Understanding Wedding Photo Albums

Choosing a wedding album can be just as confusing and difficult as choosing a wedding photographer. They come in hundreds of styles, covers, colors, sizes, mounting options, etc. Although there are lots of books and articles written for professional photographers about wedding albums, there’s almost nothing out there for brides. Sheesh! So here’s the 411:

Why do I need an album from my photographer? I’ve got the digital files, I can make my own prints and put them in my own album.

True, but since professional-quality, custom-made album companies only sell to professional photographers, you will have to buy an off-the-shelf consumer album. That means you either buy the type of album with slip-in plastic sleeves or a scrapbook-type album where you glue photos to a page. Some companies can print simple hardcover photo books. There’s nothing wrong with that – these types of options can still be attractive. Just make sure you get albums made with acid-free archival materials so your photos don’t discolor or disintegrate over time. However, if you want a truly professionally made, gorgeous album with either flush-mounting or professionally mounted in custom mats, you really have no other choice, you’ve got to buy one from your professional wedding photographer.

Why are wedding albums so expensive?

You can buy a photo album at the local drugstore for $19.95 and slip in all your 4×6 proofs and bam, you’re done! So why is your wedding photographer charging you $2,500 for that album? There are a couple of reasons for this:

(1) Professional-quality albums cost your photographer a lot of money. It is not unusual for your photographer to pay five, six or seven hundred dollars or more for a custom leather album. Custom bookbinding is expensive!

(2) It can easily take your photographer 2 full days to do their file preparation and retouching (on Photoshop) of all the images you’ve chosen for your album and then to do the design work on the album. You are paying for the photographer’s skill and time here, both as a photographer and graphic designer.

What is a flush-mount album? Is it better than a traditional album?

Flush-mounting means that the print itself is mounted all the way to the edge of the page. So the print itself is exactly the same size as the page it is mounted on. Most often, flush-mounting also includes digital graphic design. That means each page is designed using Photoshop or other graphic design software. That makes the design options nearly unlimited. Currently, flush-mount albums seem to be the most popular among today’s brides. As for whether or not flush-mount albums are better than traditional, I can’t say. It’s just a matter of personal preference.

Traditional Matted Albums

This is the style of album that’s been around for decades. With a traditional album, prints are placed in individual openings on cotton mats. There is a matted border around each page, so the photo itself doesn’t go to the edge of the page. While I love flush-mount albums, there’s something so classy and timeless about a matted album. Each image stands out on its own and gains importance.

Coffee Table Books

This most often refers to a book with photos printed on the actual pages. The pages are thin just like a regular book. Some couples prefer photo books to albums because they like the thinner, sleeker look. They can also be just as attractive. However, keep in mind that coffee table book pages will tear much more easily than true album pages, which are mounted on a rigid lining.

Cover options

Cover options are literally limitless. Although leather covers are standard, you can get almost anything you want: plexiglass, metal or fabric covers can be ordered. You can even send in your own fabric and have the album covered with it! Covers can include cover images or not, as well as your choice of text.

How to work with your photographer on your album design

One key consideration is how many images you want and how many pages you want. There are only so many images that will fit before the design becomes busy and cluttered. For example, I prefer a very clean, modern design. This works out to about on average 2 pictures per page in a digitally-designed flush-mount album and about 1.5 images per page in a traditional album. The bottom line here is that you should evaluate your photographer’s album design style just as you would their photographic style. Don’t be afraid to share your views on album design with your photographer.

It is my sincerest hope that every couple orders an album. In my experience, most people are so busy in their daily lives that they never get around to creating that gorgeous album themselves. This is really an investment in your most important memories. My goal is for you to be showing your album to your grandchildren – of course with tears in your eyes. Think of it this way: if your home catches fire and you have 30 seconds to grab one item as you rush out the door – you’re going to grab that wedding album, NOT the china or the toaster. ‘Nuff said!

7 Secrets For Promoting Your New Album

Promoting your new album is hard, especially in this turbulent world of the music industry. Fans have so many choices, and there are so many artists that even the top ones are finding it difficult to find mass appeal. So how do you stand out?

1. Prolong the release date of the album as long as possible to get more hype. This technique has been used a lot lately, especially in the rap industry. Artists claim their album will come out a certain date, and just prolong the album to get more attention and coverage. Eminem did this, and it worked great for his album, Relapse, which debuted at #1 Billboard chart after selling 608,000 copies in the first week.

2. Get your music on iTunes. Putting your name on iTunes for many fans will make you appear more official, or legitimate. Even if you don’t think you will sell a lot, appearing on iTunes is a great marketing strategy for yourself to get your name, and sound out there.

3. Give people an incentive to buy your album, other than the music. If you plant prizes in your album (i.e. concert tickets, money, autographs, etc.), that will add to more album sales and exposure for your new album. Also, including other parties for your prizes, like giving away a gift card to Guitar Center, will possibly open up more doors and connections with those companies. Chamillionaire is a pro at additional incentives for his fans. You can see this with his new album, where he is giving away select albums with special artwork, and $100 to those that win his contest.

4. Appeal to a wider variety of crowds. If you limit your crowd base to one type people, you will get much less exposure and fans, thus, less album sales. If you can appeal to many types of people, from all kinds of backgrounds, you will get a much larger fan base and album sales. MJ was a master at this, as he broke nearly all the boundaries of genres and crowds and still to this day has the #1 selling album of all time.

5. Your music needs to be catchy. You can’t have sales without a good product. Thriller is one of the best sounding albums as well. No matter how much hype, or marketing you have, you must have a good sounding album to get sales.

6. Overall look and theme of the album can draw fans. Your album’s theme, cover and the overall look of you (or your group/band) can have a influence on whether or not someone buys the album- especially at stores. If you, the name, or the album look cool people may buy it for that reason alone.

7. Be able to rock live performances. A great live performance will not only give a greater appreciation for your music, but it can also be the birthplace for more fans to appreciate your music and check you out. If I ever see a band that is amazing live, I always want to see what they can do in a recording studio. Are there other ideas that we have missed out? Let us know in the comments!

-Will

Wedding Albums – Self Mount Vs Flush Mount Albums

Wedding albums come in a range of different styles and layouts. The two different styles that are most popular among professional photographers at the moment are Flush Mount Albums and Self Mount Albums.

The main difference between these two styles is that the pages of the flush mount album are made up of large printed photographs, which are then creased in the middle. These creased photographs then go together to make up the pages of the album itself. So the printed photos run flush from edge to edge of the open pages. In self mount albums the pages are made up of card or board and come with adhesive on the pages, so that the photographer can mount their images onto the pages themselves. Much more like a traditional wedding album.

Each style of wedding album has its advantages, which I have listed below.

Self mount albums are cheaper to purchase than flush albums, and until recently they were restricted to just one size image per album. However, it is now possible to have the adhesive laid out in such a way that up to 4 different image sizes can be stuck on any page without leaving any adhesive exposed. There is also no need for design software to be used when designing the layout of images. Ideal for those who are not computer savvy! Self mount albums can also be held in stock, and loaded as and when they are needed, reducing turn-a-round time. Perfect for photographers who have a large foot fall through their studio.

Flush albums are the latest trend in wedding albums with a very modern look and feel. As the open pages are made up of large printed images, the layout of photos that will go into the wedding album must be designed using software to create one collage or design to spread across the open pages. The fact that the layout of images need to be done using design software means that it is possible to get really creative with the images and their layout. Panoramic and group shot also look really great spread across the open pages.

The two different styles of wedding album will be attractive to different photographers, depending on their style of photography, needs and budget. As ultimately a professional photographer must be able to present their images in a way that best suits their style and pleases their clients.