First sample album for Katie Iredale Photography

Album Designs, Align Legacy Books

We just recently started working with California elopement and wedding photographer Katie Iredale and we had the honor of designing AND printing her first sample album!  
And we are already in love!  
Katie's photos have such a carefree, fun vibe, and they pulled together BEAUTIFULLY in album form! She did a great job of selecting her very favorite images for the album and sending those to us. As a result she only made one image swap to the initial design and then approved it as is! 
Katie took some photos of the finished 8x8 Align Legacy Book covered in Carob leather and we are so excited to share them with you! Here they are along with a few of our favorite spreads from this design:

So fun, huh!? To see the design in full, click through the slideshow below: 
Design by: Kari (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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The #1 Key to Selling Albums

Tips & Tricks
the #1 key to selling more wedding albums

The number one rule in album sales is:
the number one rule in wedding album sales

If you want to sell albums, you have to show clients physical studio samples. This can be a tough pill to swallow when albums run anywhere from $300 - $1,200 in costs for the photographer. And that's just the printing and binding. That doesn't take into consideration the costs and time investment in getting it designed and ordered. Yes, studio sample albums are an investment. But they are an investment that will pay off. 
A few years ago I decided to start offering Queensberry Duo albums as an option for my high end clients. These albums are gorgeous -- high end mat paper surrounds images that are inset in the pages, and images can even be mounted flush to the edge of the page. So it is a more contemporary version of a matted album combining both matted and flush-mount features into a high end custom product. The album I chose to offer is 18x10 inches horizontal with a dark brown micro-leather fabric. The cover material is so soft, I am tempted to use it as a pillow. The album is INCREDIBLE. But it's not cheap. The studio sample I wanted to get was over $1,000. Yikes! Not only does that money come out of my bank account, but that means I have to charge my clients $3,500 for an album of its kind. All sorts of fears went through my head. What if no one else loves it as much as I do? What if my clients don't see the value and aren't willing to pay the high price tag?

I swallowed my fears and took the leap. I ordered my studio sample and said a prayer right before my first client meeting in which it rested on the ottoman in my office. Kari, the bride, came in and we started out the meeting chatting about her upcoming wedding. When it came time to share my two album options, I showed her the standard, lower-priced album that comes in all of my packages, then I showed her the Duo. I explained its features and told her the price. She fell in love with it as she turned each of the textured mat pages and felt the micro-leather. At the end of the meeting she told me that she didn't have the budget for the Duo but that she wanted to see if she could move some things around to be able to increase her photography budget and include it in her package. And that's just what she did.  
The expensive Duo is not for everyone, but it does appeal to a certain segment of my clientele. And if they see it and love it, they are often willing to increase their budget, even though they never intended to spend $3K on a wedding album when they first walked into my office.  
You can't sell it if you don't show it. But if you DO show it, you might be able to sell something that your clients didn't even realize they couldn't live without until they touched it. That's the power of a studio sample album. 
Not sure where to start with creating a sample album? Read up on 5 features that should be included in every sample album in order to win the hearts of your clients and get them to say YES to their very own album! 
To help even further with your sample album needs, we've created this Resource List for the Top 10 Most Popular Album Companies used by Align clients, along with testimonials from photographers who use each of them. Also included on the list is a general idea of what each company charges for a standard 10x10 album. You can download it for FREE today by clicking here and signing up for an account with Align -- no order necessary! Or if you already have an existing Align account and want a copy of this resource guide, you're welcome to email us for a copy.
the top 10 best album companies for printing and binding wedding albums

Take the leap. Invest in sample albums. Make them beautiful, unique, and exactly what you would want if you were a bride or groom. Then show them to your potential clients and see the investment pay off.
The #1 key to selling more albums
Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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California Winery Wedding Album Design for Austyn Elizabeth

Album Designs, Align Legacy Books
Austyn Elizabeth just sent us the most BEAUTIFUL video of an Align Legacy Book that we both designed AND printed for her! You have to click above to watch it!! I got goosebumps watching her page through the whole album set to music. Can you imagine what a powerful tool this video is for sharing the value of an heirloom album with her future clients!? BRILLIANT!! 
Another brilliant move that Austyn made is that she ordered an additional copy of this stunning album to gift to the venue -- one of her favorites to work at! And you can see why!  
Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this California Winery wedding album design: 

And if you haven't got enough, click through the full design below! 
Design by: Denise (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Charleston Destination Wedding Album Design for Bow Tie Collaborative

Album Designs
This week's featured album design is DREAMY!  
We've had the pleasure of working with Ashley Maton with Bow Tie Collaborative for over 3 years now and we love working with her stunning images! Ashley is one of our Client Advocates and you can see more designs we've done for her here! 
This wedding took place in historic Charleston, South Carolina. The ceremony was held in a picture-perfect chapel and the reception took place inside an old cigar factory. Ashley did a beautiful job documenting this day and we love how the album tells the story! 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this design:

To see the design in full, click through the slideshow: 
Design by: Sarah (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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How many album options should I give my clients?

Tips & Tricks
I once learned a valuable lesson in sales when I was remodeling my house.  
I purchased a home in Phoenix back in 2010. When I bought it, the family room looked like this:

I had a bunch of plans for fixing it up, including new wood flooring, new trim, fixing up the built-in, and covering the fireplace hearth in brick. Now if you've ever been through a home renovation, you know how exhausting it can be and how many endless decisions you have to make. In many ways, it's like planning a wedding. You don't have a whole lot of experience or knowledge of the industry, but you need to make gazillions of choices that will impact the end result you get to live with for a long time to come. No pressure :).  
Being the efficient and decisive person I am, I wanted to work through my checklist and get the process moving. One day I took my mom along with me to a local brick store to pick out the brick for the fireplace. I knew I wanted a basic red brick that might look like it was original to my 50s ranch home. I figured I could be in and out of that store in 20-30 minutes tops with one less thing on my list. We walked into the small store that wasn't much bigger than the family room I was remodeling, and found ourselves alone with the store manager. He was friendly and talkative. On all of the store walls hung one-by-one foot samples of various brick styles:

I filled the manager in on my project in hopes that he could help direct me to the best options for me. As I looked at the brick, attempting to envision them on my fireplace hearth, the manager continued to chat, giving me more and more options. It was clear that he was excited. This guy loved his job and was completely geeked out on all things brick. I loved his passion, but as I was browsing, I felt my blood pressure begin to rise as he piled on the options. I did everything but say the words "I'm sharing all of this with you so that you will help me make a decision," but he wasn't picking up the hints I was dropping. In the end I left the store feeling overwhelmed and confused. I had walked into that store that day fully expecting to give them my money. Instead, I walked out empty handed. The way that store manager had directed his passion and excitement for his specialty had unknowingly cost him a sale.  
A few days later I did go back to that brick store. But I put my blinders on, didn't talk to the manager, and picked out some brick in minutes. I was bound and determined. And this was the end result of my remodeled family room:

This experience taught me that customers don't want too many options. They look to the experts for help in narrowing down those options.  
As a wedding photographer, I am excited about wedding albums. I go to trade shows and geek out on all of the paper and cover options. I love to feel and touch them. But even though WE are excited about albums, it behooves us as photographers to realize that our clients aren't nearly as passionate about them. They want a great album to cherish for their lifetime, to be sure, but they want to be able to see what they are looking for, point to it, pay for it, and cross one more thing off their list.  
If we want to increase our album sales and serve our clients well, we need to make choices easier on them. Just because the album company I use gives me 5 paper options, 10 cover options and 5 album styles, doesn't mean I have to pass all of those options on to my clients. If I were to do so, I would be putting up an obstacle to a sale and unnecessarily complicating my clients' lives. Instead, I have picked out one album size, one cover option and one paper type that I LOVE from my album company, had a sample album created with it, and that is one of the two options I give my clients. The other option is a completely different album from another company -- again with one size, one paper type, and one cover option. That way my client has two choices and can point to one or the other. If they ask for more options on the cover or size of the album, I can always offer those. But I only do so if they ask. Typically they don't. They fall in love with one of the two options, point to it, and sign the contract. DONE. 
In your album sales process, make choices easier on your clients by picking what YOU love and showing it to them. Offer one or two options. They will love you for walking them through a world that is foreign to them and for being the expert that guides them to exactly what they are looking for.  
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the number of album options you should give your client in order to close the deal
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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