The fall and rise of wedding albums.

THE DISTANT PAST: 20+ years ago, when you hired your wedding photographer – part of that deal was a beautiful custom wedding album of your favorite images; and, sometimes it also included a couple of parent albums as well as a gorgeous wall portrait for your  home.  Then – if they wanted all the images they purchased a proof book (4×5 unedited proof prints of all the images).  A client paid for each negative they wanted retouched by professional at a lab; or in some cases the photographer did their own retouching of negatives and dodging/ burning to make each image for the album as perfect as possible for that heirloom that would be passed down to their children’s enjoyment.

THE RECENT PAST: With the coming of the digital age – clients turned to wanting all of their digital files instead of a “proof-book.”  In addition, many have foregone a heirloom wedding album.  Why in the world would you add the expense of a wedding album when you have all of the images and can just print them out whenever you want?  With the recent turn – many new photographers weren’t even doing retouching, but just handing wedding clients a disc of images and done!  The old-school film photographers that fought the change a bit before turning to digital still had the mentality that they would never give away the digital files and most lost the battle to the weekenders that would give away everything.

THE PRESENT: Although everything listed under recent past is still happening.  There is finally becoming a realization that couples that just got their files feel they are missing something.  Heirlooms haven’t been created for so many, and as photographers we are getting calls to do albums years later after the wedding – and personally I’ve been getting a lot of calls from people wanting albums from their digital files… and their photographers are no longer to be found.  Weeping clients have even called to tell me that they lost their images or the computer crashed and they don’t have their files any more, and either their photographer didn’t keep them or they can’t track them down.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HEIRLOOMS: When we are children one of our favorite things was to look through old photo albums of our parents and grandparents. I personally loved experiencing their life before me, seeing them as children and as young adults and even now as grandparents and great-grandparents. I saw images of my mom’s graduation, my dad fishing, and of our family vacations at Madeline Island. But, more often the favorite images go pour over are images of our loved ones on their wedding day.  It is seeing them with that fresh love in their eyes and knowing that is why you are here.  It’s seeing them when their hopes and dreams were at their highest and gives all future generations a feeling of belonging to a bigger picture of life.

THINKING ABOUT WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU, BUT ALSO WHAT WILL BE IMPORTANT TO FUTURE GENERATIONS OF YOU FAMILY: It is amazingly easy to skip over the wedding album. Wedding albums are a considerable investment and can be easily overlooked when creating a budget for a wedding day – especially when you begin tallying all the other expenses at hand. A wedding album is a gift of memories that lasts far after the wedding has ended.  It’s an investment in your family, and heritage and wedding albums are an heirloom for all future generations.  It immortalizes the beginning of a great love story.  After your wedding, the cake is gone, the food has been enjoyed, tears of joy were shed,  your beautiful gown is tucked away in a box, and through the years many of your memories may grow dim as lives get busy.  Having a professional photographer catch those details and moments and being able to pull out a beautiful wedding album to remember a simpler and loving day – well, do I really need to say more?

MAKE ROOM FOR THE INVESTMENT:  Many professional photographers can create custom albums of your wedding day.  There are so many options now and there are also ways to get your wedding album on a more limited budget.  Some photographers will even work with you on a payment plan so you can still get the heirloom created and making it easier with payments spread over time.  If you can, planning for your wedding album within your wedding day budget is the best.  However, there are also other options like having your photographer set up a registry for you.  You register for so many things on your wedding day – why not register for your wedding album, where your family and friends can contribute any dollar amount that they want towards a beautiful heirloom that generations will enjoy!

4 thoughts on “The fall and rise of wedding albums.

  1. Losing photos is devastating, but it’s not just the digital copies that can be lost. I recently discovered that I’ve somehow lost all but 1 of my wedding photos. I had put them in an envelope ‘to sort out later’ and between then and now, they’ve just vanished. My photos were taken only 16 years ago, but while not too long ago, it was pre digital, so now I have nothing to share with my kids but words. It’s heartbreaking and really brought home the importance of printing and backing up my digitals often.


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