La-vie Album Article : Rangefinder issue

La-vie Albums: Making Life Easier for Professional Wedding Photographers
By Mary McGrath

RFOne of the many ways to measure success in the photography business is by how much a photographer is able to delegate photo-related tasks. Photographers might have specialists in Photoshop who assist with workflow, an array of assistants to help them on shoots, or people who help manage their careers.

Delegating is hard for many photographers, but it frees the photographer up to do what he or she does best: take remarkable pictures. In the wedding business, taking good photos is crucial to a photographer ongoing success. If that moment in time isn’t captured and presented effectively, it can mean disaster for a photographer.Thankfully, La-vie Albums exists to enable photographers with the end product: the creation of a beautiful photo album.

rf001.jpgExpertise From Experience
Having been a wedding photographer himself, Yoshi Ueda knows what involved in capturing these special moments in time. His expertise in the field and his many years as a wedding photographer in Japan helped set the foundation for Ueda opening La-vie in the United States. Since La-vie was successful in Japan for over 16 years, the past five in the United States have shown there a real thirst for the type of quality in the albums La-vie creates.

Hand-crafted Elegance
Each album is crafted by hand, with every design being as individual as the photos that will grace each page. Each album contains true, archival, silver halide photographic prints, with a texture you can feel over the laminate. And the best part? The photographer isn’t saddled with the album creation process. The photographer simply suggests the sequence of images, specifies which images grace the front and back covers, and then relinquishes the project to the experts at La-vie.
There a team of designers who are going to do magic with your wedding cites celebrity shooter Mike Colon, whose roster of clients includes the whos who of Hollywood. La-vie’s products really help me differentiate myself from other photographers. It’s a very high-end product, that enables me to really tell a story with my images.

One-of-a-k mind Creations
Although the recent trend has been digital albums, La-vie Albums has pioneered their own trend, which is different in concept, feel and quality. Since beginning their operations in the United States five years ago, La-vie has pioneered this new concept in album design, providing affordable options for photographer that help them create a memorable and distinctive keepsake for their prospective clients.
There are several albums designs from which to choose. Unlike other photo album products, many of the La-vie designs involve pages folding in, out, up and down. It’s an almost three-dimensional design that not only fascinates potential clients, but generates that wow” factor among professional photographers as well.
The texture, colors and premium quality of the pages showcase the efforts of the photographers in a very unique fashion. Each wedding shoot becomes a one-of-a-kind creation, thanks to the expertise of La-vie and their team of quality designers.

Let the Experts Handle It
Imagine shooting a wedding, touching up the files and simply forwarding the images to La-vie? The labor of building the album is eliminated. The time involved in the selection of the sizes and the specific placement of the images is handed off to the La-vie experts who orchestrate it all, and within six to eight weeks, the finished product arrives, gracefully bound in cloth inside a colorful box for the photographer to view. Truly, La-vie packages these memories in such a way to inspire awe and envy by those lucky enough to utilize their services.
From there, the photographer can browse the finished product, and usher it to the client. All work is guaranteed so that no one will be disappointed. Upon the rare occasion that an error occurs, La-Vie will gladly make the amendments. But rarely is a client or a photographer disappointed.
According to Natalie Fobes, renowned wedding and nature photographer based in Seattle, her high-tech clients and roster of artists are constantly amazed at the attention to detail in each book design. Shooting RAW, she simply converts and sends the JPG images to La-Vie, where they are magically transformed into a sequence that augments the event. Fobes freely admits that she is a control freak, so letting go of the design process was difficult at first. But now she is happy to relinquish the production process to experts.

A Prada in Publishing
Imagine a Prada in publishing, and you can get an idea of the La-vie product. You can select from a variety of styles, with more traditional options available as well. In showing one of her recent shoots, Fobes proudly highlights the finesse of these products. Holding one of the Parent Books, she remarks at what a great marketing tool this is for her prospective clients, and a memorable way to thank the parents. After all, the parents are probably paying for the wedding, so shouldn’t they have a little something? she smiles.
I once had a client spill red wine all over one of my albums, admits Colon. Because the pages are laminated, I simply used Windex to clean them. The images weren’t damaged at all.”

This can be a real bonus when showing the La-vie albums to prospective clients. The pages don’t smudge, or exhibit the usual wear and tear evident with many other wedding albums. La-vie uses Fuji Frontier (Frontia) Digital lab printers, combining the best of silver halide and digital technologies. Each album is guaranteed to endure for a lifetime of normal use.

Mike ColónMike Colon: Legend Behind the Lens
Colon began working with La-vie six years ago and knows once the La-vie product is displayed to potential clients, they very rarely opt for other album designs. Catering to the entertainment crowd, where expectations run high, having a better product helps him market his services more easily, and provide a product that helps differentiate him from other wedding photographers.
Recognized by many notable publications, his work has been featured in Wedding Style, Marriage, Studio Photography, Photo District News, Popular Photography, Rangefinder and many other publications. Nikon refers to Colon as a Legend Behind the Lens” with his work featured prominently on NikonNet.com. For a young photographer, this is quite an honor.

Natalie FobesNatalie Fobes: Making an Impact
Fobes has been working with La-vie for three years now, and her alliance with them has made a tremendous impact in her business. It’s enabled me to cater to a higher caliber of client.” Coming from a background in magazines, she well versed in the attention to detail that magazine production involves. La-vie steps it up a few notches and then some.
Fobes’ work has been featured in National Geographic, and she’s also a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her writing, with several coffee table books to her name. She has won over 200 awards.
She also received an Alicia Patterson Fellowship, won the Scripps Howard Meeman Award and was second in World Press. Her press coverage has been extensive, including a 15-minute piece on CBS Sunday Morning Edition and most recently, a feature in Outdoor Photographer. Some of her clients include: National Geographic magazine, Smithsonian, Sunset, Geo, Time, Newsweek, Audubon, U.S. News and World Report, Orion, Mother Jones, New York Times Magazine, Travel Holiday, The Seattle Mariners, Microsoft, American Seafoods, Resource Group International and more.

More Time for Shooting
Both Colon and Fobes enjoy the ease with which La-vie has helped their businesses grow. La-vie services have enabled both of them to devote more time to hone their craft, all of which adds up to more time for shooting. And isn’t that what photography is all about?
For more information visit la-viealbum.com. To see Mike Colon work, visit www.mikecolon.com. To see Natalie Fobes work, visit www.fobesphoto.com.

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