Designing and offering an album to all your customers sounds like an overwhelming task, but if done right, it can increase referrals, bookings, and become one of the main revenue streams for your business.
The most important metric that will determine how successful your album offering is, is the time it takes to deliver it to your clients. Khara Plicanic of KaBloom Studios has a fail-proof workflow that includes posting proofs, a slideshow, and an initial album draft within 1 week of the event. This may sound impossible to some, but you can see how she does it in her CreativeLive class on Album Workflow.
One key part of an efficient album design workflow is to not let your clients pick the images for the initial draft. (That doesn’t mean they can’t ask to add images later!) Here’s why:
1. You are the professional storyteller
If you've been in business even for a little while, you've learned how important storytelling is. Most clients are focused on seeing their favorite images and no one is blaming them for that. However, having a random assortment of favorites in an album removes the beauty of storytelling that separates your albums from a poorly designed one.
If you placed two albums side by side—one that tells a story and another that has randomly placed images—most people would say that the storytelling album "looks and feels" better. It also just makes good plain sense.
2. You're in control of choosing the best shots
You downloaded hundreds of images from your card, culled through them in Lightroom, and picked the ones you want to share with your clients. Chances are that not all those images would work together in a layout, or have the uniqueness and the technical execution that define your style. Style, of course, is one of the main reasons your clients chose you as their photographer in the first place.
When you’re in control of choosing the images, you get something you can feel great about presenting to a client, and your clients get a better final product. If you're using Banti to proof the album design to your clients, you can add comments to specific images to "sell" your picks. For example you could say how much you love the way they look in a specific image or how well a series of images work together on a particular spread.
3. You're in better control of turnaround time
This may be the most important reason. If you don't pick the images yourself for the first draft of the album, you have very little control over how quickly your clients will pick them and get back to you. (Anyone who has tried it this way knows this is a problem, dragging the process out for sometimes months or even years.) Even if clients sit down to do it right after you post their image gallery, it’s an overwhelming task to go through hundreds of images and pick favorites. But if you send them a first draft as a starting point, they're much more likely to respond and make adjustments in a reasonable timeframe.
By picking the images for the first draft of the album (instead of letting your clients do it), they’ll end up with a better final product and you’ll have another item off your to-do list faster than you ever thought possible.