Boston & New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe

Boston & North Shore Wedding Photographer creating timeless imagery for classic New England weddings with a fine art approach.

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Album Design

I don't know if this post is for photographers or for my clients! I get asked all the time by photographers and clients how I handle album design. And since it's the season of album design, I wanted to chat about how I go about creating an album for a client from start to finish. Keep in mind this is how I do it and this is what works for me and for my clients but that doesn't mean it's right for everyone!! Find a system that works for your business, streamline it and start implementing it today! 
 
After evaluating the last two years I came to realize that my album design process just wasn't working. Clients were overwhelmed with image selection, they didn't have a streamlined way to express their revisions on designs and they couldn't view those designs in a book layout. This all created some confusion, left designs unapproved for MONTHS and made this photographer stress out.  
 
I had some ideas of HOW I wanted things to change and after consulting with another photographer who was doing album design WELL, I decided to implement some much needed changes for 2013. 2013-01-24_0002.jpgSo here we go, album design from start to finish! 
 
First up, all clients now have access to an album agreement BEFORE the design starts that outlines exactly how things will work, exactly how many revisions they have and aproximately how long the whole process will take. I do my best to make sure that all questions and expectations are communicated before the design begins to eliminate any headaches that could occur down the road. At the end of the day if I haven't communicated all the information to a client, their experience will suffer and I will have created more work than necessary for me! 
 
After the agreement has been read and signed the design process begins! I used to allow clients to pick their images for the first round of designs, but found that they were completely overwhelmed. They couldn't even begin to pick images because they didn't know where to start. And when you're picking through 1,000 images on an online gallery with each image having an emotional connection, how could you NOT be overwhelmed?! Now I start the initial design, picking images that I feel tell the story of their wedding day as well as images that I feel will have significant meaning to the client. Of course there are always revisions to be made after this initial design, but it is MUCH more manageable for the client and photographer! 2013-01-24_0003.jpgAlso changed this year was the way that clients view their album designs. I chose to begin using Album Exposure as the viewing program in which my clients can see all their designs. Before I had been sending them PDF's or putting them into their printing gallery which worked for a while. But ultimately there was no way for a client to express their thoughts to a specific layout in a clear and cohesive way. They also we're not able to see what the design might look like an album layout! Now, with Album Exposure, clients can make comments directly below each spread and see just where the gutter will fall in each of the spreads. PERFECT!! I simply go into Album Exposure, check out their revisions and make the appropriate adjustments! Clear and cohesive. It truly is album perfection!2013-01-24_00011.jpgAfter the initial design, each client gets a round of revisions to make any changes that they would like. And these changes must be made within a specific period of time. This is communicated ahead of the design with each client so that there are no surprises. Giving clients a time frame and a specific number of revisions available help clients to make appropriate decisions quickly and makes the whole process much less overwhelming for them! 
 
After the revisions have been approved, I will send a confirmation email making sure that we are good to go while also getting the client's cover choices. And once I have written approval via email from the client I send the album off to print!! It's that simple! That's the aim of the game for 2013, simplify, simplify, simplify!! 
2013-01-24_0007.jpgFor any photographers who might be reading this you all know what it is to take on album design by yourself! It's a beast of a project and one that I just simply cannot do! I'm not a designer and I don't see layouts and photos and colors and think about how they all work together. But of course I want my clients to have the best when it comes to their albums! So near the inception of my business I decided to work with a designer!! It has been one of the best decisions I have made! I simply upload the images to my designer who then creates beautiful spreads for my client's albums. I'm so grateful to have her on my album design team!! If you're looking for a designer, make sure to check her out below! 
 
Erica of The Summer House 
 
As I mentioned above, this year I started using Album Exposure as a way for my clients to preview and approve their designs. I honestly was hesitant if it would be the right investment for my business. But after having several client albums go through the program, I can confidently say that I'm so glad I started using it!! The ease of use and viewing system make this program completely worth it!  
 
Album Exposure 
 
Finally there is the company that I use exclusively to create my client's wedding albums. By now you should know about my love affair with Madera Books. Two years ago I took a chance on this brand new album company and was quickly impressed with their dedication to helping photographers AND creating BEAUTIFUL albums for their wedding clients. Over the years they have continued to impress me and exceed my expectations. Madera Books allows me to create beautiful, handcrafted albums for my clients, something I'm very proud of! 
 
Madera Books2013-01-24_0006.jpgSo there you have it! If you have any questions about my album design process or any of the companies that I work with to create beautiful wedding albums for my clients, leave your comments and questions below!

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by Deborah Parker