When it comes to professional photo albums, pro labs offer a number of styles for our clients to choose from. More often than not, the go-to for most family and wedding photography clients tends to be fine art albums because of their visually striking features and heirloom quality. What separates a fine art album from other albums is the Giclée printing with archival pigment based ink. On top of this everything is usually printed on neutral pH paper that is alpha-cellulose, acid and lignin free.
We capture photos to preserve memories, so it stands to reason that the albums we create to present those images will be able to stand the test of time and look good doing it. When you partner with the right album maker, you can get quality albums at affordable prices to make selling these albums not only possible but also easy to do. In this article, we’ll explore the process of creating and selling fine art albums from Zno by choosing the right materials to marketing your products effectively.
How to Make a Fine Art Album
You’ll have a little legwork to take care of when you first get into the business of making and selling fine art albums, but the learning curve is shallow enough and you’ll likely find that you can move through the process rather quickly.
Step #1. Find the Right Album Maker
As we mentioned above, it’s important that you begin your journey by partnering with a pro lab whose albums align with your style and budget. Consider factors such as the range of materials they offer, their customization options, the tools they provide to streamline the entire process, and their reputation for quality.
For example, Zno, a professional print lab with end-to-end service whose products we’ve reviewed previously, offers a cloud-based online photo gallery called Zno Gallery that allows for easy sharing, delivering, proofing, and downloading for clients. The gallery also links directly to a digital storefront that you can use to more easily sell prints, albums, and wall art. In addition to creating quality albums, services like these help labs like Zno stand out from their competitors, and it’s worth taking these perks into account.
Once you’ve chosen a lab, create an account with them to get started.
Step #2. Follow Design Instructions
Album makers may have different design requirements. Zno has it’s own built-in album design software known as Zno Designer that simplifies the process, while others may expect you to provide pre-designed JPEG files. If you’re creating designs from scratch and your lab doesn’t offer software, consider using other makers of specialized album design software like Fundy Designer, which can at least streamline the layout process.
Step #3. Refine Your Order and Delivery Process
Creating fine art albums is all about creating a premium experience for your clients. Ensure that your ordering and delivery process reflects this luxury approach. This may involve offering personalized design consultations, showcasing sample albums, and providing options for customization, such as cover materials, finishes, and other photo album upgrades that your clients will love.
Once the album is created, you’ll have to determine whether to meet with the client personally to deliver the album or ship it. Sometimes, the clients’ availability will determine that for you. Ideally, you’ll be able to unbox the album in person. Some photographers host “album reveal” parties, complete with champagne, to hand albums and prints over to their clients. If you have to ship the products, however, look for services like drop shipping to simplify the delivery process.
Keep in mind that a number of consumer-level online services allow clients to create their own albums (often rather crudely), so it’s essential to make your product, service, and general experience stand out.
How to Market Your Fine Art Albums
Marketing plays a crucial role in promoting your fine art albums and attracting clients who appreciate the value of high-quality photography products. Here are some marketing strategies to consider:
Marketing Strategy #1. Portfolio Showcases
Display your fine art albums prominently in your portfolio, website, and social media profiles. Highlight the craftsmanship and unique features that make your albums stand out. A dedicated sales page on your website will also help convey value and demonstrate to your clients that albums are more than an afterthought.
Marketing Strategy #2 for Fine Art Album: Client Testimonials
Testimonials go a long way in most walks of life. Encourage satisfied clients to leave reviews and testimonials that emphasize the exceptional quality of your fine art albums. Some photographers give incentives (savings on products and services) to encourage reviews, but this is really up to you and whatever you’re comfortable offering for the review.
Marketing Strategy #3. Sample Albums
Create sample albums that showcase your best work and craftsmanship. These can be used during client consultations and as display pieces at events or trade shows. Some labs offer free or discounted sample albums, so look for that before purchasing an album just for sample purposes.
Marketing Strategy #4. Social Media Showcase
Social media isn’t all about likes. Sure, a picture of an album may not get as many likes and comments as a stunning photo of a client, but you may want to still consider showing these to build interest and help with your sales process.
Pricing and Positioning for Your Fine Art Albums
Setting the right pricing and positioning for your fine art albums is crucial for your business’s success. We already mentioned that it helps to partner with a pro lab that offers reasonable prices to start, but that’s only one part of the equation. In addition, consider the following factors to help ensure that your price is right for your business and your clients.
Factor #1. Cost Analysis
Calculate the cost of materials, labor, and overhead to determine your pricing strategy. Ensure that your prices cover expenses and provide a reasonable profit margin, which will vary based on your location, needs/goals, etc.
Some labs offer loyalty programs that will save both time and money in the long run. For example, to reference Zno again, Zno offers a Pro Plan that includes significant savings on printed products as well as a Fulfillment Apps Bundle that offers significant savings on all of their software. While the cost of the software is not free, it is offset by the time and money you’ll save overall.
Factor #2. Positioning
Position your fine art albums as premium, high-end products. Emphasize their quality, durability, and timeless appeal. Also, highlight the value they bring to clients in preserving their cherished memories. A fine art album is a perfect high ticket album to add to your product offering. So, for example, you could offer a photo book as your cheapest print product, a standard layflat album as a middle option, and a fine art album as your high end product.
Factor #3. Packaging
Invest in elegant and branded packaging that enhances the overall perceived value of your fine art albums. You should also consider hand-delivering the fine art album or having the client pick them up in person, as discussed in the section on refining your delivery process above. You may also consider including the following:
- A personalized, hand written note to add to the experience and appreciation
- Album care instructions
[Related Reading: How to Make and Sell Fine Art Prints]
Creating and selling fine art albums is a rewarding venture for photographers looking to offer their clients a top-tier product and elevate their photography business. By choosing the right materials, mastering the design process, and effectively marketing your albums, you can position yourself as a premium provider in the photography industry. With a focus on quality and a commitment to delivering an exceptional experience, you can build a loyal client base and boost your revenue while preserving the beauty of your work for generations to come.