Southern California Wedding Album Design for Everyday Forever Photography

Album Designs
Ernie & Fiona are a husband/wife photography team out of southern California. We have designed over 50 albums for them in the past three years and it's always a treat to work with them. They do a great job capturing both the location and the fun of a wedding day. You can tell that they have so much fun with their clients -- that definitely shines through in their images!  
This particular design really showcases the Southern California landscape. Here are a few of our favorite spreads:

To see the design in full, click through the slideshow: 
Thank you Ernie & Fiona, for allowing us to work with your beautiful images!
Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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'Tis the season...for stocking up

Black Friday deal from Align Album Design

We couldn't love the holiday season more here at Align, and this year we are ushering in the most wonderful time of the year with a HUGE DEAL for our beloved clients!  
At this point of the year, you are likely finished with your weddings (and portrait photographers are still going strong clear through till Christmas!) but you also have a good sense of how many weddings and shoots you will likely have in 2023. Why not put your business dollars to work by pre-purchasing Align Credit for use toward your future designs at a DEEP discount?  
From Black Friday through December 2nd, log in to your Align account to receive $300 in free Align Credit for every $1,000 you purchase! 
If you purchase $1,000 in Align Credit (good for 7 average-sized* designs), you get $300 free (that's TWO free designs!!) 
If you purchase $2,000 in Align Credit (good for 14 average-sized* designs), you get $600 free (FOUR free designs!!) 
If you purchase $3,000 in Align Credit (good for 21 average-sized* designs), you get $900 free (SIX free designs!!) 
And I'm thinking you get the idea... feel free to purchase as much credit as you need for the coming season. Stock up -- the more you do, the more you save! 
Align Credit never expires, so you can stock up and use it whenever you need it! All deposits and balances due will be automatically deducted from your Align Credit, so that also saves you from having multiple charges on your credit card and from dealing with extra emails throughout each design process. 
To redeem your free bonus credit, follow these steps: 
1 -- Log in to your Align account here (or if you're new to Align, set up a free account) 
2 -- Navigate to your "Account Balance" page. 
3 -- In the "Pay custom amount" field, enter the amount of Align Credit you'd like to purchase in $1,000 increments. 
4 -- Follow the steps to check out. 
5 -- Complete your transaction by the end of the day on Friday, December 2, 2022, and you will receive an additional $300 of credit per $1,000 purchased. 
NOTE: Your free bonus credit will not be instantly appearing in your account after the transaction, but it will be added by Saturday the 3rd at the latest. 
Happy Holidays from all of us here at Align!

*Based on an average album design size of 18 spreads. To determine how long the Align Credit will last YOU, divide the Align Credit dollar amount by 8, and then divide that amount by the number of spreads you typically include in an album. That's approximately how many album designs you will get out of that credit amount.
Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Systematized Solutions: How to Solve Business Problems Wisely

Tips & Tricks

Hey guys! Melissa Jill here! I've recently shared some of my strategies for solving common album workflow problems. But there are sure to be others that you've experienced that I haven't covered. No matter how hard I work on my photography business, problems inevitably arise. Welcome to being a business owner :). But the secret to really succeeding long-term in business is not just found in solving individual problems, but in systematizing solutions to each problem that arises so that you prevent it from happening again. That's how a business becomes more profitable and efficient over time. 
Think for a minute about an issue that you've recently dealt with in your business. Has a client been unhappy about something? Have you been frustrated that someone didn't understand how things worked or didn't get back to you in a timely fashion? Do you have that issue in mind? Good! I'm going to try to help you today to systematize a solution to it so you never have to go through something similar again. 
There's an analogy I like to use to help me explain systematizing a business, and help paint a picture of this effort as an ongoing process. I like to call it The Principle of Plugging Leaks. Let's say for some reason that you are in a dry river bed (just go with me on this). You know the water is coming, and you want to build a dam to help stop the water and protect something valuable to you on the other side. So you gather rocks and debris -- anything you can find around you -- to set up a sturdy dam. When you're done, you step back and admire your work. You look at it from every angle, trying to access where the holes might be. You do your best to build the dam well, but you don't really know how it will hold up until the water comes. You might even feel a little over-confident that it will be impenetrable. "No water is getting through this thing!" But when the water comes gushing through the river bed, you instantly see where the weaknesses are, because little streams of water are coming out the other side. For the most part, the dam holds up, but you are left plugging leaks. Occasionally another leak will crop up and you will need to plug that one, trying to make sure it holds up over time.  
Since this isn't a remarkably sophisticated analogy, you've probably figured out that the dam is the system you build for your business. Plugging the leaks will be an ongoing process -- we will never be completely done solving problems as business owners. But the goal should be to plug each leak or solve each problem by tweaking the system so that that specific issue does not arise again. 
Here are some of the common album-related issues that I myself have experienced and heard are common to other photographers: 
- Waiting forever for clients to pick their images 
- The client doesn't love the initial design and wants too many changes 
- The client wants to cram as many images as possible onto each spread, resulting in a cluttered design. 
- The client makes endless numbers of changes to the initial design. 
- The client is unresponsive and doesn't finalize their album in a timely manner. 
- The client is surprised or frustrated that the photographer designed their album larger than what they ordered and is trying to sell them additional pages. 
- After delivering a larger album design with the option to upgrade, the client doesn't respond quickly and ends up deciding against upgrading. 
If you continue to experience one of these issues, click on it and you will find another article with a solution I have systematized that has effectively solved it and removed this pain point from my workflow. If you don't see your issue above, or if you run into other non-album-related issues in your workflow, try to strategize a way that you can tweak what you do to prevent that same issue from happening again.  
1 -- Could you create a template email that you send out to your client at a certain point in their experience (or a .pdf you share with clients in your initial meeting) to better educate them and help you achieve the optimum result you desire? 
2 -- Could you create some type of incentive or deadline to help move things along and motivate your client? 
3 -- Could you change your contract to make something that a client has misunderstood more explicit so that expectations are better managed?  
Hopefully this gives you some ideas about how to systematize a solution to the specific issue you recently experienced. And next time a problem arises (and we all know it will), rather than beating yourself up or playing the blame game by being frustrated at your client or another vendor, you can use your energy to pre-empt that problem in the future by tweaking your system. 
Thanks for reading today! I hope you found something helpful here! As always -- this is a community and we love to hear from you and share a dialogue in the comments below. Have you had issues you've found creative solutions for? Share a comment so we can all benefit from your amazing wisdom!
If you found this post helpful and would like to receive tips like this straight to your inbox, click here to sign up!
How to solve business problems by creating smart, systematized solutions
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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White Chapel Michigan Wedding Album design for Jean Smith Photography

Album Designs
We don't play favorites, but if we DID, Michigan-based wedding photographer Jean Smith would definitely be on our short-list. We have had the honor of working with her for nearly a decade on 147 album designs and counting and she consistently stuns us with her creative work and eye AGAIN and AGAIN.  
Jean is one of our beloved Client Advocates and if you click here, you can watch a short video of her sharing two mistakes she regrets making when she started her business. She is definitely one to learn from! 
One thing to brag on with this design -- we turned it around for Jean and her clients in 2 DAYS FLAT!! That's from order form submission to delivery of final design files. And there was one round of revisions by the client in there. SUPER FAST!!  
Ok, now on to all the pretty stuff....Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this gorgeous design: 

Click through the slideshow to see the design in full: 
Thank you, Jean, for allowing us to work with your beautiful images!
Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Engagement Album Design for Jennifer Larsen Photography

Album Designs
We can and DO design albums for every type of event imaginable and today we are featuring a darling engagement album that we designed for New Jersey based wedding photographer Jennifer Larsen. This beach engagement shoot looks like it was a whole EXPERIENCE so it is fitting that it justifies it's own album. I can just see the couple flipping through this and reliving the amazing time they had at this beach house! 
For this design, we used our SIMPLE design style which features clean white backgrounds and 1-4 images per spread.  
We LOVE how this design turned out! Jennifer did such a great job capturing the personalities of this couple and those beach shots are so dreamy! 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this fun design:

To see the full design, click through the slideshow: 
Thank you, Jen, for allowing us to work with your beautiful images!
Design by: Shannon (View More) // Design style: Simple (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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