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Old November 11th, 2013, 02:39 PM   #1
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Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Where do you guys get yours made ?
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Old November 12th, 2013, 12:19 AM   #2
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Hi James

Are you referring to what I would call a "coffee table book" where your images are printed in a bound largish book??

I don't offer them at all ..My combo video/photo packages just have photos on a DVD and the bride then can print at the local discount store or print at a lab onto canvas whichever her budget allows.

Quite a few places here seem to offer an on-line service where you choose the layout (or modify their suggested layout) and choose a cover etc etc ..You then simply upload your images and pay and a couple of weeks later you get your book.

A storybook to me suggests photos just maybe one on a page with printed text or maybe I'm wrong? However I'm pretty sure those could be done online as well and they might even have suggested text or poems you could use.

Chris
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Old November 12th, 2013, 02:20 AM   #3
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Hi Chris

Yes, something like that ... a simple Google search comes up with lots of websites that do storybooks and printed albums but I was just wondering what websites the UK users used or ones that they would recommend.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 03:17 AM   #4
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Depending on the Bride's budget we've used things from (cheap) Blurb, through Apple up to Loxely Colour.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 03:52 AM   #5
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

If you were looking at professional grade albums I would say that its probably not worth your while for the occasional order. You would need to get an agency (most do not deal direct with the public so they would want to satisfy themselves that you are legit etc), plus the wholesale costs alone can easily run into the £hundreds, plus you would need to get competent with a suitable design software, plus designing is a huge time hogg.

Professional albums of the "storybook" genre n.b. printed direct onto the page, open to layflat, are pretty much sewn up in the UK by GraphiStudio and Sim 2000. There are other "and me" manufacturers. You would need some sample albums.

I have this page on my site for clients:

graphi studio wedding albums and photo books flushmount digital magazine coffee table by ashton lamont professional photographers

Consumer grade albums are much cheaper and you can get a decent book for £70 - £90 wholesale. You still need to factor in your design time but most have their own drag and drop software. The market leader at the moment is Albelli:

Photo book ? Make your own photo books and photo albums | Albelli

I've used them occasionally when clients have not wanted the expense of an - as it were - pro album. There are many other companies similar but many of these get slagged off on photo forums for inconsistent quality - particularly colour management. You may want to check out if they can do unbranded versions.

You can see lots of suppliers of photo books and pro albums at two upcoming trade shows:

SWPP:

http://swpp.co.uk/convention/exhibitors.htm

Focus on Imaging:

http://www.focus-on-imaging.co.uk/

Something that soon becomes apparent if you allow clients full input into image selection and design is just how "traditional" most are in their tastes. Everyone thinks that they want edgy fashionista stuff at the consultation stage but the actual selections that materialise once they have had time to digest it all a few weeks or months after the wedding are quite different. This has implications for video editing as well; it is not of course practical at present to give clients much if any input into the final video product. Purveyors of videos of the current time-shifted etc genre may be shocked at just how wide of the mark they are long term.

It may be more practical to offer a loose print entitlement than books or albums.

Pete
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Old November 12th, 2013, 05:01 AM   #6
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Thank you very much Pete.

Your post was just what I needed. I think for this particular client i'll be using one of the Albelli photobooks and add in my commission for designing the layout etc.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 06:51 AM   #7
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

At the SWPP convention last year I found Our Personalised Photo Book Creation Prices: Vanilla Photobooks who are a UK company who produce good quality well priced albums in a fairly limited but decent range of cover options. They don't offer the ludicrously large range that Graphi do (it's bad enough getting the client to choose the photos never mind choosing between the chromium, fur or lurex:-) but what is really important ins that the quality of the images on 440gsm Fuji Photolustre DP2 is superb. A 12"x12" album in faux leather or image wrapped costs well under £100 for 24 sides & for the real 'Wow' factor an image spread across two A3 pages is spectacular & just £225 for 12pages/24 sides. These albums are not that much more than Albelli, Blurb or similar but are 'proper' wedding albums rather than coffee table books on much lighter weight paper.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 06:57 AM   #8
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Thanks Nigel, bookmarked that supplier.

It all depends on the client. I'll see how much they are willing to spend and take it from there.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 08:09 AM   #9
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

For those members starting to offer photographic options and albums please do appreciate that the client is buying what you offer; there is no obligation or expectation from album companies that you will offer every permutation of every product that they have. That would very soon kill you as the clients get analysis paralysis. Just offer the products that you feel will most appeal to your target market and if you have one-off clients who show an interest in off-menu items deal with them individually.

Most photographers do not quote which manufacturer they will use, rather they just waffle on about premium quality. Usually this is because they want to pass off cheaper consumer grade products as professional ones so as to side-step getting approved by pro companies and learning software indepth, plus appear to be better value than their competition as they can offer what is apparently a near identical product cheaper. Never underestimate how much dishonesty there is in the world of "pro" wedding photography.

Other times its because they do not want clients to have any way of finding out wholesale pricing. That is legit in so far as clients are very unlikely to appreciate the time and work involved to designing (rather than using manufacturers canned software and templates).

Again its because album companies come and go with alarming predictability. Many have been set up in the past 3 to 4 years by photographers feeling the pinch in their main business, only to fail. Remember that there is likely to be a long lead time from when the client books you to when they sign off on the finished design. It can easily be 18 - 24 months. That makes you vulnerable to changes in suppliers offerings and even their existence.

The likes of Sim 2000 Graphi and Albelli are well-established and probably are not going to disappear.

Also bear in mind that the trend in album sales is very much downwards - as with loose print sales. Ignore the bull*$"t spouted by album companies and gurus. Many clients now prefer to view the bulk of their images on smartphones and tablets. Again they can easily apply special effects to the digital files should they wish. And many are very familiar with creating their own photobooks from digital files.

So its important to access whether it makes business sense to branch into albums. Will it actually make you a genuine profit? Will it get you clients you would not otherwise have booked?

And you WILL need samples. With albums its very much a case of you sell what you show. You won't get anywhere with a bunch of swatch books and brochures. I'm lucky in that I have had the agencies, the specific software skills, the samples etc for donkeys years; I even pick up a fair bit direct from clients whose own photographers can't offer pro albums. But if I was starting from scratch I'm not sure I'd do it all again.

Pete
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Old November 12th, 2013, 08:58 AM   #10
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Hi Pete

I'm working sorta the opposite to you where I do video as the primary product and then give the client the option to have me as their photographer as well, obviously saving money as they don't have to employ another body as I'm already there!

At the moment I only offer images on DVD to the bride and she can then print out whatever she wants and when she can afford it.

From a purely marketing POV do you find that offering a book in the package sells your product a lot better than just offering a disc only?? Apart from the extra money doing a combined package I do enjoy taking the stills anyway (I was doing wedding photography before video was practical!) and there is nothing better than not having a photog blocking your shot and when it's yourself that doesn't happen of course.

I probably get about one in three brides interested in doing combined packages but I would prefer to have both booked with every shoot ... Do you think with a combined package, offering prints/albums/photobooks would help in persuading brides to book me for both???

Chris
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Old November 12th, 2013, 09:29 AM   #11
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Do you think with a combined package, offering prints/albums/photobooks would help in persuading brides to book me for both???

Thats the great unknown Chris :- ) But with the advent of virtually all photographers including the high res files, of clients preferring viewing on devices rather than as hard copies, and of cheap easy to design photo books, all I can really say is that you won't loose many clients because there aren't many clients in the album camp in the first place. Be careful not to be seduced by stories from some "high end" photographers who claim that albums are thriving; they tend to have a whole infrastructure geared to well-healed brides recommended by high end venues coming into their swish studios and getting the hard sell. They have all the expense of studios, staff, venue commission, expensive advertising in magazines and trendy blogs etc. And they do not release the digital files. In other words very much a niche market.

I would be nervous about not offering a full album service but as I've stressed already its hard to see how it could be worth your while going from a standing start. Remember that the video is in many ways replacing the album, and copies of it replacing parent books, so its not like you are simply yet another photographer who can or cannot do "proper" albums.

Pete
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Old November 12th, 2013, 11:11 AM   #12
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
I probably get about one in three brides interested in doing combined packages but I would prefer to have both booked with every shoot ... Do you think with a combined package, offering prints/albums/photobooks would help in persuading brides to book me for both???
Chris
A couple of years ago we were doing combined packages and found it much easier to find brides for that than video only, in fact probably 50% of our weddings in our final year of doing it were combined. However, around 90% of those that booked combined packages only wanted digital files, not albums.

Those who did want an album fell in to three distinct camps:

1) Those who didn't want us to design an album until they had chosen the shots. I'm still waiting for some of them 2 years later and album prices have gone up in that time. Hmmm…. I'm not chasing them any more.

2) Those for whom we designed an album and they came back relatively quickly with any changes - but you need to allow additional time (and therefor add cost) for this additional time.

3) Those for whom we designed an album and took forever to come back with their choices / changes. we had to chase a couple of them and frankly I didn't think it was worth the extra hassle on the day nor the hassle of the albums afterwards. I'd rather stick with shoot-to-burn if possible because you're 'done' with the wedding so much quicker.

I found that most of them were putting off the album (and the cost of it) until after the wedding because of budget, but how ever much I told them (you can tell 'em as many times as you want) that by doing it that way the album almost NEVER gets done, they think that they will be different. Then the wedding comes and goes and the album is never the most pressing thing to spend their money on. Go figure.

So, does "offering it" help get the bookings? I would say yes, without a shadow of a doubt, but don't expect to actually sell many of them and make sure your prices for albums are realistic taking in to account the extra time to design, get feedback, make changes, re-submit etc, then have the album made, then allow for shipping costs if they aren't local to you.

TBH, albums were a major PITA, much more than I thought they would ever be.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 06:25 PM   #13
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Hi Pete and Dave

Many thanks and interesting that we have two opposite viewpoints here. I can see the issue with brides actually selecting the images they want for their photobook and that could quite easily go on and on too!

It's a pity we can't adopt the "full editorial control" like we do with video where we choose what goes into the edit. Are photographer chosen photobooks or album not feasible any more? If you offer say a 10 page A4 photobook with 10 pages in it for "free" (obviously costed in) with your package then that might allow you to choose images, order and deliver. If the bride later wishes to have a second and more complex book she of course can choose, order and pay for that.

What are you guys giving the bride as an absolute minimum with a basic photo package ... photobook, album/prints, loose prints or just simply just a disc?? When supplying a combined package of video and photo I guess one would need to show "value for money" with both end products

Chris
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Old November 13th, 2013, 03:16 AM   #14
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
If you offer say a 10 page A4 photobook with 10 pages in it for "free" (obviously costed in) with your package then that might allow you to choose images, order and deliver. If the bride later wishes to have a second and more complex book she of course can choose, order and pay for that.
Chris
Yes, that is a different story altogether. I've done that, taken images I liked or thought suitable and given them a photo book (not an album) and they were extremely happy.

When it comes to more expensive albums they seem to want to pick their own.
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Old November 13th, 2013, 05:45 AM   #15
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Re: Wedding Photo Storybooks ?

Thanks Dave

From an edit and marketing point of view that sounds a decent route to take. The bride gets a value for money photo package rather than just one DVD in a case and the wedding is wrapped up quickly with no waiting for the bride at all. If they did want extras then you can still execute an order for them (prepaid of course) and it's a bit extra but I wouldn't encourage it as it sounds a pain with waiting for the bride to select pics.

I definitely want to have all many combined packages as I can next season ..it's harder work for me but no photog hassles!!

Chris
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