Downtown Chicago Wedding Album Design for Ann & Kam Photography

Album Designs
Ann & Kam are a husband & wife duo based out of Chicago. We have had the pleasure of designing albums for them since 2013! To date we've designed over 70 albums for their clients. Their background in music and architecture truly influences their photography style. They are amazing at capturing grand venues and art in a truly creative and timeless way!  
 
We always take our clients' design preferences into account when designing for them. And Ann & Kam prefer less white space in their designs. We often use their most epic photos as large focal points throughout the design as well. We love the way this glamorous downtown wedding translated onto the pages of an album! 
 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads:






To see the design in full, click through the slideshow: 
 
 
 
Ann & Kam -- thank you for allowing us to work with your beautiful images!
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Design by: Denise (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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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
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Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Pennsylvania Summer Wedding Album Design for Madeline Isabella

Album Designs
We find so much joy working with our clients' beautiful images! The photos from this week's featured design come from the camera of Pennsylvania based Madeline Isabella and she is truly SO talented! This wedding was special because it was the wedding of her cousin. I think when the photographer has a personal connection with their client, they do some of their best work. And you can see that connection shining through these images! 
 
We have had the pleasure of working with Madeline for a number of years now and featured another one of her stunning designs here. It's an honor to be able to share another one of her designs with you today! 
 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads: 
 






To see the design in full, click through the slideshow: 
 
 
 
Thank you, Madeline, for allowing us to work with your beautiful images!
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Design by: Andrea (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Intimate Beach Wedding album design for Pattengale Photography

Album Designs
Katie & Kevin started off, like all 2020 couples did, with a larger wedding in mind. They booked a live band - the whole shabang! They wanted to be mindful of it being cozy, intimate & elegant with their original 125 guest list. Things changed when, in July, they made the decision to cancel their wedding at their gorgeous California venue and opt for the Collins Cottage at Lido House Hotel. They had already booked the cottage for family to stay in for the wedding weekend and after doing a non-negotiable head count they realized that, with Tara and Stephen of Pattengale Photography as their photographers, their guest count came to 13. If California mandated 10 or less it would be impossible for them to celebrate without regrets. So they put their heads together and that's when they realized that because the cottage is a private rental and more like a "home" they could gather all 11 loved ones + their photographers & planner, because it would not be considered an "event."  
 
Thus the most beautiful intimate wedding was born. 
 
The florist transformed the small balcony into a rooftop garden, placing greenery on ledges and all the corners to provide additional privacy as well as beauty. The groom built a table to go on top of the non-movable marble coffee table that had been placed in the gazebo. That way guests could sit comfortably for a full course dinner served on china that was Katie's grandmother's. Every touch was so personal and made their wedding perfect for them, despite the challenges that the pandemic sent their way. 
 
Tara & Stephen captured this wedding day SO beautifully -- it is some of their best work to date! 
 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this stunning design: 






To see the design in full (highly recommended!) click through the slideshow: 
 
 
 
Tara & Stephen, thank you for allowing us to work with your beautiful images!
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Design by: Denise (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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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 have also been a professional wedding photographer myself for over 18 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.  
 
 
 
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reasons to outsource wedding album design

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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 
 
 
 
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reasons to outsource wedding album design

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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!
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Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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