5 Minute Trick to Ensure Faster Album Finalization

Tips & Tricks
Align Legacy Book

Ok photographer friends -- let's get real. This is a safe place. Our clients don't read this blog. So let's hash it out. What is the longest you've gone between a wedding and placing the album order? Months? Years? 
 
If you've been reading this blog for very long, you know that I am not only the Founder of Align, I'm a retired wedding photographer as well. And friend -- I'VE BEEN THERE! Boy, have I ever! 
 
I shot weddings for 16 years, and I've got some stories :). In 2007 I shot a wedding for a sweet couple. He was in the military, she looked like Barbie. The wedding was great and everything went smoothly. But I had a hard time getting ahold of them after the wedding. They had included an album in their package, and by then I was pre-designing. So I sent them a link to the design like I normally do with instructions for revising and approving it. Nothing. No email response. I followed up. Still nothing. Six months went by, I called to leave a voicemail since email was unproductive. The bride's voicemail box was full. A year later I FINALLY received an email from the bride letting me know they'd had some medical issues in the family but that she was committed to finalizing the album in the next week. That's the last time I've heard from her.  
 
It's been 14 years.  
 
This sweet couple never received their wedding album and I'm sad about that. Sometimes life gets crazy and getting back to your photographer after the wedding gets pushed lower and lower on the priority list. If that couple were to come back to me today I would be obligated to produce a wedding album for them. At the time I had nothing in my contract pertaining to this type of situation. But I've learned my lesson. Let's say that couple did come back to me in 2021 and asked me to produce their album. My costs have gone up since then. My album company has raised their prices many times over since 2007. But that wouldn't matter. I would need to fulfill my end of our agreement without any additional charges to cover my costs. 
 
So I'm guessing I have you all beat with this story. But I know it's all too common for photographers to wait on clients for months and even years to be given the thumbs up to order their album. I have one stellar tip for you that will take you 5 minutes to implement and you won't run into this issue ever again. It is a two-step process: 
 
1 -- Add a clause to your contract with these words (feel free to copy and paste -- this is exactly what is in my contract): 
"The client is responsible for finalizing their album design no later than 6 months after their wedding. After 6 months, if the album design is not finalized by the client, the base price of the album will increase by $500. If after one year the album design is not finalized, the base price of the album will increase by another $500." 
 
2 -- Add a task to your calendar to email the client 5 months after the wedding, letting them know they have one month left to finalize their design and referencing this clause.  
 
Done.  
 
The purpose of this clause is not to get more money out of your client. The purpose is to motivate them to finalize their album so you can get it ordered for them in a timely manner. Since I added this clause to my contract years ago I've never once had to charge my client the additional money. But I have had many people go right up to that 6 month deadline. The magical thing is that no one goes over and I have no albums hanging over my head from years past.  
 
It's human nature -- we all operate better with fixed deadlines. Do yourself and your clients a favor -- give them one. Rather than following up endlessly, follow up one time with a deadline that motivates action. Then sit back and experience the freedom and peace of not having album orders hanging endlessly over your head. 
 
 
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5 minute trick to faster album finalization -- no more albums hanging over your head for months and years!
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! 

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Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Chesapeake Bay wedding album design for Hannah Bjorndal

Album Designs
We recently had the chance to work with DC-based wedding photographer Hannah Bjorndal for the first time and we were instantly smitten! Her work is stunning and has such a classic, timeless vibe to it!  
 
Oftentimes after sending an initial design to a client, they respond to the proof with a number of changes (we include up to three rounds of revisions in the price of our designs!) but Hannah AND her clients approved this initial design AS IS -- without one single change! We love it when that happens -- that means we are nailing their vision on the first try! 
 
Mad props to Hannah for capturing this stunning wedding day, telling the story so beautifully, and expertly arranging a 24-person bridal party on a dock -- haha! Serious skills!  
 
Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this design:






Click through the slideshow below to see the design in full: 
 
 
 
Thank you, Hannah, for allowing us to work with your beautiful images!
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Design by: Shannon (View More) // Design style: Classic (View More) // Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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California Winery Wedding Album Design for Jennifer Larsen

Album Designs

Today we get to share these stunning sample albums that we helped create for one of our beloved Client Advocates -- Jennifer Larsen! Jen is a New Jersey based photographer that we have had the pleasure of working with for five years -- and we adore her! Click here to see a video where Jen shares about how she has elevated her client experience through her album workflow! She is a rockstar at delivering superb service to her clients! 
 
Jen shot this gorgeous destination wedding in Temecula, California at the Avensole Winery. The bride was a friend of hers from high school and she KILLED it -- knocking it out of the park for her clients! Jen decided to order a couple sample albums to show off to future clients because she loved this wedding so much. SO SMART! We worked with Jen to design these albums and then she had them printed through Miller's Lab. And THEN she took these amazing photos of them and sent them to us!! AHHH! We love seeing our work in finished form! 
 
Here are some of our favorite spreads from this stunning design:







Click through the slideshow below to see the design in full: 
 
 
 
Thank you Jen 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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Using Incentives & Deadlines to Close the Sale

Tips & Tricks

Hey guys! Melissa Jill -- retired Phoenix-based wedding photographer and owner of Align -- here again to continue my series on efficient and profitable album design and sales. I've talked a lot in this series about up-selling -- offering your clients the option to add spreads to their album after the wedding by showing them an ideal design they won't be able to live without. As I've mentioned in past posts, there is a RIGHT and a WRONG way to do this. This post isn't going to make a lot of sense if you aren't caught up on the other posts where I discussed this concept of up-selling and how to do it well. So make sure you get caught up here before reading on: 
 
WHY UP-SELLING ALBUMS SERVES OUR CLIENTS 
3 TIPS FOR UP-SELLING YOUR ALBUMS THE RIGHT WAY 
HOW TO COVER YOUR ALBUM DESIGN COSTS AND MAKE A BONUS PROFIT! 
 
Once you present an opportunity to your client to upgrade their album, it is wise to entice them with some incentives for choosing to do so in a timely manner. They are sure to love the ideal album design you send them and want the whole thing. But if they put off the decision to upgrade and the initial excitement wears off, it is unlikely they will decide to do so. They will instead, more than likely, find another place to spend their money.  
 
When I send an email to my clients with instructions for how to revise their initial album design, I include information on my incentives and deadlines:

I spell out the costs and the deadlines explicitly in an email so they know exactly what their options are. For example:  
 
"I wanted to give you some info on how to proceed with finalizing your album design. The album you ordered includes 17 spreads. The one I designed you has 30. I did this because you guys had so many great photos and I wanted to show you what your album COULD be. So you can either choose to narrow down the layouts to 17 or upgrade your album by purchasing more layout spreads at $120/spread. If you wanted to purchase the album as it is now, it would cost an additional $1,689.48 (this includes tax). 
 
I would really love for you guys to have the full album I designed for you, so if you place your order for the full 30 spreads within one month (by May 7th) I'll give you 20% off the cost of upgrading (total due would be $1,351.58). If you place your order for the full 30 spreads within 2 months (by June 7th) I'll give you 10% off the cost of upgrading (total due would be $1,520.53)." 
 
These incentives and deadlines encourage clients to make a decision quickly, while their excitement for their wedding is still running high. AND they help speed up the decision making process to keep your album turn-around times short. It's a win-win: savings for your clients, and for you: no more albums hanging indefinitely over your head.
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! 

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Blog post written by: Melissa Jill
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Historic Southern Mansion wedding album design for Audrey Grace Photo

Album Designs

Wedding albums should bring you back to your wedding day. And we want each one to be EXACTLY what your clients want -- down to the placement of each and every photo. We work tirelessly to rework every design until it is perfect! 
 
For this album design featuring a beautiful LARGE wedding that took place in Atlanta shot by the talented Audrey Grace, we started by designing the initial design using Audrey's favorite photos. And that is actually what we recommend all photographers do! Click here to see why pre-designing your albums and NOT waiting on your clients to pick the photos is the way to go! 
 
During the revision rounds, Casey & Reese made image swaps and added images of their favorite people who attended or were in the wedding. It was clear that they wanted to make sure to highlight all of the people they loved in their album! We were able to keep spreads of their portraits more simple and classic but then made sure to add lots of images of their favorite people on other spreads. Even though there are some busy spreads as a result, it's clear that they were specially put together so when they look back through their album, they will get to remember everyone who was there to share their special day! Mission accomplished! 
 
We wanted to thank Audrey for sending us photos of the finished KISS album bound with their Tusk Linen and featuring gold text debossing on the cover. Here are a few of our favorite spreads from this design:






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