How Shawn Black Transformed his Boudoir Album Workflow in 3 Easy Steps
For years, when his brides asked him about boudoir photography, wedding photographer Shawn Black would refer the business to trusted colleagues in the industry until one day, it hit him; “why am I sending that money elsewhere when it could be a natural extension of my business?” So in 2013, Couture Black, the luxury boudoir division of Shawn Black Photography was launched.
What began as a service that was mostly for his own wedding photography clients, quickly became a mission. “Boudoir photography became more than just creating pretty pictures for clients and focused on body positivity, female empowerment, and creating an experience that pampers women, showing them a side of themselves that they thought they would never be or be again.” Creating the Body Confidence campaign, Black has donated his time and talent to help change the narrative on what modern society defines as beautiful, one woman at a time.
Shawn recently took the honors for the second year in the row as winner in the best portrait photographer category for Couture Black and also for Best Wedding Photographer on Boston’s A-List. Between running two successful, award-winning photography brands, and his Body Confidence project, Shawn has a lot on his plate and so he is always looking for ways to speed up his workflow so he has more time to spend with his family and do what he loves.
Shawn used to dread the multiple day process of album design and the hours spent behind a computer screen. Now, his workflow only takes a few minutes and is completed with a few clicks of his mouse. Here is how Shawn transformed his album design workflow for his boudoir photography business.
- Better Album Design Software
In the past, Shawn would worry about designing the album after each shoot. “It used to take several days just to get the album layouts exactly how I wanted them, and even then, they wouldn’t be quite perfect.” He would design the album using the software provided by the album company along with Photoshop, and the process was slow and unintuitive. A few times, after finishing up an album, he would realize that he left out a photo in one of the spreads and would have to go back and re-design numerous layouts to add in the one image. His workflow was tedious and stressful. “I loved the album sales, but the designing process used to be a chore and a huge time suck,” says Shawn.
Designing albums was not Shawn’s forte, but it didn’t make sense for him to cut into his profit margins and outsource the album design process. So, he began using Fundy Album Builder and it changed his entire album design workflow. The Auto Design feature quickly designs the album and then Shawn makes changes easily with the drag and drop feature. Designing an album now takes him about a half an hour from import to export, which allows him to get back to what he loves doing the most: shooting and content creation.
“I’m not a graphic designer, I am a photographer. So not having to worry about a tedious album design, and not paying someone else to do it is just priceless,” Shawn says.
The Fundy software is so easy to use that, in some circumstances, Shawn will design an album in front of a boudoir client and make changes in real time during the in-person sales session. He is also able to sell the idea of a unique, custom layout to every client, which fits into his luxury brand which is focused on each client’s personal experience.
- Took a Few Extra Moments to Organize and Categorized The Images
Once the boudoir client has chosen her images, Shawn imports them into the Fundy software suite and takes a few extra moments to organize the images into specific categories, such as ‘black and white images’, ‘closeups’ or ‘wow’ images.
In the past, Shawn would have numerous images open and he would spend hours trying to make a certain image fit a layout. There would always be the fear of forgetting to put in an image and then having to go back and redesign a layout to add in the forgotten image. If Shawn wanted a certain image, he would have to click through all the opened files and hope that he came across the one he wanted quickly. Now, by taking the time to organize the images first, Shawn can quickly filter out the specific type of images he wants. If he needs a closeup of the client to complete a layout, he is able to quickly locate all of them at once and find the one he needs.
Categorizing images also helps keeps the design cohesive and maintains a balance for each spread making a more consistent album that is pleasing to the eye.
- Spent Time Focusing On The Important Details of The Album
When designing an album, photographers want to create a beautiful album, with a perfect background, and visual balance and symmetry that tells your client’s story. But in the design process, sometimes a lot time is wasted on the minute (yet important) details of the album such as trim, bleed, or the spacing between each image on the layout. With each album company having different specifications for each of their sizes, the minute design details can become a nightmare.
Your clients are not thinking about the trim, the bleed or the cut area of their album, but you better believe that they will notice if one of their spreads is cut off. Our time and energy should be spent on creating a beautiful album that our clients will absolutely love and not stressing out about about how many changes a client might make to the design or if they might want to upgrade to a different size, skewing the layout.
Shawn used to limit the layouts he had and would stress about making sure the spacing between the images were exact and perfect. When a client would change their mind about the album size or the layout of the spread, it would mean more hours of re-designing for him. But since switching his album design to Fundy software, Shawn can easily design an album layout and export it directly to any of the album companies he uses and not think once about trim, bleed or margins. He now can focus on the imagery of the album, which is his strength as a photographer, and not on the graphic design details.
Photographs are meant to be printed. “We want people to print,” says Shawn, “because five years from now USB drives will be obsolete. We may not even have the technology to read a USB drive. An album can be picked up off a book shelf or out of a box and looked through a hundred years from now.”
Being able to easily design an album for any photography client is “huge.” This is why Shawn loves Fundy Software. It has given him countless hours that he’s been able to spend doing more of what he loves.