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Thread: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

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    Default The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    RE: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photo books ( Coffee-table ) & Albums

    Dear All,

    It been interesting to note that as we move forward, many digital wedding photographers, whether the 'transitional' or the veterans are offering the hottest item of the moment -- Wedding Photo Books, or the so-called "Coffee-table" books.

    If my observation is correct, the trend started in early in 2001, whereby simple collage pages were offered as a supplementary to the main 'proof' 4R albums, and later more designs and pages were introduced, as seen in the 2002 & 2003, as a form of a scrape booking format, with or without re-fillable card-stock pages.

    The first lot of true 'booking-binding' or the 'coffee-table' wedding books were witness sometimes in Mid-2004, and later mass productions and offerings were spotted everywhere, in nearly every album - from the bridal studio albums to wedding day photo books, between early 2005 till today (mid-2006).

    The term 'coffee-table' was coined from the commercial offset printing of screenline #175 and above, high quality and limited edition book productions, on glossy or semi-matt art papers with perfect book-bindings.
    However, it was loosely used in many photographers' offerings, where photo-prints album productions were either the scrap-booking format, or the simple soft-covers spine-bindings (by hand) type.

    The early years (2002 - 2004) offerings were output from inkjet prints and finishing with hand-binding (hard and soft-covers) materials. It is in the last 2 years (2005 - 2006), and the widely availability and low cost production of the perfect-binding Photo Books, that we have come of age, in offering a near 'coffee-table' quality Photo-books and collage albums.

    Well, the main point that i am highlighting here, is that when everything is being equal, the quality and professional contents, design and layouts, and albums' finishing will decide whether your final works will stands out from the crowds.

    With a books and magazines' designer background, i can't help but would like to offer a few pointers for fellow photographers, who are going to 'take that road' and thinking of producing Wedding photo books for your clients, or even making a portfolio for showcasing your wedding works.

    Apart from arming yourself with good technical skill and detail imaging knowledge of producing wonderful and impressive wedding images, that are convincing and sell by itself, one would be encouraged to venture into the realm of producing Wedding Photo-Books and such. Why? Many a times a good composed and conceptual image, may not do well or justice to a 4R print in a 'normal' proofing album, but if it was to enlarged, played-up and give it an emphasis, it will shines, according to the original vision and direction, that you have captured it.

    If you are rich or have the budgets, you may paid some book designers to do the concepts and layouts for you. However, many of us are not in the luxury boat, and have to D-I-Y the layouts and out-source photo books' production to printers/contractors.

    Ok, if you are seriously looking at that direction, here are the 5 main points that you might want to 'upgrade' yourself :
    [1] Shooting styles ( variety will increased your book's value content and interest )
    [2] Digital imaging and retouching ( including colour correction and enhancement )
    [3] Page design & layout ( create your own distinct style and concept, instead of using templates or 'copy-cats' )
    [4] Typography ( learn what is san and san-serif, and the typography rules, including point-size and leading )
    [5] Photo-Book production ( learn the page-setting, bleeding margin, etc -- it will saves you production mistakes that cost money and time )

    In the next few years, being a competent wedding photographer may no longer enough to keep you in the trade, and even if you are offering the extras ( coffee-table books ), you may still faced cut-throat competition, and many times you may feel the returns are not justified, to the amount of time and work you'd spend on it. However, an unique and consistency of your signature photo books and wedding products, will keep your phone ringing, or should i say, your hands busy on the keyboards and mouse, for many years to come.



    Nick Goh

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    Deregistered eejal's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Bro...finally I understand the term "coffee-table".

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Thanks, article nicely done. Anyway I don't have the design skills nor do I have the time, so currently I outsource it as a VAS to the clients.

    Interestingly, a couple whom i just met found that $1388, 10-hr coverage, unlimited shots, full equipment redudancy provided, a 30-page S8R book + 300 4R prints + Express Highlights (photo) to be very expensive. She reckons she can find someone to do it at 1K. No go for me, I don't want to spoil the market. Seriously if you ask me, I think she's crazy as 2006 and 2007 are extremely high in demand for PG, as seen in pricings of service providers across the board.

    I feel that in the years to come, as long as we stand steadfast and maintain a standard, there will be enough rice per year for everybody!

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    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100
    Thanks, article nicely done. Anyway I don't have the design skills nor do I have the time, so currently I outsource it as a VAS to the clients.

    Interestingly, a couple whom i just met found that $1388, 10-hr coverage, unlimited shots, full equipment redudancy provided, a 30-page S8R book + 300 4R prints + Express Highlights (photo) to be very expensive. She reckons she can find someone to do it at 1K. No go for me, I don't want to spoil the market. Seriously if you ask me, I think she's crazy as 2006 and 2007 are extremely high in demand for PG, as seen in pricings of service providers across the board.

    I feel that in the years to come, as long as we stand steadfast and maintain a standard, there will be enough rice per year for everybody!
    actually she's right.. can get for 1k, i can get for less, u can get for less too!

    but those are deliverables. she didn't talk about quality.

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    when the modeling agency industry came together to set a standard recently, their rates supposedly doubled, according to a news report i read.

    i met a photog who offered 300 x 4R, collage book + CD for $700. he invested in 2 x 20D, 35/1.4 and 85/1.2, and fish-eye lens. he went out of business and i bought one of his 20D, that's how i know.

  6. #6

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    design-wise i see various providers doing album design services in the states. you can get pretty decent layouts for US$7 a page from some companies. they probably hire someone to design with a software like photojunction.

    all you have to do is to pass the edited images to them and they do the rest.

    a book designer with the appropriate training and experience will charge much more of course.

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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100
    Thanks, article nicely done. Anyway I don't have the design skills nor do I have the time, so currently I outsource it as a VAS to the clients.

    Interestingly, a couple whom i just met found that $1388, 10-hr coverage, unlimited shots, full equipment redudancy provided, a 30-page S8R book + 300 4R prints + Express Highlights (photo) to be very expensive. She reckons she can find someone to do it at 1K. No go for me, I don't want to spoil the market. Seriously if you ask me, I think she's crazy as 2006 and 2007 are extremely high in demand for PG, as seen in pricings of service providers across the board.

    I feel that in the years to come, as long as we stand steadfast and maintain a standard, there will be enough rice per year for everybody!
    Bro, I am glad you did not. As it happend the same to me as well. Couple wanted $988 (my price was $1688) as they mentioned they can get it for that price but I ask them a very simple question. "Do you like what I show you?". They say better than the $988! LOL.....

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    but those are deliverables. she didn't talk about quality.
    Actually I do tell some to go KT and get the $40 black albums and print S8R at $1.80ea and DIY with double-sided tape. They obliged! I just recommend, confirm less than 100 bux.
    Last edited by 2100; 28th June 2006 at 07:05 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100
    Thanks, article nicely done. Anyway I don't have the design skills nor do I have the time, so currently I outsource it as a VAS to the clients.

    Interestingly, a couple whom i just met found that $1388, 10-hr coverage, unlimited shots, full equipment redudancy provided, a 30-page S8R book + 300 4R prints + Express Highlights (photo) to be very expensive. She reckons she can find someone to do it at 1K. No go for me, I don't want to spoil the market. Seriously if you ask me, I think she's crazy as 2006 and 2007 are extremely high in demand for PG, as seen in pricings of service providers across the board.

    I feel that in the years to come, as long as we stand steadfast and maintain a standard, there will be enough rice per year for everybody!
    Hey 2100,

    Thanks for your input ..

    Well, for $1,3888 and the deliverables that you give, i think it is a steal....

    Kudos to you for keeping your prices and holding your ground


    Nick Goh

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    Bro, I am glad you did not. As it happend the same to me as well. Couple wanted $988 (my price was $1688) as they mentioned they can get it for that price but I ask them a very simple question. "Do you like what I show you?". They say better than the $988! LOL.....
    That's right. And in some cases, they go one big round and come back like 3-4 weeks later and say that they wanna sign up, and one would easily guess that they could not find another guy offering the same quality/service level/chemistry level (some VG/PG are not very friendly or smiley type actually...i chat them up they also bo hue..hehe).

  11. #11

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Once a upon a time, when Wedding (actual) day is just service attachment for 10 - 14 hours, and deliverables are just 4R 'proofing' prints and album, and of course the negatives, say 8 rolls.

    With the digital wedding revolution of the 2000, and the power of the i-marketing, we have seen the wedding day market's fast pace changes and trends, including new opportunities and avenues, for business development and product and service lines expansion.

    Direct and traditional weddings and celebrations photography and services may be seen dying and not acceptable by many young wedding couples. However, many such un-informed couples are not knowing that by paying $500 - $600 for a wedding (actual) day photo package, they are not going to get the professionals and the semi-pros, even though they might claimed or believed that somebody 'pros' have had quoted them before, or likewise.


    Anyway, for those who are able to crossed the '3-years golden mark' successfully, doing it full-time, and their books are still in the black, they will tell you that business and running cost is part and parcel of running a wedding photo trade, even though you may be competent and skilful technically, without the business acumen and marketing strategy and gift, one will be disillusioned and before you make a name for yourself, your working cap will be drained, and forced to fold-up ... therefore being a good technically, skilful artistically are not going to brings you to the next lap ... a major part about Photography businesses is still -- Business Acumen-ship, Long-term Stratagem and Innovational Spirit.


    Nick Goh
    Last edited by Enchanted; 29th June 2006 at 11:42 PM.

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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100
    That's right. And in some cases, they go one big round and come back like 3-4 weeks later and say that they wanna sign up, and one would easily guess that they could not find another guy offering the same quality/service level/chemistry level (some VG/PG are not very friendly or smiley type actually...i chat them up they also bo hue..hehe).
    It happens to me a couple of times liao.......and I never regret it once as some wedding dates is so hot that they still want to find cheaper alternatives.

    I remember once there was a date so hot in 2005 that almost almost every event photographer (including some from media industry) are fully booked. There is this couple called me up to meet up with me. They saw, they thought about it and they say will get back to me as soon as they can BUT asking me if I can give a discount. Obviously I know it was one of the hottest wedding day in 2005, I refuse to budge a single cent (at that time, i quoted them $2688)

    After 8 1/2 weeks they called and say they wanted me to shoot for them.......haiz.......I told them another couple (sitting right in front of me at that time) wanted to book me and willing to pay $3288.....wahahaha!

    They asked me in a very nice way...........are you sure (in other words "Am I bulls**tting). I told them if you do not believe me, please come down right now to meet us at my usual meeting place.

    So at the end of the day, actually the couple I was with decided to help me out and change their wedding date.....hahaha..............and I gave them a good bargain for helping me out!

    The desperate couple came down to meet me on the same day(their actual wedding day was in 2 weeks time) and sign the contract for $3288 (but I also gave them some additional stuffs in my package) and was pretty happy about it. A lesson to be learn for couples out there but just to let any couples out there reading this, not all couples will be willing to change their wedding dates just like that. It was just pure luck!

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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100
    Thanks, article nicely done. Anyway I don't have the design skills nor do I have the time, so currently I outsource it as a VAS to the clients.

    Interestingly, a couple whom i just met found that $1388, 10-hr coverage, unlimited shots, full equipment redudancy provided, a 30-page S8R book + 300 4R prints + Express Highlights (photo) to be very expensive. She reckons she can find someone to do it at 1K. No go for me, I don't want to spoil the market. Seriously if you ask me, I think she's crazy as 2006 and 2007 are extremely high in demand for PG, as seen in pricings of service providers across the board.

    I feel that in the years to come, as long as we stand steadfast and maintain a standard, there will be enough rice per year for everybody!
    Hi, just thought I would add that the increasing prices in 2006 and 2007, in my opinion is really more to do with market adjustment as the market prices for wedding photography has been terribly depressed the last 3-4 years. So i think the prices would likely remain and climb significantly even if the following years are not auspicious. This has a lot to do with the changing spending patterns of clients, ie smaller weddings but spending the same amount or more for quality.

    Plus we have a new breed of photographers rising in the market who are highly educated, from middle-upper income families and who are not likely to be willing to work at prices/salaries less than if they could be working for someone else in some other industry so raising prices is not really an option for them as much as it is survival.

    But of course, like all markets, there will still be the lower end market. But this is just my observation.

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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    It happens to me a couple of times liao.......and I never regret it once as some wedding dates is so hot that they still want to find cheaper alternatives.

    I remember once there was a date so hot in 2005 that almost almost every event photographer (including some from media industry) are fully booked. There is this couple called me up to meet up with me. They saw, they thought about it and they say will get back to me as soon as they can BUT asking me if I can give a discount. Obviously I know it was one of the hottest wedding day in 2005, I refuse to budge a single cent (at that time, i quoted them $2688)

    After 8 1/2 weeks they called and say they wanted me to shoot for them.......haiz.......I told them another couple (sitting right in front of me at that time) wanted to book me and willing to pay $3288.....wahahaha!

    They asked me in a very nice way...........are you sure (in other words "Am I bulls**tting). I told them if you do not believe me, please come down right now to meet us at my usual meeting place.

    So at the end of the day, actually the couple I was with decided to help me out and change their wedding date.....hahaha..............and I gave them a good bargain for helping me out!

    The desperate couple came down to meet me on the same day(their actual wedding day was in 2 weeks time) and sign the contract for $3288 (but I also gave them some additional stuffs in my package) and was pretty happy about it. A lesson to be learn for couples out there but just to let any couples out there reading this, not all couples will be willing to change their wedding dates just like that. It was just pure luck!
    Pro Image .. any wedding portfolios from you to take a view ?

    Thanks

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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Quote Originally Posted by ckuang
    But of course, like all markets, there will still be the lower end market. But this is just my observation.
    Ok, this is going a little OT.

    Just to add, if you do low end market, chances are you'll probably be charging the low end market price again for the next job, simply because your couple will advertise you as a cheap and good photographer. If one thinks he can compete by pricing low, someone will price even lower, and it goes on...

    Like-wise, if you're the kind that targets only the high end market, chances are you won't really bother with couples budget problem or letting their budget problem become your problem. If they can afford to splurge on a banquet for a 4-5 star hotels, what's another $1k to them?

    Before I did this full-time, I had a chat with several professionals and consulted them about pricing and all. End of the day, it all boils down to how you price your work and how you make couples see what they're paying for. More importantly, the photographer himself got to know why as well as believe he can command that price.

    I don't really have a fantastic portfolio and I don't consider myself an old guard in this, but the final bills for the past few weddings I did for the couple came up to $2500 - 2900 for each couple and I provided just DVD/CD and one album... no 300 x 4R, free enlargements, no slideshow, just digital files and album.

    Two years back, I never thought couples would be willing to pay anything more than $1200 for wedding photography. Wedding photos can continue to charge below 1k, but it won't be long before each wedding event becomes a chore rather than something to look forward to....seen this happening to quite a few of my friends who've been doing this for more than 5 years.

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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Wow Nic,

    Good insight....Frankly speaking, I dun like coffeetable book. Pix are smaller and printing are expensive. I see this as a marketing gimmick. I normally try to just sell service and 4R or normal size prints.

    I always tell couple to see the photos as photos so they'll appreciate the story the photo is telling, and not be distracted by beautiful layouts.

    Now I just need more jobs, just went full time for 1+ month....dying soon if no more job comes in. OT abit, how to get sales to come in? I realise alot of couple like my work but not willing to pay, I have already reject 3 couples in June....why?
    Last edited by TrailsofLife; 7th July 2006 at 11:45 PM.

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    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    opinions vary between people.

    to some, images are more important, to others, the album layout, presentation, material and binding is important.

    any idea what hand-crafted leather bound and sewn albums cost overseas? if no one thot albums were important, they'd be out of business.

    on the topic of coffee table books, when i do one, i make more than twice than what i would if i didn't make the coffee table book.

    why do i do it? it is a nicer way to present the album, and i make more money from the same couple (to be blunt). aesthetically and financially i stand to gain, so why not. it seems convenient that doing layout is natural for me as i used to be a graphic designer, so that is some serious value add to the package, at a cost.

    max: perhaps i could offer some food for thought as to why customers you see like your work, but not willing to pay. let's just say, the "ability" to like good images, and the "ability" to afford a certain amount of $$$ is totally unrelated. we all like ferraris (mostly, and for the sake of argument) but most of us won't pay for it.

    everyone can like your work, but u can't shoot for everyone. find those that can pay. how to find them? that one i let u figure out.

    this is the "unfortunate" part about shooting professionally. no matter how, it's part BUSINESS. frank and blunt as i may be, if they can't pay, i can't shoot. of course when i say that, i would be polite, and help in other ways where i can (like recommend another photographer, tell them tips on how i would choose my own wedding photographer or watever). i remember spending a whole hour on the phone with a bride whom couldn't afford me, just becos she was sincere and interesting to talk to. but no way i would have shot for wat her budget was.

    another thing i do is, before i meet any customer, they will know my full pricing. if they dun get blown away, then ok let's meet and chat. sounds very "cold" but u would be "cold" if u had to go for 10 appts a week and close only 0.5 shoots.

    and *ahem* my pricing is NOT expensive compared to SOME wedding photographers we also know well.. (they gonna kick my a** i think.)

    kaoz.. price gotta raise up again. everytime i think about this topic i keep on wanna raise.

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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    opinions vary between people.

    to some, images are more important, to others, the album layout, presentation, material and binding is important.

    any idea what hand-crafted leather bound and sewn albums cost overseas? if no one thot albums were important, they'd be out of business.

    on the topic of coffee table books, when i do one, i make more than twice than what i would if i didn't make the coffee table book.

    why do i do it? it is a nicer way to present the album, and i make more money from the same couple (to be blunt). aesthetically and financially i stand to gain, so why not. it seems convenient that doing layout is natural for me as i used to be a graphic designer, so that is some serious value add to the package, at a cost.

    max: perhaps i could offer some food for thought as to why customers you see like your work, but not willing to pay. let's just say, the "ability" to like good images, and the "ability" to afford a certain amount of $$$ is totally unrelated. we all like ferraris (mostly, and for the sake of argument) but most of us won't pay for it.

    everyone can like your work, but u can't shoot for everyone. find those that can pay. how to find them? that one i let u figure out.

    this is the "unfortunate" part about shooting professionally. no matter how, it's part BUSINESS. frank and blunt as i may be, if they can't pay, i can't shoot. of course when i say that, i would be polite, and help in other ways where i can (like recommend another photographer, tell them tips on how i would choose my own wedding photographer or watever). i remember spending a whole hour on the phone with a bride whom couldn't afford me, just becos she was sincere and interesting to talk to. but no way i would have shot for wat her budget was.

    another thing i do is, before i meet any customer, they will know my full pricing. if they dun get blown away, then ok let's meet and chat. sounds very "cold" but u would be "cold" if u had to go for 10 appts a week and close only 0.5 shoots.

    and *ahem* my pricing is NOT expensive compared to SOME wedding photographers we also know well.. (they gonna kick my a** i think.)

    kaoz.. price gotta raise up again. everytime i think about this topic i keep on wanna raise.
    You "looked" angry...my apology, no offence. Actually, can you shorten your essay because I can't catch what you are driving at. Just like to present my work at its purest form, no gimmick, its personal lah. FYI, I used to be in the creative industry too, Was a senior designer for 5 years and moved on to be an art director for 4 years before giving all up, to do wedding shoots. I treat this as a next step as a creative, that is to take control of my creativity. Something I can't do in my previous job because people treat creative as a business.
    Last edited by TrailsofLife; 8th July 2006 at 02:04 AM.

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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Quote Originally Posted by Max 2.8
    You "looked" angry...my apology, no offence. Just like to present my work at its purest form, no gimmick. FYI, I used to be in the creative industry too, Was a senior designer for 5 years and moved on to be an art director for 4 years before giving all up, to do wedding shoots. I treat this as a next step as a creative, that is to take control of my creativity. Something I can't do in my previous job because people treat creative as a business.
    ehhh... sorree bro.. no idea where the "anger" came from ahahha.. no offence taken, but totally not understanding where you're coming from.

    well i wouldn't say i'm treating my creativity as a business, even though i mentioned that i did the coffee table layouts to earn more money. however i did also say that i found them more beneficial aesthetically, and there is a firm and imo, proper balance between the two. of course, not everyone has to feel the way i do, but i do have a nice mix of customers engaging me just to shoot, and others loving, wanting and affording my collages.

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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Good good...

    Actually, if people want coffeetable book I pass your contact to them.

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