For those just starting their wedding photography business, or even those who’ve been at it a while but have avoided selling albums, there’s good reason to make album sales an integral part of your business model. First, mastering the art of selling and designing wedding photo albums is easier than you might think, and your efforts will reward both your income and your clients’ experience. Photo albums give us an opportunity to showcase our imagery in an ideal format. Furthermore, quality albums add value to packages that clients purchase and give them concrete memories of their most important moments. It’s a win-win for everyone. That said, we’ve put together a basic beginner’s guide to selling wedding photo albums, covering everything from album design to pricing strategies, to help you get started down this worthwhile path.

For the purpose of this guide, we’re going to use Vision Art’s Fine Art Book as it is very customizable, offers premium quality materials at value pricing, and provides solid examples of everything covered in the guide, including access to design software. We previously reviewed Vision Art’s Fine Art Book here. It’s worth noting that Vision Art primarily serves professional photographers. As such, only active professional photographers and album designers can access prices and the order form. Fortunately, the application process is quick and straightforward, and “membership” is free. Be sure to have your website up-to-date and your resale number (or EORI for EU & UK businesses) ready.

Let’s get started.

Beginner’s Guide to Wedding Photo Albums: Overview

  1. Album Sales: Pricing Strategies, Packaging Options, and More
  2. Design Process and Software
  3. Album Style Options
  4. Presenting the Album

Album Sales

vision art samples for guide to selling wedding photo albums

When it comes to album sales, we find a number of important elements to consider, from determining your pricing and packages to understanding your clients’ needs, and more. While we can’t cover this topic exhaustively within this article, we can touch on some basic pointers to help get your started.

#1. Pricing Strategies

As you probably already know, pricing is a strategic balancing act. When determining the pricing for your photo albums, you’ll need to consider a number of factors. We’ll cover some points below and use them to form the basis of our pricing strategy:

  • Costs: Calculate the cost of producing the album, including printing, materials, design, and any additional services like retouching and so on. If you design the layout and retouch the images, you’ll just need to consider the amount of time invested. This will form the foundation for your pricing structure.
  • Profit Margin: After determining your costs, consider your desired profit margin. Don’t forget to account for your time, expertise, and the value you’re providing to clients. You likely have an idea of what you expect to clear in terms of an hourly rate when shooting sessions and events. You can also apply that number here and add it to the costs above to determine a rough starting point for album prices.
  • Market Research: Even if we want to come right out of the gate with sky high prices to boost our revenue, it won’t make much sense if the demand doesn’t warrant high prices. Research the pricing of similar services in your area. This will help you remain competitive while justifying your pricing based on the quality of your work and the unique value you offer.
  • Perceived Value: Remember, an elegantly presented album can command a higher price due to its perceived value. Clients are often willing to pay more for a well-crafted album that tells their story beautifully. So, if you master the presentation and deliver a premium product, you can expect to justify charging premium prices while still delivering great value. One of the best ways to do this is by sharing a variety of sample albums that differ in appearance but consistently provide quality examples of just how well albums capture the experience of the event in the photos.

Packaging Options

The two most common routes we’ll take involve selling bundling albums with photography packages or offering standalone album options. Our goal when designing packaging options is typically to offer flexibility and cater to different clients’ needs. Here are some considerations to keep in mind.

  • Album Inclusion: Consider including a basic album package in your photography services. This encourages clients to opt for an album, as they’re already included in the overall package.
  • Album Upgrades: Provide different album tiers, each with varying features and options. For example, offer albums with different sizes, cover materials, or page counts. This allows clients to choose what suits their preferences and budget.
  • Standalone Option: For clients who didn’t initially purchase an album package, offer the option to buy an album after their event. This can be an effective upselling opportunity.
  • Add-Ons: Offer additional services like parent albums, duplicate copies, or mini albums that clients can add to their main album package.
  • Digital Album Options: In the digital age, consider offering digital album formats for online sharing or as part of a comprehensive package.

By offering a range of thoughtfully designed packages and clearly communicating the value of your albums, you’re more likely to appeal to a wider client base and successfully integrate albums into your photography business.

Design Process and Software

One of the most important parts of adding album sales to your list of services is being able to design a beautiful album that tells your client’s story in a meaningful way. Read through the following tips to help start your design process off on the right foot.

#1. Album Design

design software for guide to selling wedding photo albums

The design of the album layout is crucial. It should tell a cohesive and compelling story that showcases the client’s special moments. You’ll also want to make sure the design is elegant, organized, and visually pleasing. Fortunately, album design software like Albumworks by Fundy, which is free to use when you design and order books through Vision Art, takes a lot of the heavy lifting out of designing photo album layouts. The software includes numerous templates, including an auto-design feature that can populate the album on its own, which you can then customize as needed. Tools like this make coming up with a clean layout a quick and easy task.

#2. Storytelling and Flow

In addition to putting together a clean layout, it’s equally important that we craft a narrative through carefully arranging the photos. One way to do this is to arrange the photos in a way that tells a chronological or thematic story. The flow should make sense in terms of limiting each spread to one scene or theme. For example, for a wedding album, we might see bride prep on the left and groom prep on the right side of the spread, but we wouldn’t see prep on one side and then something like the procession on the right side. It seems rather obvious, but it’s important to pace the story and not try to fit too much into a single spread. Don’t let the urge to include as many images as possible override the benefit of balanced storytelling.

#3. Image Selection and Variety

Selecting a diverse range of images will help the album capture the full essence of the event. For example, including a mix of candid shots, portraits, and details can create a well-rounded album, featuring different moments, emotions, and perspectives. That said, it’s also important to select only the best images and/or the most important moments. The album is as much a showcase for your work as it is a home for your client’s memories.

Bonus: Don’t mix black and white photos with color photos in a single spread. If you opt to include black and white images in a collection of mostly color images, try to choose the black and white images from a particular scene so that you can highlight them together on one spread.

#4. Client Collaboration

client collaboration in guide to selling wedding photo albums

Whenever possible, try to involve the clients in the album creation process. Let clients infuse their unique touch by choosing cover materials, colors, embossing, or adding personal details to the cover. Also, seek their input on image selection (usually before you begin the design) and layout (after the design) to ensure their vision aligns with the final product.

Album Style Options

Now that we have our packages down and our design philosophies somewhat settled, we can focus on the details of crafting the album itself. Professional labs like Vision Art typically offer a lot of customizations and upgrades, even if everything is based on a single book type, like Vision Art’s one and only Fine Art Book. Every Fine Art Book from Vision Art starts with the same core foundation, but the custom design options ensure that every album maintains a style as unique as the subjects featured in it. Let’s explore some of these album style options together.

#1. Quality of Printing and Materials

It’s important to select a printing lab known for its reputation in delivering high-quality prints and durable materials. The album’s visual appeal and longevity depend on top-notch printing methods and resilient materials.

#2. Size and Format

Consider offering a variety of sizes and formats to cater to different preferences. Some clients might prefer a large coffee table book, while others might prefer a smaller, more portable album. The most popular size for a wedding photo album can vary depending on factors such as regional preferences, client demographics, and trends. However, a size of around 10×10 inches or 12×12 inches is commonly considered a standard and popular choice for wedding photo albums. These sizes strike a balance between providing enough space for showcasing the photographs while still being manageable and portable.

Here are a few reasons why these sizes are often favored:

  • Visual Impact: A 10×10 or 12×12 inch album allows for a good-sized display of photos, making it easy to appreciate the details and emotions captured in the images.
  • Balance: These sizes offer a balanced layout, accommodating both single photos and collages of multiple images per page without feeling too crowded.
  • Portability: While larger album sizes can provide a more cinematic feel, they can be less practical to handle and store. The 10×10 and 12×12 inch sizes strike a balance between impact and convenience.
  • Shelf and Display: These sizes fit well on shelves and coffee tables, making it easier for couples to showcase their wedding memories to friends and family.
  • Versatility: The 10×10 and 12×12 inch sizes tend to work well with a variety of photography styles, whether it’s showcasing traditional poses, candid moments, or artistic compositions.

Of course, it’s important to remember that individual preferences can vary, and some clients might opt for larger or smaller sizes based on their personal tastes or specific needs. As a photographer, offering a range of size options and explaining the benefits of each can help clients make an informed decision that best suits their preferences and the style of their wedding photography.

#3. Paper Type and Finish

clean up in guide to selling wedding photo albums
Water-resistant Coated Matte paper from Vision Art

The choice of paper and finish can significantly impact the album’s overall feel. Whether it’s a matte, glossy, or lustre finish, the selection contributes to both the visual appeal and durability of the album. High-quality paper contributes to the album’s durability and visual appeal.

#4. Cover Options

Clients appreciate options, so provide a range of cover layouts (see above) and materials such as leather, fabric, linen, or custom photo covers. Whichever option you choose, the cover should seamlessly align with the album’s aesthetic.

Velvet cover options from Vision Art

#5. Customization

Finally, take advantage of the customization options from professional labs like Vision Art and allow your clients to personalize their albums. This might involve selecting everything from cover materials, colors, and debossing, to adding their names or wedding date to the cover, or any number of possible upgrades. In fact, for your convenience, here’s a broader list of upgrades you can choose from when working with Vision Art:

  • Display Box
  • Mat Boxes
  • Matted Prints
  • Print Boxes
  • Dust Jacket
  • Slipcase
  • Folio
  • Debossing

Presenting the Album

ips meeting for guide for selling wedding photo albums

How the album is presented matters. Clients typically lead busy lives, and there are occasions when the album will need to be shipped directly to their place of residence. The ideal scenario, however, will find them meeting with you for a grand reveal of their precious album. Coming to this final step in the process is cause for celebration. Some photographers choose to crack open champagne while others open with a slide show set to sentimental music before unveiling the album. However you do it, presenting the album in person can enhance the overall experience. It should be one that your clients remember fondly.

Conclusion

I hope you found this beginners guide to wedding photo albums helpful. By meticulously considering these factors and customizing the album experience, photographers can offer a unique and cherished keepsake that encapsulates their skill and commitment. The result? A tangible representation of memories that will be cherished for generations to come.