Never wait on clients to pick album images again

Tips & Tricks

photo by Kaitlyn Phipps Photography 
 
 
I remember the first few albums that I designed -- I waited for my clients to pick the images they wanted included. I waited. And waited.  
 
And waited a little longer.  
 
I remember one client in particular couldn't get around to picking their images because they were busy moving into a new house. Then they took a trip to Disneyland. Then work took over and the task got pushed to the back-burner. Then finally they emailed me in the middle of October -- six months after their wedding -- to give me the exciting news: They had finally picked the images for their album! One thing you need to understand to get the full impact of this story is the Arizona wedding season. We are completely different than everywhere else in the country -- no one gets married in the summer here unless they are crazy. Our flesh physically melts off our bodies if we are outside for longer than 5 minutes in the summer months. Our busy seasons are the fall and spring. And our busiest month in the fall? October. So all summer I waited for my clients to choose their images and when they finally did, I no longer had the time or energy to devote to their album needs.  
 
Have any of you had a similar experience when waiting for your clients to pick their images? My theory is that this task is just too overwhelming for our clients. And I have come to believe that we are asking too much of them if we structure our album workflow in this way. Instead, I believe my clients are better served if I choose the images and have their album pre-designed for them. 
 
There are a number of benefits to pre-designing: 
 
1 -- Our workflow is not held up by waiting on our clients to pick images. The initial album design can be done like clockwork for each wedding -- within a week of the wedding date. Here are some tips for picking album images quickly.  
 
2 -- It makes life easier on our clients. It's a much more manageable task for our clients to make image swaps to an existing design than it is to narrow down hundreds of images to a select few for the initial design.  
 
3 -- The design ends up being much more beautiful. When the photographer or designer picks the images as they are designing, the design ends up being much more cohesive and lends itself to telling the story of the day. If a designer needs to use all of the images chosen by the client, it can be like trying to fit pieces of a puzzle together that just don't fit. The resulting design often ends up unbalanced, and the story fragmented. 
 
So there you have it! Three excellent reasons to never wait on your clients to pick album images again.  
 
In my initial client meetings I always explain our album workflow process to my clients as they are looking through samples. I let them know that as a service to them, we will design their album with our favorite images in a way that we think best tells the story of their day. Once they see the design, they are able to make image swaps to make it perfect before we place the order. I let them know that we've found it's much easier for our clients to make changes to an existing design than it is to select the images they want included without knowing what the design will look like. Every time I explain our process in this way the clients nod in agreement and understanding. And pre-designing has forever cured the hang-up I used to experience in my workflow while waiting on clients to pick their images.  
 
Hallelujah! Pre-designing for the WIN!! 
 
And if you use Align to pre-design your albums, we suggest sending us a folder of your favorite images as well as a folder of additional images to pull from that might include family portraits or more reception photos. When you fill out our order form, be sure to mark "Select images that best tell the story" next to the number of images you are sending in order to give your designer some freedom to create the most beautiful design.

Your designer will then use your favorite images as focal points throughout the design, which will ensure that you love the result. Then you can use your first round of revisions to make any changes before sending it on to your clients. They will then have two remaining rounds to use for their image swaps. 
 
Life simplified. Boom. 
 
To hear from another photographer about why this method works for her, check out this blog post: Sharon Elizabeth on Album Image Selection
 
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Best practices for how to get your album designs done FAST and not get held up by waiting on your clients to pick their favorite images
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! 

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Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Elegant Church Wedding Album Design for Rebecca Denton

Album Designs
Rebecca Denton is a Nashville-based wedding and mitzvah photographer whose style is natural, elegant and timeless. And this wedding is all that with a bow on top! Rebecca's images are a dream to work with and we have had the pleasure of designing with them for over 4 years now.  
 
We love to make every album specific to the photographer's taste and preferences and Rebecca likes our CLASSIC design style but always requests that no images bleed to the edges of the page. She doesn't like to risk any part of the photograph being trimmed off. What this does is it also makes every page look like a matted work of art. We love the result! 
 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this design:






To see the full design, click through the slideshow: 
 
 
 
Thank you for allowing us to work with your beautiful images, Rebecca!
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Design by: Sarah (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Cherry Blossom Maternity Album Design for Tori Watson

Album Designs
Madera Linen album

Most of the albums we design are wedding albums, but we love getting our hands on other types of sessions -- including maternity sessions! This week's featured design is for DC-based Tori Watson and shows off a dreamy maternity session she captured.  
 
We love the simplicity of this album design. It's in our "simple" style -- utilizing clean white backgrounds and 1-4 images per spread max -- perfect for portrait albums. 
 
We've had the pleasure of working with Tori for 6 years now, and she serves as one of our beloved Client Advocates. You can click here to watch a video of Tori sharing about her album process. She's a gem! 
 
Tori was kind enough to send us photos of the printed Madera Books linen album. SO PRETTY!  
 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this design:







Click through the slideshow below to see the design in full! 
 
 
 
Thank you Tori, for allowing us to work with your beautiful images!
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Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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How to Manage Your Clients' expectations for album length

Tips & Tricks

photo by Deborah Zoe Photography 
 
 
Hey guys! Align owner and pro photographer Melissa Jill here! It's safe to say that a client's wedding album is likely the first experience they've had with album design. They are relying on us, their photographer, for guidance throughout the process. I've found that it's key to manage their expectations early on -- starting with the initial client meeting before they even book me -- so that the album process is smooth and enjoyable for everyone involved. 
 
There are many aspects in which to educate our client, but one that is key, is how many images they can expect to have in their album for the price they are paying. We as photographers are paying for an album based on the number of spreads or pages that are included. But the client is usually most concerned about the number of images and we need to make sure we are speaking their language but also covering our costs. This can be tricky! If we only talk about the number of spreads that are included in their album, the client will likely want to cram as many images as possible into the spreads allocated to them. And we all know -- this makes for a messy, cluttered, and less-than-ideal design. 
 
This is how I've solved this issue and how I have learned to successfully manage my clients' expectations: The album I include in all of my packages includes 17 spreads (34 pages). I inform clients of this up front in the initial client meeting and let them know that with our design style, the 17 spreads will contain approximately 75 images. By defining the length of the album by spreads with an approximate number of images attached to it, I'm not tied to cramming a set number of images into a design. Our estimate of 75 images for 17 spreads is on the low end of the spectrum, so we generally end up with more than 75 images in the design and the client's expectations are exceeded. 
 
Below is a helpful guide for estimating the number of images per spread that are included in Align's various design styles
 
Classic Design Style: an average of 5 images/spread 
Styled Design Style: an average of 5 images/spread 
Simple Design Style: an average of 2-3 images/spread 
 
We can of course customize for you and include more images per spread on average, but this is our ideal recommendation for a stunning design.  
 
Regardless of which album design style you use, it is always wise to educate your clients up front on album length in a way they can easily understand (approximate number of images) while at the same time pricing your albums in a way that covers your costs (per spread). 
 
 
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How to best manage your clients' expectations for how large their wedding album will be.
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! 

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Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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New Jersey Campsite engagement album design for Tori Kelner

Album Designs
Miller's Lab engagement album designed by Align Album Design

We are DYING over this fun wilderness adventure engagement session in the hills of New Jersey captured by Tori Kelner! Tori's clients chose to relive their first camping trip together for their shoot and it turned out SO GOOD!! 
 
Tori loved this session so much that she decided to create a sample album to show off to other clients and hopefully inspire them to memorialize their engagement shoots in album form! GENIUS! 
 
Tori is super-smart and she also serves as one of our Client Advocates (these two things are likely related). Click here to see a video where she share a little bit about her album process! 
 
Tori was so kind to send us some photos of the finished Miller's album. Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this design:







To see the full design, click through the slideshow: 
 
 
 
Ahh! Thank you for sending these photos and allowing us to work with you, Tori! Such a pleasure!
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Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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