My Love Hate Relationship With Albums

Glamour Photographers in Michigan

We all have things we put off because we know it’s going to take some time and research.  My nemesis has been albums.  I’ve never been a portrait photographer so i’ve never had to look into albums.  I’ve gone to the big shows and it seems like most of the booths are albums.  It’s overwhelming to me.

I’ve had a bit of help lately and still find it daunting.  From my perspective the albums seem really expensive. I know they take a lot of work and for an album to last a lifetime it has to be high quality, quality costs money.   I’ve done minimal research and everyone seems to like a different album company.

I’m looking into marketing  more glamour and would like to shoot with an eye towards albums.  I’ve looked into KISS and Finaos’.   For a small page fee I’ve heard certain album companies offer soup to nuts, sounds good to me.  I find the whole process so overwhelming I’ve done nothing.

I have my clients print their contact sheets at Costco and was there the other day and saw they have printed books/albums.  Yes, your clients can make their albums at Costco.  Most pros would be bothered by this but it doesn’t phase me, in fact I’m going to order one or two as  studio knock around albums.  While someone is in hair and makeup I’ll hand them one.

I spent this evening on Costco’s website to check out their navigation and templets.  My thought process is they have to break down the task to it’s most basic form because it’s amateurs using the service.  I have to say for the price the albums seem nice (nice, as in adequate).  I mentioned they looked brand new and I imagined a ton of people had looked at them.  Yes, and they had been dropped a ton too… humm

If you have kids it would make a great, “what did I do  on my summer vacation” book.  Hey, they’re $20.  At that price I could print them as leave behinds.

I’m dipping my toe into the shallow end.  I’d love to hear about some simple elegant albums to look into.  Ideas anyone?

4 comments category: Photographing models

1 Viktor August 26, 2010 at 11:33 am

The books or albums that are the nicest the ones that are printed on photography paper and binded together and there is a thick paper between the photo paper that makes the pages not to bend. They may have photo paper as cover or can be in a hard cover and maybe an insert photo on the front. Depends on the maker. I am on the other side of the pound, so I can not offer advice on what company to use, but I have found DG Photo Art to be the best software to design albums in. I have checked many other softares but this one offer all the features that needed for a pro layout design. A big vote for them!


2 Mary DuPrie August 21, 2010 at 12:44 pm

ohh la la
thanks for all the info
yes, i’m talking books i guess…
i’m not using any templets, doing a full page thing designing my own pages, they’re actually turning out pretty good…i’ll do a post on them
i’ve actally learned quite a bit in a short amount of time about layouts
glad i started the process


3 Aurora Vanderbosch August 21, 2010 at 12:46 am

Perhaps I’m getting confused–but it seems to me as if you’re speaking of both albums and press books in this post–while to me, they’re two very distinctive things…

In general, I think that albums have lessened in popularity a great deal, although high end wedding photographers are still selling them. Even they are reporting a fall-off in sales, however. Which isn’t to say they’re good or bad–just that what people want has a lot to do with what’s available–and with books being available now, many people prefer that.

Press books, on the other hand, are something I see a lot of portrait photographers talking about, and pushing, although they admit that people aren’t buying them much, either–they just pick them up, and admire them, then don’t order them. For me, I think they’re great to have around the studio, and I always carry a paperback copy of one of them with me to show an unexpected prospect, but since I focus more on selling large wall portraits, don’t really enjoy doing design work, and don’t like using standard templates, I don’t put much effort into the books–for the most part.

For boudoir sessions, though, I think they’re perfect! My focus is on offering a boudoir session with a book–and not really trying to sell any prints, other than that. A book gives the client an excuse to show off the sexy shots of herself to her girlfriends–“Look at my cool book!” vs “Look at how awesome I look!”

Others must be thinking the same thing, because not only do all the labs offer books (at good prices–I use Millers, but lots of other labs offer much the same, for the same prices) in various sizes, but there are GAZILLIONS of templates for standard lab books out there now–ranging from clean and contemporary, to grungey to romantic–and everything in between. And yeah, I can think of at least one boudoir design right off the top of my head–black and grey background with some sort of damask style design, with ribbon “lacing” here and there–very “corset-y”.

(Book quality, btw, come in various flavors…ranging from lower end press books which don’t lay entirely flat–I prefer them in softback, rather than hardback–up to much nicer hardback covers, and lay-flat bindings, with photographic paper. Quality of prints depends on where you get them done, and what type of paper is used. I really like a semi-gloss paper, over a linen–more color depth, contrast and detail–but some like metallics and linen or a matter paper.)

Nice templates range in price from quite reasonable, to ridiculously expensive…and most can be customized with your own signature style–you’re just not allowed to resell the design (you can sell the BOOK, just not the modified design).

Or you can just download a blank template from a lab, and make your own. You can purchase lovely papers and textures from scrapbooking sites, and then use them to make your own backgrounds…or you can just photograph interesting textures and backgrounds of your own, and fiddle with them in PS, then drop your images in.

I’m most definitely NOT a graphic designer, but I did my own sample book last fall, from scratch, and used it with a piece of trial software to make an online book to show a friend–it’s still up, if you’d like to see it to get some ideas…

(It’s not really your style, but it might give you some ideas…and sorry–since it wasn’t created to be shown online, it’s not optimized for web viewing–and it takes a minute or two to load. If you see a white page–it hasn’t finished loading. All pages have colored, textured backgrounds, including the front and back.)

Of course, if you’re actually only thinking of albums, then that’s probably not helpful at all. I don’t do weddings–so I don’t do albums, either…and can’t think of any circumstances that I would use them. (I can, however, send you lots of sites with templates for photographers–much nicer than what you’d find from someplace like Costco–if you’re looking for something like that. :))


4 David T. August 20, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Gen and I use Renaissance because we love all the options, the quality is top-notch and they have great customer service. But they are quite expensive which is the only drawback. I’ve seen the Costco albums and I see your point about them but I believe your work should be better presented with a quality album.

Look into Asuka Books as another option. They’re more affordable and the albums are nice. On a cheaper level, you can investigate Blurb books. If you want to chat more about albums, give me a call. =)


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