6 Tips to Streamlining Album Design and Sales for Profit

July 23, 2015

By Laura Brauer

In their latest webinar, ShootDotEdit and WPPI jump into the world of album design to explore and dissect the process for photographers. Creating an album, long considered a valued and timeless heirloom, has often been a burden for photographers. Here, Phoenix-based photographer and owner of Align Album Design, Melissa Jill, shares six tips for streamlining your album sales and workflow for success.

Photos © Melissa Jill

1. Provide Simple Options
Start by making album choices as simple as possible for your clients. Present them with one or two options to choose from at most. Even though album companies offer countless cover and paper options, you don’t need to offer them all. In fact, doing so will likely overwhelm your client and become an obstacle to the sale. They ideally want to point to what they love between the options you provide, and check one more thing off their endless to-do list. 

2. Show Sample Albums
The power of a studio sample album is something that is underestimated by photographers. If you want to effectively sell an album, you need to show them one. I remember the first client meeting for which I created a sample album that cost me $1,000. It was really scary because I didn’t know if anyone would buy an album I marked up to $3,000. I nervously placed the album in the bride’s hands, explained how unique and special it was, and she ended up purchasing it. She didn’t come to my studio that day expecting to increase her budget, but she did because I showed her something she could not live without. That’s the power of a studio sample album.

3. Outsource Your Album Design
For most businesses, I recommend outsourcing the album design portion of your workflow—especially those that do not have employees dedicated to design. The DIY software solutions for album design out there might allow you to create an initial design quickly, but it’s the revisions that are typically the huge hang-up in the workflow. It will best serve your clients if you have an outsourcing service that can make their revisions and get back to them in a timely fashion, keeping them thrilled with your brand and eager to refer you.

4. Pre-Design Your Albums
If you ask your clients to pick out the images for their album, you are asking too much of them. In your initial client meeting, be transparent and let your clients know that you will create an initial album design for them right after their wedding. They will be able to view the design online and switch out images as needed so that it is perfect for them before the order is placed. Remind your clients that you do this as a service to them, as it is easier to switch out images in an existing design than it is to pick the images from scratch with hundreds of options. Your clients will be thrilled that you are doing the heavy lifting, and you will no longer have lengthy delays in your album production workflow.

5. Up-Sell For a Higher Profit 
Since it is hard for clients to know exactly how many images they will want in their album before they see them, I intentionally design my albums a little larger than what they ordered (which I let my clients know in our initial meeting). As a result, many clients end up increasing their album size because they love all of their images! It is important to let them know that there is no obligation to order additional pages. Educating your clients upfront will help them feel like they are not being forced to make an additional purchase, but are simply being provided with options.

6. Create Deadlines to Keep a Fast Workflow
Your client’s wedding day is one of the most important of their lives. Their emotions will be strongest in the days immediately following the event, so it is important for you to provide images during this time. It is less likely that they will want to make many changes to their album design if they see it right away because they will form an emotional attachment to it. For this reason, I provide the album design even before I give them access to the online gallery! In addition, create appealing offers that motivate your clients to complete the album process within the first few months after the wedding. When you offer incentives and set deadlines, it ensures that you are not waiting for them to finalize the album, and they get to share their first family heirloom with their family and friends sooner than later, while the excitement is still high.