DESIGNING THE PRICELESS WEDDING ALBUM

I have received lots of inquiries regarding the numerous elements that go into my client’s finished wedding albums. I’ve been asked questions about design software, printing and bookbinding, so I’ll touch on each of those subjects in this post. Before I get into the nuts and bolts, however, I think a short statement on sales philosophy is in order. For that I will refer you to a previous post on this forum entitled “FIRST AND FOREMOST WE SELL IMAGES“. Read that post right now and then come back to this feature.

OK. You’re back. Great. On to the album design process.

I take the 100-200 (or more) images that my clients have chosen and finish edit each of them in Photoshop. Up until this point I have only done basic editing in Lightroom or Aperture (any necessary color or density correction, vignetting and some black & white or sepia conversions). I present my clients with 600-1,000 previews from their wedding, but only do complete finish editing on the images they purchase for their album.

The finished images are imported into Yervant’s Page Gallery for construction of the basic album page spreads. I tell this software to output the page spreads as layered Photoshop files so I can manipulate them to my liking….making each page unique by rearranging the preset templates, adding phantom background images, graphic design elements and text. I can’t begin to tell you how great this album design software is. Like Photoshop, itself, it is without peer. Be warned, however, that as of this writing Page Gallery will not run within Photoshop CS5. I truly hope that the Yervant camp is working on an update that will work within Photoshop CS5. Until then I have dedicated a separate computer on my studio network solely for the purpose of running Page Gallery under Photoshop CS4. That’s how much I love this program!

All of my clients trust me with total creative freedom of the design of their albums however I don’t go to print or bookbinding until they have viewed the finished design on the Apple 30″ HD Cinema Display in my studio. Once my clients have previewed their album design the Photoshop files are flattened and sent via FTP to master printmaker, Phil Milazzo, for printing. Phil has been doing my album page printing for more than a decade and always delivers on his slogan “Small Lab, Big Results”. Any photographer looking to develop a strong working relationship with a great custom color lab is urged to contact Phil.

After Phil has worked his magic the prints are delivered to the finest bookbinder in the industry, Leather Craftsmen, Inc. I’ve showcased some of Leather Craftsmen’s work in previous posts but feel compelled to do so again now. This latest album that I’m going to showcase is one of their new “T-Stripe” designs created by lead designer Sal Mannino in their New York facility. This particular album features Euro Red and Euro Black leather on both the album and it’s matching slipcase. The 12″ X 12″ album also features a luxurious cork end lining at the beginning and end of the book and custom text imprinting, vertically and horizontally, on both the album and the matching slipcase.

For more than 20 years I have been using Leather Craftsmen exclusively for all my album binding. Their quality and craftsmanship is second to none and their staff provides the finest customer service in the industry. Stay tuned to this blog to see some true custom cover designs I’m collaborating on with Sal and the rest of the crew at Leather Craftsmen.

So what does this album look like on the inside? I thought you would never ask. Here’s a short presentation of the finished album design of 212 images on 66 pages (33 page spreads). Enjoy…

Priceless? To my clients, yes. Expensive? Remember what industry icon, Jerry Ghionis, said: “What is priceless tomorrow has to be expensive today”.

All the best…

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