Photo Album & Wall Art Design In 4 Easy Steps

If one of the goals for your photography business includes increasing sales of photo albums and wall art, then you’ll need a strong understanding of storytelling and design. Fortunately, we have broken down the basics of both skill sets into four simple steps so that you can create albums and wall art that your clients will want to purchase and display in their homes.

The key to designing better photo albums and wall art rests in how you select and organize your photos. Remember these four steps when you select images to design your next album spreads or wall art clusters:

Step 1: One story per piece/spread (not a summary)

More often than not, photographers use a number of backdrops or scenes throughout the course of a photo session to capture images of their subjects. Each scene offers a new setting and a potentially new story. In a photo album, a single scene can be further broken down into several small stories and used to fill multiple spreads; it’s important to note, however, that each spread (two pages, side by side) should be treated as an individual story.

Imagine a photo session took place at the beach, and maybe the couple walked along the beach before standing on the rocks and kissing in front of crashing waves. While it may be tempting to show images representing all of this action on a single spread, we recommend limiting one spread to showcasing the walk along the beach, and another spread to show the couple standing on the rocks and kissing in front of the crashing waves.

If we design our spreads or wall art clusters to include images from multiple scenes, we potentially limit how many spreads or clusters we can sell. Why would somebody want to purchase multiple spreads that tell their story if they can buy one spread or cluster that includes a moment from each scene all in a single spread or cluster? Jumbling images closely together in a single spread is detrimental to the story being told and it limits sales potential.

Design tip: If you plan on presenting clients with wall art designs as well as an album design (which you should be doing whenever possible), don’t simply repeat the designs and layouts in both formats. If the album contains all of the images you’ve highlighted in the wall art design, the client may be less likely to purchase wall art. Some crossover is fine, but try to mix it up.

Step 2: Select the hero shot to build around

Images on a spread should work well together to tell a story, but there should be a clear hero shot that acts as a centerpiece around which the other images will build. Before you can select a hero shot, you must first understand what you’re looking for.

Take the time to learn more about the types of photos your client wants; it will likely be that favorite image that the couple asked for before the session or pinned a similar image of on their moodboard. The hero shot is one that likely encapsulates the mood and feel of the story and showcases the subjects within the scene. If we’re telling the story of a couple taking a romantic or playful stroll along the beach, the hero shot should reflect the mood we’re trying to establish as well as set the scene for the rest of the images.

When selecting a hero shot, ensure that it reveals the subjects with flattering angles. The hero shot should also add to the story and meet the image quality standards you have set for the images you deliver.

Step 3: Each added image adds to the hero/story

Once the hero shot has been selected, each additional image should build around the hero shot to reveal more aspects of the story unfolding in that scene (or in this case, across the spread). Simply put, try to use a variety of focal lengths when choosing these images (close-up, medium angle, or wide angle). This also goes back to step one and limiting the selection of images to those that represent the same time and space as the hero shot. If you photographed a family session, for example, your goal when designing an album spread should not be to include an image from each scene you captured during the session. Instead, choose cohesive images from within a single scene to tell a complete story in a single spread (or wall art cluster).

Step 4: Images are cohesive in look/color

Unless you’re trying to juxtapose images that don’t go together for effect, we recommend selecting images that are cohesive in look and color. In other words, on a single spread, decide whether the images are going to look light and airy, or perhaps dark and dramatic. Placing light and airy images on the same spread as an image that features dramatic flash may isolate the sets of images and disrupt the story. There’s too much of a jump lighting wise between how each image looks.

Choosing images that are cohesive in look and color is more easily done after you’ve post-processed the images with consistency, which you can learn more about in chapter 4.2 of this workshop.

Follow each of these four steps and you should be able to create photo albums and wall art clusters that will sell, which will increase your revenue and make your clients happy and satisfied with the services you’ve provided.

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We designed the S3: Shooting Stories That Sell Workshop to help photographers increase revenue with wall art and album sales, as well as how to use a storytelling framework to create images that clients will want to purchase.

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