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Your Wedding Photos Will Increase in Value Over Time
Today I have an article talking about why I believe wedding albums are so important. And I have tons of photos of the beautiful albums and photo books that I have to offer for my wedding clients as well as the families and bar and bat mitzvah clients that I also work with.
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.
Read the article HERE
The author, Kathleen Trenske, 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, 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. If you don’t get them printed and displayed in some form, how will you get to enjoy those memories?
Story About My Grandparent’s Wedding Album
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 there was one afternoon when we were too hot and tired to slather ourselves in bug spray and run around on their farm outside. So instead we decided to explore the sprawling brick ranch farm house where my dad grew up. We tentatively entered my grandma’s “blue” room which was supposed to be off limits to us kids and we never saw anyone hanging out in this 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.
Even though we weren’t really allowed to play in this fancy room, 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 tea length white dress and a handsome young man 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 tucked away on a coffee table in a room that we were definitely not supposed to be in, 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 was such a priceless experience for me.
But, I get that wedding albums are expensive. The wedding 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, it is true that 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 albums 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. Plus there is a wide range of print quality.
Don’t allow your digital files from your wedding day to just sit on a hard drive!
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.
Below you’ll find photos of the gorgeous albums I’ve had the pleasure of creating for my clients throughout the years. My album company periodically discontinues some of the swatches and replaces them with others so some of the pictured albums use leathers and materials that are no longer offered, but most are still part of their collection. Hopefully this will give you a little inspiration for creating your own wedding album!
Albums with Photos Covering the Entire Front Cover
Canvas Photo Album Covers
This is my latest and maybe my favorite of my sample wedding albums I’ve created to date! This is a 12×12″ 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!
Metallic Photo Album Covers
My album company has a really fun metal image cover option called “Armour Covers.” It’s an aluminum front cover panel with a metallic print emulsion that has been adhered to it. These are very strong, thick covers which have a protective coat on them to help prevent scratches. You do have to be careful not to allow the corners to be banged against anything or the print can start to separate from the metal though. (As with any book, if they aren’t treated with care they won’t last as long!)
This is the album I made to show what the Armour covers look like at my consultations. It features a B&W metallic armour cover paired with a cool dark brown leather called “Biker Chic.”
This couple saw the album above and liked it so much they decided to do the same for theirs. This is also a B&W Armour Cover in a 12×12″ paired with Biker Chic. I think it’s such a great mix of edgy and classy.
Here’s a 12×12″ Armour Cover, this time with a color cover. This one is paired with “Suspicion” which is a fun polka dotted textured black leather.
And this one is a 9.5×12″ 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. This entire album is so cool and shimmery!
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 and trippy “Love Junky” leather.
Photo Books with Wood Covers
The album company I use can create custom album covers too! This is a custom 9×12″ wood cover paired with biker chic leather that has been engraved with my client’s wedding logo that was custom made for their wedding. If you have something unique in mind for your wedding album, let me know! The company I work with has experience creating custom, one of a kind covers that no one else will have!
Here another client of mine opted to get the birch wood cover upgrade and had their wedding date etched onto the front cover. They used Bomber Jacket for their spine and back cover leather for a beautiful, elegant wedding album.
Albums with No Photos on the Cover
Here we have a beautiful 12×12″ white leather wedding album with a stamped swirly design providing a modern take on a classic white wedding album.
Albums with Photo Cutouts on the Cover
For a more traditional (and less expensive) look, you can opt to include a photo on the cover of your album without taking over the entire front cover. This is by far the most popular option my clients choose since it is included in the base price of your album and is not considered an “upgrade” like the wood, canvas, and metallic covers are.
Some couples want a nice simple look for their album. “50 Shades” is a great option. Here it is in a 12×12″ sized album with a 5×4″ cover photo. *Note, Fifty Shades has been discontinued, but there are other simple gray cover material options available now.
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.”
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.” (Update: Havana is no longer available, but my album company has lots of new alternatives that will work with a similar color/feel)
Some of the leathers and materials my album company offers are very unique and intricate. Here we have a 10×10″ 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. We did add a photo cutout to the cover to compliment the album cover material though.
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 10×10″ album with the “Datebook” leather allover. (Sadly, despite being a very popular choice, Datebook is no longer available)
Datebook was 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 12×12″ square album with a 5×7″ horizontal cover photo.
A nice, 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 9×12″ horizontal album with no accent stripe with a 4×5 photo cut out for a simple and classic wedding album. (Update: Looking Glass is no longer an option but there are other similarly colored linens/fabrics to choose from)
Here’s a beautiful sunny and cheerful engagement guestbook in a fabric called “Mimosa” from the Brocades collection. (Sadly, the Brocades collection is no longer available in 2020 and beyond)
Here’s another album utilizing the beautiful natural linen of the “Wonderland” collection. This is an 8×8″ family session album with a 4×4″ cover photo in the “Earl Grey” color.
Below is a 10×10″ family album in a nice plum colored linen called “Blackberry” from Finao albums. It features a 4×4″ cutout on the cover
Photo cutout albums with more than one photo
The base price of albums includes photo cutouts on the cover. Smaller albums will only fit 1 photo cut out, but if you opt to upgrade the size of your album, there may be other options for having more than one picture on your cover. Here’s a slightly larger 12×12″ album in a leather called “Bomber Jacket” with three 3″ photo cutouts
“Two Toned” albums using more than one material on the cover
One more fun way to dress up your album is to use more than one leather or material on your cover. You can add a second material (and sometimes third material depending on the size of your album) in a myriad of ways.
Accent Stripe on the Spine
Here we have an 11×14″ horizontal album using “Datebook” and “Secret Garden” leathers. Datebook is a really popular leather (but sadly has been discontinued) and here it is paired with another very popular floral leather called “Secret Garden.” Secret Garden is definitely one of my favorites out of the entire collection of cover materials and as of 2020 it’s still in the collection! It looks so different from album to album and that’s part of why I love it so much.
Here’s another version of Datebook paired with Secret Garden. This time in a 10×10″ album with a 4×4″ cutout photo.
And here is that Datebook leather used on the spine. It’s on a 10×10″ album with a 4×4″ cutout photo here and paired with the beautiful brown floral leather called “Truffle.” Sadly “Truffle” is now discontinued, but check out the following 3 materials for a similar swirly floral look: Cabana, Chyna, Ludicrous, Secret Garden, and Shameless. All of which are still available as of 2020.
Datebook again. This time paired with a more springtime light color of green called “Willow.” The albums in this section are a little older which is why there are more swatches used on them that have been discontinued. Willow is no longer an option but I do have other nice green colored materials I can share with you instead!
Here’s Datebook on the spine again. This time paired with “Opaline” which is a creamy off-white colored leather.
This bride’s parents got to choose their own leathers that they preferred. They went for the pretty green “Ipanema” on the spine with a nice white leather called “Optimism” allover the rest of the album cover. As of 2020, Ipanema is no longer available, but Optimism is!
Here’s another pretty example of that nice metallic looking leather called “Lust.” Here it is being used on a 12×12″ album with a 5×5″ cover photo cut out. The accent stripe is on the spine in a black ostrich style leather called “Suspicion.” (Note: Lust has been discontinued)
Here’s Love Junky as an accent on the spine. It’s paired with Bomber Jacket with a 4×5″ cover photo on a standard 10×10″ album.
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.
Here’s “Komodo Dragon” on the spine paired with “Aquadisiac.” Unfortunately, Aquadisiac is no longer offered. But, be sure to check out “Forget Me Not” or “Mermaid” in the updated collection for alternative options for this color.
Here’s a great black leather with a swirly floral design called Razzle Dazzle. It’s paired with nice blue Wedgewood leather. (Update: Razzle Dazzle is no longer available but Wedgewood blue is! Wedgewood is one of my clients’ favorite cover choices!)
Here we have a VERY interesting album pictures because it’s the only vertically oriented album I’ve ever done. (I find that the square and horitzontally shaped albums are easier to design) This one is a blue leather called “Wedgewood” paired with a soft suede called “Copenhagen.” (Note: Copenhagen is part of the suede set which is no longer available. Take a look at Marigold as a potential option instead)
That blue leather, called “Wedgewood” is a very popular choice for bar and bat mitzvah albums. Here we have an 11×14″ landscape-oriented album with a 5×7″ photo cut out featuring the Wedgewood blue leather on the spine and bomber jacket as the main leather cover swatch.
Accent Stripe on the Spine + Back Cover
When you choose to do an accent stripe on the spine, you have the option to put it only on the spine like the albums above, or you can opt to have it extend to the back cover as shown in the photos below.
Here we have a 10×10″ wedding album with a 4×4″ cutout photo on the cover. This particular album from Finao uses a simple classic black leather on the spine and back cover called Miami Ink. The cover material on the front is a floral white pearlescent leather called Shameless.
On this bar mitzvah album, we paired the awesome jungle style green floral leather cover with a nice subtly metallic brown leather called Bronze Age. We had Cabana go on the spine and the back cover to fully show off how nice it looks.
Vertical Accent Stripe on the Front Cover
Here’s another album using the popular Saturday Night Special paired with Suspicion but this time with a different placement. Here we have a “Suspicion” vertical accent stripe on the cover with “Saturday Night Special” allover.
I wanted something more wild to show clients so I did this album in a yellow leather called “Saffron” and an accent stripe called “Firefly.”
Here is another pairing of “Datebook” with “Truffle” This time on a 16×12″ horizontal album with a 5×5″ photo cutout. This is actually an album that I created for my husband’s dad from our wedding day. (Photo on the album by Yan Photo)
Another 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.” (Unfortunately, in 2020, neither of these are still available)
I also have fun non-leather cover materials to choose from. Here is a fabric called “Marsalis” paired with a classic black leather called “Miami Ink.” (Update: Marsalis is no longer available but there are lots of other fabrics and linens to choose from)
Depending on the size of the album you choose, the stripe does not always have to be right in the middle! Here’s a fun album where they chose an asymmetrical stripe for the cover paired with a 4×5″ corner photo. The allover gray leather is called “Fifty Shades” and the crinkly looking blue stripe fabric is called “Crave.” This is a 12×12″ sized album which allows more flexibility than some of the smaller sizes with placement of the cover photo and the accent stripe. (Update: In 2020 Fifty Shades and Crave are no longer available but there are other gray and blue choices!)
Horizontal Accent Stripe on the Front Cover
Here we have a 9×12″ album using the gorgeous Komodo Dragon brown leather all over and the dark red wine colored “Rothschild” leather as the accent stripe. It looks amazing paired with Noah’s tie in the 5×7″ cover photo. (As of 2020, both of these cover options have been discontinued)
Here we have an overall textured look using “Sagebrush Lizard” with a horizontal accent striped in “Aquadisiac” (I’m sorry that neither of these are still available in 2020, but I can advise on other combinations for a similar look)
I love the look of a textured leather all over an album with a pretty simple stripe in a monotone color. Here I decided to offset the photo to the side a little bit too! 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 9×12″ album with a 5×5″ cover photo using “Komodo Dragon” leather all over with a nice soft brown suede called “Junkyard Dog” as the accent stripe. Neither are still available, but there are some nice velvet alternatives to the suede now.
Here is Komodo Dragon again. This time paired with a different solid light green color stripe called “Willow Tree” on a 10×10″ album with a 4×5″ vertical cut out photo (Note, neither Komodo Dragon and Willow are available in 2020)
Suspicion is commonly used as an accent leather but here it’s used as the main leather with a horizontal access stripe made of hot pink suede called Lusterin’ Hot on a 10×10″ cover with a 5×5″ cover photo. Unfortunately, the suedes have been retired but there is a velvet collection now. I would take a look at Stilleto as an alternative for this hot pink color.
Here is a 10×10″ bat mitzvah album using Wedgwood Blue leather on the cover. It’s paired with a silver metallic stripe with a swirly floral pattern called “Chrome.” My logo shown in the collage below is located on the back inside cover of the album. Update: Chrome is being discontinued in 2020. If you like it, let me know and I can check if they still have it.
Albums with Imprinting
I also offer albums with the traditional look of cover imprinting. It’s generally only available on the more simple cover materials without too much texture. There are 5 different fonts available in White, Gold, Black, Silver, Copper, Rose Gold, Red, or Clear. I have some examples of imprinting in the photos below!
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. As mentioned before, not all of the leathers are good for imprinting but the more plain materials without a lot of texture have it as an option. Here the clear imprint is shown on a 9×12″ horizontal album in the lower right hand corner of the front cover. Clear imprinting allows the color of the album to stay and creates a “Blind Emboss” kind of feel. (Except that the letter characters are not “raised up” they’re sunk in)
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.
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.”
Here’s a 9×12″ Finao Wedding album with a Wedgewood blue leather cover and a Splendor light blue linen spine. Also in the lower right hand corner is the couple names + their wedding date in Goudy Cursive 36 pt font with clear imprinting
Here we have a simple, classic 10×10″ wedding album using the blue Wedgewood leather with white imprinting in the Coronation font. As you can see below, when you use contrasting colors for the text and cover material, the imprinting is more noticeable and not as subtle as when using a color that matches the cover swatch more or when using the clear type.
Here’s another more simple version of the above couple’s classic album with a subtle clear imprint of just the bride and groom’s names in the Coronation font. This is a 10×10″ with Wedgewood blue leather.
Here we have an 8×8″ family session album with the faux black leather called Texas Tea that has been imprinted with Coronation font in copper.
Here’s a senior album I created using the Moonshine vegan faux leather and we used the 18 pt Fournier font in gold to write Colleen’s senior details on the cover!
This album is an 8×8″ senior session album using a gray colored faux leather called Stone Cold Crazy. This is an 8×8″ album with a 4×4″ cover photo cut out and a simple clear imprint using the Coronation Font in all Capital letters.
Parent Wedding Albums
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. (The key is that it is a copy. Some parents opt to do their own album design from scratch and that is full price as the album pages being the exact same as the couple’s album is where the deep discount comes into play)
Here we have an 8×8″ parent album with a 4×4″ photo cutout in the gorgeous Rothschild red leather. (Update: In 2020, Rothschild is no longer available)
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 8×8″ with Moonflower (a silk brocade fabric) on the cover. (Update: Brocade collection is no longer available)
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 5×5″ 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.” (Update: As of 2020, Whitesnake is no longer available)
Here is a parent album I created for my husband’s mom. This is done as a 9×12″ horizontal album with a 4×4″ cutout photo on the cover. This is one of my favorite non-leather options called “Narcism.” (Photo on cover of album by Yan Photo) Update: As of 2020, Narcism is no longer available.
Parent albums now have thicker pages instead of paper pages and can take advantage of the non-leather swatches available. This is a 10×10″ Finao Playbook album using a faux black leather called Texas Tea. It’s a great option for those who want a leather look at a more affordable price as well as those who prefer not to use leather products. This shows the album with a 4×4″ photo cutout on the cover.
Extra Album Add on Options
There are other options you can opt to add on to your album. They include, adding a ribbon to tie your album closed, gilded, silver, or black on the edges of your pages, or wood & paper inside cover liners to add an extra pop of something special
Ribbon Tie on Playbook Albums
This adorable little copy of a larger main album has been upgraded with a cute little ribbon attached to tie it closed when it’s not being looked at. The cover material used here is a richly textured velvet fabric called “Flourish.”
My Album! What did a wedding photographer do for her own wedding album?
And this bad boy is my own personal wedding album:) It’s large and heavy at 12×16″ 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:) (Update: Sadly, both Wallflower and Glitteratzi have been discontinued)
If you’d like to see more information about pricing for wedding albums please check out my in-depth wedding guide here: April O’Hare Photography’s Complete Wedding & Pricing Guide
If you’d like to find out more information about getting your wedding photographed, please be sure to check out the WEDDINGS page of my site!