Creating an awesome wedding album design doesn’t just put a smile on the faces of your clients.
It can also help boost your profile as a photographer and bring you even more of those lovely bookings!
At this time of year, you’re probably right in the middle of finishing the last weddings of the season. And do you know what else that means? Doing even more album designs.
It’s a busy, busy time, right? In fact, it’s just like this quote says:
Learning how to produce epic wedding albums quickly can be super-useful (and also great for boosting profits), so it got me thinking back to the systems I put in place a while ago for doing my albums fast. I also wanted to see what everyone else was doing, so I did a quick survey among wedding photographers on their best practices.
The results were really interesting. Hopefully, some of these photo album design tips will be news to you. And, who knows? They might even help you sharpen up your workflow even more.
Don’t have a workflow yet? Download the free workflow chart to get started today:
Why Design a Wedding Album? Because Albums are Awesome for Your Clients and Bring you Profit!
Let’s get this out of the way first. Sure, all your clients want their digital files to post on their Instagram profiles, but let’s not forget the good ol’ traditional printed photo albums.
“Yes, but doesn’t it take ages to get a wedding photo album printed?” I hear you ask. Well, I’ve got some good news for you. The turnaround time for albums can be a breeze these days, thanks to all the superb tools available for designing these beauties.
Let’s face it, there is nothing more magical for your clients than to see those precious moments from their big day immortalized in print. So, if you want to get started creating the perfect wedding album right now, let’s dive right in!
Go for it and Plan Your Album Workflow
First of all, you need to integrate the whole selling and creation of your album into your workflow. This way, you know exactly what to do for each of your clients and what the desired outcome is.
Have you ever given your clients the option of having a wedding album…and then instantly regretted it when they say yes?
Without the right tools at your disposal, it’s easy to feel burdened by feeling committed to doing something you’re not comfortable with.
Believe me, I used to be exactly like this. After asking my clients this very same question, my heart would sink as I realized I’d added another cumbersome task to my to-do list.
So what’s changed? Put simply, I found the wedding album design inspiration I needed. And it’s all thanks to the awesome software and design packages out there.
These days, I wouldn’t hesitate to add the making of a wedding album to my workflow, and I suggest that you do too. After all, they really put the cherry on top of your business profits. Because of this, it’s a great idea to actively sell them and/or integrate them into the packages you offer to your clients.
Having a workflow in place is where you want to start. Download the free workflow chart here:
Get the Right Tools To Create a Perfect Wedding Album
There are lots of tools available now that make creating/designing albums a dream. Here are some the best:
- Design tool: Back in the days, everyone worked with Adobe Indesign. And that still works great but it offers a gazillion features you don’t need for wedding albums.
- Wedding Album Design + proofing tool: SmartAlbums, Fundy or a tool that comes with the album company like the one from Kiss books.
- Proofing tool: Albumdraft, AlbumParrot, Banti Album Proofing, AlbumExposure, bulletproofs
I bought SmartAlbums when they just came out with their first version and found it really brought the joy back into album designing. It’s fast, fun and super-simple to use. In fact, it enables you to create a professional finished design for your wedding album in as little as 30-45 minutes! On my travels, I hear lots of people raving about it and also about Fundy.
Through conducting my survey, I found a lot of photographers were able to create their albums (including back and forth emails, proofing and doing revisions with clients etc.) in just four to seven hours on average with either SmartAlbums or Fundy!
Choose Your Album Company Carefully
Let’s face it, who doesn’t feel a little overwhelmed with the sheer amount of choices of albums available from just one album company? It’s a bewildering range of options that can soon have your head spinning.
And, take note dear reader, because this will be even more overwhelming for your clients. They’re completely new to this, so they simply won’t know which is better – flush mount albums or coffee table photo books, satin or matte paper, real or fake leather for the cover…or, should we have square or portrait albums and what about an aluminum cover?
In other words, I’m just saying the curse of knowledge is so evident here. So, to keep things nice and simple, you need to educate your clients. But only on what they really need to know.
Educating your clients starts early. Before the photo shoot, you can already send them some images of the products and albums you offer. With a workflow in place, you know exactly when to send that. Download the free workflow chart below or check out ShootZilla if you want to have your workflow automated.
With this in mind, choose one or two album companies that really fit your brand. Then, create a branded album sales package with a couple of easy choices for your clients.
Personally, I’ve found it’s much easier to make that kind of important choice at a photographers’ fair, an expo or a seminar.
Go to any of these events, and you’ll be able to see a whole range of different album companies. After comparing their products, you’ll be able to make a nice selection that you would be happy to offer your clients.
Need more info? Have the sales representative tell you all about the different kinds of paper, sizes and covers available. Here’s the clever bit: Record their sales patter on your phone so you can add all those storytelling little details to your album sales package later.
This way, you can demonstrate to your client that you know what you are talking about. You’ll also be able to get them sold on your choice of an album!
Minimize Turnaround Time due to Waiting on Client Feedback
Clients are super-busy and usually on their honeymoon right after the wedding. So, in order to maximize the ‘wow’ factor with a quick turnaround time for your first designs, why not create the first design based on your taste and storytelling expertise?
Once you’ve done this, your client can make any revisions they want to (one or two, depending on how you set that up). And the good news? This doesn’t usually take very long to do.
Which images should you include in your wedding album design? Here’s a tip: Don’t ask your clients. If you give them the choice of selecting the images to go in your album, you’ll be in for a long wait. For one thing, you probably won’t be able to start until after their honeymoon! And, this will make it more difficult for you to design the album in your unique storytelling style.
Now, at this stage, you might be saying: “Yes, but they probably want that image of auntie anyway – even if I don’t want to include it.” True enough, this might happen from time to time.
However, if you come up with your design first, you can wow them with your exceptional design and storytelling skills.
As the expert, you’ll have a much better idea of which images fit together on the spread nicely and how to use white space. Because of this, your clients will probably love your design. They’ll almost certainly think it looks so much better than any random selection of images they could have come up with themselves.
So, save their time and energy (and yours) by making this first selection for them.
Save the order of how you design your album and when you will share it with your clients in your workflow chart or in ShootZilla, so you don’t have to invent the wheel with every client you have!
Keep Your Album Design Simple and Consistent
Here’s another piece of good news for you: Basic design skills can be learned easily. And, if you stick to the design templates included in the album design tools, you can’t really mess up!
However, if you want to stand out from the competition (aka your colleagues), why not consider investing in a course to learn Adobe InDesign and become a ninja at that? Let your creativity flow, just like Jerry Ghionis does. You can check out one of his winning album designs here and you can find more in the winning galleries of the WPPI.
Whatever you do, keep your wedding album design consistent so your clients know what to expect from you.
If you do this, your album designs will have a wonderfully timeless quality. And, more importantly, your client’s grandchildren won’t have to look at outdated trends such as selective coloring, the dreaded clip-art, and even worse…the curse of Comic Sans!
Create a Strong Story in Your Album
If you don’t know how to do this, why not learn from the masters? Take a look at blogs from Fearless photographer Daniel Aguilar. You’ll notice there are no words with his images. That’s because they’re not needed – the images tell the whole story all by themselves.
The photos in the blog are a strong foundation for creating a beautiful wedding album. Why are they so useful? They’ll help you eliminate all the images that aren’t serving a purpose.
Give your Clients Deadlines
As I’ve blogged about before, deadlines are crucial in your business. After all, they help keep you sane!
With this in mind, you don’t want album designs lingering in the back of your head for months on end. Especially if your clients don’t have time to look at them or give you proper feedback.
Trust me, I’m speaking from bitter experience here. Sure, I used to give my clients deadlines…but I never followed up on them. Because of this, my clients were still sitting on their feedback or approval for months. Oh my, how times have changed!
Design your deadlines so they work for you ànd your clients, but most importantly, document them in your contracts, emails and other places where you manage the expectations of your clients. Ready to document your album deadlines? Sign up for ShootZilla or download the workflow chart:
Speaking of deadlines, I just found this incredible piece of advice from Kara Plicanic. I’d incorporate this into my workflow immediately if I was still designing albums for clients:
“Prevent the (feedback/approval) time frame from stretching into six or more months by instituting a fail-safe action: letting clients know that if you don’t hear from them within that time frame, you’ll assume they love the album as much as you do—and will order it, as is.”
Wise words, don’t you reckon? I think this could definitely work, so long as you:
- Inform your clients about this way of working right from your first sales conversation
- Make sure you include it in any relevant follow-up conversations via email. Handy hint: Use email templates in your workflow to make sure you never forget. While you’re at it, why not also check out my very own photography workflow chart?
- Pitch this way of working with your clients as a good thing in your sales conversation. Feel free to use the following example as a template if you like:
“My designs are timeless and modern. Usually, my clients love them immediately, so I will have the first design with you in one or two weeks, without you having to do a thing!”
Get the Finished Album to Them Quickly and Make it a True ‘Brand’ Experience
Just like your preview on Facebook and your blog, your wedding album design also has marketing value. But here’s the thing: The longer after their wedding your clients receive it, the less marketing value it has.
So, make sure you deliver your design quickly to your clients after their wedding and follow up with them for their approval or optional revisions.
Don’t forget to incorporate any extra sending costs in the price of your album, and think about ways to enhance your client’s experience even further. How can you do this? Here’s one idea: After checking the album for any flaws or printing mistakes, you can repackage it with a nice card (or whatever else you can think of) to make unpacking your lovingly-designed wedding album a really luxurious unwrapping experience.
Managing the different steps of your (new) album design workflow can be a breeze if you use a good workflow tool.
Learn more about creating a photography workflow system in this blog. And of course, download the free workflow chart to get started:
That’s it! Let me know if this resonates with the way you work. I’d also love to hear from you if you start using any of these tips!
Simply pop your comments in the box below.