Phew, the wedding’s done and now you’re looking ahead to buying a wedding album! A beautiful tangible wedding album will hold all your treasured memories and have pride of place in your home. Still on the fence? Check out this article from Martha Weddings.
Well, wedding albums have definitely moved on since the days of the ringbound album with the clear plastic sheet you’d lift to stick your 4 X 6s into (totes showing my age now)! The options I offer for wedding albums and books are sleek, timeless but modern, and designed with minimalism in mind.
The album design and production process step by step
When you have your wedding photographed by Zoe Larkin Photography, I offer Fine Art Heirloom Albums, which will blow you away with their elegant style, enduring quality and true craftsmanship.
Get in touch for more information about the albums themselves and to view the samples yourselves in my studio.
I offer a full-service process from guiding your through image choices, to design, to delivery to your door. We will collaborate every step of the way to make sure you receive the album of your dreams, with no surprises.
1. You make some initial album choices
The process begins when you view my album samples! If you can’t make it to my studio, you can still get a good feel for the albums by viewing my detailed guide which you’ll receive online.
I’ll also keep track of the choices you were drawn to and will confirm these with you in the contract when you’re ready to go ahead.
There are a good amount of options, but it’s not overwhelming. I have a modest, tailored selection of tasteful leathers and linens. Think about coordinating your colors with your home. I also have custom photo covers and cover debossing.
Cover text? You’ll need to tell me exactly what you’d like it to read.
Other requests can be accommodated even if you don’t see the options presented, but I do try to keep things as simple as possible.
2. You pay the deposit and the design process begins!
Once you’d like to move ahead, I’ll prepare your album contract which locks in the options you select.
Unlike your wedding photography contract, the album design & production contract only needs to be signed by one of you, so let me know who the point person is.
When you return that contract, you’ll also pay the first payment of 50% online afterwards via an invoice link I’ll send. Then the design can begin!
3. Choose the images for your album
Once I know the album you’d like and how many spreads you are thinking, I can tell you how many images will fit.
Albums come with 20 spreads (40 pages) as standard, with more available at a reasonable rate that decreases per page the more you order.
As a general rule of thumb, I like to design with an average of 2 or 3 images per spread.
A larger 12 X 12 album allows for more images because they won’t get lost on the large page. An 8 X 8 album only looks good with a maximum of 4 per spread. Some spreads will have just one panoramic image – PS this looks awesome, BTW.
It’s best not to crowd every spread, and to allow your design to breathe, with some white space too. When it comes to design, less is more.
I design with simplicity and boldness in mind, much like my photographic style.
How many images to choose?
So for a 20 spread (40 page) album: I suggest the following as a guideline for how many images to select:
8 X 8 album: 50 images
10 X 10 album: 65 images
12 X 12 album: 80 images
How do I choose my images?
You pick the images you’d like to be included in your wedding album design! (if you don’t have the time, keep scrolling for info on my “trust me” album.
On your online gallery hit the ‘favorite’ (heart) button at the top when the photo in question is enlarged on the screen.
The system will prompt you to enter your email address, as only one email address is linked to each ‘favorite’ list. Then, it will ask you which list, so click ‘For my Album’!
The ‘For my album’ list will be added when you decide you’d like an album. This can only be tied to one email address so let me know which partner’s email address to link to.
You can favorite and un-favorite, as you please until you’re happy with your selections. Feel free to revisit another day and your selects will be saved.
How do I let the photographer know I’m done with my selections?
This is pretty simple, but I’ve included a step-by-step guide here. From your main gallery page, see where the ‘heart’ icon has a little green notification.
See that little heart notification? Hit that button, and a different view will pop up. Then, you’ll see the screen below with different icons in the top right corner.
Once you’ve hit the ‘send to photographer button, you can add a customized message or just hit ‘send’ at the bottom right.
4. Collaborate on the design process
I’ll get to work once I have your album choices and photo selects.
As I’ve mentioned, I see the process of designing your album as a collaborative one. With some smart web-based album software, you’ll be able to quickly and easily proof your design online.
You’ll flick through the virtual pages as if you were holding the album in your hands.
Using the ‘request changes’ feature on the online proofing system, you can let me know anything you’d like to change. Both ‘request changes’ and ‘approve design’ are located in the bottom right corner of the software.
5. Approve the design!
When all is good, you would approve the album design online. This is an important step, as I’ll need formal proof that you are definitely done with making your changes.
This is done by hitting the ‘approve design’ button on the online proofer.
Once you finalize your design but before we go to print is when the second payment is due. You can also simply pay everything on the first invoice.
Note: companion albums (also called parent albums) must be an exact replica of the main album, and ordered at the same time in order to qualify the discount. However, the cover can be different. Discount applies to whichever is the cheapest. If ordering 2 (or more) companion albums, the cheapest two will both receive the discount.
So, that’s really it concerning the process of ordering your book! I also had a few FAQ’s to address – the questions I get a lot!
How long does it take?
There are two parts to this question – how long does the design take and how long does delivery take?
Firstly, the design piece really depends on how many rounds of revisions we go through.
If you approve the first design I send, then it’s really going to be a very quick process! But each round of tweaks takes time to implement, email, wait for feedback etc. Currently, I do all the design work myself.
I would advise to start the album process when you know you’re going to have some time available to collaborate on the process.
Allow up to 2 weeks (during my busiest times) for me get my initial design to you. After that, the tweaks should take far less time.
Up to 2 rounds of revision are included, extra rounds can be added on and will be added to the invoice for your final payment.
Allow a week to 10 days for your album to get to you once you have approved the final design.
I like to inspect the album and also photograph it so I can use that for my content marketing. If you need your album ASAP I can have it sent directly to you, though this means I won’t get a chance to check it over first.
If the album is being delivered anywhere outside the United States, please allow me time to provide you with a custom quote. Or, it would work out more cost-effective to have it delivered to you and then send it on yourself. This way you can also include some personal notes and trinkets.
Will all my selected photos appear in the finished album?
Sometimes I do make small substitutions from the selections you’ve made. If you’ve selected two images that are near-duplicates I may remove one. If you’ve selected two images of ‘details’, and I think three would work better on a spread, I’ll pick another one.
If there is something missing, I may likewise go ahead and select what I feel would create a more well-rounded selection.
Basically, this is not something you should worry about too much. I am used to culling and curating images and figuring out what works best. I’ve spent years honing it. It’s not a skill I expect my clients to possess! If you are OK with leaving the exact choice to me as a creative professional, that’s part of the service I offer in creating kick-ass wedding albums.
What if I just don’t have time to pick out my favorite pictures for the album?
I do offer another service in which may be of interest to clients who, with the best will in the world, just don’t have the time to devote. It’s called a “trust me” album. Allow me to explain how it works!
I’ll select the photos and design the album for you. That’s right, there’s no selections to be made. You can also skip the online proofing if you don’t have the time to devote to it.
The “trust me” album, has a couple of benefits, mainly that it saves you the time and effort of making your image selections. I’ll simply do it for you! As there isn’t so much of a back-and-forth between us, I can get it done quicker. You’ll get a lovely surprise when the finished album is delivered to your door.
As I say, I can either send the album to print and you’ll get the hard copy delivered to you. Or if you want a little more say but don’t have time to select the images (which is quite a difficult job!) you can proof the design online. You can substitute pictures in or out, as you wish.
If you are interested in this option please mention the “trust me” album in an email.
When should I order my album?
You can order your album whenever you like, but honestly, during my busy season of shooting/editing (May – November) design will be slower than during off-season.
The best time and fastest time for me to design albums is February – April.
If you are planning to gift an album for example for a holiday, anniversary or special occasion, I urge you to allow plenty of time – ideally at least 6 weeks! During my busy wedding and editing months, album design has to take a back seat. I can still get to it but it will take longer.
Can I order my album years after the wedding?
Yes! My prices do change over time as the cost of doing business increases.
I keep all my delivered photo files, so if I’m still in business, I can design your album! : )
The album guide that you received has prices that are valid for the calendar year you receive it. Any price increases kick in on January 1. So you’ll pay more if it’s designed way, way after the wedding.
Please note: Once I take a deposit, the album production must be within 2 years or else the deposit (which covers my time on the design process) is forfeited.
Can you incorporate photographs that you didn’t take?
I’m afraid not. The album is a bespoke piece of art for which I’ve been commissioned and which bears my name.
For this reason, I only use my own images that I and my second photographer shot with your album in mind.
There are many consumer album labs, including Google’s, that will auto-design some nice-looking books that could supplement the album I’ll create for you.
I can include photos from engagements or any other shoots I shot for you, but not the work of other photographers whether amateur or professionally shot.
Albums are I believe the most compelling way of displaying your images because they tell a story, which lends itself well to my photographic style.
The intimacy and interactivity of flipping through pages is really special.
This article is meant to provide an overview as to what’s involved before you make your decision. Have you already received Zoe Larkin Photography’s album pricing guide?
To get more info, or if you’re ready to view samples with a view to buying a wedding album, please get in touch!