -- Proper naming of your images equips your designer to easily sort your images and understand the flow of events so that they can tell the story of the day.  
2 -- Renaming the images before your share them with us AND your clients will ensure that everyone involved in the album design process (photographer, clients, designer) will be referring to the same file names, reducing confusion and saving you from having to track down images of a different name when it comes time for the revision rounds. 
If you systematize this process and make it part of your regular workflow, it will soon become easy and automatic for you, and a HUGE help to everyone involved -- especially your album designer!  
So what is the best way to rename your files for the smoothest workflow? 
We recommend renaming your files after culling but before delivering a gallery to your client and your album images to Align. Start by sorting the images into the proper order. It's usually easiest to sort by date and then click-and-drag any outliers manually into place. Once the images are sorted, rename all of the files into one consistent naming convention. Some popular naming conventions are: 
(Last name of client)_001 
(Last name of client)_(Studio name or acronym)_001 
(Date)_(Last name of client)_001 
Make sure that you are using a sequence number at the end that has the highest number of digits that you will need for the job. For instance, if you have 500 images you need to rename, start with "001" at the end of the first image. If you have 1100 images you need to rename, start with "0001". This will ensure that images can be sorted properly by filename. In addition, make sure to either use "_" or "-" and steer clear of any odd characters such as "!" or ":". 
And here's how to rename files with a few popular software options: 
Lightroom -- on the Library Module (grid view), Select All and click Library -> Rename Photos 
Adobe Bridge -- Select All and then click Tools -> Batch Rename 
Photo Mechanic -- Select All and then click File -> Rename Photos 
That's it! Now you're ready to upload the gallery for your clients AND send a selection of the organized and renamed images to your designer! (For tips on choosing the album images to send to your designer, click here.) Your designer will be able to sort the images you send by filename to see the proper order of events. And your client will be referencing file names that your designer has when making their revisions. The great news is -- all of this adds up to a super-smooth workflow!
If you found this post helpful and would like to receive tips like this straight to your inbox, click here to sign up!
And exciting news! If you're a photographer who wants to start offering albums without investing hours of guesswork and trial and error -- we have a solution for you! Check out the Album Start-Up Kit and start maximizing your profit today! 

Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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