-Where am I even going to put this wedding album?! On my bookshelf? On my desk?! Coffee table?! I don’t even have a coffee table!
-It is crazy expensive! We don’t have thousands of dollars after we got married!
-I’m never ever going to look at this album! (I have a friend who got married a couple of years ago and she said that she never opened her wedding album, so I don’t think I will need one either!)
-And I’s 2019, people! We can just put all of our pictures online and who ever want to see it, they can just go on their computer or their phone… That’s why we have phones and social media, so we can look at our pictures on it!
-And by the way! I don’t even care about wedding pictures! I’m not even gonna have a wedding photographer!
Sorry for my snarkiness I just really want to have my point come across. (And yes, I can be a smartass, just ask my husband! haha)
Anyway, I wanted to talk about wedding album. From a perspective of a wedding photographer who strongly believes in printing out photos. But most importantly, as somebody who had a bad experience and outcome with their own wedding pictures.
I got inspired after listening to couples chat in the Bridechilla Group (really awesome community, highly recommend you to join them!) about the reasons they don’t need albums and prints after the wedding. (See sarcastic intro above!)
Ok, first let me share my story with you, so hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and my experience.
We had a very quick and very cheap courthouse wedding and it was documented by one of our friends who handed over all of the pictures as digital files for us and told us that we can do with them whatever we want.
Back then I didn’t know anything about wedding to dos or wedding planning. None us this was even on my radar. All I wanted was to make sure that we got married fast so I can stay in america. And I was so excited and busy just enjoying my arrival and my time with Adam because we had not seen each other for so long.
I didn’t spend any time dreaming about my ‘perfect wedding’ and making plans. Our friend was a hobby photographer and we felt really lucky that somebody offered to document this day.
So we got our photos back and since my husband and I are creative people we really wanted to make something over the top, really crazy , creative and unique with our photos. Back in 2008 heavy photoshopped pictures and textures were really popular, so we did that with ALL of our photos. Curly flowers on the edges, text over them, we modified the colors… The craziest one is my favorite photo that we turned into sepia tones (brown and white) but the red roses in my bouquet stayed red.
Yep, pretty crazy! We were planning to print a few out for our house, but that never happened. But then it was time for me to go to my immigration interview and they requested us to bring some pictures as a proof that we’re a real couple. So I bought a big album and filled up with pictures that told our story. How we met, got engaged, traveled together and got married. (Funny thing is they didn’t even look at these photos at the interview.)
And yes, just like most couples would do, we never really looked at those pictures! But when I started getting into wedding photography, creating my Getting Married Multiculturally Podcast . Talking to couples more and more about my story and how I got married. I got this dusty wedding album off of our shelf, and started looking the pictures. I told my husband: “OMG! These photos look horrible!” With these filters, floral patterns and quotes all over them! They were printed on a cheap paper, so they were getting discolored too.
But then I thought ok, I’m not going to stress about this. Because we have our digital files somewhere. I can just use those and modify the photos to print out a more timeless, durable quality. As it should be. Annnnd I had a problem, because I CAN NOT FIND THOSE DIGITAL FILES! I’ve been looking for them for years!
My point is that it took me this long to realize that we don’t have our wedding pictures!
Well, especially if you lose them. Now we’re never ever going to have those images. All we have is this album that I made for my immigration interview. And I’m so thankful for this interview now, because I probably wouldn’t have printed these photos and everything would be lost!
Still today I have this album on our shelf, and I never felt like this is not precious enough to us! Even with all of these silly filters on them they are priceless to us!… Missing our digital files made this album even more valuable, IRREPLACEABLE to us. Because this is all we have from our wedding. It’s all we can show to our children.
I shared this story with you because I want you to learn from the mistakes that I made.
Like in 2008 we put heavy filters and textures on all of our pictures. You may have a friend or family member who got married around that time and their album may look that way too.
Most photographers modify the colors and tones to add a specific style to their photos. (They may look a bit cooler or warmer, darker or brighter. Which are current trends.) You see those images on their portfolio and fall in love with the style. But the colors may not match up with your wedding or with your home where you’d like to display the images, so you’d want to change them. That’s why I’m trying to keep my images true to reality, because I know that these photos have to be timeless and enjoyable for your generations, even long after you are gone. Believe me! You don’t want too much effects on them.
But if you love these styles, and that it’s representing our current day and age, it’s still a good idea to keep all of your original photos, in case you change your mind years down the road.
Prints are going to last you forever and your kids and grandkids will appreciate it so much! I know you hear this from everywhere, but really think about it, how timeless and valuable are your printed pictures going to be! Because digitals can get lost, broken, corrupted or simply get out of date.
When I started photographing weddings it was all about CD and DVD, then USB and hard drive, and now we just upload our images to an online gallery from where couples can download them. That’s why I make sure to give wedding albums to all of my clients, no matter which package they choose!
They just flip through the photos, choose a couple of them for social media and just leave the gallery there. What if your photographer closes their business and shuts down the online gallery? You’ll never have access to those images again!
Even if you refuse to print out the photos, download them on your computer! Put them on multiple hard drives, CD, DVD, upload them on the cloud, whatever! You won’t regret it!
Ok, I have a couple of options for you:
-Put it on your registry. (I talked about Zola registry last week, and I know they have options for albums.) If you know ahead of time that you’ll want a wedding album, request it as a wedding gift. Since it’s a higher price range, a couple of guest can group up or send you a cash fund.
-Ask for payment options from your photographer.
-DIY your wedding album
After you receive the digital photos (make sure the files are big enough!) find a print lab that is able to create the album you imagined for an affordable price. When you’re browsing, check for sizes, paper and ink quality, page quantity and layout templates.
Here are a couple of options you can choose from:
-Big stores, malls: Costco, Walmart, Walgreens, Target
–Artifact Uprising (My favorite! I had some albums printed from them, and love the quality!)
–VistaPrint (they often do sales)
Makes it easier to see how many pages are you going to need. Look for image positioning and size! Horizontal and vertical photos will take up a different space on the spread. Makes sure people’s heads are not too small, and crop carefully!
Don’t forget that if you are printing out your own wedding album, don’t just limit yourself with the photos from your professional photographer. You can put in some phone pictures that guests or you took. Whichever photos makes you happy!
I really hope that I convinced you to order an album, even if you are making one yourself. Even if the quality is not going to be that good, it’s still better to have something then to just rely on digital files. And if you receive your digital files in an online gallery, don’t forget to download them, even the ones you don’t like! You may like them later! Don’t assume that you are not going to look at them. Maybe you won’t for the first few years, but trust me, after 10 years these photos are going to be so much fun and emotional to look at. Especially if you have kids and when you have somebody that you want to show these pictures to.