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Why Quianna Marie outsources even though she LOVES designing albums

Album Designs, Featured Clients

Quianna Marie is a wiz at all things business. She is one of our brilliant Client Advocates who shares killer educational content with other photographers and today she is sharing a peek into her album process along with a personal story about how and why she decided to outsource much of it. Without further ado, here is Quianna! 
 

 
Oh hey! I'm Quianna and I pick up every Starbucks order that looks like "Kiana!" I'm a wedding photographer, idea generator and kitchen dancer based in Scottsdale, Arizona and the Bay Area, California. I have an obsession for helping creatives turn their passion into their profession and believe weddings should FEEL better than they look! Just like my clients, I live for adventure, value quality time with family and friends and love a good cozy campfire under the stars.  
 
When I first started my business I ran on my creative eye, personality and passion. Quickly, I started to feel burnt out and spread too thin as I managed my business like a one man band! Deadlines were the death of me and I felt like I just couldn't keep up.  
 
One time, during a client meeting with a future bride and her mother I was stumped when her mother asked, "So I'm spending thousands of dollars to only get air" - She was referring to only receiving the digital images. I was baffled, not because it was a silly statement, but because it reminded me why I wanted to be a wedding photographer in the first place! I wanted to create an experience for my couples that truly felt incredible and to be able to document those feelings to last a lifetime.  
 
Something was missing.  
 
I wasn't including albums or even promoting them because they honestly scared me. Just as I was increasing my pricing, why would couples want to spend even MORE?  
 
I knew I needed to find an opportunity to increase my value as a photographer, share the value of albums with my clients and somehow make this process stress free and streamlined.  
 
Truthfully, I LOVE designing albums, but I kept putting this task on the back burner. Days turned into weeks and sometimes months would pass before I could even send a first draft to my clients. It just wasn't working! 
 
Align was the answer to my prayers! Thanks to Align and their "Hands-off Service", their design team does all the communication directly with my brides ensuring they have an amazing album experience. This process can take as little as 2-3 days and I have a new record of getting albums into my clients' hands within about two weeks instead of 5-6 months after their wedding!  
 
How It Works? 
 
1. Once I deliver my Pixieset gallery to my clients I create a new folder, named "Album Design" This is where I hand select about 150 images from the day to copy into that new folder. 
 
2. I shoot an email to Align and set up my design order. My designer just grabs and downloads directly from the Pixieset gallery! 
 
3. Align creates a digital album design proof with the images beautifully curated for my couples to review. Clients can view this link from anywhere! It's just a kick start to visually see their album come to life! On average this can take a couple hours to a couple days, depending on when you send! 
 
4. I allow my couples to pick and pull, add, and swap - making their album completely customizable! Many of my couples are blown away and don't even ask for adjustments. 
 
5. Clients have at least two revisions to make swaps or any changes to their album. They're welcome to add additional pages to their album or images to their spreads. All communication is taken care of by Align! 
 
6. Once approved, Align shoots over the spreads for me to download and start production of the album. 
 
7. I have the albums shipped to me for approval, wrap them with a bow and slip a thank you note inside for that personal touch! I also encourage my clients to share a fun unboxing video to share their album online! They love it! 
 
This whole process only takes about a month! Since I'm shooting about 25-30 weddings per year and the number of albums sold keeps growing, it's been a blessing to outsource this piece of my business! Plus, the way Align addresses and communicates with my couples they look like an extension of my brand, helping my clients feel well taken care of. This elevates my brand as well.  
 
Thanks to Align I feel like I have my life back while providing a once in a lifetime experience for my couples.
 

 
 
Wow! Thanks so much Quianna! It's SO helpful to hear about your process and how you have made outsourcing work for your business! Thank you for taking the time to share!  
 
Quianna touched on so many topics we've talked about here on the blog. If you're interested in digging into any of these topics on a deeper level, click below to read more! 
 
Four Tips for Getting Your Clients to Value Albums...and Buy One 
So You Want to Raise Your Prices? 
To Outsource or not to Outsource 
How Outsourcing Helps you Make MORE Money in your Business 
Never Wait on Clients to Pick Album Images Again 
5 Tips for Picking Album Images FAST 
Speedy Workflow = Happy Clients + Higher Sales 
 
 
The following are some of our favorites spreads from one of Quianna's recent albums designed by Align and printed through ZNO.






To see the design in full, click through the slideshow: 
 
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Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Styled Wedding Album Design for Nidya Lloyd Photography

Album Designs
We offer 3 design styles here at Align: Classic, Simple & Styled. The majority of the albums we design and share here on our blog are of the Classic style. It's our most popular. But today we thought we'd share a recent album design we did for Nidya Lloyd -- one of our talented New York-based clients -- in our Styled design style.  
 
This style incorporates colored background or color-blocking that is customized to compliment the colors in the images, thin keyline borders and some slightly overlapping images.  
 
We thought this design turned out beautifully and we hope you agree! Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this design: 






To see the design in full, click through the slideshow below: 
 
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Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Styled (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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New York Country Club Wedding Album Design for Jennifer Larsen

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

Every wedding day and every wedding album is unique. As a result -- what we get to do for a living NEVER gets old.  
 
New Jersey-based Jennifer Larsen loves to start her albums with a spread of two individual timeless portraits of the bride and groom. How incredible is that? We love how this album design turned out and are so excited to share it with you today! 
 
Jen is incredibly talented and we have had the pleasure of working with her for four years now. She is also one of our amazing Client Advocates! She was so kind to send us images of this finished album printed by Miller's Professional Imaging.  
 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads:






Click through the slideshow below to see the design in full: 
 
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Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Stunning Mountain Wedding Album Design for Cassie Madden Photography

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

Wyoming-based photographer Cassie Madden blows us away with her talent for capturing the most picturesque mountain weddings. We always get so excited when we see a new order come in from her! And she is one of the kindest souls to boot! 
 
We have had the pleasure of working with Cassie and her beautiful images for over 5 years now and she also serves as one of our super-helpful Client Advocates! 
 
Cassie was so kind to send us images of this finished album that was printed by Miller's Professional Imaging. Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this stunning mountain wedding! 






To see the design in full, click through the slideshow: 
 
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Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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New Rebranded Sample Album Design for Jessie Silva

Album Designs

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based photographer Jessie Silva recently decided to re-brand her business to reach a higher-end client. During her rebrand, she decided she needed to not only create a new sample album that would better represent her updated brand, but that she needed to change-up her preferences for the style of her album designs to also reflect the new brand and the client she is targeting. 
 
Jessie communicated all this to us on her order form and we ended up LOVING the end result! She printed her 30-spread sample album through Finao as a 12x12 album with the Ice cover and Texas Tea leather and sent us these beautiful images of the finished product!

Here are more of Jessie's thoughts behind the intentional pivot she made not only to her brand, but to her albums: 
 

 
I recently decided to rebrand, as my old brand was a reference to my maiden name - and I've been married for nearly 8 years! After a disappointing bridal show (where I normally had luck before) I realized that I needed to make some major changes.  
 
With my old brand, I absolutely LOVED it when brides chose my album package! No matter how I felt about the images (you know how artists are always so hard on ourselves) I always felt a million times better when I saw them printed in the album!  
 
While my album package was not the most expensive, it WAS the most popular - but it didn't include files, and it confused a lot of people I met with! So for the new brand, I decided to clean things up, put off a more high-end vibe, and take the focus OFF the files and ON to the albums! Now every package includes the files, sure. BUT they ALSO all include an album! It's certainly my end goal for every couple to have this keepsake! 
 
With my old style, my albums came standard with 10 spreads. I'm a terrible salesperson, and never wanted brides to feel they got short-changed, so instead of offering to add on spreads, I just add more images per page. While filling the pages with images looks beautiful in a large 12x12, it doesn't let the images stand alone. So with the rebrand, my goal was to offer a classic but modern look - something that will stand the test of time much better, and put the focus on the gorgeous images!
 

 

So Jessie instructed us to create a sample album with 30 SPREADS and to limit the number of images per spread to right around 4, with the exception of a few spreads here and there. She said, "Basically I want this to look like all the gorgeous spreads you always share on Instagram :)"  
 
DONE! 
 
This is the final result:






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