Wedding Photo Album Tour

My clients that I meet with in Lethbridge have the luxury of seeing my wedding albums in person. They can feel the high quality materials and leisurely enjoy the story the album tells. Unfortunately my clients from out of town don't get this experience! I've created this page to break down what my albums are all about, explaining how the design process works, going into detail about how they are made, and discussing why it's so important to get your photos printed.

Album Lingo

Before we get started, here are some important terms related to wedding albums so you know what I'm talking about as I describe the albums.

"Page" versus "Spread"

A page is the same as in any book; if you open the book, you will see two pages side by side.

A spread is the combination of both pages side by side when the book is open.

diagram of spread versus page in albums

There will usually be twice the number of pages as there are spreads.

Layout

This describes how your images are arranged on the pages or spreads. An album will typically feature a variety of layouts.

Spine

When you put books on a bookshelf, the narrow part that has the title and author's name is the spine. My albums do not have text in this area, instead using an animal friendly faux-leather fabric, but the term "spine" still applies to this area with the leather.

detail photo of album spine

Types of Albums

These are the most common types of albums offered for weddings:

Matted albums are the more old-fashioned style where actual photographic prints are slipped between mats that are bound together. These have decreased in popularity in the last 15 years and most photographers and labs no longer offer this style. If your parents had a wedding, it was probably one of these!

Coffee table books (also known as press printed books) feature images digitally printed directly onto thin, bendable pages, bound within a thin hard cover. Most art and photography books commercially available to purchase are printed in this style.

Flushmount albums also have images printed directly onto the pages, but the pages are quite thick and cannot be bent. In this process, the images are printed onto professional grade photographic paper and then dry mounted onto archival board before being bound in a thicker style of cover. The binding process allows the books to lay flat when open. This is the style of album I offer. The durability of the pages guarantees the lifespan of the album and the substantial weight and size makes them feel amazing to hold and look through.

album open to show lay flat design

Album Details and Options

What's the main reason to get an album? Because they look this amazing!

Video Tour: Krysty and Kole's Lethbridge Research Centre Wedding (40 Page Album)

Want to go at your own pace? View page layouts and detail images of Krysty and Kole's wedding album at this link.

Video Tour: April and Ed's Gladstone Mountain Ranch Wedding (20 Page Album)

Want to go at your own pace? View page layouts and detail images of April and Ed's wedding album at this link.

album leather-photo combination cover

Cover Options

Each album cover is a combination of printed image with a classic faux-leather spine. The leather is available in three colours:

  • Aviator (chocolate brown)
  • Camel (lighter brown)
  • Charcoal (dark gray)

sample of three available leather swatch colours

Page Size and Spread

I offer a 10 inch square album, which opens up to spreads that are 10 inches tall by 20 inches wide. The seamless design that prints over the fold between the pages allows for large panoramic images in the album that lay flat when open.

sample of full spread image in album with no visible seam

Page and Image Quantity

My albums can be printed with up to 60 pages. The image to page ratio is generally 2:1. For example, in a 20 page album, 40 images create a balanced layout. If 60 pages is not enough, you'll receive a substantial discount to split your images into multiple albums to create an anthology.

image of album with pages apart showing page thickness

Keepsake Bags

The albums are presented in luxurious silk-lined fabric bags to keep them protected. These bags are available in either gray or brown and have a satin ribbon closure.

fabric album bags in brown and gray

How to Choose Album Images

I make the image selection process as flexible and easy as possible. Approximately two weeks after your wedding, you will be able to view your full day in an online gallery. Even though your photos are being edited and are not yet ready for delivery, you can start choosing which ones will go in the album.

If this step is overwhelming, I also offer in-person image selection where we sit down together and I make recommendations. Alternatively, you can have me select all images for the album or fill in the spaces after you have selected a handful of your favorites. Regardless of the process, you will be able to view the album, make changes, and approve the final design before it goes to print.

I use an amazing US-based professional photography lab. Once approved, your album will typically be ready within two weeks!

Why should I get a wedding album?

Of all the ways to preserve your wedding photos, albums transition the best as the years pass and your family grows. You may eventually want to replace the wedding photos on your wall with photos of your family. An album can be neatly tucked away into bookshelves, left for display on coffee tables, or safely preserved. It's the first heirloom in your new family to pass on to children and grandchildren.

It's so important to get your photos off of the digital media where they were received and onto a physical product. Technology changes so quickly that the media on which you receive your photos may be obsolete in a few years and hard to retrieve your photos from. The original way I delivered photos when I started my business is nearly obsolete!

What if this was your only copy of your wedding photos?
image of small floppy disks

Books don't become obsolete. As you cycle through new phones and computers, your album will look the same. It won't need to be transferred. Your album won't disappear if your hard drive crashes.

Then why get a professional album instead of making your own?

album partially in fabric bag

Album Quality and Lifespan

The most important factor is the quality and lifespan of the album. Photographers simply have access to professional labs that offer a higher level of quality than what is available to consumers.

When I was new to photography, I tried printing my photos in cheap albums. Here are some of the issues I had:

  • pages in my layout would be missing
  • other pages were repeated twice in the book
  • the pages were not cut to the same size so the edges were jagged
  • the pages were not trimmed to the proper cut lines and inconsistently had borders around them where the edge of the image did not print
  • the pages had no protective finish and the slightest speck of moisture would leave a stain
  • the ink quality was so poor that the images faded after several years
  • the glue on the binding dried up and pages became loose
  • the printed images did not match the colours and exposures shown on my computer

After many of these bad experiences, I found a professional lab where I never need to worry about these factors. My own wedding album is the exact same style I offer to my clients.

Professional albums are of archival quality and will last for many years to come. The pages do not warp, discolour, or fall apart. The leather binding on the albums I offer is stitched directly onto the cover for added durability. These albums are printed with extremely consistent results.

close detail photo of stitching on album leather spine

My albums have a premium lustre paper that can withstand a light cleaning. This is best done with a soft, dry cloth, similar to one you would use on electronic screens. In an emergency, these pages can withstand a slightly damp cloth. My albums go through the ultimate test by being shown in coffee shop after coffee shop, and occasionally something sticky gets between the pages. I have always been successfully able to clean them. However, I recommend treating your album with the utmost care and respect considering how much you are investing in it. Please don't test coffee stains yourself!

detail photo of album page

Time Involved

Even with the album building software available through many (not all) consumer labs, the album design process takes a large amount of time. After choosing your images, you'll need to research companies and prices, learn how to use the software of the company you choose, choose layouts and add your images while carefully selecting how they fit together, and deal with the company's refund policies if your product has any defects.

I do all of that for you! I use an established professional lab that produces consistent results and instinctively know what types of images complement each other for attractive layouts. You just have to focus on the fun parts: picking your favorite photos and then enjoying your finished album!

Creating a Timeless Design

Having a professional design your album rather than choosing from premade templates can ensure your album won't age as drastically. I admit, it's hard to predict what qualities will date your album. Perhaps one day your great grandchildren will laugh about the fact your album doesn't feature holographic images that project into their retinal displays ("Printed paper? That's so 2020!"). For now, I try to avoid dated techniques like spot colouring, overlapping images, and loud patterned backgrounds. I prefer if the only tell-tale signs of the year you got married were the fashions and hairstyles!

Album Samples

The albums shown in the video tours are sample albums I have designed to show to clients. However, these real world example of albums I have created specifically for my clients are just as beautiful!

Lethbridge Norland wedding album

Joshua & Christina at the Norland Historic Estate

Joshua and Christina were married at the Norland Historic Estate in the summertime. Their wedding colours of soft pink and cream lent themselves perfectly to a bright white page design with a charcoal leather spine. It was hard to narrow photos down from their full day wedding, so they chose the maximum number of pages (60) for this beautiful album. This was the heaviest album I've had to carry!

Norland Estate wedding album

Raiven & Jonathan at the Norland Historic Estate

Raiven and Jonathan were also married at the Norland Historic Estate, but had a more intimate wedding that focused on the two of them. Their wedding took place in the autumn with rich colours, so a dark brown design with an aviator leather spine was the most flattering for their photos. This album features 40 pages with many full image spreads.

Castle Mountain wedding album

Jori & Shawn at Castle Mountain Resort

Jori and Shawn held their summer wedding at the Castle Mountain Resort. Since the wedding party was dressed in gray, we went with a deep gray layout and charcoal leather spine, with a few green accents to highlight their wedding colour. This 40 page album features a number of collage layouts to highlight all of the important guests who attended their wedding.

Waterton Bayshore Inn wedding album

Carla & Robert at the Bayshore Inn in Waterton

As before, these autumn weddings just seem to look the best surrounded by chocolate brown tones and aviator leather! Carla and Robert created a 20 page album highlighting their favorite moments of their Waterton wedding at the Bayshore Inn. They chose to focus on their portraits and their children in the photos.