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Justin and I have been contemplating doing a post with some of our favorite album design elements for quite some time. We have had a ton of questions asked at our LYON-SHOP classes about album design, so we thought it would be helpful to post a full design and explain a few things that we like to keep in mind when designing an album for a client. Note: the images you are seeing  below are full page spreads (left side to right side...like a magazine, with a small fold down the center of each spread). Also, I've added our watermark for blog purposes only, this isn't included in our final design.

1.We sell and design all of our albums in "spreads", this mean left side to right side (so essentially a spread is actually two pages).

2.We don't do any wording on the cover, the only wording you'll ever see is on the first spread with the client's name and date of wedding...we like to keep it simple! Remember that less is more!

3. For the page layouts, we keep it minimal. Each image should tell it's own story, so we don't like to over crowd the pages with too many images.

4. We don't like to use any drop shadows! We're really going for more of an art-book/high fashion type look. We have a few fashion books we've collected from Dior and Dolce & Gabbana and there's not one drop shadow!

5. We like all of the image lines to match up, look below and you'll see what we mean.

6. When designing the spreads, we try to keep in mind the "story" that each spread is telling and this what is helpful when grouping the images together.

Here is one of our favorite album designs to date! It is an 11x14 album, vertical, with 26 spreads.

lt_album001.jpglt_album002.jpglt_album003.jpglt_album004.jpglt_album005.jpglt_album006.jpglt_album007.jpglt_album008.jpg
lt_album009.jpglt_album010.jpglt_album011.jpglt_album012.jpglt_album013.jpglt_album014.jpglt_album015.jpg
Since there is a fold down the center of each spread, we are VERY cautious to not put faces or anything super important right on that folded line. In this spread below, the center folded line goes right down the left shoulder of the groomsman just four people over from the bride and groom.
lt_album016.jpglt_album017.jpgThis spread makes me happy:)
lt_album018.jpg
lt_album020.jpglt_album021.jpglt_album022.jpglt_album023.jpglt_album024.jpglt_album025.jpgWe always like to end the album with a photo of just the bride and groom, this sort of helps wrap it all up!
lt_album026.jpg
We have to give a quick "high five" to our awesome album company that we do all of our printing and binding through: Renaissance Albums, you really are the best!
35 Comments
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anda said:
thanks so much for sharing! i especially like the part about collecting high fashion books and them not having drop shadows :) i need to tell my clients that from now on!
(03.25.10 12:31 PM)
Mel said:
Simplicity is so refreshing! I so appreciate your willingess to share what makes you guys *you*
(03.25.10 12:33 PM)
Victoria said:
Beautiful! I love it! And this helps me a lot since I'm starting to sell albums with my wedding packages.. Thanks!
(03.25.10 12:33 PM)
Larry Reeves said:
Thanks for sharing this Amelia. It's really cool of you guys to give this kind of insight. Awesome album design, too!
(03.25.10 12:35 PM)
Kellan said:
Question.....do you choose the images or does the client? What do you cap it at? We also avg the same album size/spreads as this example so I am curious who chooses the images and how many you/they chose for an average album. Wonderful layout, love the clean and modern style. Thanks for sharing, always helpful. Blessings
(03.25.10 12:36 PM)
amelialyon said:
Kellan, I actually let my clients choose their own images and I usually have them choose double the amount of spreads they are purchasing. So for example, if they have a 25 spread album they want, then I have them choose about 50 images. If they want more then they need to be open to purchasing more spreads. Hope this helps! If you show them a simple design upfront then they will understand why they only get to choose 50 images rather than 100!
(03.25.10 12:42 PM)
Kellan said:
THANK YOU! Exactly what we needed to know. My husband and I have this debate all the time on who should choose and how many. It's hard for the client to understand sometimes that LESS is definitely MORE! Appreciate the quick response.
(03.25.10 12:47 PM)
Marissa Rodriguez said:
This is great stuff! Thanks so much for sharing!
(03.25.10 01:07 PM)
AmyPunky Photography said:
This is really gorgeous!!! I love this clean and neat look of your albums.
(03.25.10 01:22 PM)
Candace Jeffery said:
Great post! Thank you so much for sharing!
(03.25.10 01:45 PM)
helen said:
I LOVE THIS! you guys are so talented. seeing this album design was definitely inspiring! thanks so much for sharing.
(03.25.10 01:56 PM)
Hannah Lundberg said:
Thank you for this! I am currently in the process of designing my albums and I am going for a very 'fashion book' approach, too so it is awesome to see another (far, far, far more experienced) photographer's approach. Thanks for sharing the love! :)
(03.25.10 02:26 PM)
heather saunders said:
thanks so much for this post! its a great refresher from the Lyon Shop. Excited to do my first book with Rennaissance this week. You guys are the best! Hope everyone is well! xoxo
(03.25.10 02:38 PM)
Becky said:
Thank you so much for posting this! So talented Amelia! This answers a ton of questions for me. Hope you guys are doing great!
(03.25.10 03:15 PM)
Malinda Warder said:
Thank you for sharing!! I check up on your blog at weekly. Love your style. Wondering what program you use to design your layouts. Thanks for all the tips.
(03.25.10 03:22 PM)
Jonathan Connolly said:
Awesome post! Is this who you do all your photo printing through as well? I am looking for some good quality printers to do individual photos in all different sizes. One last question - What kind of finishes on the paper do they offer or which have you found comes out the best?
(03.25.10 05:03 PM)
Dana Goodson said:
I'd love to know what software you're using to design your albums. I hear a lot of people talk about using Photojunction and was wondering if that's what you use? Do you like to use templates are is each album from scratch?
(03.25.10 06:09 PM)
Krystle said:
Love love this session! Amazing work, incredible style! I especially love the first photo! Bravo!
(03.25.10 06:49 PM)
Shari Barnes said:
I would love to know what program you use for your designing also. Thanks! :-) GORGEOUS photography and design!
(03.25.10 07:41 PM)
Mikey said:
Folks, thank you for sharing your insight. Not only does it assist others in need but elevates you in our industry. Keep up the excellent posts. Mikey
(03.25.10 09:04 PM)
alejandra Sura said:
Awesome! Thanks.
(03.25.10 09:46 PM)
Terra Dawn said:
Absolutely gorgeous!!! I LOVE the story!!! :D
(03.25.10 11:58 PM)
Catherine Guidry said:
Yes..these albums are beautiful. Simple and I enjoy the sequencing of your images. Including beginning with a couples image, then details, then the time order. Nice!
(03.26.10 12:10 AM)
Katy Gray said:
Beautiful - thanks so much for sharing!
(03.26.10 09:16 AM)
gus said:
Overall great layout, not sure of mixing color/bw on same page though.
(03.26.10 01:20 PM)
amelialyon said:
Dana, I just used good old Photoshop CS3, BUT there are amazing album softwares out there, I know of some specifically in In Design: http://harrison-studio.com/blog/michigan-wedding-photographer/indesign-album-templates-instructional-videos/ Hope this helps!
(03.26.10 03:18 PM)
amelialyon said:
Jonathan, We do all of our printing through White House Custom Color: http://www.whcc.com/ Renaissance just prints albums, they don't do individual prints. Hope this helps!
(03.26.10 03:20 PM)
sally said:
lovely! very classy & timeless!
(03.27.10 03:50 AM)
connieMchung said:
thanks for sharing amelia! you rock!
(03.28.10 10:56 PM)
Elaine Gates said:
love how clean your albums are, gorgeous!
(03.29.10 03:13 AM)
Hannah said:
Beautifuly clean design can only be carried of with amazingly skilled photography. You have skill in leaps and bounds though, so naturally the end result is stunning. I have to say I love the two shots of the bride laughing as she's being helped into her dress.
(03.29.10 03:30 PM)
mike Larson said:
Love the shots and the album spread! They are super duper! :)
(03.29.10 09:27 PM)
Betsy, La Vida said:
Lovely!!! Thanks for sharing with us all!
(04.01.10 11:23 AM)
Kent West said:
Wow and wow. Perfect timing, I'm about to design my first album. Thanks so much for sharing. It is great when other photographers impart of their genius.
(04.07.10 10:47 AM)
Kent West said:
Suhweet, double sweet. Quick question: So want to make a 10X10 book. I'm trying to make a full spread. My pics aren't 20 inches wide. I'm trying to keep them at 300 dpi. Any thoughts? Many thanks!
(08.12.10 04:09 PM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Album design...the way we like it! . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.amelialyon.net/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/243
*This post is strictly for photographers:)

For those fellow photographers that have had the opportunity to attend one of our LYON-SHOP classes, they can vouch for Justin and I when we claim that we are BIG believers in outsourcing! What is outsourcing?! Outsourcing is the answer to gaining more freedom in your business, more freedom with your family, more freedom for yourself, and freedom in order to keep you sane when you are bringing in more work then you can handle on your own! Outsourcing is the act of sending out tasks to another hired professional to work on so you can have more time to spend elsewhere.

One of the biggest tasks that we outsource is the post processing of our proofed images. Our company of choice is FOTOFAFA, and to say that we love them would be an understatement! Literally, we no longer have to spend countless hours filtering through thousands of images, we no longer have to spend countless hours adjusting contrast and white balance, and we no longer feel guilty taking a day off here and there to spend quality time with our children. In our book, Fotofafa equals freedom! That is one of the reasons for this post, we feel that they deserve a huge pat on the back for giving us our lives back!

When we say "proofed images" we mean that these are the images that our clients get to see online before anything goes to print and then ultimately will go through an artistic edit. For outsourcing, we'll first: go through and choose images that are our favorites for the blog (which we will process and edit ourselves...we still love working on our favorite shots), second: outsource the remaining work to Fotofafa to be filtered through and then proofed (white balance adjusted, contrast added, exposure perfected, etc....), then third: put the proofed images online for our clients to view for the purchase of prints or albums. Simple as that!

If we had one thing to suggest to each and every photographer out there who wants to have more personal time, we would say OUTSOURCE! Fotofafa is set up to process raws, jpegs, and album design.

Here are some before (raw images) and afters (proofed images) we've recently received from Fotofafa:

raw.
fotofafa_001.jpgproofed.
fotofafa_002.jpgraw.
fotofafa_003.jpgproofed.
fotofafa_004.jpgraw.
fotofafa_005.jpgproofed.
fotofafa_006.jpgraw.
fotofafa_007.jpgproofed.
fotofafa_008.jpgraw.
fotofafa_009.jpgproofed.
fotofafa_010.jpgraw (left), proofed (right).
fotofafa_011.jpgFor those of you that are remotely interested in outsourcing some of your workflow, we would highly recommend giving Fotofafa a try! Be sure to ask for Kenny! You can visit their website by clicking here. Also follow them on twitter by clicking here!

Happy Tuesday!
32 Comments
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anda said:
Whoa! Even at the "proof" stage -- those already look so stylized. Did you have to work with Fotofafa a while in order to pin-down this distinct proof look? Or would someone who began working with them today be able to expect a similar outcome? They just look reallllly good for only being proofs -- I am astounded! Other examples from other companies just don't look so artistic at this stage, so I never trusted outsourcing. But THIS might change my mind!
(02.09.10 03:03 PM)
amelialyon said:
Anda, Thats the best part about Fotofafa, they can cater to your specific needs (if you like your images warm or cool, contrasty or not), they can save those preferrences and make your images look how you want them to look. You should check them out!
(02.09.10 03:34 PM)
Alisa Greig said:
very nice! thanks for sharing :)
(02.09.10 03:42 PM)
Jill Brady said:
:) This might just make spending more time with the kid possible. Thank you.
(02.09.10 04:13 PM)
Anna Bonick said:
Amelia, kudos to you for being honest and open about how you run your business, but also for allowing us all to give ourselves a break. I have always sat there and thought to myself, "How do the Lyons DO this time and time again? Have all of those shoots and have every image look so fabulously processed?" I am really considering outsourcing and I feel like this is the answer (I did contact Kenny before!!!). Thank you so much for being so gracious with your workflow!!!
(02.09.10 06:04 PM)
Stacey Malleck said:
Must say, I've never thought of outsourcing. These look fab!
(02.09.10 07:48 PM)
Lyndsey said:
You had mentioned Fotofafa in an earlier post and I checked them out... I'm sold. Hook, line and sinker. Thanks for the great tip!
(02.09.10 08:13 PM)
Sarah Williams said:
Thank you for sharing your talent and "secrets" to your fellow photographers.
(02.09.10 08:14 PM)
Terrance said:
Thanks so much for sharing this! The proofs looks awesome...
(02.10.10 12:18 AM)
Debbie S said:
That's what I have been wanting to see. Before and afters!!! Yes!
(02.10.10 05:52 AM)
Jamie Lapeyrolerie said:
NICE!! I've tried out another company before and was really unimpressed, so I kinda gave up hope on outsourcing post processing. But not anymore!! Thanks for sharing!
(02.10.10 07:51 AM)
mel from whitebox said:
Thanks for this post! This might just save my life!
(02.10.10 07:57 AM)
Millie said:
Thats awesome! My question is, how many images are you giving out to non-wedding shoots. Like the ones featured in this post. Because it almost doesnt seem worth while is you are giving out on like 30 photos or so.
(02.10.10 02:53 PM)
Kat Speyer said:
Thank you for sharing. I've also had mixed experiences and I've been hesitant to give up control again... as much as I want to, I haven't been able to trust as much as I should. I really am inspired to give these guys a shot. Looks like they do a wonderful job.
(02.10.10 03:14 PM)
amelialyon said:
Hey Millie, I actually deliver 120-150 per portrait session and 700-900 per wedding. I normally shoot 500-700 per portrait session and 3,000-ish per wedding. I use Fotofafa for both portrait sessions and wedding because it saves me so much time! It is definitely worth it!
(02.10.10 05:30 PM)
amelialyon said:
Kat, I understand about giving up the control. This is definitely difficult for an artist to do, but for proofing, I feel it is a necessary thing to outsource. The upside of this is that you WILL have more time to spend elsewhere (with your family, or focus that extra time in marketing and getting your name out there, etc). I am so glad that I learned how to give up some control. And rest assured that Fotofafa will listen to your specifics and do their best to apply those preferences to all of the images you send in. Hope this helps!
(02.10.10 05:35 PM)
Peter said:
Great blog, really like the pictures!
(02.11.10 10:06 AM)
david said:
Great tip for outsourcing. I think it's finally getting to the point where it's cost effective, with a high quality.
(02.12.10 01:42 PM)
Paige + Blake said:
Beautiful images (as always), but I don't think I could relinquish that much control... though maybe I should.
(02.12.10 08:36 PM)
hili said:
does that mean that you only process the photos that you blog ? isn't that a problem , if clients expect to get from you the look that they see on the blog ?
(02.17.10 10:40 PM)
amelialyon said:
Hili, I'm always 100% honest and upfront with my clients. The images they get to see online are only "proofs"....contrast added, color corrected, white balance perfected, this is why it is called a "proof". Then I let them know that anything that goes to print (whether it be images in a wedding album, or a large print) will go through the "artistic edit" so it will look like a work of art when it's in their hands. I simply explain that not all 700-900 images from a wedding will ever go to print, so it is pointless to artistically edit all 700-900 images (the same goes for a portrait session), then after I explain this they understand the reason why the proofed images look slightly different than the ones that they see on our blog. I haven't had a complaint yet from any one of my clients because took time to educate them on the process. Hope this helps.
(02.18.10 09:13 AM)
heather said:
I actually recognized a couple of your images from their website while inquiring in the past and thought if Amelia uses them, they must be grand. Thanks for the share!
(02.18.10 09:22 AM)
Casia Fletcher said:
Thanks girl for blogging about this! Huge help...one day when I get busy enough with our portrait sessions I'm totally going in this direction. OUTSOURCE...OUTSOURCE...OUTSOURCE!!! I'd like to have my life back...please!
(02.18.10 04:03 PM)
jenny said:
thank you for the info it's really helpful!
(02.18.10 09:17 PM)
hili said:
hi amelia, thanks for the long answer. i was wondering about that. : )
(02.19.10 04:37 AM)
courtney bowlden said:
thanks for showing these! your work is amazing, even raw!
(02.22.10 04:11 PM)
Fotograf weselny said:
Thanks so much for sharing - great job
(02.23.10 11:14 AM)
Jennifer Bullock said:
Thank you, thank you for this review!! I am currently MISERABLE with my endless late, late hours, and watching my family suffer from seeing so little of me. As a full time stay at home mom and homeschooler and trying to balance work at the same time, this is EXACTLY what I need. I always thought, "No way! No one can touch my images!" I am sooo edit picky. But Fotofafa looks very trustworthy, which I never thought I'd say about any outsource. Thanks so much for this. You (and them) have been the answer to all of my problems right now --- literally :)
(03.02.10 12:39 AM)
Amy Fenner said:
Okay, I'm sure I'm not the only one that thinks this looks too good to be true?!?!?! WOW...........this seriously may be the key to a new life (I mean A life) for me!!!
(03.02.10 08:01 PM)
Trisha Chan said:
hi amelia, just wanted to say reading your genuine, thoughtful comment replies in this blog entry has made me even more interested in hearing you teach at one of your lyon shops! however, being a sophomore in college makes that a little difficult to do. so i guess that will have to wait. hopefully you'll still be offering those in the future!! you're an inspiration for an aspiring photographer like me. God bless. :)
(04.20.10 09:10 AM)
gerad said:
hey... i really like your toning techniques just wondering how u made them... we really like to try different style this time hope you can help us. tnx :D
(06.30.10 09:33 AM)
Elizabeth Beattie said:
Love, love, love this idea! I need something that will help me spend more time with my twin girls and husband. Thanks!
(08.10.10 07:06 PM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Fotofafa & Freedom through outsourcing! . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.amelialyon.net/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/235