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Pricing and Packages

Lesson 3 from: Create a Photo Album: Workflow and Design

Khara Plicanic

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Lesson Info

3. Pricing and Packages

Lesson Info

Pricing and Packages

Okay, So the next thing we're going to do is talk about pricing strategy. And the key to a pricing strategy is to have one. I think sometimes people don't think about that very much. So, um, we're gonna talk about it. We'll spend some time on it, and it's a little bit different for everybody. I mean, the bottom line is, you wanna be profitable. You want to be in the black, not in the red. But I think there's all kinds of different ways you can strategize this. OK, so I'm going to share with you what works for me, and we'll talk about ways you can tweak all of this toe, hopefully work for you as well in whatever part of the world that you work in. But one thing that I think is interesting when you're new to this game is what I call the life cycle of a new photographer. And that is that often when you first get into it, it is so exciting and so fun. And just mind blowing that someone would pay you to take photos, right? And you're like, This is crazy. It just got paid to take pictures. T...

hat's so cool, and that becomes really fun. And if you you know, if you show some talent, you're pretty good at the whole throat. Oh, thing. Then you might find yourself being crazy busy, and that feels good. And as I shared with you earlier 2000 8007 and definitely in 2008 with kind of where I hit this point of leg crazy, busy and I was making good money. But I was working crazy for that. Um, and eventually people become possibly miserable and they can burn out. And I think this is where where it ends for some people, right? And and maybe that's, you know, the way it should be for some people. Maybe they're into this. They have some fun, and they realize they prefer to keep it as a hobby. And that's totally cool. Like that is completely legit. Mad respect for that. But if you are feeling like you wanna make this your profession are, you know, get back up to this point, then we need to make some changes. And that's going to mean, you know, adjusting your pricing or your strategy. The package, like we talked about that you offer and how all of that works so that it can become exciting and fun again, right? So the package price is a big question. When I share these ideas with people, people are are often I get the question well, how much do you tart and I'm always like? Wow, that's not the right question to be asking, actually. So let's talk about what might be alright, because the package price that you offer is not based on a number that just sounds good, right? You don't pull it out of the air. It is not based on what others charge myself included or any but me, right? The person on the corner, the corner shop down the street from you. I don't care what they charts. I don't care what people in my market charts. I don't know what the charts. I don't ask them. I don't troll their websites to find out because I do not care. Um, and your package is not about trying to please everyone. That's a biggie. We kind of talked about that, but right, so I've seen people really struggle with a lot of this stuff. I'm entered a person one time, Who has? I think her studio rent every month was like 1100 bucks or whatever. And she was telling me, you know, she just put her services on Groupon, And we know if you haven't looked into that, that can be That could be very dangerous if you're not very careful. So that's a whole other ball game. But she was basically her package price, and such was set up in such a way that she had to suit is about as many shoots is like maybe double what I would do in a month. She would have to do just to pay her studio rent. And when she came to me because she was struggling with, like, finances of the business, and I asked her about her expenses and whatever, and she told me this I was she I had never put that together, So I was shocked because I'm like, Well, wait a minute. Your rent is this in your package prices this and you're having to work this hard just to clear rent. She was like, Oh, I never thought like that and I kind of went, Oh, that's important. Like Step one, right? So we'll talk about some of that. But you have toe actually calculate this based on a few things and certainly trying to please everyone is not one of them. So we talked about that earlier. So what? What does constitute the package price? Well, generally is going to consist of the cost of coverage, right? Um, and what that means to you? So whether it's a three day wedding or a one day wedding, Or maybe you Onley want to do for our weddings, I mean, maybe you live in a part of the world where people have a lot of really small weddings, and you're like, I love for our weddings, Do that, but set up a package price that makes sense and will work for you. So the coverage is gonna be comprised of your skill and experience. Like what? The actual cost of doing business is, Is it three days of coverage? Is that four hours of coverage? Whatever it is you want to offer, what does that cost you? What are you? What's your studio or your business office rent. What's your insurance? What? What you know are your travel expenses. If you're always traveling for these kinds of things, you've got to sort all that stuff out. So I can't go into too much detail about exactly what it cost you to run your business. That's up to you. But you have to think about all of those things. And don't forget the opportunity costs. What does it cost you to give up your nephews, birthday parties, your family re union? All of these things that we all know is a major struggle with what we dio because we love what we dio, I assume. But we love our lives, too, and so there's a cost that is very much a cost, and you have to factor that in, and that will be different. You know, that was different for me when I was younger and single and didn't have nephews and my siblings were all over the place and it didn't I could work like a dog and it was OK because I thought it was great and I loved it, and I did it because I could, and eventually I realized there's a better way. My free time is more valuable. My family time is very valuable. My cost We're going to go up. OK, so there's the actual physical cost of all of your insurance and all that stuff. And then there's just the coverage and opportunity costs as well. And of course, your market, every market, every part of the world is totally different. So, um, what you know happens on the East Coast is very different than what happens in the Midwest as far as what the market will bear. But ultimately this stuff will come into the coverage, will factor into the coverage cost. And then, of course, you have the cost of your delivery, bols. Okay, so those were the actual cost of the materials for the album for you know, you have to think about everything. The packaging that you package things in any gifts and things that you provide for your clients. All of those things are going to add to the cost, and you have to factor all of that in, um, and the time, of course, that it takes to make those delivery. Bols needs to be included, so we'll talk about that more with the album specifically, but they take time, and sometimes people really get into trouble because they can be fast and I'll show you how to do it fast. But if you're not doing it fast and you're charging like whatever you think is a good you know, profit margin on just the physical book and you forget the time. And if you're not managing its your clients don't drop the ball. If you're not pre designing and oh, my goodness, if you're building your albums and photo shop like your layouts, my heart breaks for you. I will show you a better way, then that becomes really expensive. And that's another reason why people don't often want to include the albums because it's too expensive for them to produce it time wise, right? So it makes it out of the realm of possibility for their clients. But I'm gonna show you how you can get the time part down. So it's more about just the materials, and that makes the album less expensive to be able to provide for your clients. And I think that's kind of a magical thing. Onda course, the value that it provides pay so it makes sense coverage, costs of business, all of that and deliverables and things. Of course, like any other expenses that you have, like, whatever approving gallery you might be using online or any other you know, services that you subscribe to is a photographer, though they're business expenses that fall into this, this part of just just to operate, what does that cost then? We're talking about what you actually provide to each client on a contract basis. So the other thing is that you have to know yourself and you have to know your needs, right? I mean, the woman that I was mentoring has a little bit different needs. She's a single mom with this business. She has some different needs than someone who might be like 18 still living at home with Mom. They're learning all of this stuff as they go. It's a different ball game. One of the things that I really need in my business is freedom and flexibility. I really like that. Some people need just, you know, maybe to have a certain status. Or maybe they really you know, they need Teoh acquire certain levels of income or status or whatever on that's more important to them is just achieving that for me. I wanted to be profitable, be very profitable, and be flexible as well. That's actually really important your goals. Is it to shoot a certain number of weddings? Is that your goal is your goal to hit a certain dollar price point? Or is your goal to re balance your life and have a little bit more free time? While you maintain a certain income level, It totally depends. You got to know your strengths to right? Are you really good at selling Some people you know, they can make a killing, doing the projection, selling and all of that. They say, I've never tried it, but I've heard it can be phenomenal. But you have to like it. You have to be good at it. And if you're not into that, then don't build your pricing strategy around it right on. And you've got to know your likes and your dislikes. So for me personally, I don't like the selling process. I love meeting with the client I love, of course, taking care of their needs, which I'm selling them on that, but I don't want to do high pressure. I don't like to sort of rope them in to, like sign a contract and then be like Oh, but now if you want all of these premium things behind the curtain, you have to pay a $1,000,000 more. I don't like that. It's like it's like being told that the burrito store that you have to pay extra for the veggies in your veggie burrito. I don't like that. So that's just me. I don't like feeling like I'm milking my clients like I'm hitting them up constantly for cash. I and I don't like lots of follow up. I don't like having to meet with them again to discuss about all this stuff or sell them more things later. What I do like is being highly profitable, some kind of, ah financial nerd I love like finance books and all of those things. So I like, I like to be knowledgeable about that stuff and and being a good position there. I love my freedom and flexibility. That's key right for me. Personally, I want to be able to take off for six months by one and not do a single shoot for six months if I don't want to, and I don't want my financial life to fall apart because I make that decision. Right. So you got to know yourself. Um, and I like sleeping well at night knowing that I'm not like screwing. My clients are trying to do something sneaky or underhanded or I don't know, just sort of. I don't like those gray areas. I just want toe do it. Well, do it nice above, board everything good and sleep well at night. So that means for me. I like to make my money up front. And, um, that does not mean I don't make anything after the wedding day. What that means is that I have built my package and my pricing and everything so that I don't have to make anything after the wedding day. It means that if my client moves to Mars after their wedding, I'm not going to be in a financial black hole. It means I don't care. It means if they come back after the wedding and spend $5000 with me on prints and canvases and whatever, all some I just got some nice bonus, but I don't bank on that. I don't need it to live. I don't need it to enjoy my life. That's how I operate. Okay? so I know that's kind of different for some people are probably freaking out. I don't know if the chat rooms exploding, but, um, that's just what works for me. And I will show you some ways that you could tweak this. You know, maybe you love to sell. Maybe meeting with your clients after the fact is what you're all about. And you love that. So do that and do it well and plan for that. That's all I'm saying. So I the add ons and the print sales for me are icing on the cake. Okay. But of course they happen. Of course I do prints, Of course. Then the parents are like, Oh, I want a copy of the album. Of course I'm going to make that for them. But my workflow is such that it's a piece of cake, and financially it's icing on the cake. Him. So here are some tweaks. For those of you that are like, this is crazy. Let me just share with you some ideas. So with the package offering, if you're like Oh, my gosh, I don't know about this unlimited or full coverage. I do not say unlimited well that were just popped out. Big difference. Okay, So when you're talking with your clients or creating your marketing materials, there is a big difference between saying on limited coverage or full coverage. Okay, unlimited means don't be surprised when they call you and say, Can you show up at six oclock in the morning when my alarm goes off and I go to the salon and then stay until my drunk uncle leaves the dance floor at 3 a.m. No, we don't want that or, you know, tell the band finally leaves or the cows come home or whatever, That's unlimited, and that's dangerous, and that will probably get you in trouble. Okay, Instead, what I say is full coverage, which, as I mentioned, I define from, you know, an hour before you get in the dress through, like the main events of the reception. Like I'm not going to stay for the dollar dance that happens the end of the night or whatever it happens upfront. Catch it great. But so if that's freaking you out, maybe you say I'm going to put an hour limit on it. If you're not cool with the whole full coverage thing. Maybe you say, you know what? A maximum of 10 hours. But if I'm done earlier, I'm done. Maybe you charge a little extra or what? They're not a little whatever is appropriate. Maybe you charge extra for any extra hours or whatever. Or maybe you define your coverage by the events themselves. So maybe you say I will show up when you are about to get in the dress, and I will leave at the first dance. Or, you know, after the first answer, whatever you can do whatever you want here. And that's the beauty of owning your own business, right? You can do whatever you want, but the key is to know what that is and define it. Okay, Um, what do you include? Maybe you have extra hours or you add that on or whatever. Maybe you include the digital negative. Maybe you don't. I put a star here because I do. And I price for that, right? I include it because, you know, everyone wants it. So I give it to them. They want it, They're trained toe. Want that? And quite honestly, personally, I feel like I want it to. Obviously, that's the beauty of digital, they can have it and we can still have it. So I think that's a beautiful thing. So that makes clients happy. And this sort of also goes back to the whole thing about, um, rial value versus perceived value. When clients come to me when I tell them I'm going to make them a book, they like that, of course. But when they first meet with me, the one thing they think they're going to like win if they get is the digital negatives. You know, that's what they are trained toe one. So I'm gonna let them have that. That's what they perceive as being valuable upfront. But what I feel like I've discovered over time is that at the end of the day, when I deliver everything, the actual value is that album right? They think they want the negatives, but they realize later they're glad they have the album and the negatives collect dust on a shelf and I don't care. That's fine. I'm not giving them the negatives for me. I'm giving them the negative because they think that's what they want, right, so but that, you know, I know some people are dead set against that. So if you don't want to, don't I include it? And I think it also, you know, um, they feel like they're getting that with the pricing and everything. It's just part of it. And I also because I don't like the add on selling, you know later, I just I don't have Teoh itemize it out. And nobody has ever said we don't want the digital negatives. Can you knock the price off by X? Because, of course they want that. So I include it. I feel good about it, but you have to do what works for you. The other thing is, do you include printed proofs or not? I include a proof book also to you just quick, because I know the people were like blowing up about it. But you can do whatever, and there's 100 million different ways. So this is the symbol of a proof book that I would deliver. So what does that mean? So the nice book with thumbnails, not thumbnails, kind of bigger, almost wallet size pictures inside and then underneath each one is the filing so corresponds with their disk. It's just a nice compliment to the disk that will never open, Probably. But they have this to go with it right, because I know that their photos are important to them, not just what's in the album, but also this. And I just like it to go with their desk. I like them to have that. We have a question. I have a question that I imagine is coming through because this is so brilliant to me in that you've already given them the disc and then you're giving them what they all look like in small form. But you've already locked in the album, so now they have everything. They have everything. But the question to you is because I'm sure it's being asked, is how Maney images do typically put in there. How many images? Okay, so of course we'll and we'll see that when we get to it later. But that's a great question, and we can talk about it quick. I tried it tightly, and I know that means different things to different people. To some people, a tight edit of like 800 images to some people, a tight Emmett's that it might be like to 50 year I don't know. It totally depends. Usually I work by myself, so I usually don't even have an assistant. I don't have a second shooter usually unless they add that fun. Otherwise, people just get me. That's it. But they might get anywhere. I say like 3 to 500 if it's just me, maybe photos. If there's a second shooter, if we're doing a photo booth situation, then you know they might have more. I 68 Maybe it totally depends. We can kind of touch on that, but I think that more is less with that also. So I think that's something that I know. I'm always still working on is getting it down because I think that by limiting that we actually improve the quality Teoh, because we don't wanna make our clients have to sift through all of that to find like the amazing moments that's our job. Eso I like to do that and I think that's something that we can all you know, aspire towards doing better. I know I should dio and trying not to overshoot and all that, but we can talk about that more when we get there But so that's kind of that's what my proof book looks like. We'll look at it again later. Yeah, so for over in the US three and pictures, you put all the proof book for reading. There are 600 because you put all this extended. So the proof book, you know my range and cost slightly depending on how much I deliver. But that's all stuff that I've accounted for in my pricing. So I'm just I'm just not worried about it. I have that freedom I've built in room, so it's not a big deal, and I think that stuff's all important. You know, when you're pricing this stuff, you have to leave yourself room to breathe. Don't try to just be tube and have a cheap package so you can get booked because you're gonna kill yourself. Tryingto actually service and take care of your clients. You need to have cushion. You need to have room. You need to have savings accounts, an emergency funds on all of those things, and that's part of what you factor in with the cost of doing business right. That's just good kind of common sense. That's not always so common, but we want to make sure we take care of those things. Um, so I include the printed proof, but you certainly don't have Teoh. I just feel like it's nice to have. And the other thing is because I you know, like I said, I do the rough draft of the album and whatever. I think it's nice to just remind clients, Hey, no pressure to try to solve 100 photos into your wedding album. They're going to be in your proof book. So I want the wedding album to be a design piece. That awesome I wanted to gorgeous. I wanted to be, ah, brag piece for the bride to take around and show off everywhere. So I wanted to look good, and that means not cramming it with everything. So my proof books also sort of my like ace up my sleeve, where I can just sort of be like, Don't worry about it like it will be in your proof book. We don't need to add that photo in your album. If they really wanted. Of course I'll take care of that. But it's nice. It just takes the pressure off, and it lets me design the album the way I want most of the time, so personally left my own little thing. But if you don't offer proof, there don't want to, I don't think it will really affect all of this that much. I just personally like it. And I think about their kids someday wanting to see the whole wedding. And I want their kids to see it and their kids are like they won't know what a CD is or maybe even a flash drive, or like they'll have no idea. So I want it tangible. So I do that personally. It's just me. The second shooter is something that gets added on personally. Maybe you always work with a second shooter. Awesome plan for that price for that, right for me. It's an ad on thing on that would, you know, cover that person's time. And then I still do all the editing. I still do all the downloading. Even I do everything, all of that. So that adds a little bit to my time, so that is covered by the fee for the second shooter. Whatever that means for you, I keep my engagement sessions separate some people if you love shooting engagements and maybe you feel as passionately about engagement sessions as you do as I do for albums. So maybe you always want to shoot an engagement session because you want the opportunity to connect with your client. Price it in. If you want Teoh, I keep it separate because not all of my clients are local. And so they can't always do an engagement session. Or some people just, you know, will say like, Well, we have a friend who's gonna shoot are you know? And their friend wants to do that for them as a gift or something. So what I don't want to do is have to back that out of the packet, because then I have Teoh mess with it and unravel things and complicated so that separate. But that's, you know, that's just how I handle it. If they want it, great. If they don't no skin off my back, guest books or parent albums. I have all of that stuff separate. People want it. I'll make it for them. If you love doing like guest books and, you know, save the dates and whatever, then pimp that stuff up and showcase that. Or maybe you include, like all shoot your wedding and your engagement and give you some of the dates price for that charge. For that, whatever you want to dio, you can do it. I'm not crazy about the guest book, so I don't talk about it unless someone asked me. Then I'll be like, Oh, yeah, we could do that. Here's what it would cost But I'm not crazy about the guestbook themselves as like an item itself. So I don't I don't really promote that heavily, but it's available. We also my husband and I do a photo booth if people want it, and that's kind of, you know, our fun thing. So if people want the photo booth, they can have it. And, of course, then album upgrades and extras spreads, and all of that are available. So I don't want you to have the impression that I am like this dictator. That's like these will be the voters in your album, and your album will be just, like, different done. You have no e gave the clients and opportunity to make changes. You know, I had a client recently. I usually do like a certain type of cover. And I had a client who just said, You know, she said, I didn't put a photo on the back of her album because I don't My albums don't have photos on the back And she said, I want the photo on the back And I was like, Oh, well, then your cover will have to be this And I didn't say, Oh, well, now let's look at all these options. I problem solved for her And I thought, Okay, well, if she wants this photo on the front and she wants this kind of, you know, then instead of my standard cover, which I usually do like a metal cover thing. She wanted this other thing that meant I had to switch to canvass and put together a canvas wrap cover for her. So I didn't ask her. What kind of fought Do you want your name on the spine? Do you like? I built it and I said, Here it is, and she was like, Great. So I still leave myself some room for flexibility, but I have my plan that I'm going to dio so you know, if you are so inflexible when something comes up, then of course you're gonna break. That's a problem. But you have to know where you're willing to be flexible, I think. Did I see a question? No. Okay, for those of you who really like the post event sales opportunity, I told you I'm not crazy about it. But of course, I sell stuff after like that's what print sales are, but I don't You know, I don't live for that. But here's some ideas. If that's something that's important to you, you could include incentives may be based on print sales. So if you like, really love the print sales, maybe you could offer incentives. If you do X number of print sales, then they get a canvas or they get thank you cards or they get more pages in their album or whatever, although that might slow down your helmet process. I probably wouldn't mess with the album. I give them a canvas or whatever, because I want the album already in production. But maybe you really want to market the parent albums like hard core. Maybe you love making thank you cards, and that could be another great marketing opportunity is Thank you cards with your branding on on it somewhere is a really great marketing opportunity, so you could try to sell that or you could take it upon yourself to always include it. That's the fun that we have here. Right? Or another idea is you could maybe reactivate their online gallery on their one year anniversary if you want to spur some more print sales later. If that works, I don't know. Sometimes people do that. So those are some some ideas for those of you that just you're not digging the hole, the whole upfront stuff. But that could work for you also. So let's talk about the album's themselves, because that is where it can get a little bit messy. And this is what people shy away from. Right? So the cost of doing the album is your time, and the materials of actually the album, right? And what it feels like for most people, I think, is the time is the biggest component. I mean, nice albums, of course, are not like 20 bucks there more costly than that. But the time is often what scares people completely away from albums and just makes it just feel awful. So hopefully I've helped you feel like you might be able to get a grip on this as faras the up front part. I will show you tomorrow and in design how you can build an album ridiculously fast and maybe even today I can tell you another option for it, but they were going to shrink the time down, right? So the other piece of it is really the materials. And here's the thing, too. When you talk about albums, there's lots of ways that you can do it. Okay? Not every album that you offer needs to be like a massive like something like this, right? This is the fin ao one flip book. This was actually this was actually a book that I produced for every single one of my high school senior clients before And, um, talk about setting yourself apart. I like I told you, I did 150 seniors in 2008 and, um, I forgot to point it out earlier on one of the other screens, but I shot like, every location in my hometown, like every wall, every door frame, every alley, every sense, every in my studio to I'd like I mean, I shot when I was laughing cause I was gonna point this out, and I forgot. But on one of the screens, there's a picture of one of my seniors. I included it on purpose because I would go and shoot, sign it around town and use Sign Ege from businesses is like the backdrop. And so at one point, I had one of my seniors in front of a radiator driveshaft service shop sign because it was cool, very graphical. But I'm like I was like, pushing the boundaries everywhere. So I and I was continually upping my prices through the years with all these seniors and so on. And actually, these days I just do weddings. So I have actually close the door on the portrait part of my business. But the last year that I decided to do seniors, I knew that I was like, I think this is so I thought, I think this is going to be like my finale. And so I just decided that I was gonna really raise my session price, and everyone would get one of these and they had zero say and what these look like. So I would shoot them, edit their photos, put them online, knock out their book and delivered to their door. And they would just be like, and then this was out on the coffee table, you know, at their graduation party. And then what was really the hard part of all of this was in the next year I got all these phone calls from one of your buddies all these books on. I wasn't shooting singers anymore, but that was okay with me. That was a conscious choice. And I love my seniors. But I just decided to focus, right? So is part of my simplification. But not every book has to be this huge thing. One of the things that, like here's an example of what I include with my just little portrait like engagement session or if I was still shooting kids and families. This is what I made for them. So this is just a little tiny book little board book. This is a Female Elements, a book Self Mount book, and these are just little border actions, and I actually this is what they included with the purchase of the course is some actions that I have made. Thes ones are a little bit different, but the ones I made are included. They're there, Borders and, um, I just have one image per page. So this kind of book has zero really designed time because there's no design and these air images that I would have already retouched anyway for the blogged or for the slide show. And we'll talk about that also this afternoon, so I'll show you my process of all that. But for me to just take some images and make a book like this takes minutes, it's an action. And actually, I do this and Photoshopped. I'm a huge in divine advocate for design books, but this is not a designed book. This is simply either 20 pages, so there's 20 images. This is just 20 images in an album, so there's no design other than the border thing. But that's an action. So I'll show you how all that works so you can do something like this, which means that album can range in price from 40 bucks to 500 plus okay, so hopefully you find that liberating because it means that there is a way to incorporate an album no matter what your price point is, or your you know your market or your who your clientele are on Guy. I was reading somebody was posting the other day about It wasn't about albums, but it was about CDs and burning CDs or burning flashed are making flash drives whenever and somebody was saying, Oh, you know, they move now to put everything on a USB drive, and they're like they're like, 10 box. You can have him customized and whatever, and there was somebody who said, Oh, that's too expensive. $10. I can't spare that on. I can't do that for my client. And I was like, Wow, you price your pricing so tight. But $10 will break your whole, you know, structure. That's a dangerous place to be. And you just want to make sure that whatever you're delivering, whether it's a flash drive with negatives on it or you know the album itself, it doesn't have to be expensive, but you have to obviously plan for it. So this is a way to make these things really affordable. So here's just some some different examples of different books from different places that that I found to be really great. This little one here is the in the photo. This is the video elements. This is the self found book. Andi, this is what I like what I said I do for a lot of clients for portrait sessions or, um, kids and families. When I shot kids and families, I did this and my engagement sessions and such. And what's nice about them is you have a couple different places. You can buy them in bulk and then order the prince and mount them yourself. So you, you know, order the images and just mount the man and give them to your clamp. Or you can actually just pay and have the album company do it all for you. So then that's less work. So it just depends what works for you. But that's just a nice little book. Em picks Pro has some great flip books, too. And I like these come in lots of different sizes, too. So this is an example of a little bigger one. This is an eight by eight same concept, and this is actually one of the borders one of the borders that are included or a similar one like this. So same thing this is from a wedding. So maybe you're shooting the wedding and you're like my market or my price point or, you know, whatever. Like cannot support a big album. This is great. Maybe this is something you give your clients of the gift. Maybe you don't even tell them you're making them in albums. You just whipped this up and surprising. Who knows? Total. It's you. But these are great. And this is a nice, bigger size. And what's really great is that this book lays flat. So some people really like that and you can design the cover, whereas, you know, that might be a little bit different with some of the different stuff. But I just produced a bunch of different options so that you can choose what works for you. So you have You have to carry the burden of decision making so that your client doesn't right. Um so some other ones Here's an example from Asuka book. This was a kids book that I did, um, that is an alphabet book. So this was a really fun way went through the A. B. C's and these pages are different. They're flexible. So sometimes people really like that. You know, there's all kinds of choices. This was a highly designed conceptualized book. This was not like the typical portrait session kind of thing. This'll was a conceptual thing that I conceived oven and wanted to do so it was a little bit different. So is this is a special project is what I'm saying, but really fun. Just else. I bet you know, simple stuff. And this book is gorgeous. They did a great job. I have a question. So the books will be short. Before this, you ordered them in bulk an average and then put the pictures and pasted on it or yeah, these So this is a little It's called a Self Mount book. So unlike these books that are printed and they come to me, they're done. This book comes blank, or you can have the album company make it. But it's called a self Matt book, which means I mounted myself on DSO. There's just these little p leap papers here, and you just peel them off and stick the print. So when I make these and this is what I'll be kind of like one of these like this or where is it now or like this? These are essentially the exact same process for me to make the little designed picture. That's an action photo shop included with the course, so I'll show you how that works. But I basically Then I just order Prince so this would be 20 little five by five o r. 20. I ate my it's, but this one would come printed and bound and I'm done with it. I could ship that straight to the client. If I want this one, I would personally mount myself and then ship it or deliberate or some make sense on. And then I showed you the example of the big female foot buck. This is then what I typically do for my clients. I love these metal covers. I don't know how well it shows with lights reflecting on it on the camera, but, um, we can take a peek. So this is Taylor and Kasi's album, and this is literally what I show to clients when I meet with them. So I sit down and I'm like, Here's the wedding album and this is a 40 page book. So 20 spreads 40 pages. Right. However, you want to count that this is a 10 by 10 the financial one square book. And so this is what it looks like. It's, you know, this thick. It's nice when it's heavy. You can pass it around if you want to. The metal covers pretty substantial. So it's great, because in a meeting with clients, I'm like here and they go, Oh, my God, it's so heavy. But that's what I chose to offer. I wanted to make this book to really knock their socks, often have some weight to it and just feel like serious. But, you know, if I was just starting out and if I was just not in a place where this made sense or maybe I don't want to do this or whatever, you know anybody's whatever works for, for whoever you can do anything. So I think that there's lots of great stuff thistles, A little Olympics little five by five will, And this is really great. So if you don't want amount things, you know you can do one of these. It's another. Their little lay flat books, Um, and I think these are so great, you know, for kids sessions or whatever. Portrait's engagements, seniors, whatever you want to dio. I think there are a lot of fun and they're really easy, so I'll be showing you how fast that is. We have a question from the Internet. Well, I just want to make a comment for folks were asking out there. All these details are in the three with Resource Guide that when you enrolled go that you enroll for the course on the course page and all this information is there. So yes, I know how I have links to all the different album companies that I've worked with that I've really enjoyed. And, you know, they really all do great stuff. It's just a matter of deciding what's gonna work work for you, um, and what the project is, you know? I mean, obviously, I offer different things a different kind of book for my wedding clients than I do for the engagement sessions. And when I was still shooting Portrait's, I had a different book for the portrait's, and the pricing for the sessions reflects that, you know. I mean, obviously the wedding clients have a different price than when I was shooting. The newborns are or whatever, and I just think the books are so they're so great trying to think of those other they come. I mean, they're coming all different. I don't know if you guys, if you want to pass these around, we certainly can are you can come look at him, But they come in all different sizes and shapes, and it's just a way to, of course, you know, strengthen your brand. And I mean the reaction from the senior kids. It was kind of over the top when I did. I mean, I really was like, I'm going to go out in style with my last year of my seniors and I just killed it for them and they were just blown away and photographers would be like, You did what? For your seniors. But you know, I kept it manageable, and I think that was the big part of the key. So my cost with the album's was literally even for this big book. It was literally the cost of the physical book and the time it took me to retouch the photos, which were already actually They're already retouched for the blogged. Most of them there was no design, like back and forth with the client. There was no. Can you imagine? I mean, letting a high school senior have input on you know what photos they look good to be in? No, that's crazy. So I picked the stuff I was most excited about, which, you know, I think we usually have a good sense of what the client is gonna also like. I if I knew that they were uncomfortable about a certain something that they thought they didn't like. I wouldn't put that in there book. But I just made all those executive decisions and they and I will tell you they never, ever challenged that, like, never did they say, Well, we want to see a proof or let me, you know, like, can you clear it with us? They were like, Okay, they didn't know any different. It's not like the brides who are sort of trained from, you know, websites that they have all these lists of questions. But all of that stuff can be managed. It's just a matter of educating the client and really being confident in yourself. and what you're gonna offer. I think that's really the key, because if you're not confident pulling it off, it's going to be hard. Question from Inca in the chat room. Who is from Cyprus? What do you see? Just what's that? That's a beautiful name. So it would like to know, What do you suggest we look for when we try to find a printing house to work with in order to produce our album? Oh, that's wonderful for me. It was really a style match up like I was really interested in, You know, the paper that they offer the shapes of the book, maybe the materials and the cover, those kinds of things. I felt like I wanted to make sure that those would reflect my brands and the style of book that I want to make. It's a really personal choice, but I think you know, you also would want to consider. Maybe it's important. I think you know where that album company is and how easy it's going to be to interact with them. If you if there's a problem, if you need to make a change, we've all done it probably are made on the only one who's uploaded something, and then you're like, Oh, wait, I forgot to whatever or I need to change this. I think that's important to make sure that you can find a company that you can work with that is easy to fix those things or, you know, to be able to call them up or message them and say, Oh, my gosh, the shipping address changed. We've got to do this instead, or is there any way you can, you know, make this deadline or whatever, Just somebody you can actually really work with. You know, you want to think of your album company really as a partner, right? And you want to make it. You know, everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes album companies might somehow ship your book the wrong place or whatever those kinds of things happen. They're rare, but you just want to make sure that whoever you're gonna work with is going to be a good partner who will be responsive, who can six any things that you need fixed or back to you quickly with a change request or whatever. So that's important. In addition to that, you like You know, the pricing, of course, matters what's going to be in your in your range that you're looking for. Um, and that will come down a lot to the materials and how it's printed and all of that stuff. So, yeah, it's a good question. That's that's fine. I mean, we just you have to think of the album company as an extension of you. They're making the book that's gonna be you, Teoh your clients into their friends and everybody. So you wanna pick something that that you feel good about it? And, um so ultimately, I mean, I guess really you are the bus, right? I thought we've been we've been talking about. So what questions? What questions do you guys have? Are out in the Internet about any of this stuff before we can get ready for lunch, I guess. Right? Oh, they're so many questions. I'm not sure where to begin. You guys have any questions you want to start with because we dio If you want to think about it for a second, he doesn't go ahead. Our question. Do you suggest any particular album community to the viewers today? Are Is there one that I particularly well, I've used all of the ones that I mentioned, which is, you know, that's why I'm including them. I my wedding albums. I currently have a nail Who makes these for me for the wedding albums? Because they're all so different, you know, like I really I love my my M picks. Lay flat books, I think are really great. So it just depends what it's going to be. Four. I love the Duke. A book, The specialty piece. I did hear it just it really just depends they all. They all have really different stuff. So talking about the paradox of choice thing, you know, it's It's not like, um, it's a quick decision. I think it really is important, I think, to look around. And if you couldn't go to a conference or something where you can touch the books and feel them and look at them, I think that makes a huge difference. You know, I think that's really helpful and talk to them about their process and what you know. How did they require their files for set up all of those things. I think it might make them easier to work with. Or maybe you'll find out like maybe it's not easy. And then you don't want to mess with it. Yeah, So if they don't, If you design the book and everything and they don't have any choices, do you then have to make choices what company you're gonna use to do the books? So totally. That's army. That's on you. What? Whatever. You feel like you have the style of the wedding and, well, good, because clients aren't going to come to you and be like I would like a financial one with a armor cover. I mean, they don't know that exists, you know? They're like thinking, not fish or something. Walgreens, whatever. They don't know that this exact. So that's our That's our burden. That's what we're paid for us to figure out all that stuff. So it's really helpful to go toe, go to conferences or trade shows and stuff, or call your album companies that you're interested in. Call them and see if they can send you. You know, a sample like a fabric swatch something or paper samples or a simple kit. Sometimes they might say, you know, we'll print you a sample like you, you know, for a couple 100 bucks will make you this kind of variety pack sort of many thing. So I think it's just I think it's really important to touch it, to feel it on, get it in your hands. You know, the weight of it makes a big difference. To think all that stuff is really important. But you would, you would, um, like, you have one wedding and you would go with one vendor and then another way, I'm consistent. Stay with the same, right? So all pick, like for my weddings right now, I'm using the female ones like this is what I do. So like, this is what I make for my clients. I designed this and then like my bride recently, who? You know, there's not a photo. So for my bride recently, who was like, she didn't ask me, Is it possible to put a put a photo like I love her? She's very direct and just she just said, I want this photo on the back and I was like, How does she even know that that's doable? But of course I was like it is She wants it. So I'm gonna take care of that. And it was actually I was like, I never really liked doing that. Style of a cover is not something I heavily entertained before. So I was kind of like, wow that, you know, maybe this would be a cool thing. And so I decided I was going to do for her a canvas cover. Um and so I just took it upon myself to figure that out, make her a design and give it to her. You know, it's kind of like when clients ask questions or have increased, I try to not ask them. Like when I answer it, I try to not be like, Well, what do you think? What do you know? I mean, if I need clarification, I will ask for it, but I feel like it's more helpful. If they're asking me a question. I wanna have an answer for them. Otherwise, it's kind of like that whole date game rare like, what do you want to dio? I don't know. What do you want to dio and you go back and forth forever, so anything, even if it's like for the album or you know what time should we start this like timeline questions. I want Teoh be helpful by giving them an answer. They can change it. We can discuss it. Weaken. Throw it out later. But I want to provide an answer. And so it's the same with the album. I'm gonna pick it. I'm going to tell them what it is if they, you know, have crazy other ideas. We can talk about it on. There's there's been times in the past where e I usually pick the material that I do the book in. So usually that might be one thing. Sometimes I spice it up. I had a bride recently who had a really colorful wedding. And so I was like, You know, I wouldn't normally do this for every bride, but I want, like, a hot pink spine or may I think, with orange, an orange spine for her. And so I that's my prerogative, And that was something I just wanted to do. So I was like, Hey, I think this, you know, Orange Books thing would be a great option. Are you cool with that? And she was like, you awesome! So I did it, so I wanted to have fun is a designer, and I can play with that. But the difference is it's in my court. I decide when I want to be wild with something and when it's just going to be this way. And, um, it's great, you know? I think it was in that framework. There's a lot of freedom, but if you don't have AH framework than things apart really quickly, way have quite a few people who are asking questions say that maybe are not wedding photographers that great? Yeah, and they like to know about the pricing up front, so I'll just ask a couple of them along similar lines. So, Michelle, I ve had asked when you shot seniors, did you do a complete up from pricing like you do with weddings and then fizzle? Raza says. The pricing strategy you used even the tweets, she suggested, seemed directed at wedding and event photography. What about portrait photography, where you usually don't make money at the front end? Can you suggest tweaks for portrait, sir? Totally. And I think you still can make money on the front end. So when I was doing the portrait and I still do the engagement sessions, which are portrait there just wedding related. But with the seniors and stuff I priced upfront to include my session great and everything that involves with time prep, you know, client contact. All of that and it include included a book, You know, whether it was the little little guy or big mammoth Jama, um was different. So, like I had a senior pricing which the last year that I did it had the big mama Jama. And so that was crazy. It was in four digits, like for the session, right, because it included the book. Um And then the portrait sessions were priced to include a smaller book because also, the seniors, of course, would take way more time. So I don't think, at least for me and the way that I was operating, like, what a senior cost to deal with totally different than someone who's like we want family photos, you know, that was totally different. So I had a kids and family price. I had a senior price and I had weddings. Andi, just whatever book was involved with that. And then after I would do the shoot, I would do the edit, put the pictures online produced their book, then the you know, the online sales the print sales gallery wraps. All of that stuff could happen online, but same thing. I still priced it to make my money from the session fee and knowing that I was going to provide them with a book. And the great thing about doing that with Portrait is especially with the kids and families I've had clients and again, like now that I don't do the portrait, that with hard, hard decision to make business wise. But for me, it was the right one, at least for now. But I had clients who would come back to me year after year for the family, for portrait, you know, every fall or holiday, whatever they want. Their family portrait, because they wanted another book and it all came toe one. So rather than shooting the portrait and then like desperately hoping that I can sell them a book or make something or do prints or, you know, whatever I was like, I'm gonna shoot your family and I want you to have this keepsake and what I actually called it, particularly for the family portrait sessions actually called it my gift to them. And I was like, We're going to do your session and then I'm gonna include this book as a gift to you. And never once did they say, Well, we want to pick what's in it And how do we know they were just like, Oh, how sweet. That's so great s So that's how I set it up for them. And it has been fabulous. And you know that itself. That little book. You know, it may be an inexpensive little thing that can bring you the repeat business because they need their next book for the next year. And they want a collection, you know? So it can be a really great I'm telling you. Albums are is good for your workflow as they are for your bottom line. All of that. Very true. Thank you. Yeah, Awesome. I'm trying to find the question, but it was, um, about what you just talked about about giving gifts. So are there in addition to what you just talked about? Are there any other little things that you recommend people give people whether it's a little like cards or thank you cards that they could for them, um, or any other little things. Yeah. I mean, that's all over the board. I mean, people have done all kinds of things. I think it's just fun to surprise clients in whatever way that you want. So maybe you you surprise them with Prince. Maybe you surprise them with flowers delivered to their office. Maybe use surprise them with, you know, a date night fun pack. It totally is up to you, Everyone. I've just heard some great, like people who put together, like when they may be delivered. Engagement pictures isn't being. Maybe they put together a date night package for, you know, a movie and popcorn microwave popcorn. And you could package that all up and give that, like, here, enjoy your engagement album while you have popcorn and then watch a movie. I don't know. Oh, I've seen people do all kinds of really clever things. And, um, another friend of mine does like Christmas ornaments for all of her clients. The wedding clients. So for their, like, one year, like their first married Christmas, she does a little ornament thing for them. So there's all kinds of things. There's a great idea Yeah, so that's a fun, you know? I mean, have fun with it. It's your business, and and surprising people is part of the fun and giving them that extra value and just letting them know you're thinking of them and that you are boutique. This is not, you know, a big box store production. That's that's key. So just for all us photographers out there, they get hung up on the disk of negatives, which we all do. We just want to cling onto that so tightly. There's a good question from Patrick Robinson, who would like to know about the resolution and the size of images and a few watermarked images on a disk. How do you approach this? And, um yeah, that's about Price. But the other thing that people were wondering as well is that do you feel like you lose out on sales? Oh, yeah. Great question. And I meant to touch on that night. Um, OK, so first of all, let me say I do not include discs for anything but weddings. So in case people rely ago, she gives disk for portrait sessions. No way, No way people can buy that separately of course there's a price for that s o. The only people who get their discs are the wedding people. And I think to me that's really as I mentioned earlier, all those reasons, but also that's truly like their life event documented thing. I want them to have that because their 50th anniversary, if they want to make some prints and, like, frame them further, the grandkids want to make prints and frame him for a party. I will be like lounging on a beach in Fiji or something. I can't service that for them, probably. So maybe I still have all the things I've shot, but I don't want to be responsible. So I want them to have that a portrait session with families and kids or a senior is totally different. To me. That is a totally different thing. So their negatives are. I charge separately for the portrait sessions on the negative that I include I straight up copy the files I have on the disk and we'll talk a little bit about that in the workflow part. But they have the same files that I have. They're not retouched unless I happen to have retouched them for the blogger, Whatever. But if you want to keep your retouched file separately and never relinquished them, that's your prerogative. I don't want to manage all the different versions of everything. So they get what I have. Then there the full resolution, light roomed proof so and we'll see that this afternoon.

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Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Yep, love your work Khara! I am now using Indesign to make my first wedding album thanks to you. So clearly explained and nicely presented. Such a powerful program that makes a complicated task seem easy, with as many variables in layout and design as I can imagine. I am just so excited! I would recommend this course to anyone who is running any size photography business. It will help simplify your workflow and increase your output.

1106 Imagery

This class is so good! I learnt so much about albums, and selling them the right way. Having never really used Indesign before, I was nervous about using it as my main platform to design albums. I'm shocked, but I really enjoy using the program! It's so simple and easy using Khara's methods of designing. I also never used bridge before too (Lightroom faithful here), and it's fantastic for sourcing images for the albums. I'm learning a few upsell methods too, so it's very exciting for my business! Thank you for such a great course :)

Adrian Farr

Khara's advice is so simple yet makes absolute perfect sense! She really knows how to get the best out of her albums and packages. If you want to learn things that will help you improve your business/workflow, then seriously buy this course!

Student Work