I'm Tori, a portrait and wedding photographer based in central New Jersey. Thank you for visiting my little corner of the internet; I'm so happy you're here. Come check out the full galleries from recent weddings and portrait sessions, behind the scenes, personal posts, helpful tips and more. Please feel free to take a look, and let me know if there is anything special you'd love to see in a future post. I hope to hear from you soon!
From the moment I started my photography business, I knew that I never really wanted to design my own albums. The reason why? I know that I have a difficult time choosing “the best of the best” photos to tell the story of a perfect wedding day and narrowing down photos is definitely not my forte (hence, why my blog posts are 9 miles long LOL!) I just love them ALL so much that I can’t ever choose just a few! On the other hand, I am very passionate about being able to offer quality albums to my clients, so I was absolutely thrilled and grateful when my photography BFF, Jennifer Larsen, introduced me to Align Album Design, which would allow me to offer beautiful heirloom albums with ease from the moment I started my business!
If you DO enjoy designing albums and it doesn’t take you days of back and forth decisions (like the perfect placement for that one photo), then there may not be a need for you to outsource your album designing, which is great!
I, however, didn’t even want to let myself get far enough to figure out if it would potentially take me entire DAYS out of my schedule, so outsourcing album design was always a BIG yes for me.
Align was created by wedding photographer, Melissa Jill, who wanted to meet the “growing need for a fast & affordable album design…for busy photographers” and it freaking does! I love working with the team of designers at Align because they are kind, quick, efficient, talented, and SO easy to work with!
1. I photograph my beautiful couples on their wedding day (or engagement session) and edit their gallery! You have that part down, I’m sure!
2. I fill out a form on Align’s website to submit my request for a new design to be started. It’s super quick, easy, and you can fill in the answers with information from past orders, so if you always keep the same specs for your albums, you can fill it in with just a few clicks!
3. Next, I send my gallery directly from my PASS gallery to Align. They have MANY different resources explaining how to send them your images, but I find it is easiest to simply click a few buttons in my couple’s gallery and send the files directly to my designer! No downloading, zipping files, uploading, etc. How do I decide what to send? I typically send my designer all of the photos that made it into the blog post, plus some extras (~300 images)!
This is the point at which your process may differ from mine though, as I personally am the one who selects the initial images to be sent to Align for the first draft of the album. Some photographers would rather leave choosing the images up to the couple, so they can pick their own favorites, but oftentimes your client may not realize that certain images and details shots are great for setting the scene and telling the story of their day. It’s also entirely possible that your clients may overload the album with just portraits and miss out on showcasing the entire wedding day.
That being said, I have given the reigns to couples to choose their favorites in the past, and although it has worked out, it definitely slows down the process! The KEY to this process is that you’re able to make it QUICK and EFFICIENT for your clients, so giving them hours of homework might not get you that seamless client experience. You may be potentially waiting for days or even weeks for your couple to sit down, go through the full gallery, and pick out 200+ images. This becomes very tedious and I find that it’s much easier for me to choose the initial selection and have my couple revise from there! I do the heavy lifting so they don’t have to!
4. After I send my designer the images for the album, they send back an email confirming my order and its specs. I typically receive the first draft of the album design in 4 business days or less! Like WHAT?! I’ve literally gotten some designs back the NEXT day! It’s honestly so incredible and all I had to do was click a few buttons! #blessed!
5. Once I receive the draft, I pass it along to my couple and let them know the steps for making revisions or comments. Through Align’s system, I am able to share my client’s comments directly with my designer, so they can make any necessary changes without really needing my hand in it. If the designer ends up needing additional images that weren’t send originally, they send me an email to get those, as needed.
Align gives you up to 3 rounds of revisions per album, but in the case that you need more, you have the option to pay for more. In my experience though, we have never needed additional revision rounds.
6. Once my couple approves and finalizes the album design, I can simply download the final layouts! A really nice feature is that you have the option to receive the final designs as .jpgs, layered .psds, or InDesign files in case you need to make any additional tweaks down the line.
7. Now that the design of the album pages is all set, I send a template questionnaire I created to my clients through my CRM (Client Relationship Management System), Honeybook, which asks them for all the details for their album cover color, any text on the front of the album, etc.
8. After I receive that information from my clients, I can send the order in for printing! I personally use Millers Lab for my album printing! It’s as simple as uploading the final JPEG files from Align to Millers’ system and having the order delivered to my house!
If you prefer, Align Album Design offers their own albums that you can order directly through them, which makes it even easier! Check out their Legacy Book for your one-stop-shop for all things albums!! I’ve just used Millers from the start, so I’ve stuck with them, but I know so many people have a great experience with the Legacy Books through Align!
9. Once the album is delivered to my house, I personally check over every page to make sure it was printed perfectly, then repackage it nicely with a sweet handwritten card to my couples and ship it off to its forever home!
Now you can check off “figure out how to make albums for my couples” from your long-term to-do list because everything just got SO much easier! Done and DONE!
Since Melissa, the creator of Align, is a talented wedding photographer herself, her team creates incredibly helpful resources to help photographers navigate how to add in albums to your offerings, and let me tell you, she is SO dang good at what she does! Make sure to check out their blog, snag the Album Start-Up Kit, join their newsletter, and just become a part of the community that is Align Album Design, because I seriously have never once had to stress about albums for my clients from the moment I started my business.
Want to try out Align today?! Head over HERE to start your first design!
Are you curious about how I offer different prints and products to my clients without In-Person Sales?! Check out my blog post here all about it!
A wrap up of all the amazing companies who help make this process possible: