In our digital age, you may find yourself asking: with photographers providing digital files, why would I want an album? Can I skip it, or maybe do it myself? Besides this excellently written Huffington post article on why you should get an good quality album and archival prints from your wedding, here is my own take on it, as both a bride and a photographer.
This is your first family heirloom.
Remember leafing through old family albums and prints- your parents’, grandparents, or maybe if very lucky, great grandparents? Feel that nostalgia and interest in seeing your parents at your age, hearing their stories that go along with those photos, seeing what it was like “back then”. Your wedding album is your first family heirloom for your children to leaf through and experience their family history as though they were there. Even if you don’t plan on having children, your nieces and nephews might one day enjoy looking through your wedding album.
Albums are for storytelling, and your wedding is a story.
Your photos are a story, and I still believe that the best way to tell a story is in a book. Call me nostalgic and a book worm- guilty as charged- but I believe there is nothing like experiencing the physical, tangible feeling of photos in an album. It makes it real, and you can hold it, feel it, smell it. I don’t recommend tasting it though!
Albums have changed a lot since your parents’ slip in albums.
Albums are not like the albums of your parents wedding- prints slipped into mats. Modern albums have unlimited design options because in most cases, photos are printed onto the actual album pages. Additionally, most professional wedding albums’ pages lay flat when opened and are thick, sturdy pages that hold up to viewing over years’ of time. There are also a ton of cover options- genuine leather, suede leather that makes you want to rub your face all over it, gorgeous Japanese silk, linen, vegan leather, as well as photo cameo cut outs (my personal fav), debossing, and photo covers. The possibilities are endless.
Digital files are fragile.
You know those files you lose on your computer, or even worse, the feeling you get when you realize your computer crashed with a lot of important documents on it with no way to recover them? Imagine if that was a part of your history and story that was lost to the digital abyss. Back up your digital files and get a physical album. The golden rule of back ups is to have the photos in 3 places, in 3 different types of media- for example, online back up, USB stored somewhere safe and a physical album which could later be scanned if worst came to worst and you lost all of your digital copies.
Digital storage is constantly changing.
Remember floppy drives, VHS tapes? CD & DVD drives are being quickly phased out of laptops and soon will switch entirely over to USB. Then it’s only a matter of time before something new comes out, or everything goes cloud-based. I provide USBs to my wedding clients, but you will need to constantly transfer the files to the latest storage media to ensure that down the road you can access the files. Albums never become obsolete and later generations can always view them.
“But I can just make my own through Shutterfly/Blurb/other consumer printing company!” Think hard about the DIY route.
Time: when are you really going to get around to doing it? Is it worth the minor savings or something of questionable quality? A lot of people underestimate the amount of time it takes to lay out an album. Because they are your photos, you might become paralyzed with indecision between two photos and can’t decide on one or another. As a wedding photographer, I took every frame deliberately, am more objective, know the story of the day, and have laid out album designs many, many times before.
Quality: Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Yes, a consumer, press printed book is considerably cheaper, but like wedding photography, you get what you pay for and it is not the same as either the photographic paper albums I offer or the press printed coffee table books I offer. The materials used in press printed consumer books are not for archival purposes or meant to be viewed year in and year out, costing you more in the long run when you have to replace a book every few years due to warping, tearing, bending or wear. You also don’t get the benefit of seeing the books in person, touching and holding the albums. Product photography can make things look MUCH better than they actually are. I have also found the similar quality DIY wedding album companies charge similar prices for what I offer, so you really don’t end up saving all that much. I offer two options for your wedding album: the flushmount album with photographic paper mounted to thick substrate and the press printed coffeetable book, also with very thick matte pages but more affordable. More details on the differences in an upcoming blog post!
“I want an album, but I can’t afford it right now…. I’ll just get one after the wedding.”
This is fine, but again, I find that it tends to get pushed off, then life gets in the way. Bills come up, you get busy with things, then before you know it, it’s been 5 years. A great alternative is if you can’t rearrange your budget a bit to accommodate a coffeetable book or album into your package, ask for it on your wedding registry. I bet a lot of your guests would LOVE helping you get a beautiful, tangible memory of your day to pass on for generations. Or work in into your monthly budget, even if it’s only saving $25/month for a few years.
Some food for thought! Interested in seeing these albums in person? Contact me to meet with me and chat about your upcoming Phoenix wedding! Or view my weddings page to see my portfolio & recent weddings on my blog.