Thursday, January 7, 2010

All About Wedding Albums

Where-oh-where would I be without all the fantastic photography advice I’ve gotten from fabulous L.A. photographer Damien Smith? In our latest back-and-forth, he set me straight with everything I needed to know about the fun that comes after the big day – choosing photos, creating albums, and all the ins-and-outs of turning your pictures into lasting keepsakes. Enjoy!

What are your favorite wedding album styles and designs?

I love storybook-style albums, which I’ll describe in just a minute. They're great, and are masterpieces when done right.

When choosing a photographer, what are the most important questions a bride and groom should ask about albums?

Don’t be afraid to ask your prospective wedding photographer lots of questions about the wedding albums he or she produces. You want to know whether the albums are spill-resistant, and whether the photographer creates wedding albums uniquely designed for each individual couple, or if he or she simply uses predesigned templates. You’ll want to see examples of the photographer’s albums with your own eyes, and inspect them with your hands. Doing so will give you an indication as to the quality and craftsmanship of the albums the photographer produces.

Do you recommend that couples try to “do-it-themselves” when it comes to creating their wedding albums? Why or why not?

To be honest, I recommend against it. Not because I'm a wedding photographer, but because your wedding album deserves to be the best it can be. I know there are services out there, like iPhoto and Blurb, which are great if you're making an album of a birthday party, family reunion, or something like that. But the problem with using these services for a wedding album is that the books are created with extremely thin pages, which are very easy to tear or rip by accident. Not to mention that you will receive an album of very generic design. Your pictures are different, but the design and layout is the same that millions of others have. What's special about that?

A storybook album created by a professional wedding photographer is a different animal altogether. To start, all of the pages are created from actual photographs, and the minimum page thickness in these books is one-sixteenth of an inch. That is very difficult to tear or rip, even if you try to do so purposely. You would need heavy-duty tools to achieve this.

Here at Damien Smith Photography, we also go several steps further. All of our wedding albums are custom-designed for each and every couple. No two wedding albums are ever alike. The design process usually takes 8-to-12 hours. All the album pages are specially coated to be very resistant against accidental spills of liquids like coffee or water. If this happens, all you have to do is simply wipe off the pages and let them dry. The pages are also designed to “breathe,” which means they do not get stuck together.

Sorting through hundreds of wedding photos can surely be overwhelming for newlyweds. What can a couple and their photographer do to make the process easier and ensure that the best photos go into the album?

Actually, choosing pictures for your wedding album is a very simply process. You'll choose only the best of the best. What I do is provide every couple with a first-edition print album. This includes pretty much every picture from the wedding in a 4 x 6 format. That way, they'll already have just about every picture in printed form anyway. There's no need to fit every single picture into your wedding album.

While our newlyweds are choosing the pictures for their first-edition album, usually between 150 and 400 prints, I design a storybook album layout for them. Over the years, I've found that about 98 percent of our newlyweds love the design and picture selection I've done, and they simply want to change out a couple pictures here and there – maybe about two or three. Every once in a while, there's a couple not happy with our picture selection, but they love the design. So, we have them make all their own picture selections, and we then work those into the design. In the end, every newlywed couple has a beautifully created album they can be proud of and cherish for a lifetime.

In addition to albums, are there any other creative uses for wedding photos that you like, such as photo montages set to music, or poster prints?

Yes, picture montages set to music are a great, creative use of your wedding photos! At Damien Smith Photography, we create a lovely blend of pictures and live-action video to give you something that's truly awesome.

How do you plan to showcase your photos after the wedding? Will your photographer create any albums, or will you design your own?

(Photo Credits: Damien Smith Photography)


  1. Very informative! I hadn't thought of doing this. I assume our friendor-photog will give us all of our digital images and it will be up to us to figure out what to do with them!

  2. Great interview!
    I'm experiencing a bunch of nervousness right now over our wedding photography...we didn't get to choose our photographer and I am trying to figure out a way to get my hands on all the digital negs without any prints being made.

    His albums look beautiful!

  3. I like the tips on the DIY vs. Photographer's wedding album -- it helps us DIYers think twice. I never realized how nearly indestructible those storybook albums were!

  4. This was very informative. Thanks for sharing with us!