Album Design for Professional Photographers

10 tips for shooting and editing for the album

Here are 10 tips to keep in your mind while you are shooting as well as afterwards during your workflow.

1. Tell a story

First and foremost you need to remember that shooting for the album means that you are telling a story. This means that you will need to have the story flow and make sense as it’s presented in an album. Images shouldn’t be all random. More than one image should be taken in each location, allowing for a spread to be created of that location. ie: a large image and 2 smaller ones – therefore you’d need at least 3 images for that part of the story.

Portraits by elizabeth&jane photography

2. Shoot landscape for the cover

Shoot a landscape oriented shot of the couple or family for the cover. This shot should ideally have the couple or family framed in the right hand side of the image so you have the option of wrapping the image around the spine to the back. The image does not have to have the subjects looking at the camera – I usually save the couple or family looking at the camera shot for the inside of the book.

Portraits by elizabeth&jane photography

3. Get a 3—5 image sequence shot

Make sure to get at least one 3-5 image sequence shot. These shots work best when some action is happening. Weddings: Bride and groom dancing or twirling etc. Portraits: Kids jumping, playing, running etc.

Portraits by elizabeth&jane photography

4. Establish with a location wide-shot

A wide shot of the location is important for establishing where everything is happening (Wedding: please allow for ceremony AND reception venues, if they are different)

Portraits by elizabeth&jane photography

5. Detail shots lead into different parts

Details shots are a nice way to lead into different parts of the story. Weddings: I like to featured details such as the dress, shoes, rings, bouquet first, then leading into the ceremony it is nice to have details shots of the location, same with the reception. Portraits: you can photograph closeups of the child’s hands, shoes or clothing or even around the family’s home etc.

Portraits by elizabeth&jane photography

6. Individual bride & individual groom

Weddings: At least one individual shot of the bride AND the groom separately (you would be surprised at how many photographers forget to take an individual shot of the groom and yet have about 20 bridals – don’t forget your groomals!). Portraits: an individual shot of each child, as well as at least one shot of the parents together, without the kids – the last time they probably had a shot like that was likely at their wedding!

Portraits by elizabeth&jane photography

7. A fabulous ending shot

An ending shot. Weddings: Usually this is the couple walking away in the evening, the first dance or a night portrait of the couple. Portraits: this is best as a great family shot – ones walking away are fantastic but not necessary.

Portraits by elizabeth&jane photography

8. Conscious editing

Be conscious when editing your images. If you make only one image black and white, and the rest are colour, when putting that image in a design with all colour images, it will look out of place. It’s best to make a few black and white in that series so that there isn’t just one that is a different tone. This also applies to any effects that change the tone of the image – it’s best to keep everything as consistent as possible.

Portraits by elizabeth&jane photography

9. Sequentially order photos

When preparing your files to put them in the album, make sure you have them in the proper sequential order – this is more important for wedding albums than portrait albums. This will save you from headaches later when the bride asks you to move an image to the proper order as to when the event took place. (I have totally had this happen to me and I just about cried because it meant redesigning the spreads!)

Portraits by elizabeth&jane photography

10. Less images make each image stronger

Albums always look better when there are less images rather than more. Cramming 200 images into a 40 page album makes it look very cluttered and would look more streamlined with around 80-100 images.

Portraits by elizabeth&jane photography