Wedding Album Design and What to Look For in an Album

[Guest post by board member, Lori A Coleman of Light and Ink. See original post here.]

Two albums standing up

Left: 10x10 Photographic Album, Right: 8x8 Press Printed Album

My History With Books

I am no stranger to book design. I was never much of a scrapbooker, but I have loved building digital layouts since middle school. The largest book project I ever worked on was the 226 page full color book for the Corn Hill Arts Festival last year. I love the physical feel of a book, and seeing a story take shape as you turn the pages.

My background in photojournalism helps here as I shift to designing custom wedding albums. There is an art to selecting and organizing photographs so that they tell the story. It is much more than choosing the “best” image and writing a caption underneath it. The “right” images won’t need a caption. Similarly, a single photograph on its own may be “weak”, but as part of a sequence can become very strong.

Two lay flat albums

Photographic Albums & Press Printed Albums both lay flat

Shooting for the Album

I’ve heard some photographers say they “shoot for the album.” What they are saying, is that as they photograph a wedding, they are looking for the images that will tell the story. They are pre-visualizing the final album, and know when something is missing. I agree with this philosophy as you should always begin with the end in mind. Shooting for the sake of shooting, is documentary. But shooting with the intention of telling a story, is a much more noble goal. It is easy to make one good image. But 40, 60, 100? Making them work together is the key.

Story Telling by Design

My graphic design style is clean and classic. I like elegant lines and big images. I don’t like cheesy backgrounds and overlaid images. The photograph should be strong enough to stand on its own, if you need to cover it up with other photos or graphics, then it is not worth putting it in the album. Clean and classic stands the test of time. With ripped edges, overly photoshopped images, digital collages, and other cheesy elements, you risk the timelessness of your wedding day. Clean design will let you look back in fifty years and feel like the day was yesterday.

This Album is Different

When my sister-in-law got married last year, it was truly an honor to be in the wedding party. Kerry and Jake had a beautiful Fall wedding in upstate New York. Since both John (my husband) and I have photography degrees, and we were both in the wedding and could not photograph it, Kerry sent us a list of potential photographers she was considering. We helped her narrow it down to Crystal Herry of Syracuse. Crystal was great, and didn’t mind me shooting some candids when I had the chance. As a belated wedding gift to the couple, I designed their album using Crystal’s images.

Rounded Corners

Rounded corners protect pages

Two stacked books

Photographic and Press Printed Albums

lay flat pages

Pages lay flat when the book is fully opened, so nothing is lost to the gutter

What to Look for in an Album

I have been researching print companies for over a year. There are hundreds upon hundreds of options out there, but what I consider to be the most important qualities in a wedding album are these:

Archival Materials: You want a product you can hand down through generations of family, without fading images

Sturdy Build: You want to be able to handle and show off your album, not hide it away for fear of hurting it

Realistic Color: Color is hard to reproduce, especially on digital presses, so good color management is key

Pages that lay flat: Losing an important part of an image to the gutter is just not acceptable these days

The albums I have here, satisfy all of these needs. I have adopted two lines of product which I distinguish as the Photographic Album and  the Press Printed Album.

1mm gutter

With a gutter only 1mm wide, images look great throughout the book

Photographic Albums

The pages of this album are printed on Kodak photographic paper and flush mounted on archival board. Rounded edges are a great feature that help protect the pages and keep them lasting longer. The gutter is approximately 1mm wide, which allows images to cross the whole spread without a distracting gap. Cover options include many color and texture variations on leather and cloth, as well as an image wrap. Shown above is the two tone leather with a cameo image.

Press Printed Albums

Great for parent albums, portrait sessions or event books, these books are press printed on 110lb paper, and still feature the lay-flat binding. They are handsomely made with cloth or leather covers, or the optional image wrap. The one shown is an 8×8 replica of the larger album. Press books also make great guestbooks! Look for one with a paper surface that accepts ink, so guests can easily write their messages to the happy couple.

There is nothing like a beautiful, personal, hand made album sitting on your coffee table.

So there you have it, my history with books, my design and printing preferences, and oh, did I mention I LOVE designing albums? If you’ve got a question about a past or future event that you might like an album for, give me a call! I can be reached at 585-678-1905 or I’d be glad to discuss options and show you some printed samples. I truly believe that there is nothing like a beautiful, personal, hand made album sitting on your coffee table.

Album boxes

Beautiful boxes to protect your memories

hand-bound albums

Sturdy, hand-bound albums last for generations

Parent Book

Mirror parent books are economical and great for sharing

If you have images sitting on a CD, don’t wait until your next anniversary, get an album today! It is truly an investment you will not regret.

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