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The Case for an Album: Why albums are important
From time to time, I like to peruse a particular online wedding forum where I have learned a lot about how to be a better photographer and how to provide a better experience for my clients. Recently, there was an article posted there that provided fodder for a pretty thoughtful discussion.
The author makes a very good case for getting a classic wedding album made. This line in particular stood out to me:
"Of all the things you spend money on for your wedding, your wedding photographs are the ONLY thing that will increase in value over time."
Yes, yes I know it's a "salesy" thing that photographers love to say, but the fact remains that it's TRUE! Years and years from now, your photos are what will help bring those beautiful memories flooding back.
I want to tell a short little story about the first time I saw my grandparent's wedding album. I was about 9 years old and we only drove down to New Mexico to visit them maybe once every 3 years or so. My brother and I were visiting one summer and we were too hot and tired one afternoon to slather ourselves in bug spray and run around on their farm outside. So instead we decided to explore the house where my dad grew up. We entered my grandma's "blue" room (My grandmother was a devout Catholic and had an entire formal living room complete with the traditional plastic covered floral couches and an entire shrine created for the Virgin Mary. The focal point of this room was the electric blue colored carpet and I thought it was the epitome of high style when I was a youngster.) Anyway, we weren't really allowed to play in this fancy room but we snuck in there and discovered a big book on the coffee table. Inside it were old B&W photos of a pretty lady with 50's style cat glasses wearing a short white dress and a young dude holding her hand as they ran out of a church. I was fascinated with this book. Who were these people? They looked vaguely familiar! As I looked through the photos it suddenly dawned on me that I was looking at old pictures of my grandma and grandpa on their wedding day. I wanted to sit and look at that book all day. I was enthralled with the photographic evidence before me that my grandparents had once been young. My crotchety mean old grandparents had once been young and carefree and had a bunch of young friends gathered all around them. And they looked so DAMN HAPPY! I think this may have been one of the first times I actually spent time thinking about the fact that everyone has a history. I could go on about what an incredible experience it was for me to stumble upon this little treasure but I won't bore you with the sappy details;)
I am so thankful that they chose to buy this little piece of their history. What if all they had bought were their negatives and never chose to print those memories? Would I have ever seen them? Would I have ever had the chance to get that rare glimpse of who they had once been? That, my friends is priceless.
And I get it. Wedding albums are expensive. The albums I create for my clients are custom designed and are handmade using gorgeous leathers and stylish fabrics. Each photo that is included is individually retouched which takes time. They are truly little pieces of art. So, yes they aren't cheap. But that's no excuse to skip creating an album altogether. These days, most wedding photographers include the digital files from your wedding day in your package so you have the power to take those priceless photos and create your own wedding album for a more affordable price. Just make sure you are getting the best quality materials you can get for the price. If the pricing seems too good to be true, it probably is. You want a book that will stand the test of time and not fall apart after a handful of viewings.
The sad reality of our busy lives is that good intentions are just that. For many of us, sitting down to create a wedding album can prove to be frustrating to say the least. You must choose all of the photos that you want included which is a project in and of itself. And then figuring out a way to artfully display the sheer number of photos often requires learning new programs and software and who has time for that? I have a dirty little secret. I got married almost 2 years ago and even knowing how to touch up photos, design and create my own beautiful albums I've simply been too busy to create our wedding album. So I can imagine that it's 5 times worse for my clients who aren't in the industry. Life sure has a way of running away from you and before you know it, it's been 10 years since you got married and you never got around to creating that album.
Do it now! Make your wedding album a priority. Make it a must-do part of your wedding, because it truly is. It doesn't have to be the most expensive, it just needs to be made. There's no substitute for an actual, physical book of your personal history that your family can gather around.
Here are some photos just to give you a little inspiration!
This is my latest and maybe my favorite sample album I've created to date! This is a 12x12" album with a canvas cover photo paired with a pearlescent white floral leather called "Shameless" partially on the cover, the spine and back cover. It makes the traditional white leather wedding album seem BORING!
Some of the leathers and materials my album company offers are so unique and intricate that they are available as an upgrade on your album. Here we have a 10x10" album that's been jazzed up using a gorgeous dark blue green leafy printed leather with a ton of texture called "Cabana." This leather is so pretty we choose not to pair it with anything else.
Here's a 12x12" album in a leather called "Bomber Jacket" with three 3" photo cutouts
This is the album I made for the same couple from above to show at consultations. It features a B&W metallic armour cover paired with a cool dark brown leather called "Biker Chic."
Here's another B&W Armour Cover in a 12x12" paired with Biker Chic. I think it's such a great mix of edgy and classy.
Here's a 12x12" Armour Cover, this time in color. This one is paired with "Suspicion" which is a fun polka dotted black leather.
And this one is a 9.5x12" album with a color Armour metallic cover paired with a gorgeous metallic floral leather called "Lust." I like that at different angles the leather appears to be slightly different colors.
And here's another pretty example of that nice metallic looking leather called "Lust." Here it is on a 12x12" album with a 5x5" cover photo cut out. The accent stripe is on the spine in a black ostrich style leather called "Suspicion."
And here is that Datebook leather used on the spine. It's on a 10x10" album with a 4x4" cutout photo here and paired with the beautiful brown floral leather called "Truffle."
Some of the more fun albums take a leather that is commonly used as an accent and place it all over the album instead of just as an accent. Here is a 10x10" album with the "Datebook" leather allover.
And here is another pairing of "Datebook" with "Truffle" This time on a 16x12" horizontal album with a 5x5" photo cutout. This is actually an album that I created for my husband's dad. (Photo on the album by Yan Photo)
Datebook is always a favorite with my clients. It has a beautiful classic look to it as if it belongs in a fancy library. Here it is on a 12x12" square album with a 5x7" horizontal cover photo.
Datebook is a really popular leather and here it is paired with another very popular floral leather called "Secret Garden." This is definitely one of my favorites.
Here's another version of Datebook paired with Secret Garden. This time in a 10x10" album with a 4x4" cutout photo.
Here's Datebook on the spine again. This time paired with "Opaline" which is a creamy off-white colored leather.
Datebook again. This time paired with a more springtime light color of green called "Willow."
Here's a great black leather with a swirly floral design called Razzle Dazzle. It's paired with nice blue Wedgewood leather.
Another very popular accent leather is called "Komodo Dragon." Here it's the leather stripe down the middle and paired with a burnt orange kind of leather called "Krumble."
Here's "Komodo Dragon" on the spine paired with "Aquadisiac."
If you prefer a more overall textured look you could go the opposite way and do one of the accent leathers all over with a splash of color for your stripe. Here Komodo Dragon is paired with Aquadisiac again.
Here is Komodo Dragon again. This time paired with a different solid light green color stripe called "Willow Tree" on a 10x10" album with a 4x5" vertical cut out photo
This is the album I made for our wedding guestbook. We had our friends and family sign in on this pretty thing:) It's a 9x12" album with the 5x5" cover photo off-centered. We used a pretty brown "Komodo Dragon" leather all over with a nice soft brown suede called "Junkyard Dog" as the accent stripe.
I love to pair up a bold colored photo with a bold color and pattern. Here is the Armour metallic cover paired with the fun "Love Junky" leather.
Here's Love Junky as an accent on the spine. It's paired with Bomber Jacket with a 4x5" cover photo on a standard 10x10" album.
Here is another version of Love Junky on the spine with the beautiful brown leather called Bomber Jacket. This time the couple opted to add a copper colored foil imprint with their names in the lower right hand corner of the album. The font they used is called "Pascal."
You can get a parent album created for roughly half the cost of the full sized album. The design and retouching is already done which allows for a deep discount on copies for your family. Here we have an 8x8" parent album with a 4x4" photo cutout in the gorgeous Rothschild red leather.
If you aren't sure about having an actual metallic cover photo you could compromise and go with one of the awesome metallic leathers. Here is the silver "Saturday Night Special" paired with the popular "Suspicion" black dotted accent stripe leather.
Same leather combination, different placement. "Suspicion" on the spine, "Saturday Night Special" allover.
Some couples want a nice gray color for their album but would like something less metallic and more natural. "50 Shades" is a great option. Here it is in a 12x12" sized album with a 5x4" cover photo.
Here's a fun album where they chose an asymmetrical stripe for the cover paired with a 4x5" corner photo. The allover gray leather is called "Fifty Shades" and the crinkly looking blue stripe fabric is called "Crave." This is a 12x12" sized album which allows more flexibility than some of the smaller sizes with placement of the cover photo and the accent stripe.
Here's Fifty Shades again but this time the client opted for a more classic wedding album look by opting for no photo on the cover and doing an imprint on the cover instead. I love the simple cool look of this. Not all of the leathers are good for imprinting but the more simple ones have it as an option. Here the clear imprint is shown on a 9x12" horizontal album in the lower right hand corner of the front cover.
Here is a closer detail photo of what the imprinting looks like. The album in front is done with the Pascal font with Copper colored foil in the lower right hand corner of the album. The album in the backdrop is a clear imprint done with the Coronation font in all capital letters.
I also have fun non-leather options to choose from. Here is a fabric called "Marsalis" paired with a classic black leather called "Miami Ink."
Another non-leather option is this beautiful gray blue colored woven fabric from the Wonderland collection called "Looking Glass." Here it is being used on a 9x12" horizontal album with no accent stripe with a 4x5 photo cut out for a simple and classic wedding album.
If you prefer more natural classic type of albums there are plenty of options for those too. Here is an album using a nice brownish/olive greenish color leather called "Havana."
This one is a blue leather called "Wedgewood" paired with a soft suede called "Copenhagen."
My client preferred a nice natural brown leather that would fit in with the decor of their living room. Here it is in "Dulce de Leche."
I wanted something more wild to show clients so I did her same album in a yellow leather called "Saffron" and an accent stripe called "Firefly."
And her parents got to choose their own leathers that they preferred. Here it is again in "Ipanema" on the spine with a nice white leather called "Optimism" allover.
Speaking of parent albums, I have options for creating smaller and more inexpensive versions of your big wedding album to give as gifts for parents and grandparents too. They make awesome holiday presents for them. Here is a small 5x5" album which was a copy of the couple's album to give to the bride's mom. This one is in a faux leather called "Whitesnake."
Here's a beautiful sunny and cheerful engagement guestbook in a fabric called "Mimosa" from the Brocades collection.
Here's another parent album copy with thin paper pages. This is a nice inexpensive way to get a copy of the main album. This one is 8x8" with Moonflower (a silk brocade fabric) on the cover.
This adorable little copy of a larger main album has cute little ribbons attached to tie it closed when it's not being looked at. The cover material used here is a richly textured fabric called "Flourish."
Here is a parent album I created for my husband's mom. This is done as a 9x12" horizontal album with a 4x4" cutout photo on the cover. This is one of my favorite non-leather options called "Narcism." (Photo on cover of album by Yan Photo)
And this bad boy is my own personal wedding album:) It's large and heavy at 12x16" I wanted a nice pretty floral leather to go with our rustic style wedding and this pretty soft brown one called "Wallflower" fit the bill perfectly. And I fell in love with that black sparkle swatch called "Glitteratzi" and had to have it. I like the contrast of the two. I've also been really into the off centered photo cutouts so that's what I did for our album:)