4 things to do with old sample albums

Tips & Tricks

You updated your sample album. You realized that one of these 4 indicators that it was time to update your sample album applied to you.  
AWESOME! You rock! 
Now...what to do with the old samples?  
We've got 4 ideas for you! 
1 - Give them to the venue 
If the wedding took place at a venue at which you would love to work again, gift them to the catering manager in charge! They will enjoy showing them off to all the couples who come through who are considering that venue, so it's great exposure for you! And it will be an amazing gift to them to be able to show potential clients what their space looks like in photos! 
2 - Give them to your clients 
If you have a relationship with your clients who are featured in your sample album, it would be such a blessing to them to receive your sample album as a gift! I recently retired from shooting weddings to focus on Align, and had the pleasure of gifting two sample albums to my clients-turned-friends, Murphy and Alexis. This is them:

These two got married in the Dominican Republic and I loved their wedding and images so much that I created two Queensberry sample albums using them! They are pictured at the top of this blog post. Before we moved from Phoenix to Alabama, my husband and I had Murphy and Alexis over and after dinner, I surprised them. Here is a video my husband tried to capture on the sly so as to not raise suspicions -- haha! 
Ahh!! I love them! That was so fun!! 
3 - Save them 
If neither of the above seems like a feasible option, you may consider saving your old sample albums as memory markers of your journey and how far you've come. Store them somewhere cool and safe and break them out in the future for a fun walk down memory lane! 
4 - Toss them 
This option makes me a little sad, so I'm hoping one of the above options works for you. But if all else fails, tossing them is an option as well. As long as you have great photos of them, it might make more sense to let them go rather than have them take up valuable storage space. 
What other ideas do you have? Is there anything I'm missing? If so, I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Elegant Austin Wedding Album Design for Paige Vaughn Photography

Album Designs
AHHH! We cannot get enough of this stunning wedding! From the tree-lined ceremony site to the beautiful barn where the reception took place, Paige Vaughn photographed this event flawlessly!  
We have had the honor of working with Paige for 3 years now and on top of being super-talented (she is based in BOTH Austin, TX and San Fransisco Bay) she is so kind. 
Paige loves to see a couple of spreads in each album that feature one stunning image. We love the power of these spreads interspersed with the busier ones. 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this design:

What's your favorite spread? It's so hard to pick! 
To see the full design, click through the slideshow: 
Design by: Sarah (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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St Louis Chapel wedding album design for Pattengale Photography

Album Designs
The husband and wife team that makes up Pattengale Photography are a power duo! Tara and Stephen's photography vibe is enchanting, the way they write on their blog is engaging, and they are cute to boot! We feel so lucky to get to work with them and their clients!  
When Tara filled out the order form for Madelaine & Henry's album design, she made good use of the "additional notes" section -- leaving us 4 paragraphs of notes about the wedding and thoughts about various spreads and how the story of the day might best be told. Photographers are not required to do this by any means, but we love any insight we can get into the day and the flow of the events! It definitely helps when we sit down to lay out the design! 
Tara & Stephen have a clear vision for what they want when it comes to their album designs and their client experience and we love coming along side them to make it happen! 
Today's featured design is the result of SO much talent and a lot of team work! Here are a few of our favorite spreads: 

How fun does this wedding look!? To see the full design, click through the slideshow: 
Design by: Denise (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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To Outsource or not to Outsource

Tips & Tricks
wedding album design outsourcing

This is a question every professional wedding photographer must face -- should I do my album designs myself, or outsource this portion of my workflow to someone else? Obviously, as an album design company, our view at Align is a bit biased. BUT I was also a professional wedding photographer myself for over 16 years. I started running that business LONG before I started Align, so I myself had to answer this question early on before I had any idea I would be starting an album design company.  
I started my business in 2003 and I designed my first few albums myself. I had no clue what I was doing, but I also had no idea that I could outsource. I was completely and utterly clueless. I quickly realized I couldn't keep up with everything myself and still have time to do the things that would help my business grow. So I brought in some help -- an employee who did color-correction and album design for me. This worked great for years, but as my employee's job description grew to the point where SHE couldn't do it all, we started outsourcing our album design to Align. Utter freedom and bliss ensued.  
But outsourcing isn't for everyone. Each business owner has to decide for themselves.  
reasons to outsource wedding album design

From my point of view, there are two good reasons to do your album designs in-house
1 -- You have an employee you can pay to handle the initial design work and revisions. 
2 -- You just really LOVE doing album design. Like really love it. 
If you're having to do everything yourself AND you don't enjoy designing, better to pass it off and spend your time doing the things you are best at and that fuel your passion. That's how the most successful people in life succeed -- by focusing on their unique strengths and passion.  
Businesses that fall into the following categories are ideally suited for outsourcing their album design
1 -- Newer businesses where the photographer is also working another job 
2 -- Businesses with no additional employees beyond the business owner 
3 -- Businesses where the photographer is most passionate about shooting or growing their business in other ways 
4 -- Businesses owned by people who want to have a life outside of work and value family or recreation 
reasons to outsource wedding album design

Have you answered this question for yourself? Like I mentioned above, every business is different, so this isn't a one-size-fits-all decision. We would love to hear from you in the comments below! Which variables weighed in when you were considering the options? What was the ultimate deciding factor?  
If you fall into the category above that is ideally suited to outsource, why not give it a try to see if it could free you up like it has for me and the other photographers quoted above? Click here to sign up for an account with Align, and 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. 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.
best wedding album companies

In the coming weeks, I will continue to share tips for album workflow that can be applied by photographers who fall into both camps -- those who keep their designs in-house, and those who outsource. Stay tuned!
Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Navy Yard Washington DC Wedding Album design for Anna Lowe

Album Designs
Maryland-based Anna Lowe has a deeply held belief that white space is essential to good design. She asks that we limit the number of images to 4 per spread with the exception of family formals and reception spreads. And... we ADORE the result! We pretty much want to plaster her work all over our website, blog and social media. She is incredibly talented as you will see from the story-telling in her images below! 
This Navy Yard wedding was so classy. From the lace-trimmed gown, to the shimmery gold dresses, to the serene church ceremony -- it's all so beautiful!! 
And don't you agree that the white space and simplicity of the spreads elevates her images even more? 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads:

To see the design in full, click through the slideshow: 
Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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