If you’re including albums in your packages, instead of album credits, you might be missing out on added profits from each wedding you shoot. It’s important to remember that selling using album credits is not upselling—that method will always fail. Instead, you’re showing your client the possibility of what their album could be, which creates value.
Outside of the obvious, the difference between the two really lies in the way clients respond to the different ways of presenting albums as part of a wedding or session package.
Let’s say you have your most popular package—for most photographers, that’s your midrange package—and it includes 8 hours of wedding day coverage, an engagement session, and a 20-page 10×10 album.
Presented in this way, most brides will take only the album their package includes, limiting you to the overall package price, and nothing more by way of sales after the wedding is done.
If the 20-page 10×10 album is traded out for a $1000 album credit (let’s say that’s the actual value of that book in your price list), many brides will order a much more expensive book—more pages, better covers, or a larger album. Once they see the album proof full of images from their wedding day, telling their story, they’ll start to understand the true value of an album, something that is hard for most brides to really comprehend before their wedding day.
During your initial meeting with your couple, ensure you show them the size and type of album their credit would be worth if they made no changes, additions, or upgrades. Let them know that your plan is to design a big album that they won’t be able to resist. Be as clear as possible—if you’re confused, your customer will be confused. Explain the difference between a page and a 2-page spread. Let them see and feel the options you carry for covers, page thickness, and paper finish. A beautiful album is a tactile experience! Lastly, describe your album design, proofing, and ordering process.
Whether you unveil their design in person or on the web, it’s important that they see it as soon as possible after their wedding and that you capture the most excitement when you show them a completed album design before their gallery. If that design is the first thing they see, it will be the thing they want the most.
Many photographers let their clients choose the images for an album. While this sounds like great customer service, it can actually be a burden for a couple. Put yourself in their shoes: you’ve been planning a wedding for a year, you’ve had an exhausting amount of decisions to make, you’ve just had one of the most emotional and meaningful days of your life, and then your photographer sends you a link to 2,000 photos and asks you to pick your favorite 150. This pressure can result in months—or even years—of delay, because they simply can’t choose. You have an opportunity to lead your customers and save them from a very stressful situation!
Design an 80-100-page draft, featuring your best work. Don’t be afraid to use white space or a few 2-page spreads with a single image. (Check out this beautiful design by photographer KT Merry.) By providing your clients with a design, it’s much easier for them to make edits and slight changes rather than starting with thousands of images and forcing them to narrow it down.
We suggest releasing ONLY the album design first. Since your clients don’t have thousands of other images to look at, they’ll find themselves watching the slideshow of your design over and over. Each time they watch it, they’ll fall more in love with the layout and images you’ve selected. If you’re using the KISSystem, you have the advantage of your customers being able to leave comments right in the slideshow, making it very easy for you to make their changes. When you release the slideshow, make sure your clients know it is only a draft and that they should enjoy it for a few days while the rest of the wedding uploads.
Once you release the rest of the images, work with your couple on tweaking the album to perfection. Attaching a limited-time discount for additional pages will create a sense of urgency and increase your odds of getting approval. If you don’t get the design approved within a month of the wedding, you may never get it approved, as everyone gets back into their daily-life routine. That’s why it’s so important to get that first design to them within a few days, and to use album credits to help sell the best album.