Wedding Albums: What You Need to Know
Wedding albums are probably the most confusing part of the wedding photography process, and oftentimes they’re the thing that couples have thought the least about. Because let’s be honest, when you’re in the thick of planning your wedding, why would you be thinking about what you want to do with your images after the wedding is over?
I really, really have a passion for albums (you can read more about that here).Because really, what’s the point of hiring a professional wedding photographer to capture and curate your wedding day if you don’t do anything with your wedding pictures.
So below, I’m sharing a few things I think every bride should know about wedding albums!
1. These are not the albums you can get on Shutterfly or Blurb or Artifact Uprising.
Your photographer isn’t ordering their albums from anywhere that the average consumer can order albums. Professional album companies work only with professional photographers (I actually had to apply to and be accepted by my printer!), and quality-wise, there’s no comparison. They’re hand bound, and the craftsmanship and attention to detail are unmatched.
Photographers go through a process of calibrating their editing monitors with these printers, so the colors and tones in your pictures print exactly as they should.
There are people on staff who go over your album with a fine-tooth comb to make sure every inch of it is perfect before it gets sent out to you.
And the materials, paper and ink are archival.
Which leads me to my second point…
2. Archival is important.
Again, this isn’t something you can get from a consumer company. Inks, papers, binding materials…. A lot goes into an album and if any of those materials aren’t acid-free and archival, it won’t last. For a few years it’ll probably look the same. But 10 years from now, it won’t. Images will fade and yellow. Binding will disintegrate. Page corners will start fraying and discoloring.
When you order a professional, archival album and care for it properly, that won’t happen. (And yes, if you order from me, you’ll get instructions on properly caring for your album!)
3. You don’t have to order an enormous album – just focus on showing a summary of the day so your loved ones can flip though and remember how the day felt.
I have my brides start the album process by using the “favorite” function in their online gallery to tell me which few images they absolutely have to have in the album. From there, I fill in and design the album so that the album tells the story of their day. The design is so important, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the wedding process; this is where true wedding day curation happens.
But don’t feel like you have to order an enormous album with 40 spreads to do that. Your album design should be representative of your day, but it should also be easy to digest. You’re a lot more likely to flip through a 15-20 spread album (and show it off to guests!) than a 40 spread album. Which leads me to…
4. Supplement your album with a print box.
A great companion to that “summary” album is a print box. Think of it as an album without the binding; you can print all (or nearly all) of your wedding images, and store them neatly in a beautiful display box. It makes choosing images for your album a little less stressful because if you’re on the fence about including an image in your album, you can just add that image as a print in your print box! If you have guests over and you want to show them a certain picture that isn’t in your album, you’ll have it handy. It’ll sit on your coffee table, and it’ll become a conversation piece. And you’ll know that 30 years down the road, you’ll have physical copies of every one of your wedding images.
5. 10 years from now, 30 years from now, when you have kids and grandkids (or if you don’t)… You’re going to want this. And so will your family.
It’s so fun to just scroll through your wedding pictures on your phone, or click through them on your laptop. We all do it – print a few out for work, make one the background on your phone or your laptop, download everything onto your external hard drive and go “yup, I’m good to go. I have my wedding pictures and they’re right here.” We did the exact same thing.
Let’s be honest – technology isn’t going away. But it will change. We haven’t even been married that long and our wedding images were delivered to us on a disc. Your wedding is worth more than a flash drive, a Cloud backup, a few Instagrams and a Facebook album. Those won’t last.
Chances are, your parents and your grandparents have a wedding album. Or at least a few prints from their wedding. Those aren’t going anywhere. Those aren’t going to change. You can hold them in your hands, and you’ll always be able to do that.
Imagine your kids or grandkids not having an album to go through. I’m not trying to scare you here, but that honestly makes me so, so sad because I’m so, so thankful for my parents’ and my grandparents’ wedding albums. (Again, if you want to read a longer post on exactly why I feel that way, you can do so here.)
You may not be able to imagine it now, but that album will so be important to the people you love one day.
So if you’re a current bride who’s planning for her big day, go back and leaf through your parents’ album. If you think of anything meaningful while doing so (perhaps a picture you want to replicate), make a note of it. And if you haven’t already thought about your wedding album as something to invest in together, do so. Because it’ll be your first family heirloom. It’ll be uniquely yours. And it’ll be beautiful.
Lindsay Campbell is a wedding photographer specializing in natural, romantic wedding photography with a bright and airy film look. She photographs weddings in Chattanooga, Franklin, Nashville, and the surrounding areas, and travels across the country to photograph weddings! If you’re looking for a Chattanooga wedding photographer, Nashville wedding photographer, or Franklin wedding photographer, get in touch!