The Secrets Behind Making A Great Photo Album: Wendy Goldstein, Album Accomplished
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
It’s no secret that the event industry is hurting right now. With so many major life events being postponed or cancelled, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of the behind-the-scenes players in the event space. I recently had a virtual chat with Wendy Goldstein, owner of the customized photo album business, Album Accomplished. If you’ve never met Wendy or seen her hilarious posts on social media, she’s one of the wittiest and “punniest” people I’ve met. And now that we have so much extra time on our well-washed hands, it’s the perfect time to take all those photos clogging up your digital space and let Wendy work her magic. Here are some highlights from our conversation:
Q: Where did you get the idea to start Album Accomplished?
A: The party planner we used for my son’s Bar Mitzvah saw the album I made from the event and suggested that I go into the business of making albums for other people. I thought she was crazy at first but upon further discussion and contemplation I figured, why not?! I know a lot of people who start their own albums, but don’t finish or simply do not have the time or patience to navigate the sites without frustration.
Q: How do you approach the storytelling process?
A: There are many different ways to tell a great story and depending on the type of album it can vary. Most often there is a definitive time sequence. For example, a Bat Mitzvah album may have temple pictures, cocktail hour, hora and party moments, and I would just follow the flow of the event. Sometimes it can be themes or vignettes that go together that may not be in time order, but may be a bunch of different days doing a similar thing such as playing a sport or performing in recitals that look great in one particular part of the book or story. In the case of a milestone birthday book, it could be divided into different chapters of family and friends. Some people even include letters that were written for the recipient and those are always fun to include. The options are truly limitless.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about your job?
A: Completing photo books for my clients that have literally been waiting years to finish them and finally reached out to me to get them done. They are always surprised at how easy the process is and wished they had found me sooner. I have met the best people since I have started this job— even if it’s only via emails, phone calls and texts, we definitely form a great connection. I have included an ever growing page of client testimonials on my website. Feel free to take a look at them. www.albumaccomplished.com/testimonials.
My clients also travel to some pretty fantastic destinations so I love crafting those books as well. It sometimes feels like I am on a mini vacation touring along with them from my desk chair.
Q: How has Covid-19 changed your business?
A: I continue to get inquiries about doing albums for clients, both old and new. I think this extra time at home is giving people projects to do that they might have been putting off, like organizing photos. Luckily I work remotely so that part has not changed. I just want everyone to stay safe and healthy. This is a crazy time, but albums will still be getting done and they are sure to bring smiles and joy to those that are receiving them. And we can all use something to smile about right now.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you face when designing a photo book?
A: Probably working with photos with low resolution. Sometimes a picture can be fantastic and I want to give it more prominence on a page only to find that the resolution isn’t great. I can work around it for sure, but it can be frustrating
Another challenge is when the timestamps on the digital photos are not in sequence for some reason and making sure all the right pictures are placed together.
Q: How would you describe your signature style?
A: Clean and modern. I like the photos to tell the story without a lot of “noise” in the background. That being said there is definitely a time and place for great backgrounds or fun scrapbook style stamps and stickers.
Q: What makes you different from photographers who make albums?
A: Many event photographers, in my opinion, set an unrealistic cap on the number of pictures their clients can use in an album. When there is a life event and you are limited to say 75 pictures, it is hard to tell a complete story without feeling like you are leaving many of your favorite moments in a box in order to not go over the allotted number or budget.
My pricing structure allows my clients to choose as many photos as they would like to include without breaking the bank. The only limit we are faced with is the page count so I like to guide them within reason when selecting their photos so they are not cluttered on a page, which goes back to the clean, modern style I love.
My clients also have an advantage when working with me because once their album is complete they can save it to their account. They can order multiple copies up front, or if something happens to their book down the road and want to re-order it, they can easily do so.
Q: What type of events are most regularly featured in your albums?
A: I do a lot of Bar/Bat mitzvahs and wedding albums, but my clients come to me to make lots of other books too, such as vacations, baby books, graduations, camp experiences and yearbooks. I also do a significant amount of books as gifts for friends and loved ones to commemorate a big birthday or anniversary. The possibilities are truly endless.
Q: What is your advice for people who are overloaded with digital photos?
A: We are all overloaded with digital photos because our camera phones are always at our fingertips. Besides backing them up (which I still need to do more of), I suggest making different file folders on your computer desktop and labeling them by topic (vacation, birthday party, year, etc). Weeding out as you go, click and drag your favorites into those folders and when you want to make an album you are ready to go.
Q: Who would be your dream client to design a photo book for?
A: Living in a town so close to famous actors, musicians and politicians, it would be super fun and a huge honor to design a photo book for any one of them. For now, I think it’s just really exciting when I get clients from different states and countries. I have met the greatest people along the way.