Choosing An Album Company

Professional means not doing what the amateur can do.

I visited a “professional” photographer’s website today. She specializes in babies and children.

She photographs and provides the digital files for up to 50 images. Yours to keep.

If you choose, you iphotohave the option of purchasing a memory book that she produces from iPhoto – for an additional fee.

I doubt she sells very many of these. Why would she?

The person has already received a digital file with every image on it. She can very easily head over to iPhoto and design her own album.

I love the iPhoto concept. It’s fun and easy to throw together a quick album for a single event. Many other companies offer a similar product – Shutterfly has something similar, and also sells the kits out of Borders book stores.

Consumers love it. And retailers love it – it’s a way of increasing their profits.

But as a professional, you need to be supplying your customers with things they can’t get anywhere else. Even if they find it online, the company will only work with professionals.

When they see something magical that they can’t get anywhere else, it adds a sense of desire to your product line. And it sets you apart from your competition.

Professional album companies are also in business to help you grow your business. And because of it, many of their websites are designed to help send future clients your way. Many have special sections educating the bride on a professional album, and provide a way to connect the bride with you.

zookbinders

One of my favorite album companies, Zookbinders, has a special section just for brides. They educate them on the quality of professional albums, why hiring a professional is so important, and how to find a professional photographer.

Many companies will also work to get you your sample line. For half off, you can order sample albums to show your client. Clients buy what they see. This is a great way to show them your level of professionalism.

If you want to profit like a professional, you must build your business like a professional.

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We're the co-founders of VirtualPhotographyStudio.com and have been writing on this blog since 2004. We started Virtual as a way to help photographers stretch beyond a part time income, and develop strategies to become a Five Figure Photographer or a Six Figure Photographer. Ultimately its all about lifestyle, and if your goal is to live as a photographer 24/7, we think you should have the knowledge and the tools to do so. Welcome!

  • I tried Zook and on my very first order of their “best” offering I received an album with images that were mis-aligned and the back cover separating right out of the box… no joke here. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and they did repair it, sorta. I got my repaired Zookbook back some 4 weeks later only to see that the problem still existed. The back cover was better but alignment was still an issue and it was sent back yet again. They told me two weeks or sooner I should see it back and looking 100%. 2 1/2 weeks later I emailed and called and finally was told it had not even been touched and I would have to pay for another repair. Mind you, they offer a 30 day guarantee which seems way to short for a company that boasts quality. Horrible customer service and a bad project on all attempts so far. I am still trying to get a refund but they have not done so. I have hundreds of dollars wrapped up in to Zook as well as lost time and absolutely nothing to show for it so beware. Hopefully they’ll refund me. I won’t gamble on them if I am charging a bride top dollar for a ‘top of the line’ album. I saw much less than top line from Zook. From both their products and their customer service.

  • former zook user

    I used Zookbinder up until recently when I was informed and showed their new consumer site. They are selling the same books directly to brides. Why would I want to give business to someone who is competing against me? Why would a bride pay top dollar for a book from me when they can pay the same amount for their digital files and create their own book and reprints. Most would say don’t sell digital files but in today’s market in my area if you don’t you won’t book.

  • Thanks Suzi – I’ll have to look in to this. I agree you want to carry professional albums that a bride can’t get without you.