Should you buy a wedding album?

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A few years ago around Christmastime, my grandmother brought out the album of photos from her wedding in 1958. This album had rounded corners, gold page decoration, and thick pages inlaid with photos. My grandmother didn’t just show me photos – she used them as an opportunity to share stories. Stories about our family, stories about people who had passed away, stories about that time in history, stories that could not have been as easily told without an album. Photos are a way to preserve memories and albums are one of the best ways to share them.

The case for albums

My primary goal as a wedding photographer is to capture authentic, beautiful images so that those memories can be re-lived and shared for generations to come. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is the start of something incredible, the establishing of a new family and the beginning of a legacy that lasts for many generations. While digital images are easily shareable and wonderful for archiving long-term, I firmly believe that there is nothing that can compare with the impact of physical printed images and an album of photos that tells your story. Not many people remember to dig into their computer hard drive or find that long-lost thumb drive to look through their wedding photos. But albums that sit on a coffee table, that are visible on a bookshelf, these cause us to pause and remember. By having an album, kids will get to know their family history and parents can easily remember their love.

So when it comes to your wedding budget, consider leaving room for a wedding album. You have probably heard that when the wedding day is over all you have left is the people and the photos, so you should have great photos. I encourage people to go one step further and make sure you have a great way to experience those photos, and the best way I know to do that is with a wedding album.

But now for the hard questions, what kind of album should you get, what should you look for, and should you do it yourself or have your photographer do it for you? Let’s tackle these one-by-one.

What kind of album should I buy?

There are a number of details to consider when it comes to your wedding album, but here are a few of the most important ones to think about.

Size. How large do you want your album to be? Most of my clients choose to have their own 10x10 or 12x12 inch album. This size allows for a diversity of pages designs and all while being in a book that is not too large to hold. Other sizes are available, and some choose to have slightly smaller copies (8x8) made for family members.

Cover type. Your cover is all about what you prefer most. A leather cover gives you classic timeless look, while metal covers, or covers with images provide a much more modern feel. Go with what fits you, your wedding, and your home.

Number of pages. My clients receive albums that start with 10 spreads (a spread is a left and right page, so 10 spreads equals 20 pages). 10 spreads provide roughly 40-50 images. Albums can include up to 25 spreads (50 pages), for a total of 100-125 images! Choose the number that best tells the story of your day.

DIY or pay my photographer?

It is tempting to want to design and order an album all on your own, and I completely understand this. You have a wedding budget, and an album can seem like an unnecessary expense. While you can create your own book using any one of numerous sites, these sites do not offer the quality and convenience that I as a photographer can offer.

My clients receive their first album proof within a month of their wedding day. From there we go back and forth to revise and make their album perfect. Many people say they are glad they didn’t have to spend the time to design their album while also merging families and being in the middle of their own jobs.

I intentionally lay out the images in a way that tells your story. When it is time to order the album, I use a company that is not available to those who are not photographers. These albums carry a lifetime guarantee and are meant to last with heavy pages that don’t bend, a binding with careful, sturdy stitching and attention to detail that you do not receive with more budget options.

Yes, you can order an album on your own, but most places that offer albums to consumers do not give you the quality that can be passed on for generations, and they require hours of design work that most people do not have available.

I hope this helps you see the value in printing your images and having them in an album. This is your story, your legacy, so let’s put it in a album that will last a lifetime.