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

Massachusetts Winter Wedding Album Design for Michelle Eaton Photography

Album Designs
Fun Fact: New Hampshire fine art wedding photographer Michelle Eaton has been shooting weddings for 15 years now and WE have had the pleasure of working with Michelle for 7 of those years. Also, we just learned that Michelle only went full-time in photography 3 years ago! So cool! What an incredible career so far! 
Today we get to show-off a favorite design we put together for Michelle and her clients recently. The photography for this early winter wedding is gorgeous and what is even MORE impressive is that Michelle shot this wedding when she was 9 month pregnant! Huge props for that!  
Michelle works hard to get to know her clients ahead of time and set them at ease while she is photographing them, and it shows. Her clients look so relaxed and entirely themselves in all of her photos. 
This design was approved with only one round of revisions in under a month's time and it was such a pleasure to be a part of getting this stunning album into the hands of Michelle's clients so quickly! 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this beautiful design:

To see the design in full, click through the slideshow: 
Thank you, Michelle, for trusting us to be a part of your team!
Design by: Kari (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill

Whimsical Farm Wedding Album Design for Ann-Marie VanTassell Photography

Album Designs
Today's featured album design is a fun one! This large outdoor wedding set in a scenic spot with a red barn in the background looks like it was such a special event! Washington DC based wedding photographer Ann-Marie VanTassell captured SO many emotional moments and gorgeous portraits throughout this multiple-day event. 
When Ann-Marie placed this design order, she mentioned wanting to incorporate some of the images from the couple's rehearsal dinner in the album. There are no hard and fast rules for doing this, but typically as an album design company, we dedicate anywhere from 2-5 spreads in the design to the rehearsal dinner at the beginning of the album and then transition into the wedding day after that. This particular design ended up being 29 spreads total with 4 spreads dedicated to the rehearsal dinner. You can click through the full design at the bottom of this post to see how seamlessly the design transitions between the two events. 
We absolutely ADORE how this design came together. Here are a few of our favorite spreads:

To see the design in full, click through the slideshow: 
Thank you, Ann-Marie, for trusting us to be a part of your team!
Design by: Shannon (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill

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 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

North Idaho Senior Portrait Album Design for Looyenga Photography

Album Designs
About 95% of the albums we design here at Align are wedding albums. But occasionally we get to design engagement shoot albums, family portrait albums, boudoir albums, bar or bat mitzvah albums and today we want to share with you a favorite senior portrait album that we recently designed for Idaho based photographer Looyenga Photography!  
We have had the pleasure of working on over 150 album designs with Brent over the last 8 years. He is a fabulous human to work with and also takes stunning photos that really show off the location every time. Brent shared this with us about Shelby's shoot and the subsequent album process: 
Shelby contacted me because she was coming into my area and wanted her senior photos in a place that was wildly different from where she lived. After talking through locations, we ended up settling on a small state park that has an incredible dock, mountains, forest and fall colors. We ended up with a beautiful day, and while it was freezing (mid 20's, if I remember correctly) Shelby was a champ. It went smoothly, was a lot of fun, and ended up turning out really well. I had a blast with her, and I was very excited to see how the album came together. Align took some of my favorites, but also used a lot of the photos that I hadn't set aside (because I asked them to) to fill in the holes I wouldn't know were there. The album features such a great flow, and Shelby told me that she absolutely loves it! 
This was such a fun one to work on! Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this exceptional design. Notice what a great job Brent did taking a variety of images and poses in each location, allowing each spread to be cohesive yet super-interesting:

To see the design in full, click through the slideshow: 
Thank you, Brent, for trusting us to be a part of your team!
Design by: Denise (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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