Freelance photographers are in the business of taking photographs – unfortunately, “business” requires them to wear all sorts of other hats as well. They act as marketers, website designers, customer service reps, and distribution centers. For most, these are not tasks they love, but just what is required to get the job done.
Graphic design, however, is a curious task to expect of a photographer. The ability to take gorgeous photos and the ability to layout those photos to tell a story in a book are two very different skillsets. Yet many people hire the same person to perform both tasks, even for important events like weddings. It just seems easier, right? One-stop shop.
But I would never assume that a farmer could cook a gourmet meal, or ask a composer to sing her songs at a professional level. These are different phases of creation, and I would expect and hope that those artists focus on their specialties instead of try to be a “master of all”. I would rather hire the best farmer to grow the ingredients, and the best chef to put them together creatively. I will end up with a much tastier dish in the end!
I’ve spoken to many photographers off the record, and not one has ever said they enjoy putting together albums. It is often considered a “necessary evil”, just part of the job. Their passion is photography, not graphic design, but they do it so their clients will see the photos in print. It doesn’t have to be this way though, if clients make purposeful decisions. Hire the best person for each job.
If you want amazing images, hire a passionate photographer.
If you want an amazing album, hire a passionate designer.