Welcome to Time Out with Tanya, where I’ve put my fast paced graphic design career on hold in favor of adventures in motherhood. I’m capturing every moment on camera and you can come along, if you’d like. Sign up for my weekly email here so you’ll never miss a Time Out.

how to design a photo album in 20 minutes via slrlounge.com

Last year, I decided to start offering high quality lay flat albums to my portrait clients. I ordered a few sample books from Artisan State and my clients loved them. Unfortunately, the price point on these had to be quite high in order to cover my design time, and even so, my profit margin was so slim that they weren’t really worth my time.

how to design an album in 20 minutes via slrlounge.com
At Click Away this summer, SmartAlbums by Pixellu had a booth and I was impressed with their software. In the past I’ve never considered purchasing a photo album design software because, well, I’m a graphic designer and I already spend hundreds of dollars a year on the Adobe Creative Suite, so why would I buy a proprietary album design software????? Now that I’ve given Smart Albums a try, the answer is really clear and that is to save time!

I just downloaded SmartAlbums this morning, watched the 5 minute tutorial and then designed a full album in 20 minutes (and I even checked a few Facebook messages and made my kids lunch during that time, too)! Not kidding. It’s so easy and fast. They have pre-set templates for whatever lab you use so you don’t have to take time to look for specs, create a file in the specified size, print out thumbnails, decide which photos should go on each spread, look around on your hard drive for each file, mess around with different layout options that you have to invent on the spot or pull from a previous design file, look around for the file export and color profile specs for your specific lab, etc.

Here’s a look at my spreads from a recent family session. These were all shot with my Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II lens (My go-to lately. It’s so versatile!). I edit using the SLR Lounge Lightroom Preset System, which is my other time saving secret weapon. Click here to view more details

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So, have you struggled with album design? Is it something you need to streamline? Guess what? You can try SmartAlbums for free for 30 days. Give it a try, and design a photo album in 20 minutes or less!