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Old November 13th, 2013, 06:39 AM   #16
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Offering loose prints is a nice low cost option. You can get decent pro lab prints for as little as 13p+VAT for a 7"x5" so even 100 prints would only be £15 & would be a lot less than an album. Put them in a nice presentation box for another £5-10 Of course it may be better to offer all the images as prints rather than go through the hassle of getting the bride to choose 100. Alternatively choosing 10 & putting them in cardboard strut mounts as a surprise freebie would only cost a few pounds & would buy a lot of goodwill.
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Old November 13th, 2013, 07:54 AM   #17
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

That's a nice idea too Nigel

The whole idea is to get the bride to think that her presented package is good value for money ...the same concept as a tiny box of 50 x 6x4 prints is viewed as less value than a swanky big gift box with 20 x 5x7 prints or even better in cardboard strut mounts.

Nice for marketing as the bride wants to be able to say "Wow..look what this photographer gives us"

I think this is the one reason why video DVD's in cases are perceived as better value than a tiny USB drive, even though the USB is HD quality. The merits of fancy packaging is used to great effect by most manufacturers ... not a lot of householders would buy products in clear plastic bags !!

A gift box therefore is an essential!!!

Chris
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Old November 13th, 2013, 11:03 AM   #18
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

In the days before clients were comfortable with dealing with digital files I used to offer a prints only package (no album, no files) with the option to purchase the high resolution digital files at extra cost. Clients really didn't "get" the idea of files and you'd see them glaze over during consultations. After the weddings increasing numbers of clients began to understand it and the purchasing of the files instead of extra prints or as well as extra prints became the norm. The going rate was several £hundred. Happy days :- )

But now just about everyone understands files and how to use them. It would be commercial suicide to not offer them in the mainstream market (that is if you are NOT operating in a niche where you present yourself as an artist lovingly editing every image to perfection and offering prints and albums, no files).

For a few months my files package was just that. Files only, no prints. After all why would the clients need my prints when they already have the files? But research showed that clients still appreciated receiving some pro grade prints so I added a loose print entitlement.

Don't be tempted to chase the cheapest price whether its from a lab purporting to be pro or a consumer lab. Thats what your client will be doing. Getting your prints in front of the clients is your big chance to show them how much better a genuine pro print is. Prints from cheap labs will likely not show the shadow and highlight detail at their best, and be inconsistent in colour on repeat orders.

Also don't be tempted to dump hundreds of 6x4's on them. That size is absolutely useless for detail in posed shots plus it smells of you trying to get away with spending as little as you can. Avoid 7x5 unless you like cropping every image from the standard 3:2 aspect ratio. 7.5x5 is good because its big enough to show lots of detail whilst also being small enough to fit in clients shop-bought albums. And they can snip a bit off two sides if it is to go in a 7x5 frame.

10x8 is good for frames obviously but often your 3:2 aspect files won't crop to that 10x8 without loosing essential detail. For those images I put an ivory keyline around a 9x6 then the9x6 onto a black background 10x8. I have written actions to do it in Photoshop:

Image Ref 447-1908-02_csw_9x6on10x8_web ashton lamont photography

I also used to specify how many images clients could have in print in size brackets. But that is unnecessarily messy. Now I just say you can have any size up to and including 10x8.Very few if any clients order the whole lot at 10x8. Some order everything at 9x6 but most order a mix of sizes.

Some clients never get around to using their print entitlement - same with albums, some clients never do it. That has always been the case at all price points in the market. It is critical that you have a cut off date in your contract after which unused entitlements expire without value. I have 6 months or 12 months after the wedding date depending on the product. If you do NOT do this then your accountant would need to bring forward in your annual accounts a potential liability every year until the end of the world. It protects you from supplier price rises and suppliers going bust as well. There is a steady stream of photographers having to scan old negatives and slides because they failed to take this precaution :- )

I would say don't choose the images for loose prints yourself. Its likely that the clients own selection will be dominated by posed stuff regardless of what they told you at the consultation stage; there is no way you can second guess what the clients favourite facial expressions might be. However if doing an album it works best if they just give you a list of their favourites and leave it to you to add others to arrive at the best design.

I would not offer a free photo book. The quality will never compare well with pro-level large loose prints so you miss an opportunity. You also risk causing resentment if it becomes clear that you have not included nearly enough pages and the client has to pay for more.

Also don't undertake to supply every image as a print. The cost will be very significant if you supply as many images as you need to when competing in the mainstream market, and the clients may not even want them.

Again mounts that look nicer than the crap supplied by event photographers printing on the night or for schools are not cheap. Can be around £1.50 per photo and of course the extra weight and therefore the shipping costs can add up.

Finally I wouldn't bother with presentation boxes. If you allow a mix of print sizes you end up needing several types of box. Also the loose prints are soon going to be split up between parents, one-offs for bridesmaids, some in frames, etc.You can get clear plastic document cases at stationers which are around foolscap x 1" and have a business card slot in the cover that work great for a mix of prints and DVD cases all in one. For small orders just use the clear plastic one side white other side "doughnut bags" in sturdy mailing packs.


Pete
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Old November 13th, 2013, 08:50 PM   #19
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Thanks for the info Pete

I agree that sending the bride 6x4's is a cheap route and it will show in the end product.

However I still feel that the nice gift box option does add value to the product. In the OLD days when I was shooting weddings on film I used to supply a white classy album with 5x7's and the brides always seemed to be greatly impressed that it came in a nice white box and the album itself was encased in soft tissue paper ...for them it was like unwrapping a gift and discovering the contents and always went down well.

Does anyone still supply proper wedding albums any more ?? I seen a couple of photogs here with supermarket style albums meant rather for family snap shots so that would simply de-value the end product.

I am planning to upgrade my photography side after the festive season so I can get more combined packages and at the moment it's really only a low budget add-on so it doesn't have a lot of appeal!!
It definitely needs a classy facelift!!!

Chris
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Old November 14th, 2013, 05:17 AM   #20
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Does anyone still supply proper wedding albums any more

Well I do obviously :- ) If you want to bring your photographic side to a new level and if you are pretty sure you will be in that for the long term then it probably would make sense to have a pro-manufacturer agency. But for occasional use, no.

I'd be inclined to have just one agency with a reliable big supplier such as Graphi. Even just one supplier will give you loads of options, far more than you might want to swamp the clients with. Probably go a flushmount / digital / layflat type of album rather than matted as these are a lot more popular. Graphi does a form of matted as well but their version is far to fashionista for my target market. Chris you ought to be able to get an agency with them no problem because of your online business credentials (n.b. they did clamp down a while back and flushed out a pile of wannabees).

Graphi also does its own software. Personally I don't like it, too limiting for the designs i supply and too inclined towards special effects. If you design flushmount albums in Photoshop you would be able to use your designs with any manufacturer just by dragging the spreads into their ordering software (so long as the aspect ratios are roughly the same or you've allowed for a little cropping).

Graphi does do a generic sample album. I think you have to purchase it. Its a start. Be careful they don't try to railroad you into the new matted stuff :- ) Its a niche.

Its worth spending quality time on Lynda dot com to get up to speed with Photoshop. For album design pay particular attention to layers, free transform, smart objects, and smart filters, as these will enable you to make lots of non-destructive amendments quickly and easily. You can drag and drop images straight from Bridge into your Photoshop spreads and each layer will take its name from that image - very handy.

The mailing boxes I sometimes use are the Snopake DocBox 35:

Snopake DocBox Box File Polypropylene with Push Lock 35mm Spine A4 Clear Ref 12861: Amazon.co.uk: Office Products

They are very robust and the client is still going to get the sense of occasion of opening a big jiffy with it inside together with its prints and videos etc.

Pete
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Old November 14th, 2013, 08:10 AM   #21
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Hi Pete

Whew that is classy stuff ..I'd hate to have to ask the price of their products but I would expect it to be out of reach of budget brides here who expect photos and an album for around $1000 or even less.

It certainly is the ultimate end product if you get a bride with a decent budget ..My niece, back in 2008, paid the photgs $2500 for their time (I think it was from 1pm to 7pm) and then her album and prints were another $2500!! In know that pro level coffee table books here can easily be around the $1200 mark!

Thanks for the great input!

Chris
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Old November 14th, 2013, 10:02 AM   #22
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

I remember long time ago (when I did stills only) researching photograph albums, below are some links from various different countries;
Photo book - print - calendar - canvas - poster | myphotobook.ie
Personalised Photo Gifts & Cards - PhotoBox
An easy to use software to make photo books - Shakespeare Photobooks, Calendars & Cards
Home - ALDI Photo Service
MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking Software and Scrapbook Kits
Self Publishing, Book Printing and Publishing Online - Lulu
Photo Book - FOTO.com Ireland
Wedding Photo Albums. Wedding Books | Blurb Bookstore
Graphistudio | USA
AsukaBook Book of the Month Photo Book Designs | AsukaBook USA
WHCC - White House Custom Colour - Books & Albums
SharedInk | Professional Photo Books
KISS - Books
Sim Imaging | Capture. Click. Create!
Bellissimo Albums & Books - Loxley Colour
Finao Online - Home
Queensberry Wedding Albums - Wedding & Fine Photo Books

I'm registered with Queensberry very high quality stuff but out of reach for a lot of people. They have their own layout software so you can integrate it with Photoshop or InDesign etc.

I sometimes do my own printing but i charge a lot for it because it's pretty spendy and it'd be only for A3 size and limited amounts.

I dont encourage people to get albums immediately as the cost can be prohibitive and theres not a huge margin to be got from them given the layout and design time you have to invest. Most stills jobs i do these days the clients mostly want the high res files on DVD so they can choose what to print or indeed make their own photobooks.
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Old November 15th, 2013, 06:37 AM   #23
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Chris, Graphi is surprisingly affordable but its still not going to sit well with the budget brides.

The likes of Queensberry are rather more expensive. I had a sense of humour failure with them because I seemed to be their guinea pig when they were bringing in their own design software and I kept finding all sorts of issues they weren't aware of (since solved). They over promised and under delivered at that point. And the costs rose even higher if they did the full print and bind rather than despatch the album for you to assemble with your own prints (which Jorgensen also do as an option).

Rob's list indirectly highlights some of the potential issues. One is exchange rate changes. Once it was fairly cheap to source in the USA so Fineo and Kiss for example were reasonable value. Not so much now. SharedInk was a classier press-printed book than those available in the high street and a cheaper alternative to the likes of Graphi. They were great for the right client but now the've gone out of business.

Oh I meant to add on the subject of loose prints: if you have no prints included in your digital files package you are unlikely to get print orders. But if you have a print entitlement quite a few clients will purchase extra prints when they place their main order. Having a print entitlement is of course also a great indicator of what sort of images the clients really like compared to what they say they will like at the booking stage; that may influence you in selecting your style for video :- )

Pete
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