Think photo albums are dead? Think again. They are simply changing from the books of yesteryear that had matted images.
Nowadays, people are used to loading up their images and creating their very own photobooks with just a few clicks of a mouse. And while you may think that if a client can product a photobook, why should you, its ultimatley quality that sets you apart from the average consumer.
People think long term, and use their consumer-driven images to tell a story. You can shorten the story, make it much more detailed … and much more professional.
Start by choosing a photobook printer
In today’s marketplace, photobooks can be created in a variety of ways using a variety of sources. You can order the Apple book from your iPhoto program, or try one of the many other sources out there.
Come up with a theme for your book
If you simply let your customer pick a few favorite images and throw them into a book, the value of the photobook goes down. But if you create a theme before you shoot and develop your photo session around that theme, you can easily create a dynamic storybook from your session. People pay for design as much as they do photography. The more creativity you put into it, the more successful you will be.
If you are new to album design, do a sample with a friend/child/sister. Don’t think photo session; think album design. What can you do to tell a story through a short, one hour/half day photo shoot? It makes you look at your photography slightly different and can really enhance your shooting abilities.
Then put a sample album together. With many programs today, you can put the album together without printing it. Practice. Put together a comprehensive album and evaluate what you would change, where you would add. Strive to develop a large album, not just a few pages. Money from clients comes when you can give them a comprehensive product that stretches beyond what they can achieve on their own. That’s what makes you an artist.
The most important image is on the cover
As you develop photobooks again and again, you will quickly learn what makes a good cover … and what makes a great one. When a client is showing off their photobook, the first impression will be formed by the cover. Make it a great one. Spend the extra time setting it up and creating one that will be perfect for the cover. Don’t be afraid to pick it for your client; that’s what makes you the artist. The only caveat here is to make sure they don’t hate the image; take multiple to make sure they like the expressions and they are comfortable with the look and feel.
Remember, you are the designer
Many photographers miss the step of design and allow their clients to select favorite images before the create the book. Never let them see the images first and try and retrofit the images into a book after they choose. When you become a designer, you think differently. You approach your photo session as a storyteller, not just a photographer. You learn how to build pages and what looks good together. You think storyline and how pages flow. You build on emotion, not just favorite shots.
In today’s world, many clients will be just as excited by having an ebook as well as a photobook. While ebooks can be great additions to your sales, never make them the entire focus. Instead, give them as add-ons to your photobook packages. Nothing is as beautiful as printed images. And nothing will be preserved the way a printed book.