1. Simply contact us and we will set you up with access to our CLIENT LOGIN area where you will find pricing for all of our services and order forms to submit your project.

2. Fill out the NEW CLIENT SURVEY

3. Fill out the ORDER FORM that matches your job – ie. album design, raw processing or retouching.

4. Send us the files

5. We’ll be in contact with you before we start the project, as we work through the project with step-by-step updates, album proofs etc.

Q. How do I send my files?

  • We will send you information to access our server to which you can upload your files to via any FTP program that you like.
    (examples might include Fetch, Transmit, YummyFTP, SmartFTP, FileZilla etc.)
  • If you prefer to mail us a disc or portable drive, let us know and we’ll send you our address.
  • If you have never FTP’d files before we can walk you through it – it’s very easy!!

Q. I’m new to outsourcing my album designs and/or raw processing…. and my head is spinning…..

  • We have helped thousands of photographers gently, step-by-step over the past decade. If reading all the info below is just totally overwhelming, don’t even look at it. Contact us and we’ll call you on the phone to chat !! It’s not a difficult process, we promise.


Q. Who will be designing my albums?

  • Karen Dahlquist will be personally designing each album for you.
  • I am a graphic designer with 25 years of design experience and a Bachelor of Applied Design degree with honors. My sole focus and business is designing for photographers.

Q. I’m new to selling albums but REALLY want to do so for my studio. How should I get started in picking an album company where there is so many?!?

  • See our post on “Getting Started in Selling Albums
  • You can not sell (very well) what your clients can’t touch, see and experience.  We can help you with Studio Sample Albums that can show off your best work to your clients and get them excited about ordering their own.
  • Throughout our BLOG on the right hand side under ‘ALBUM COMPANIES’ are external links to various album manufacturers and bookbinders. If you see something that you’re interested in, give them an email for more info. Tell them HappyFish Design sent you! If a cool company is not on our list, let us know and we’ll check them out. Is always fun to see what’s out there!! Deliciously fun!!

Q. What if I’m not a professional photographer?

1) Please tell your photographer about HappyFish and have them check us out, we are happy to work with them as a team player


2) We require a signed release approval form DIRECT from your photographer with 100% blessing to both sell, and design, an album for you.


3) If you can prove that the photos are your own we can discuss your wishes further. For example, you might be an artist looking to have a portfolio made of your work that you shot yourself, or a genealogist looking to have a family tree history book created, or a traveler wanting to document a trip with your own photographs etc…. We are open to fun and creative projects – but again, need to be certain that the photos are legally ok to be worked with.

We are wholly true to the photographic industry and copyright infringement is serious.  We believe in supporting both the value of professional photography and professional bookbinders in this industry.

Q. What format should my images be?

  • All files must be highest quality print resolution
  • JPEG
  • Embedded color profile of Adobe RGB (1998) or sRGB – should match the specs of the lab or album company that will be printing your images for your project
  • No RAW files please – unless you are a HappyFish RAW client sending images for processing

Q. How should I name my files?

  • Please use file names that don’t use parenthesizes or special characters
  • To ensure that the photos are placed in the best possible chronological order please:
    • have a logical alpha numerical naming sequence to them (files sort alpha numerically left to right by default – helpful to also have enough place holding 0’s …. ie. 0012.jpg / 0121.jpg instead of 12.jpg /121.jpg)
    • your EXIF data shows an accurate capture date
    • if using multiple camera bodies that the cameras have been time synced
    • if you know that your images are totally out of sync, it helps to pre-sort images into folders based on time chunks:
      • ie. prep / pre-ceremony / ceremony / post-ceremony / cocktails / early reception / later reception
    • There may be a fee charged for projects where images are not sortable by any means mentioned above. I always try to use common sense as best as I can and have a great track record at guessing very well …. but this adds time and risk for more edits later.

Q. Will HappyFish automatically perform any adjustments, conversions or effects to my images?

  • No – HFD prefers to preserve the photographer’s unique style and preference for which their clients are paying them to achieve. Everyone perceives color in their own way – one person’s red is another’s cool orange. Some photographer’s like saturated images while others like more subdued neutral tones – even the slightest tweak can affect the ‘feel’ of the entire photo.
  • The files that you send should be ready to go: color profile embedded, white balance adjusted, levels tweaked, color corrected etc.
  • During the layout process it may become evident that certain images may need to be converted (i.e. black & white, sepia, split toned etc.) in order to match the flow of the surrounding images. We will review them together, and if you agree, you may either send converted images or HFD can perform the conversion for you. If you have a preference for a particular conversion method or action, let us know.

Q.  I really don’t have time to process my raws or tweak my images – can HappyFish Design help me?

Q. I have a number of images that are a ‘must use’ and others that I love, but are not necessarily ones that my client has specifically requested. Should I include them?

  • It is helpful to have a “MUST USE ” folder and a “MAYBE USE” folder in which to put your images.
  • A “MUST USE” folder is for images that absolutely have to be included in the album no matter what
  • A “MAYBE USE” folder is for images that you love … but don’t necessarily for sure have to be included in the album. If there is an appropriate gap in the story that would be well served by an image in this folder, HappyFish Design may opt to include an image from this folder. Flexibility helps to design the very best album that tells the most powerful story.

Q. I don’t have time to pick the images for the album – can I send an unedited down wedding/shoot?

Q. How many images should I send?

  • As the saying goes, “Less is More.” The most powerful albums tend to have less images in them. The more images that are required to fit within the confines of ‘x’ number of pages, the more ‘layered’ or ‘full’ the layout may feel.
  • You choose how many images you wish to include in your album; I will always make sure that ALL images get in if they all MUST get in!
  • QTY of images in an album will also depend on the STYLE of design that you prefer… if you like a clean, negative space style and larger images vs. a rich, filled up denser layered style – this greatly impacts the total qty of images that will work well per your allotted number of page sides.

RULE OF THUMB to guesstimate how many images per ‘style’

multiply # of page sides by 2.25

multiply # of page sides by 2.5 – 2.75

multiply # of page sides by 2.75-3

Q. What do I do if I want my logo, web address, and/or contact info placed on the album?

  • Please provide the logo as an EPS file, high resolution PDF file, or a high resolution Photoshop file.
  • State your preference where you would like it. on the order form (i.e. back page, bottom center)
  • To retain font preference you can either send us the font, or make sure the font is converted to vector outlines in the EPS file. This just means that the type is no longer editable – they become vector objects.

Q. How do you approach the ‘style’ of the album?

  • Your client hired you because of your artistic vision and expertise – I will work with you to enhance your vision on each page
  • The design layout should enhance and not distract from the photography and the story that is being told
  • Every album is unique – some weddings are short, some clients want to have a number of formals in their album, some albums will have lots of photos – others will highlight a specific selection. I can design a great custom album design layout to meet any criteria.
  • I listen to your specific likes and dislikes and keep those in mind when designing for you – some photographers love negative space, others like a more layered look, some people love color , while some of my other clients prefer just a clean, white look …. etc.
  • Visit our STYLES page to get an idea of what you like or may not – this helps us pinpoint visually where your leanings are – this is for communication brainstorming only not a ‘pick from the menu’ type thing
  • I respect that each of your clients has their own unique tastes and personalities – I believe a great album not only reflects your style and expression – but also is one that your client feels is truly theirs and makes them happy every time they look at it.

Q. Is HappyFish Design owned by an album manufacturer or lab?

  • No

Q. Will HappyFish Design have any contact with my client?

  • No

Q. What album companies, bookbinders or labs do you work with?

  • Any company that YOU choose – globally.  If we can obtain technical specifications, we’re good to go!

Q. How do I proof album designs with my clients?

  • By default, I ALWAYS email a PDF of the album drafts to you each round until approved
  • If you use a subscription online service like Album Exposure, Banti, Project Lightroom, Fundy, Album Parrot etc. we will give you low res jpegs large enough for you to post up for your clients to see… on your own branded website. Just let us know what you need!
  • If you would like us to post up the layouts to one of these services for you to save even more time – just let us know!

Q. What happens when the album design is approved by my clients?

  • I will upload and/or send a DVD with the final high res jpegs and the layered photoshop files to you
  • If you also need help getting the files to your album company, or even submitting your order to them, just let us know.

Q. Do you have any album design discounts?


Q. Who will be processing my raw files?

  • Chad Dahlquist will be personally working on your images.
  • He is a professional photographer many years of darkroom and digital experience.
  • He has been a DWF Member since it’s earliest days

Q. How will you know how I like my files to be?  I’m very particular.

  • Chad will do some complimentary test files with you for you both to review together at your computers, on the phone, and discuss the files with you. He will process them first according to his baseline eye – then he’ll send them to you to review with him. He will take notes about your comments that will be unique to your OWN taste so he’ll know exactly what your eye and preferences are.  Every photographer likes their images done differently! The secret is taking the time to communicate together to pinpoint the nuances unique to you.
  • Chad is a perfectionist and will make sure that you are 100% happy.

Q. I’m a LightRoom user. Can I get XMPs instead of JPEGS? Are you on LR5?

  • Absolutely YES. If you want both… let us know.
  • Let us know which version of LR you have.
  • Sending XMPs is preferable over sending Catalogs – less buggy in our experience
  • Yes, we’re using LR5. If you need LR4 please let us know.

Q. Should I upload my files or send a portable drive?

  • Our server can handle it, but is totally up to you and how your local connection is. If you send a drive or discs, please let us know when and which carrier they are coming.

Q. Will you crop and rotate my images?

  • Never – unless you ask specifically and with some information at the beginning of the job.

Q.  Can I send an entire event for you to cull down, and then process the keepers only?

  • Yes – but only after we discuss this on the phone together first.  In our opinion…. outsourcing culling is not going to be ideal for every photographer.
  • On our post-processing form, we have a section to choose this service, and to note what your target range goal qty is.

Q. Do you offer a discount if I use HappyFish raw processed images in a HappyFish design album?