Ask The Expert: Wedding Albums
Words by John Roark
Photos courtesy of
Wedding albums have come a long way. The advent of digital photography has presented exciting options that wouldn’t have been possible 10 years ago. More than pages of posed formal portraits, today’s albums tell the story of the bride and groom and their day – and it all started with a shift in the way weddings are photographed.
“Wedding photography is really leaning toward a journalistic style,” says Joanna Pinneo, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalistic photographer and wedding photographer. “It’s about telling the story of the wedding day. The way many photographers approach it – myself included – is to start early in the day with the bride getting ready, and follow through to the end. You’re also capturing historical family pictures. If it’s done well, it unfolds as a story.”
You tell that story through a range of photos, says Rebecca Bouck of Phoenix, Ariz.-based Rebecca Bouck Photography, who has photographed weddings all over the world.
“Include the details,” she says. “Show the environment that they were married in. They chose that location because it had meaning to them. I include some type of action – not every shot should be someone staring at the camera – I like to be involved and see what’s happening –to see the emotion in the day.”
Today’s wedding albums are divided into two main types: Classic matted albums and coffee table books. And there are a multitude of choices within both categories.
Classic Matted Albums
Your parents or grandparents probably had this style of book. Actual photos are mounted, matted and bound into an album. But today’s versions go beyond far their predecessors.
“Today’s matted albums offer almost unlimited options in matte colors, as well as choices in the cut of the mats,” says Bouck. Cover materials range from the traditional (leather, wood) to the untraditional (raw silk, brushed metals). Your album can include black and white, color, and even sepia prints. Different print papers and texture options are also available.
Coffee Table Books
Like a beautiful art book you would find in a bookstore, the coffee table wedding album can be a stunning way to showcase your memories. Digital photography and printing have made it affordable, and for many couples, creating a hardbound customized album is the obvious choice.
The coffee table album presents unlimited possibilities. Page layout and composition, papers and inks, the size of your album and number of pages – the options are limitless. Books can be as large (13” x 17” and larger), or as small as 2 ½ inches square. Many couples will order a larger book for themselves and smaller editions for parents, family members and friends.
The professional photographer can serve as the liaison between the album company and the bride and groom, and most photographers will build the cost of the album into the wedding photography package. Costs will vary depending on the type of album you choose, and which companies your photographer works with.
In addition to wedding albums, many photographers offer photographic engagement and guest books, and many now include hardbound proof books – with all the photos taken numbered and divided into categories – in the photography package.
“It’s great, because no longer do you have a box filled with 1,000 pictures,” says Pinneo. “There are really only about 100 to 200 pictures that you really want to hang onto, but it’s fun to look at all of them, even after you’ve chosen your favorites.”
“As a bride and groom, what I would recommend is meeting with potential photographers and looking at their sample albums,” says Bouck. “Ask prospective photographers what kind of albums do they offer and what the price structures are.”
Doing It Yourself
For the budget-conscious, many companies offer beautiful ready-made albums.
“They’re really lovely,” says Pinneo. “The album itself might cost under $200. You have your prints made to size and just stick them in, and yet it’s a very finished look.”
There are also many online companies who work directly with the consumer and offer custom-printed albums at a more moderate price point.
For every taste and every budget, beautiful family heirlooms are easily within reach.
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