We had our first soft release of our beautiful Lush Albums in April of this year, and I wanted to share a quick update on how things have been going. Like some of the best things in life, getting to this point has been a journey. We started with an idea in December of 2013 and, along the way, built every aspect of having this line up and ready to go. So to now have them in production and being successfully delivered to our customers, friends, and fellow photographers is such a great feeling.
Lush Albums has been a true group effort. We chose to partner with Fundy Design Software because I absolutely love it—it’s just a fun software, and it makes the work of design so much easier, faster, and, well, fun. I love that you can create a Lush Album in minutes using this incredible design software – and at no extra cost.
Next, we chose Finao as the manufacturer of the books because I have always worked with them and have found that offering albums to my clients was always a win-win. I also found myself looking for the most eco-friendly, animal-friendly options out there, so when I realized that I could create my own line and also have nearly fully-automated design options as a part of it, I decided to go for it.
We spent months and months looking through fabric options and finally settled on the three lines we are offering by selecting THE most attractive, high-quality, and high-durability fabrics that really looked beautiful with nearly all home decors we placed them in.
I was lucky to work with some talented people to help create and test drive the albums. When we started, I really relied on Christine Perry-Burke (Job Title: Queen of Finao) for her ridiculously knowledgeable guidance when it came to locking down the aesthetics of the albums. She knows so much about fabrics, paper quality, bindings, production, etc etc etc inside and out – it really made such a difference.
Here’s an overview on so many of the aspects of Lush Albums:
In addition, after we had the whole line set up and going, Yesenia Bocanegra, a fashion and portrait photographer and photography teacher with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with, ordered an album for her own lovely work and acted as a bit of a guinea pig for us. She even took the time to film the entire “unboxing experience” and the first view of her album to help us learn what we could better tweak along the way. We are still working to improve every aspect of the customer experience as we go, and her feedback was so helpful.
The decision to have 10% of the proceeds go to the charity Beautiful Together seemed like a perfect fit. Honestly, I am always looking for ways to contribute to charities that benefit children. My first book, The Art of Children’s Portrait Photography, was written so that all proceeds could go directly to Save the Children and the Worldwide Orphans Fund, two organizations I think so highly off – seriously doing great work. We have also been lucky to have already done great things with Beautiful Together, in part because of this relationship with Lush Albums, and I can’t wait to see what else is accomplished. (Please subscribe to the newsletter to see progress and learn of new projects from Beautiful Together!)
We have been rather fortunate to have some amazing feedback from photographers that we respect and trust:
“I am lucky to be able to partner with Lush Albums to bring my clients one of the most beautiful fine art albums I have ever seen or felt. Thanks, Lush Albums, for such an awesome product!” – Alexis Buatti-Ramos
“These books are so very nice—the printing is just beautiful.” – Scott Kelby
“Lush Albums are so gorgeous. The different organic fabrics are beautiful, and the color options are perfection. The soft linen fabric is to die for, really unique and pretty. The pages are printed on fine art paper and coated for protection. The smooth matte finish is beautiful. Colors are rich, and black and white photos really look amazing. The partnership with Fundy Software makes the album design process incredibly fast, fun and no longer a burden. Lush Albums and Fundy Software are really going to help me grow my business and help me create amazing albums quickly!” – Shannon Hager
We have also been able to partner with and interview some industry professionals on the Lush Albums blog. We are hoping to showcase topics that are relevant and inspiring to professional portrait photographers. You can see Becker’s interview on “How to Build a Referral Network” or an interview with Steve Saporito on “The Art of the In-Person Sale for Photographers”. In addition, we had a guest post by Jake Hicks focusing on “Getting Sharper Images“. Be sure to keep the blog bookmarked, as we have more great content coming out in the next few weeks.
We are still working on refining the brand and the customer experience, and we are hoping to have some more shipping options available soon, like being able to ship internationally! But for now, seeing these albums being created as keepsakes for families make me feel like all the work we’ve put in to date is worth it.
Have you had your own experience with Lush Albums? If so we’d love to hear from you!