Pages, Sides & Spreads, oh my!

First, let’s get this out of the way.  Album companies have collectively confused what should be a basic concept. In simple terms, as far as I’m concerned, a page would have a page number, and a spread is two facing pages when the album is open. Still confused? Check out this blog post for a ridiculously detailed discussion of the topic, and this pdf cross references what each album company uses for definitions and my definitions.

Do you edit photos?

No. I focus on one thing to keep my life uncluttered. I will do a quick color to b/w conversion for proofing purposes, but you or your editor will have to take care of the final conversion and any other retouching that needs to be done to the album images. If you need an editor, email me and I’ll help you find one!

I shoot mitzvahs/showers/birthday parties/ect. Can you design an album for that?

Sure! Email me your situation, and we’ll discuss it. Generally, events fall in the wedding pricing category, because revisions and image selection are more similar to weddings than portrait sessions.

You say unlimited image selection and unlimited revisions with your Premium Service. Really??

Yes, unlimited is unlimited. It’s also most of my clients’ favorite parts of having me as their album designer. For many photographers, image selection is the most time consuming part of the album process. People think I’m crazy, but I really prefer to see the whole wedding or session. Like a chef prefers a well stocked kitchen rather than a few odds and ends. So if you’re a heavy shooter, don’t fear the culling part. Some of my favorite clients send me thousands of images per wedding.

Revisions are unlimited because everyone is different in how they handle revisions, so I choose to split the difference and call it even. Some photographers give their clients one round of revisions, some let them revise it a dozen times. In the grand scheme of things, it all balances out.

How long will it take?

I work on new albums on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and revisions are completed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If your new order is placed on a Friday, I will work on it on the following Tuesday;  revisions received on a Thursday will be ready on Friday.

How long do I or my client have to approve the album?

I don’t currently have a time limit for approvals. The quicker the better, for sure, so I don’t get backed up with a bunch of revisions from older albums. But, if your client drags their feet for a year or more, that’s fine, it will still be on my system, ready to pick up where we left off.

I’m not a photographer, can you make me an album?

Generally, I do not work with non-photographers. Many professional photographers rely on albums to provide a big chunk of the income that pays their mortgage and puts food on the table, so selling an album to their client is seen as poaching business. And understandably very frowned upon. I prefer not to bite the hand that feeds me. Photographers also keep full copyrights to their images, and using them in a commercial setting, (i.e. you paying me to use them to design an album) usually is a copyright infringement. There are a very few special circumstances where I will provide an album in lieu of your photographer providing it, and we can discuss those over email. But, in most cases, I will direct you back to your photographer.

Is there a sample album discount?

I do not provide sample album discounts, currently. While album companies are able to stamp their albums with a sample mark, I am not, so there’s no good way to avoid giving a sample discount that doesn’t end up being a client album. I’m open to suggestions on changes to this policy, so if you have an idea, I’m all ears 🙂

What types of files do I receive? Can I get layered psd files?

Most clients need only the jpegs, which is what I will send you. If you want to retouch the album images after approval, let me know and I will send you a folder of album images that you can edit then send back to me. If you still prefer to receive layered PSD files, you will need to let me know before the design is started. I do my design work in InDesign, and it’s a pain in the neck to duplicate a design in Photoshop afterwards.

Which companies will you design for?

I can design for any company that you use. I’ve already designed albums for most of the big ones, and I will happily get the specs for a new album company.

I’m new to albums, can you recommend me an album company?

Sure! Tell me what you’re looking for, like cover options, sizes, price range, ect, and I’ll help you find an album company, or companies, that fit what you’re looking for.

What is the minimum number of pages you will design?  The maximum?

If your album company can print it, I can design for it. Whether it’s 10 page albums from WHCC, to 300 page Couture Books (yes, there’s a price break for really long albums, email me and we’ll chat).

Do smaller albums cost less, i.e. 4×4 album vs 12×12?

No, all albums cost the the same to design, regardless of size. Size is meaningless in my digital world! So a 4×4 album will cost the same as an 18×12 album.

Do you predesign? What if my client buys fewer pages than you designed?

Yes, I predesign, and you only pay for the pages that the client approves. So if we design a 50 page album, and the client buys 30 pages, you only pay for 30 pages. Most photographers have a minimum number of pages their clients get, so you should order that number, and I will invoice you for the extra pages, or refund any pages you paid for that your client didn’t buy.

I bought a template from So & So Design, can you use it?

Probably not, sorry 🙁 Most template designers have a commercial use restriction, which I would fall under. However, if you contact your designer and work out an arrangement with them, I am open to using the template. We can discuss those conditions further over email.

How do I get the photos to you?  And how do I get the final design from you?

Magic! No, not really. I use Dropbox, Copy, my FTP server, gallery download (must be high res and allow downloads), or snail mailing hard drives (for those with sucky internet). For finished files, I will send you a link to download the files through Dropbox.

How do I review my album?

I use and recommend Album Exposure for proofing. You will be able to set up a free account, which can be branded with your logo and brand colors. Through some complicated wizardry, my AE account and yours can be linked, so that your clients see the album with your branding, but I can still make changes. AE is great because comments are kept organized, so there’s no forwarding emails from your client to me, and no confusion in the process. Want to know more really detailed info on how the revisions process works? Check out this blog post.

Will my client know about you? Do you communicate with them?

No, your client shouldn’t see anything about me while reviewing their album. Everything your client sees will have your branding. If you want me to communicate with them, I am happy to do so, just put me in touch with them. Promise I won’t tell them any of your dirty secrets.

Do I have to pay for my Album Exposure account?

While free AE accounts have a three album limit, for my repeat clients, I will cover the cost of your AE account, on the house (I get a sweet bulk discount). Perks of being a repeat client! You can upload your own albums to it just as if you paid for it. However, if we don’t work together for a year or so, I will release the account to you, and you will be responsible for paying the bill. Gotta keep expenses under control!

Which photos will you use?

Only what’s necessary. Generally, I try to stick to 1-3 images per page, usually closer to 1-2. I find simple and clean designs to have the most impact. If you have a group of favorite images, or your client has made their own selections, put them in a subfolder or tag them in Bridge/Lightroom and I’ll give them primary consideration.