Classy Michigan Wedding Album Design for Jean Smith Photography

Album Designs
If you've been around these parts for very long, you already know that we're HUGE Jean Smith fans. We have designed over 150 albums for the Michigan-based photographer and she is ridiculously talented.  
Jean is also one of our beloved Client Advocates. Click here to watch a short video where Jean shares two mistakes that she regrets making when she started her business. She is such an inspiration to us -- every time we get a new wedding from Jean, we are picking our jaws up off the floor. 
This wedding is another feast for the eyes. The venues -- both the Orthodox church for the ceremony, and the golf club for the reception -- are full of character. And everything about this couples' style oozes class. 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this design:

To see this stunning design in full, click through the slideshow: 
Thank you so much, Jean, 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
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New Service: Cover Finalization!


You spoke and we listened! 
Here's how! 
On our order form, select that you want to print your album through Align (Check out our Align Legacy Books here for more info!):

On the same order form, select our "Hands-off Service": 

And make sure to select "yes" for #5 -- Cover Finalization  
With this combo you get: 
With our NEW Cover Finalization Service (only available for clients who print through us AND use the Hands-off Service), during the proofing stage, the first spread of your design will initially include cover material and font options like this (will appear larger and more readable on the proof):

And we will email your clients instructions to make their selections through the comments. Once selections are communicated, your designer will replace that spread with a mock-up of the cover for client approval. Something like this:

Upon design approval, you will be sent the final mock-up and selections to enter on your print confirmation form. 
With this full-service combo, the only steps you will be responsible for in the entire album workflow are: 
1. Filling out the initial order form (2 minutes) 
2. Filling out the "Print Confirmation Form". We require this step so you can sign-off on the design before it goes to print, enter the cover specs that will be provided by your designer and submit payment for the printed album. (5 minutes) 
Here are your total costs if you go this route: 
Design fee: 
Hands-off service - $25 
Cover finalization - $10 
Printing fee: 
Use the pricing calculator at the bottom of this page to enter your specs and find your printing price. 
Shipping- $25 
To get started and experience the highest level of customized album service available, fill out our order form!
Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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My 2022 Family Yearbook Album

Album Designs, Align Legacy Books

This post is long-overdue since I've had this album in-hand since FEBRUARY, but I'm so excited to share with you my very own family yearbook album! I've been getting one of these to commemorate a year in the life of our family for the last 4 years now and the series of albums that sit on the shelves of our living room is seriously one of my most cherished possessions. Beau, our four year old, often asks to look at the one with "Beau in mama's belly" and we will almost weekly sit down and look through one of them together talking about all of our memories. 
This year I opted to design my own album, which I haven't done in YEARS, but I actually really enjoyed it. These are our press-printed albums that we offer to consumers and they come in various linen cover options. I get a different color each year and this year I opted for the Pebble linen. It has a really pretty texture to it. The majority of images in this album were taken on an iPhone (the best camera is the one you have with you!) and since we do 8x8 albums for these, I like to keep the pages fairly minimal and simple.  
Here are a few of my favorite spreads:

We live in Huntsville, Alabama and have like ONE day of snow each winter. We of course have to drop everything when that happens and have a snow day!

Balloon festival!

Bruce graduated from seminary with his Master's! So proud!

One of two professional sessions we had last year (so I can be in some photos) with Valerie Callan Photography.

Beach trip!

Beau's first college football game!

Christmas in our home with self-timer matching PJ portraits! 
And here is the shelf where our family yearbook albums live! Couldn't love them more!

To see the design in full, click through the slideshow: 
Design by: Melissa Jill (View More) // Design style: Simple (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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How outsourcing helps you make MORE money in your business

Tips & Tricks
A wedding album designed by Align Album Design with photography by Erin Lindsey

photo by Erin Lindsey 
Who wants to make more money in their business?  
Dumb question, right? Who DOESN'T want to increase their profit? 
Hey guys -- Melissa Jill here! I'm a pro wedding photographer myself who also started Align Album Design years ago to help photographers do just this! We all want to make more money without having to necessarily work more hours. But how do you do that when you are just trying to keep up with delivering on the promises you've made to the clients you already have?

So many small business owners I know have a saving-on-costs mentality. They figure if they can do it themselves, they should, because then they increase their profit-margin by not having additional overhead costs. And while there is some merit to being conscious of your costs, I believe this mind-set is not an optimal perspective for a successful entrepreneur who wants to grow their business and make more money.  
Let me share a story from outside the business world by way of example. I have a friend named Kathleen. She is single and owns a home in a beautiful neighborhood with grass and big trees (these are few and far between in Arizona!). She is an elementary teacher, so she works long hours for little pay. She wanted to take on some additional after-hours tutoring jobs to try to make more money, but she struggled to find the time to do so with everything that is on her plate. She works all week long and on the weekend, she has to take care of the house and yard and do all the grocery shopping. She also loves to run, stay in shape, and go out with friends. It seems that there is little wiggle-room and give in her schedule and responsibilities. She doesn't mind doing the yard work -- it's nice to be outside -- but it's hard to keep up with, and she occasionally gets nasty notes from her HOA about how she needs to keep her grass trimmed better. One day she saw a neighbor boy who is in high school mowing a lawn down the street. She knew she didn't really have the additional money to outsource her yard work -- she's an underpaid teacher for goodness sakes -- but she got an idea. She walked down to chat with the boy and offered to pay him minimum wage to do yard work for her every-other-week. With the time she saved on doing the work herself, she picked up some tutoring jobs that pay $50/hour. No more nasty HOA notes AND she has increased her income. Win-win!  
This is a great example of the fundamental concept of how outsourcing can help businesses grow and make more money. So often business owners get stuck thinking that outsourcing is only a good option for people who are rolling in money. But that's not the case. It makes perfect sense for people who are tight on money and time, but who have ideas for how they can increase their profit by spending time working on tasks that will GROW their business. In addition, businesses that outsource to experts with fast turn-around times do a better job keeping their clients happy because they are able to offer a better SERVICE. Kathleen stopped getting nasty HOA letters; you can cut down on disgruntled clients who are waiting much longer than they'd like for their products.  
Outsourcing portions of your workflow that bog down your TO DO list and your time is just a smart business decision, regardless of how much money you have. If you want to grow your business and your bottom line, free yourself up to be an entrepreneur. Use your time to grow your business and implement your ideas, rather than to merely serve your current clients. It's the only way to grow. 
----------> If you have never tried outsourcing your album design, why not give it a try today and see if it does free you up to make more money in your business? 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.

How to leverage your greatest resource -- time -- to increase your business profit
Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Surprise mini engagement album for Christina Joy Photography

Album Designs
DC-based wedding photographer Christina Joy does something incredible -- she gifts all of her clients a surprise 4x4 min album with images from their engagement shoot! Of course they fall in love with it (and her) and then end up EXPERIENCING the power of an album. What an incredible idea for getting more albums into your clients' hands! 
Christina shares: 
Working with Align Album Design streamlines this process for me by consistently creating beautiful album designs. We photographed Emma & James' engagement session at the National Mall in Washington, DC and Kari did such a beautiful job with this design! 
Since she knew this printed album was going to be very small -- only 4x4 -- Kari purposefully kept the design very simple -- employing our SIMPLE design style which only uses 1-4 images per spread.  
Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this fun design:

To see the design in full, click through the slideshow: 
Thank you, Christina, 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
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