• Ask Anything

things to do is design sample albums.  I love design and I know most photographers do not have a design background and so that thought of albums makes them CRINGE! However, when I’m designing sample albums, the only person I have to please is myself! So I can do really fun things and try new layouts and change it as much as I want! I recently went on a trip with my family to Wisconsin to shoot my cousin’s wedding and on the way out there, I designed 4 sample albums AND a honeymoon album! WHAT?!! Where did

that burst of productivity come from?!! I’ll tell you… that’s what happens when you have 19 hours on the road with NO INTERNET!! Seriously, FB, twitter and blog stats are my ENEMY during the workday! I have started banning myself from all three until I get a ton of things accomplished! Anyway! I designed these albums because I am in DESPERATE need of some new samples! I just haven’t had time recently! It’s been on my list of “goals” for so many months!! So I designed four and I’m going to show you a few pages from Ryan and Annamarie’s sample because I’m obsessed with their wedding! I’m also going to explain a few tips about how to shoot for an album!! But before I do that, here are some resources I get asked about quite often:



Album Design: I use PHOTOJUNCTION to design my albums and I love it! It’s fast, easy and simple!!


Client Proofing: I just export the design in Jpegs and upload them to my client’s wedding gallery on SMUGMUG and they can view and comment on each page straight from their gallery! Again, quite simple and efficient!


Album Company: LEATHER CRAFTSMEN.. I love them, I always have!!



So here we go! Obviously these are just designs, I haven’t received the printed albums yet but I promise you… once they come in, you will be SO sick of seeing my sample albums because I’m going to show them off constantly! I’m so relieved that they are on their way that I can hardly stand it!! Ryan and Annamarie’s sample album is going to be 50pages… yea. I just couldn’t stop! I’m just showing you a few of my favorite spreads! This first spread is obviously of her bridal details. Here’s tip numero uno!


1. Shoot details in a way that makes all the images flow together. I started with the dress and because of the wooden chest, I then shot the shoes on a wooden bench, etc. I knew that these images were going to be beside each other on the BLOG and the ALBUM so I wanted them to coordinate! There were SO many neat things in Anna’s aunt’s house but I chose to shoot the shoes on a simply wooden bench because 1. it was more natural and 2. It totally MADE this spread!! Sometimes it’s worth it to sacrifice some AWESOMELY UNIQUE shot in order to be consistent!


Again, when I was shooting these little details, I just found some good light and a wooden tabletop and shot them ALL in the same location in order to be consistent.




2. It can be overwhelming when you have good light and a gorgeous bride but only a few minutes to grab a few bridal portraits. So my second tip for shooting for an album is to start shooting a full length shot, then move in for a torso shots and then shoot a few close shots of the bride. If you’re really in a time crunch, do this as the dress is getting buttoned or tied! Shooting this way will give you SO much more to work with! These three bridal shots were taken within 5 minutes. I changed lenses once and it’s amazing how this album spread flowed so well!!




3. Shoot in one location long enough to make an album spread. Of course you’re not going to have time to think about the actual album design AS you’re shooting. You’re not a super-hero!! But always shoot several poses in ONE SPOT and you’ll have so much more to work with! People always ask me “How do you have so much time for portraits?!”… well a lot of time, I don’t! I have to maximize the time I have by using multiple poses in one spot! This spread below is a great example of this! The couple hardly moved at all and yet each shot looks different. We probably shot this spread in about 5ish minutes and then headed to the barn!

Same thing as above! Once I got them to the barn and adjusted for the change of light, we just shot in a few different poses and then changed it up a little bit with the parasol!! (loved all of Anna’s props!!)

When we took some shots with the parasol, I didn’t just take one, we took SEVERAL shots in SEVERAL different poses because when you have a prop like that, more than likely you will have a full spread that incorporates that prop. In this case, that POP of blue made this spread so consistent and I LOVED it! You can also see that I used TIP #2 while shooting this spread. I started shooting from a distance and then gradually moved in closer to the B&G!

4. I don’t really have any tips for this spread… it’s just one of my FAVORITES and I’m sure you can guess why!!!! TEAL!!

A quick bridal party spread!

5. MORE TEAL! Now that truck wasn’t really a part of their theme but because we used it in their portraits, I took a quick shot of it in case I needed a “filler” shot on the blog or in the album….. and I did! Sometimes those little detail shots can really MAKE a spread. It breaks up the “busy-ness” of the layout! Does that even make sense? It makes sense in my head but if you have trouble understanding what I’m explaining, just let me know!

6. No tips for this one… just a huge “THANK YOU” to Annamarie and her beautiful bridesmaids for being so photogenic, it’s really ridiculous how beautiful these girls are!!

7. Use your surroundings to inspire your portraits!! This is how you can guarantee that your weddings will not start looking “the same”.

8.  OH GOODNESS!! This is by far one of my most favorite spreads ever!! I love the light images vs. the darker images. When you’re shooting details, be sure to use the #2 tip again! I shot this cake probably 30 times!! Close up, far away and then a medium distance!

9. If you design your own albums, pay attention to the WB of your images. Images shot in similar light will always look better in a spread together! Some of these images were shot outside and the dancing shots were inside but the indoor shots were lit with window light so it was very simliar in color!

10. Have fun! I know this is so much to think about and NO one can really shoot with the album in mind CONSTANTLY. The most important part of your client’s wedding day is the way you make them FEEL.  If you connect with them, you have potential to create amazing images! I really think this last tip should be focused on MORE than anything else! It’s about the EXPERIENCE…. not just the images… more on that concept later:) … wink wink**

I hope this helped! Can’t wait to see this FULL album printed!!!

xoxo, Katelyn
24 Comments Ask Anything, Education
  1. Kristin reply

    That is a gorgeous album and wedding! Love it!

  2. McCall reply

    Katelyn, these are wonderful and your tips are so appreciated! I’m not a wedding photographer (I primarily do headshots for actors), but I’d love to know what lenses you shoot with for your weddings. I’m a Canon girl also and I have 18-55mm, 50mm/1.8, 100mm/2.8, 70-300mm, and I’m just purchasing an 85mm/1.8. Wondering if you use 24-105mm and if you think that’s a worthwhile lens to have. Thank you! Happy Friday! :)

  3. Michelle Kirnan reply

    Katelyn, you’re so inspiring! I absolutely LOVE your work, and it’s posts like this that really help a newbie like me to understand how you do what you do so well. I hope that makes sense. You have a fabulous style, your images are incredible, and you share all that you can to help others – you rock!

  4. Gabby / En Route Photography reply

    Can´t wait to design my very first album!!! ;) Thanks for the tips!

  5. Amanda reply

    Beautiful album and wedding! Wow! Can I ask how many photos you actually take at a wedding like that and how many you actually end up presenting to the couple? I’m always in aw of your photos!!! Thanks :)

  6. Kimber Wassenberg reply

    Awesome, AWESOME tips!! I love every “Ask Anything” post because I always come away inspired and ready to do something with all I learned! Thanks for sharing!!!

  7. Abby Grace reply

    Oh man, I am so envious of your designing prowess. I am so intimidated by the thought of deisnging an album that I just… haven’t. I know I NEED to, but man! I don’t think mine will look anywhere as good as these. They’re going to love this album!

  8. lori reply

    question, do you ask your brides to select images for album spreads or try to encourage them to let you pick? thanks katelyn! gorgeous post, as usual.

  9. Chris Walters reply

    Thanks so much Katelyn! This couldn’t have been a more timely post! I always appreciate your input!

  10. Bethany reply

    Thanks so much for this post! I have my first wedding album design coming up next month and I was nervous about how to approach it! You were really helpful.

  11. Marissa Lynn reply

    So many great and super helpful tips!! Thank you so much Katelyn!

  12. Megan reply

    Awesome tips! I had to jot some down :)

  13. Kristina W. reply

    It looks fantastic Katelyn! Tip #11: Be an awesome photographer like Katelyn Alsop!

  14. caroline reply

    SO COOL!!!! I like reading about how your mind works behind the camera. you got a good thing going!

  15. Annamarie reply

    I like this post for obvious reasons :) :) :)…and i especially love how you made everything flow so nicely. perfect!!!

  16. Lydia reply

    Great tips! Love your designs and can’t wait to see the finished album!

  17. Abby Grace reply

    So as a result of this blog post, I felt so much less intimidated about about design that I originally was. I just finished my first album! This entry helped SO MUCH and I’m excited about designing my next one. Your suggestion to use Photojunction was genius- I tried using LC’s program and I think that’s where the problem began (WAY too complicated). Thank you!!!!!!

  18. Leather Craftsmen albums » : Abby Grace Photography • Modern Washington D.C. Wedding, Engagement and Portrait Photographer reply

    […] Part of the problem lay in the that fact that I’d never really seen an album layout that I loved. The only albums I’d seen were really busy, with photo on top of photo on top of photo, and it looked really complicated. Fortunately for me, two of my favorite photographers Jasmine Star and Katelyn James have both done several posts each on album design. I was able to take a look at how they do their album layouts and because both of them take a clean, classic approach to albums, I felt a lot less intimidated about starting one of my own. Check out Jasmine’s post on albums here and Katelyn’s SUPER helpful post here! […]

  19. ashley dellinger reply

    How fun! Love that I came across your blog : ) Beautiful work on the album! Im designing my first one. I ended up going with Asuka books on this one becuase of price & quality for said price (seemed pretty reasonable). The program they have is a lot like the one you use but I think I like the layout a little more. But even with the pre made templates it hard to decide what to pick for each page! Gah! Anyways, have a good week & im going to add your blog : )

  20. Rana Raheel reply

    Hello I’m Rana Raheel I’m the Most Exclusive Photographer & album Designer
    Are You Interested Contact me
    i’m available on
    whatsapp 0324 4803279

  21. Zahid Soomro reply

    Like your modern wedding album design dear try it and check latest wedding album design

  22. zahid reply

    I am a professional wedding photography album designer when i visit your site so i like it your creative attractive wedding album design so good job,

  23. Jennifer reply

    Thank you SO much for these tips and examples! I have searched high and low for a sample wedding album that I didn’t hate because all the photos started to get muddled and look the same. This is a gorgeous album and its exactly what I was looking for as inspiration!! Thank you again! Simply beautiful!

  24. Judith Gould reply

    Very exquisite portrait, so nice colors!

Reply to: