Ordering and Packaging the Wedding Album

Tips & Tricks

So your client approved the album design. Now what?  
The entirety of the album workflow can feel like such a HUGE process. At this point, the finish line is in sight, but somehow the last step or two in the album production marathon can cause frustration. Why? Because we are so consumed with the NEXT shoot, the next exciting venture, and getting a client's album order placed for a wedding we shot weeks or months ago isn't the most glamorous of tasks. But it has to be done and we need a manageable workflow to make sure the order gets placed and the album turns out beautifully. After all this work, it's important that the final album is something we are proud and excited to deliver to our client! It will forever be a reminder of their love for one another and will also be the last impression we make on them. No pressure! haha! :) 
Every photographer's workflow will look a little different, but I wanted to share mine by way of example: 
1 -- Touch Up Any Additional Images 
Many of the photos included in the album design are touched up and ready to go, but I like to take a quick look through the final design to make sure each spread, and the editing of the images on them, looks cohesive. Occasionally I will need to open an image and retouch it to make sure everything is perfect. Perfectionism is unnecessary when it comes to preparing proofs, but when we know that a photo is forever going to be memorialized in a couple's wedding album, perfectionism is warranted. I typically request layered .psd files from Align in order to allow me to individually edit photos on their own layers before flattening. The other option I sometime use, is sending my designer the touched-up versions of a handful of images to swap out in the design before approval. 
2 -- Place the Order with the Album Company 
This eventually ends up being a pretty straight-forward step, but there can be two hang-ups. Initially it can be tricky to learn how each album company's ordering system works. But once you get through the initial learning curve, it becomes second nature. The main hang-up is not having all of the information you need from the client. Do you know what cover material they want? Is there a cover photo included? How do they want their names to appear if there is any type of engraving? It's important to ask these questions up front so you're not having to email the client to gather these final bits of information when you're sitting down to place the order. We recommend our Album Workflow Email Templates that will help you make sure this important step is already done by the time you sit down to place the order!  
3 -- Quality Control, Packaging and Shipping 
I always have the album company send the album straight to me so I can check it over and repackage it before shipping it on to my client. Occasionally I'll discover an error and am able to catch it and get it fixed before the client sees it. And it's a great touch to repackage the album with some of your own branding materials. Ribbon, stickers with your logo, and a hand-written notecard elevate the product and make it cohesive with your brand. And don't forget to take a few photos of the finished album for your own marketing purposes! Plaster those babies all over your website and instagram account! They are SO valuable in sharing your passion for albums and drawing clients to you! 
AHHHH -- There's nothing quite like holding a finished wedding album in your hands. For me it provides such a sense of accomplishment knowing how much work I put into telling the couple's unique story, and thinking about how the album will be passed on to generations to come.  
If you're looking to simplify and streamline your client communication, making the whole album process -- including all the little steps like getting your client's final preferences on the album cover, materials, etc. -- quicker and easier, you might consider looking into our album workflow email templates. Included are 8 pages worth of email templates for different points throughout your album workflow covering the communication mentioned above plus more! They're a huge time-saver and will help you make sure nothing falls through the cracks! 

Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Stylish St. Louis Wedding Album Design for Pattengale Photography

Album Designs

It's no secret that we LOVE receiving photos of finished albums for which we've designed the pages. So you can imagine how gleeful we were when these beauties arrived in our inbox!  
This wedding was photographed by Pattengale Photography a husband & wife photography team based in St Louis, Missouri. Tara & Stephen describe themselves as "a little bit hygge, a little bit young and free, and a little bit bruno. And a lot a bit in love." They forgot to mention "crazy talented"! This chic wedding was held at an art hotel and a hip glass factory ... perfectly on brand for Pattengale Photography's cool style!  
Here are a few of our favorite spreads of this stunning design, printed by Kiss Books and designed by Align Album Design:

Want to see more? Check out the full design in the slideshow below: 
Design by: Denise (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Historic Delaware Wedding Album Design for Anna Lowe

Album Designs
Today we have such a beautiful album design to share with you! Anna Lowe Photography captured this charming wedding at the historic Hotel Du Pont in Delaware. This wedding feels so classic and timeless! We think the album design -- with a thoughtful use of whitespace to highlight the images -- is a perfect match!  
Anna is a Maryland-based wedding & portrait photographer with an artistic eye and a talent for capturing real, emotional moments. We're always touched by her work, and we love designing albums to show it off! Hey are a few of our favorite spreads from this album design:

To see the full album design, look through the slideshow below: 
Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Strategies for Designing Parent Albums

Tips & Tricks
wedding album

above photo by Rebecca Sehn  
Last week we talked a little bit about parent albums and the benefits for offering them. In that post, we touched on how offering exact duplicate copies of the bride & groom's album requires very little extra work for photographers because the design work is already done! While that strategy keeps things simple, some clients desire to have the ability to customize their parent albums.  
So what is the best approach when your client is asking for alterations to the original design for their parent albums? Today we are going to break down the design/revision strategies successfully used here at Align to help photographers just like you painlessly create multiple album designs for the same wedding...without anyone losing their minds!  
Here is a list of how Align can help you maximize your profits with minimal extra work for you, the busy photographer!   
1. Duplicate copy 
The most direct and simple option is that clients order an exact duplicate copy of the bride and groom's design, typically just in a smaller size that has the same proportions. This would be appropriate when there are NO requests for modifications. Many album printing companies will even allow you to order a smaller album using the exact same design files you uploaded for the large version (i.e. using 12x12-sized layouts to print an 8x8 copy as well). However, if your album company requests separate files for each version, just reach out to your Align designer! Depending on the size you need, we may be able to export the new files immediately or we can use another revision round to resize your design. 
2. Take advantage of those unused revisions 
Every Align Album Design order includes 3 rounds of revisions in the price. Once the bride & groom's design is approved, you can use any unused revision rounds to allow the parents to submit their changes. As long as you don't use more than 3 revision rounds total, there is no additional charge! But if you need more than that, the cost is $50/round which is still typically less expensive than placing a new album design order. 
3. Multiple versions of a single spread  
Alternatively, if you know for sure that ONLY ONE spread will be changing between the versions (such as the family portrait spread), we could simply design multiple versions of that one spread from the start (at our usual $8/spread price). For example if you need three versions of a 15 spread album, Align could actually design/bill/deliver 17 spreads total. And then you would place three separate orders with your print company and just switch out which version of the family portrait spread you upload to them.  
4. Separate design orders  
Some clients like to place separate design orders for each album. This is the best method if any of the following circumstances are in play concerning the albums: they utilize different image collections, they have different dimension ratios, they require different design styles, they won't have many spreads in common, etc. This is also the method to use when you simply want a fresh start after you finish the original design.  
As you can see, depending on which approach best fits your workflow/client needs, there is a way to keep the design work simple while still giving your clients exactly what they want. There is nothing quite as satisfying as knowing you have delivered an amazing product and service to your client while paying close attention to their unique requests. At Align, we are more than happy to help you achieve this end goal!  
We hope you've found these tips helpful!  
----------> If you want to give outsourcing a try, click here to find out more about the design styles that Align offers. We have 3 standard design styles but can definitely customize to meet most needs. So don't hesitate to send us examples of designs you like and let us know what your preferences are, and we will design to those specifications. After you take a look at our design styles to find out which one would work best for you, click here to sign up for an account with Align. When you do so, we'll send you a free welcome gift -- our "Top 10 Most Popular Album Companies" Resource List. That way you can find out which album printing & binding companies are the most popular among photographers who use Align, and more importantly, WHY. We'd love to be a part of creating beautiful heirloom albums for your studio and clients!
Strategies for customizing parent albums or multiple albums for the same wedding while keeping the design and revision process simple
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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Virginia Vineyard Wedding Album Design for Abby Grace

Album Designs
If you've been around our blog for very long, you may have spotted previous designs that we've created for Abby Grace Photography. Abby is an international film wedding photographer based out of Washington D.C. who is talented, charismatic, and a great business resource to her fellow photographers! Check out her Align Client Advocate page to read some of Abby's album-related articles or view some of her past Align album designs. 
The wedding in today's featured album took place on a rainy Virginia day in a beautiful green vineyard. Despite the weather, the bride & groom absolutely glowed on their wedding day! We love the meaningful touches and sweet moments that Abby captured, and the cheerful, citrusy color palette brought the sunshine all by itself! Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this album:

Flip through the full album design in the slideshow below: 
Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Alaine
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