Category: Tips & Tricks   |   view all recent posts

8 Tips for Timeless Album Design

Tips & Tricks
8 tips for designing a timeless wedding album

above images by Megan Travis Photography 
 
 
Hey guys! Melissa Jill here! I remember the first album I designed myself. It was 2004 and my client had asked for an album. I had never even created a sample album at that point so EVERYTHING was new to me. But I figured, how hard could it be? I'll just whip one up. Haha! Poor little naive me. Three months, ten headaches, and a dozen workflow issues later, I had my first album done. It turned out to be much more challenging than I had initially anticipated. And being that I was new to albums, I was dealing with a HUGE learning curve. Since then I have learned so much about the album design and sales process, and that's one of the main reasons I'm sharing this series of tips -- to help others who may be facing this learning curve for the first time themselves. 
 
I remember looking back at that very first album years later in my client's home and cringing at a few of my choices. Namely, I thought it would be fun to make a collage of overlapping and tilted images for a reception spread. You know...because receptions are wild and crazy, the design should be as well? Yikes! Major regret on that design choice. There were a number of other design trends that I succumbed to in that first design that are SO entirely outdated now. Which makes me sad, because wedding albums need to last generations without looking outdated. Of all things, a wedding album should be timeless.  
Today I'm going to share some timeless design tips that we at Align adhere to, and that I would recommend to any of you out there who are designing your albums in house. I hope I don't step on any toes or hurt any feelings, but there are also a few outdated trends that I'd like to call out as well. I learned my lesson the hard way by regretting my design choices, and I want to encourage you all to keep your designs clean and timeless so you don't experience this same sense of regret years from now.  
 
So let's start by ripping the bandaid off first. The outdated trends to steer clear of are: 
 
1. Using images as backgrounds 
2. Making images opaque 
3. Excessive overlapping of images 
 
All of these trends clutter up your design and don't allow your images to stand apart and be appreciated as art. Your images themselves are interesting. You don't need to make your design overly complex to create a beautiful album. Let the images shine and tell the story for you. As a side note, even though we don't recommend any of the above design choices as being ideal, Align can absolutely design albums with these specifications. The most important thing to us is that you and your clients are happy. And we strive to customize our designs to fit your unique preferences. Just select the "Styled" design option and put your preferences in the comments section of your order form. 
 
Now for the positive tips. Here is what TO DO if you want your albums to be beautiful and remain timeless for generations to come.  
 
#1 -- Use restraint and don't clutter up your spreads with too many images. The fewer images per spread, the more importance you give them.
8 tips for designing a timeless wedding album

above images by Candace Berry Photography 
 
 
#2 -- If you do use a lot of images on a given page, make sure to use a structured layout that makes it easy for your eye to "read" what is going on.
8 tips for designing a timeless wedding album

above images by Maggie Harkov Photography 
 
 
#3 -- We prefer white backgrounds, but if you'd like to use some color on your album spreads, makes sure to pull the color from the photographs that are used on the spread to keep everything cohesive.
8 tips for designing a timeless wedding album

above images by Amelia Soper Photography 
 
 
#4 -- Much like matting for a framed photo, using negative space is a great way to draw attention and importance to an image. Don't feel the need to fill every white space.
8 tips for designing a timeless wedding album

above images by Hello Love Photography 
 
 
#5 -- Make your favorite image the focal point of the spread. Duh, the best images should be given the most real estate.
8 tips for designing a timeless wedding album

above images by Megan Alvarez Photography 
 
 
#6 -- Group your images by location so that each spread tells a cohesive story. This is a great thing to keep in mind when you are shooting too. Taking a number of different photos in each location will make for a great album design!
8 tips for designing a timeless wedding album

above images by Leezett Photography 
 
 
#7 -- Think about the color story you are telling on each spread. If there is too much going on color-wise, think about separating competing images onto separate spreads, or putting some of the images in black and white.
8 tips for designing a timeless wedding album

above images by Katelyn James Photography 
 
 
#8 -- Help your design to tell a story by including a number of scene-setting spreads that set the scene for what is to come. This is another great tip to keep in mind for when you are shooting! It's not only wedding detail photographs that help make a design beautiful, think about how you can take detail shots of the location and venue to help tell the story of the day.
8 tips for designing a timeless wedding album

above images by Leezett Photography 
 
 
I hope you've found these tips and examples helpful!  
 
----------> If you are overwhelmed with design and 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.
Top 10 Most Popular Album Companies

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.
8 Tips for Timeless Album Design
-----------
Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
Add a Comment  (1)

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
Add a Comment

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
Add a Comment

How To Choose Which Wedding To Feature In Your Sample Album

Tips & Tricks
Align Legacy Books studio sample album

Hey there, fellow photographers! Melissa Jill here, pro-photographer and founder of Align. I know I've mentioned before how VITAL it is to share our passion for albums with our clients. More specifically, I've talked about how important it is to give our clients a tangible experience by letting them hold a sample album and leaf through the pages.  
 
The truth is, if we want to sell albums, we have to show them! There is great power in studio sample albums. They hold the potential of taking an engaged couple from "mmm ... no thanks" to "umm -- YES PLEASE!"  
 
While I've touched on 5 features every sample album should include, you might still be wondering which of your sessions would be the best to use for your sample album.  
 
Today I am going to break down the top 5 elements to consider when choosing which wedding or portrait session to feature in your sample album!  
 
1 - Feature a favorite.  
Duh, right? You know the wedding or portrait session that has you swooning long after the day is over? The one that keeps you up at night because you are so excited about all the details and the beautiful light and how perfectly you feel you captured the love from beginning to end? That's the one! After all, you want to capture more of these types of sessions, right?  
 
2 - Tell a story.  
As a wedding photographer, rarely do I have a wedding where I love my photography from each portion of the day. From getting ready to portraits to the ceremony and the reception... pick a wedding (or portrait session) where you love the photos throughout the entire day so that you can tell a compelling story through the design. 
 
3 - Feature clients who are relatable.  
The goal is for your potential client to actually SEE themselves in your images. You want them to be able to imagine themselves in the pictures and to vividly create their own wedding experience in their minds as they flip through the pages. So feature a wedding in which the details and the couple might be relatable to the clients you ideally want to attract. 
 
4 - Include a popular venue. 
Consider picking a wedding or portrait shoot that showcases a popular venue in your local area. If a client you are meeting with is getting married at said venue or is considering it, think of how persuasive it would be to see the location showcased in such a visually appealing way! And even the clients who are NOT getting married there will probably be familiar enough with the venue to subconsciously feel a sense of connection to it. 
 
5 - Show emotion.  
Choose a session from which the portraits are emotionally moving. Appealing to the emotional side of your clients increases the chances they will be drawn into the album and be moved to include one in their package. 
 
Hopefully as you read through these thoughts, the perfect wedding or portrait session came to mind for your next sample album. I hope you're excited to move forward and get that sample made! 
 
To see a wedding I recently chose to feature in my own sample album, click here!  
 
Also, 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.

5 elements to consider when choosing which wedding to feature in your studio sample album
-----------
Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
Add a Comment

5 Features Every Sample Album Should Include

Tips & Tricks
What every professional photographer should include in a sample wedding album

photo by Paige Vaughn Photo 
 
 
As we all know, the #1 pre-requisite to selling albums...is to SHOW them! After all, you can't sell what you don't show
 
But, what is the best way to show albums? What features must your sample album have in order to win the hearts of your clients and get them to say YES to their very own album, you ask? I've created a short list of 5 things that I consider essential to include in the sample albums you share with every potential client walking through your doors.  
 
1 -- Show off your cover options. 
Your sample albums should showcase your favorite cover option(s) you have available. This will simplify the decision making process for everyone who holds one of these albums in their hands. The real benefit of a sample album is that it allows clients to touch and feel it and see what they could expect from their own album.  
 
2 -- Be intentional with the album size. 
The albums you showcase should be the size and dimensions you most hope your clients will choose. The most popular dimensions for albums designed through Align are 10x10 or 12x12, so that's a great place to start. Clients are not very good at envisioning other options. They would prefer to point at one option among a few and say, "I want that," knowing that what they see is what they are going to get. 
 
3 -- Highlight one wedding. 
Each sample album should focus on one wedding and tell the story of that one day. I've written a separate post about how to choose which wedding to feature in your sample album. Featuring one wedding is more ideal than showcasing a sampling of your favorite images from a number of weddings. This approach is more true to the anatomy of an album and what they can expect from their own wedding album. It also allows you to showcase your story-telling ability throughout one wedding day, which brings us to tip #4! 
 
4 -- Tell a story. 
The album should tell the story of a wedding day from start to finish, full of details and moments that will draw your potential clients into the story emotionally. That will allow you to share your passion for albums during the meeting and again, help your clients to see what their own wedding album could be like. 
 
5 -- Keep it simple.  
Clean, simple, timeless design is key! Being intentional and selective in what you include in a sample album allows your images to stand apart and be appreciated as art. Your images themselves are interesting. You don't need to make your sample album design overly complex to create a beautiful album. Let the images shine and be your resume for potential clients!  
 
 
Having an album you are excited to share with your clients at their initial meeting will only help enhance your passion for the product. When you are excited about the very product you hold in your hands, are proud of the work featured within, it will show! When you believe in the quality of the work that went into designing it and are touched by the story held within it...your client will be that much more likely to say YES to an album of their very own!
I hope you've found these tips helpful!  
 
----------> If you are overwhelmed with design and 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 a free 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!
What every professional photographer should include in a sample wedding album!
-----------
Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
Add a Comment
1 of 12Older Posts