Your wedding album should be a work of art. It should become one of your family’s first heirlooms.
Not only should it tell an important story through emotive imagery, just as important, it should be made with the best materials.
You should expect your wedding album to have a limited lifetime guarantee and have a very long image permanence rating. The first thing you should know is that if the album maker is using archival-quality inks and archival-quality papers, you can expect that rating to be 300 years or more. (There is only one album maker in the entire world with the proprietary knowledge to produce an album of this caliber right now.) The second thing you should know is that if your photographer is unwilling to share the name of the photo lab they purchase from, chances are you can buy directly from the same photo lab.
The most efficient way to choose images for your album is to let your photographer make the choices. If you trust them to photograph one of the most important days of your life, then you should trust them to curate your album. Of course, you should always reserve the right to have the final say, but letting your photographer begin the design process will save a lot of time. (Some photographers do charge for extensive revisions, multiple revisions, requested retouching, or the additional hours it takes to design your album. So, keep this in mind.)
Alternatively, your photographer should let you choose your favorite images for inclusion. They should give you a maximum number of images to select if you are limited to a certain number of pages and not willing to purchase extra pages. (My personal recommendation is three or four images per spread (two-pages open flat) excluding the details and family formals spread. A 30-page album would have 15 spreads and that would be sufficient for 45 to 60 images.)
You should plan the spreads and images with "the story" in mind. Each spread should have an anchor image, supporting images and negative space. Think of each spread as a chapter in a written book. Some chapters can even have multiple spreads.
Your wedding album should not look like a high school yearbook with as many images crammed on a page as possible. Even if your wedding album is bigger in size, you should not be tempted to place more images on a spread. Again, keep the pages clean, crisp, and contemporary.
Choose images that you love and that tell the story of the day. You'll need scene setting images, details, and images that are beautiful and full of emotion! You should view and select these images from a computer—not your phone or tablet. That way, you'll be able to view them with as much detail as possible.
To tell the strongest love story possible:
You should begin and end your album with “hero” shots; think of this as the introduction and the conclusion to your story
Limit the images on each spread to three or four (excluding the details and family formals spreads)
With exception to your “hero” shots, all images should be in chronological order
Don’t comingle chapters; for example, don’t place images from the ceremony on the same spread as images from your first dance
Reserve some spreads for only one image; this is so impactful
It’s okay to have some spreads in color and some in black and white; never mix the two on one spread
Know that not all of your favorite images have to go inside your album; some can be printed individually or purchased as wall art for your home
Personalize your album—include your names, marriage date, the place you got married; 100 years from now, no one will know who you are without this information right in your album
One last tip: your photographer should have your wedding album back to you within a reasonable amount of time. It should not take an entire year to design, revise, approve, order and receive your album. If your wedding photographer can’t give you an acceptable time frame in which you will receive your album, keep shopping! (But remember, you also have to meet the deadlines your photographer gives you to keep on track. For the record, my goal is to always deliver my customer’s albums within 90-100 days of their wedding—and it’s handcrafted in Italy!)
When you finally have your wedding album in your hands, it should be a reflection of who you are, but it should also tell the love story of your wedding day. Your images should speak as though they were actual, written words. Lastly, your wedding album should invoke emotion. Achieve these three goals with your wedding album and you will have created a heirloom for sure.
A special thanks goes out to our contributor Tammy Blalock of Ata-Girl Photography for sharing these important words of advice. You can check out a sample album or design guide by clicking on the designated hyperlink.
Photos courtesy of Ata-Girl Photography
Tammy is an internationally-awarded, certified and full-time San Antonio wedding and senior photographer who is a native of Atascosa County, Texas (Ata-Girl). She has been in business since 2010 and has two studios: one in downtown San Antonio and one in her hometown of Jourdanton. She is also the author of Panoramic Wedding Planning Guide, found Online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and locally at Aly Am Paperie Invitations & Gifts.
Her proudest moments in life are raising two daughters, living in the same area as her ancestors since 1909, serving in the U. S. Army, and surviving many tragic events yet still being able to keep an optimistic outlook on life.
When she’s not behind her camera, you can find her hiking, biking, backpacking, camping, listening to music (Elvis and Prince), hunting for arrowheads, or reading. She loves glazed donuts and wine–Moscato d’Asti to be exact. The most important things in life for her are to see her two daughters happy and to create a family history her grandparents would be proud of!