Today’s guest post comes from Shauna O’Brien (Mooney as of this coming weekend- congrats Shauna!), who is a photography album designer. She offers tips, references, and options to consider when designing photo albums for your clients (or when outsourcing them).
Editing is a huge part of the process that can be painful for some folks. Changes to the album design can be done through a series of emails, through the phone or Skype sessions, in person at your studio, or the best option I have found so far: Album Exposure. This great program not only gives you a classy and simple way to share your albums with clients, but they can also easily add their comments directly on each spread. It isn’t confusing– it looks just like a book (thus negating the whole “single page” versus “left-right spread” issue) and you aren’t toggling between email, album preview, and editing software to do your editing.
Another part of editing is photo choices. Some photographers will ask the Bride and Groom to choose “all the photos they want included” which can be overwhelming. They love all of their wedding pictures, and have no clue that 547 pictures can’t be squished into a 10-spread book! A designer can take care of this, by pre-designing a book with their expert skills in selecting images. When I design wedding albums, I try to create a book that tells the story through events and emotion, as opposed to showcasing too many portrait images. There is also a matter of balance–include a little bit from each part of the day: Preparations, the ceremony, portrait sessions, the reception with all of the toasts, tosses, and dances. The goal is to artfully place a few pictures per spread (usually more than 5 starts to look too “busy”), suggest when certain images may be better served as framed 5×7’s (posed pics with mom and dad) and assure them that they are making a great investment to showcase their memories, especially if they have to purchase more pages than they originally intended (to fit all 547 pictures in).
Portrait books can be a little more difficult, because there isn’t a storyline to thread throughout the book. Your goal is to minimize repetition. For instance, a senior album should have a good range of different poses and outfits– choose a few of each, rather than an unbalanced collection of 32 “red shirt” pictures and only 4 of the blue. Additionally, you should take style into consideration- ie. what Photoshop actions you are running, what graphics (if any) you are incorporating, the depth of your layers, and the framing of smaller images. Consider your style, as you want your studio’s albums to match the vibe of the images they are presenting. Consider your client’s style, because they are the ones paying the big bucks for the book. And then consider the classic style, because let’s face it, they’re going to have this book forever, and they don’t want it to appear dated (I’m looking at you, bride and groom in a brandy snifter).
About: Shauna is a graduate of The Savannah College of Art and Design, lives by the beach in Los Angeles, and has been working on albums nationwide for a few years now. She is currently deciding whether or not to take on the grueling task of designing an album for her own upcoming wedding. To contact Shauna, email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
above album layouts © Shauna O’Brien