I've been busy lately with designing and finalizing albums for the class of 2019. This is something I absolutely love to do! I remember being afraid of albums in the beginning of MKP. And now it's something I believe we're known for, which makes my heart happy. You see, one of the things I love most about my business is that it pushes me through my fears. And in this case, among others, I find I had nothing to fear at all. I actually love the very thing I feared!
Anyway, I see so many who are thrilled to get hundreds of images from their photographer. This seems especially true with high school seniors. I see many images shared on social media. And it breaks my heart. Why? Because I fear that's about all that will be done with those images. Oh, maybe they will print out a gift sized print or two, or possibly a few more to share with family.
I mean, so many of the poses and expressions are the same! Why are hundreds upon hundreds images needed?
Well, here at MKP I shoot for the album. It's what the best wedding photographers do, so why not a portrait photographer as well? As I'm working with a client at their session, I try for variety of imagery of course. In the beginning I work to determine the client's best side. Their best smile. Their best "serious look". I do all of this while trying to ensure they're comfortable in front of the camera and while also enjoying a fun experience. It's a lot going through my head at once as I also consider the lighting, my camera settings, the best lens to use, the client's pose, and distractions in the background as well as how the background will be best photographed. Phew - I'm exhausted just typing about it, and I'm sure that isn't everything going through my head as most of it is now second nature.
Back to the subject of this post - albums. Albums are my most loved product we offer! We offer a lot of choices for them, too. The album tells the story of our seniors' sessions (families as well). After we complete the session(s), I cannot wait to finish retouching the images (honestly, probably my least favorite part of what I do). I cannot wait to get to the album designing phase! I love to piece all the images together to form the client's story. How many images are needed for an album? Ours typically contain around 20-30 images, depending on the size of the album. I include closer to 20 images in an 8x8 album so they are not too small to enjoy.
The selection and ordering appointment comes next. This is when the client sees their images, selects their favorites, and puts together their order, all with my guidance and assistance of course. The appointment usually begins with a slideshow video of all of the images. I'd say we usually present around 60-70 images, depending upon the number of sessions and locations. Gasp - not even 100! LOL Moms (and even dads!) sometimes cry....which actually makes me happy. I'm mean like that! LOL But seriously, it means I've done my job well. Next, we typically move to image selection. This is when we go through each image individually and decide if the client likes it or not. Then I show them an album design based upon my favorites and how I see their story.
However, I have found myself at times lately changing things up and going from the slideshow to the album design. I can't wait for them to see it!
Sometimes clients order the design I've put together for them. Sometimes we swap out a few of the images for their favorites as opposed to mine. Sometimes we make changes to the design to accommodate what the client is looking for. And once or twice, we scrapped the whole design and began all over again. Within the last year we invested in new software, which among other things, I use for album design. And I love that it makes it super simple to design WITH the client. We can design an entire album during their selection and ordering appointment!
Now, can you imagine how difficult it would be to design an album if you have hundreds of images to choose from?! Good grief - I can't! I sometimes don't even capture as many images as I hear some photographers are providing to their clients. I shoot with intention, and when I overshoot, *I* have a hard time culling the images (the process of deciding which are "keepers"). I'm a pro; this is what I do. I cannot imagine how overwhelming it must be for a parent to decide from among hundreds of images!! And I'm quite certain they literally can NOT do it, so nothing is done with all those images. It's heartbreaking to think of all the images living no where other than digitally somewhere without being enjoyed.
Within the last six months or so, I realized I wasn't using my camera enough for my own family. We went on vacation in July 2018, and although I took my camera bag, I never opened it and took my camera out! We were in Vermont, a place with such beauty. A place we cannot wait to escape each time we go. We enjoyed completely new experiences...yet I never took out my camera. I used my phone for everything. And I don't think I will ever forget or forgive myself.
So I vowed to begin taking more photos of my own family again.
I had a discount code to try a new album from a lab I don't currently use. It was to expire in October. I couldn't use it for a client because I had no idea what the quality would be like. If only I had visited their booth at SYNC and looked at their products, but I hadn't! So I decided to order an album of my own son, and with the timing, I could give it to him for his birthday or Christmas.
I was so busy with clients I waited until the very last minute for a session with Cody. Ugh! I had been considering a few locations at CHKD for some portraits for him. CHKD is such a huge part of his life as we go there often. I told my husband one weekend we had to go - it was the last minute! Cody wasn't into it. This is a rarity, but of course, because it was last minute, what more could I expect?! We didn't capture enough images. The locations I had chosen were as I expected (I loved them!), but we ran out of light very quickly, and my subject and assistant were not enjoying the experience. :(
I added some images I love from earlier in the year. Images from his first day of school. And BAM - I had an album design!
I think we created some great images. I'm about to have some of them printed and framed. I think they accurately represent who he is. Red is his favorite color, so I added a red gel to one of the flashes, thinking this would excite him. Those images are not my favorite, but he likes them! Unfortunately, it seems I didn't photograph that entire spread of the album. My least favorite in the album, so maybe that's why. LOL This is a 10x10 leather wrapped album (I forgot to photograph the outside too - what is wrong with me?!), and it contains 22 images. I'd say this is about average for our album designs, particularly for 8x8 albums. And the images were all created at just three locations! (We go to so many more locations for our senior clients!)
I do love this album. If we didn't already have two labs we use for albums, I would definitely consider adding this to our offerings. I love the end leaves - the linen texture is perfect for our brand. I also love that we were able to include foil debossing on both the cover and the spine. (Again, sorry I didn't capture this so I could include it.) Neither of our current labs offer this on the spine!
I gave the album to Cody for Christmas, and he absolutely loved it!
It makes me sad to know my son, who is merely a sophomore, has an album so much nicer than many seniors. So please, if you went to a different photographer, I beg you to do something with your senior's images. Technology is changing so quickly. Phones are lost. Hard drives fail.
Get the pixels of your images onto some sort of paper! And consider an album. All of ours are photographic albums. There is a less expensive option available - press printed books. They are not archival. They don't look as nice in my opinion. However, this is better than just letting your images live as pixels electronically somewhere.