For wedding and portrait photographers alike, one thing holds absolutely true in our business — time is money. The overwhelmingly majority of us are small business owners who often take on most, if not all, tasks associated with running a business by ourselves. Between the marketing, taxes, sales meeting, IT support, education, editing, janitorial duties and actually shooting, there is precious little time left over for creating one of a kind albums for our clients.
This year at WPPI, Fundy software dropped an absolute bombshell of an announcement which will change not only the workflow of many portrait and wedding photographers, but gives even the newest photographer the ability to design a beautiful album for their clients with ease. They have truly adopted the “storyteller” concept of what we do as photographers and this tool will give us an amazing ability to offer custom albums to our clients.
Full disclosure, I have an association with Fundy Software as one of their storytellers. This isn’t a paid position but its worth mentioning as I don’t want to imply this article is skewed because of that relationship.
Fundy Designer has been on the leading edge of making the album design process easier ever since I first tried their product (version 2) in 2010. When they launched version 6 last year, I thought that was probably the end game but they’ve announced a true game changer yet again with version 7. There are several differences but the one that is the most impressive to me is the, wait for it, the “auto-design” button. Yes, you heard that right, push a button and you have a full album designed in less then 10 seconds (yes, really).
There’s a few ways you can achieve this and you can spend as much or as little time as you want to make it happen. You can either use ONLY the photos you import or via image tagging that can be done in Bridge, Lightroom, Photo Mechanic, etc or in Fundy Designer (FD) 7 itself via the image browser. With the introduction of tagging, you can mentally lay out your album as you are editing. In the image browser, a very, very powerful feature is the ability to “group” the photos you want to appear on the same page. For example, if you want a “details” page, just select those photos in FD7, hit the “group” button and the auto-designer will put all of those photos on the same page when auto-designing. Same with choosing if an image should be a panoramic or a “main” image. All of the current features of version 6 are, of course, still there like the ability to drag and drop photos into an automatically adapting (template free) layout, which is still as intuitive as ever.
Here’s a great tutorial which goes more in depth into the auto-design process: http://fundydesigner.com/v7-professional-auto-design-explained/
From a photographers viewpoint (mine specifically), the ability to tag your photos while editing them (or in the image browser) then using those tags to “auto-design” an album will save an amazing amount of time. Add in the ridiculous ease of use and flexibility Fundy is already known for with their current designer software and it will enable photographers of all skill levels to create beautiful albums for their clients. If you want to live dangerously and throw caution to the wind, try adding the photos you want to use into FD7 and click “auto-design.” Either way you approach it, don’t blink…if you do you’ll miss it (honestly) because before you know it, you have a full album design completed. FD7 allows you to have as much or as little control as you wish in the process. After the auto-design has done its magic, you still have all the ability to go back into each spread and tweak it, just like in V6.
Another great feature is Fundy Direct. This really removes the complication of ordering an album by simply sending it to the printer directly from the software and not have to navigate FTP programs, separate ordering forms or sorting out or re-numbering/naming the files. If this saves 20 minutes per album, you just got back your blogging time (I assume we are ALL behind on blogging, lol).
One less mentioned but (for me), highly anticipated improvement is the quick design picker. In V6, it seemed like it was a bit flat with choices. No more. V7 groups each spread by “design elements” so you can more quickly pick out which spread design you like, then rotate thru different designs using those elements. It’s a much more efficient & intuitive approach then in the past.
Albums & prints are so important to focus on as a photographer and storyteller. I can tell you first hand the impact a beautifully made physical product such as an album or print has on your client that just isn’t possible when presenting a USB drive or delivering via some other electronic method. I’ve seen this when sitting down with my clients and reviewing their printed products. Digital images — while they are important — simply are not as impactful as a beautifully crafted book. I made the transition 2 years ago to stop offering USB drives and put albums first. I’ve not had a client complain yet (yes, I was surprised too).
Fundy designer not only has the album designer, but 3 other facets (which can be purchased separately or as a bundle) as well. The Fundy Gallery Designer is specifically for in-person sales and allows you to have a client send you a photo of “where” they want possible photos to hang so you can show them what the photos will look like (properly sized) on their walls. Many photographers are reporting tripling their average sales session by using this simple technique, so its definitely worth it to check it out if you have been debating, or are already doing, in-person sales sessions. They also have their super fast image brander (for watermarking) and blog collage (which does a beautiful job making layouts designed for blogs).
If you’ve been interested in offering albums to your clients or doing in-person sales, but just been too overwhelmed by the learning curve, I definitely recommend checking out this revolutionary software. You can get a free trial of the software here.