One of the most discussed topics amongst photographers & my photog friends is album workflow and album designing.  It’s one of those things that seem to intimidate the hell out of people just starting their own business or even those who have been in the game for years.

With wedding season underway, I thought I’d take a moment to breakdown my workflow for albums & show you a short(ish) video on how I design albums.
LAURAJASON_SPREAD_14.jpg
LAURAJASON_SPREAD_05.jpg
First of all, we’re in the business of storytelling and THE most effective way to tell a story is through a book or album, right?!  For photographers who struggle with piecing together wedding albums, I would stress to them that you MUST visualize your story while you are shooting… Seems obvious, I suppose, but it’s incredibly easy to get lost in the hustle & bustle of the day and forget about how all of your images are going to work together.  I make it clear to couples that we meet with that we are not the photographer who wants you to have one amazing photo to put on your mantle, we are here to provide you with a kick ass wedding album to display on your coffee table. 
So you’ve got your wedding all edited & pre-visualized how you are going to tell your wedding day story… Now what?  
RenitaJosh_spread_06.jpg
JessieMike_spread_14.jpg
Some people will go ahead & upload these images into a proofing gallery for the client to see.  Perhaps you ask your clients to choose the images for the album.  For us, we want to show our couples their wedding day story first… I feel like scrolling through images in a proofing gallery or even in a blog post is quite possibly the most underwhelming method a couple can experience their day for the first time.
Instead, have your couple experience their wedding album before they see anything else.  If you work out of a studio space, you can make this a special viewing… We don’t work in a studio & we have a lot of out of town clients, so instead we present our couples a slideshow of their album set to lovely music.  I can’t tell you the number of phone calls I get from couples in tears after watching their album for the first time… It’s intense!
TaraRyan_spread_02.jpg
OK so we show them their album first, so yes, this means that we choose all of the images.  Our clients don’t.  Think that might raise an issue?  Here’s what: People are hiring US because we are the professional photographers.  They should trust our vision… If they don’t, perhaps they’re not the right fit for you.  Of course we do allow for couples to make tweaks to their initial designs… we want them to LOVE their album.  
Now on to the designing…
RaquelJason_spread_25.jpg
We do all of our album designs using Adobe InDesign.  It is meant for page layouts… Photoshop is not!  It is super slick, fast & makes album designing super easy!  Even if you don’t like designing albums, I swear you’ll breeze through your albums & have super professional designs!!!  Having the album design completed first also makes blogging super duper quick!  I only blog the images I use in the initial design & I’ve got a handful of collages of details & whatnot already to go… copy them from InDesign & paste into a Photoshop document. CAKE! 
It works seamlessly with Bridge & Photoshop… Nothing is permanent when using InDesign, like it would be in Photoshop.  When I have a client request changes to their album, it literally takes a few minutes for me to send them an update.  They’re always so surprised at how fast I can show them their requested changes!
BrittanyChris_spread_10.jpg
Here’s a little video to get you started with InDesign… I’d highly recommend downloading the trial & seeing what you think… I have no doubts that you’ll spend the few hundred $$ to pick up the full version… This is fairly basic & do not go over everything you can do with this software.  I’m also no expert, this is what I do… I’m sure there are 100 different ways to make albums using this… 
Tip: watch the HD version here to get a better look at the screen: 

InDesign Albums from Mary Wyar on Vimeo.

I’ve got a half dozen of our albums featured @ MaryWyar.com if you’d like to see more of our finished album design.  

If you have more questions, I’m now offering one on one photographer’s consults… More info on that here

Happy album designing!! 🙂