As a little girl, I remember constantly looking through my parents’ wedding album, in complete awe of all the love and beauty captured from the day. It’s this very reason that preserving your Washington DC area wedding memories is so very important. When you finally get all of your beautiful photos back, there’s just a little more work to be done: creating a wedding photo album. It’s a perfect way to cherish the day and share your photos on something that’s not Facebook!
We all know and love electronic forms of photos, they are so easy to share with friends and family, but there is just something about that album that you can hold in your lap and flip through over and over again for years to come! So, to help you begin the wedding album process, we asked some of the top local DC area wedding photographers for advice on the design process—here’s what they had to say…
Photo Credit: Audra Wrisley Photography
Why do an album?
“An album is an amazing way to commemorate your wedding with a beautiful book of photographs. Often times, the term ‘wedding album’ brings back memories of our parents’ generation of albums- a big, clunky book with plastic sleeves and ‘slip-in’ dusty photos. The new wedding albums are sleek, modern, completely custom-made and a gorgeous memento that will last for a lifetime.”— Audra, owner of Audra Wrisley Photography
“I think everyone should have an album because it is a great way to keep your photos and the easiest way to look back and them and share them later. Prints are great, but an album tells the whole story of the day instead of just one moment.” — Lelia, owner of Lelia Marie Photography
“Albums are forever. Disks will eventually erase, hard drives will eventually fail, and technology is ever changing. Think about how long ‘the book’ has been around. The format of printing on paper bound together as an album withstand the test of time. It will outlast your USB drive, your iPad or any other non-print form and that’s exactly why you need an album to preserve your wedding memories for generations and generations to come.” — Cicely, owner of Procopio Photography
“There’s no denying that we live in a very digital world, but as media formats have constantly shifted but one thing has remained tried and true: a printed photograph. I recently had the privilege of seeing someone’s grandmother’s wedding album… the timeless of the images and incredible professional printing that had held up after all of these decades sort of took my breath way. No matter how digital our world gets, an image simply looks and feels different when it’s physically in your hands. In many ways, your album is your first family heirloom.” — Michelle, owner of Michelle Lindsay Photography
Photo Credit: Rachael Foster Photography
All About the Album Process
“Every photography studio is different and I would recommend posing this question to your wedding photographer. At Procopio, we have an album consultation after you have seen your wedding images. In this consultation you have the opportunity to design the exterior of your album. That means choosing the leather, silk, linen, glass, metal, or vegan cover you prefer after looking at our swatches. You choose the album size and if you want an image on the cover. After this consultation, the album goes online as a virtual album where you can flip through the pages and make changes to the design. Once the album is approved it is sent off to the printer.” — Cicely, owner of Procopio Photography
“The album process is painless, I promise! After your wedding photos are finished, I have a proofing gallery where my clients can pull aside their favorite shots. Once they’ve gotten a good grouping together, I’ll begin the design process. While crafting the custom layouts, I will utilize the client’s favorite images in addition to a few extra photographs of details and images that tie the story together. When the initial design proof is ready, I’ll upload a proof to their gallery and we set up an in-studio appointment to make any adjustments and select the album cover material. The whole process takes a few weeks, and ends with a stunning, custom album in your hands!” — Audra, owner of Audra Wrisley Photography
“It depends on your photographer so check with them! Some photographers will make up a design for you and then ask for any changes you would like and some will have you pick your favorite photos first and then make a design for you. Both are great ways of doing it. Then you typically get a few rounds of revisions before the album is sent off to the printers!” — Lelia, owner of Lelia Marie Photography
Photo Credit: Michelle Lindsay Photography
Advice for the Album Process
“If you think you want to create your own album, expect that it will take 25-40 hours of your time. Depending on what your time is worth, it just might be cheaper to hire someone. I have had several brides contact me a year after their wedding and say, I tried to design an album using XXXX program online, and after a week of work, I was completely frustrated and had nothing to show for it. Can you still make one for me? (The answer is definitely, ‘Yes!’) On that note, if you are at all interested in an album, you can generally save a lot on the cost by purchasing a wedding photography package that includes an album rather than adding it on later. When it comes to selecting your album images, do it a little bit at a time, every time you look at your photos. You will be most excited about your pictures the first few times you see them, so take advantage of this excitement and enthusiasm by marking your favorites or copying them to an ‘album’ folder right away. Be sure to include a good mix of candids, portraits, and details as this will tell the full story of the day.” — Rachael, owner of Rachael Foster Photography
“As photographers, our only goal throughout the album process is to provide a beautiful album that you are in love with! That being said, clear communication and honest feedback are crucial to the process being efficient and effective. I’d so much rather have up front communication and my clients be 100% satisfied with their album, than having anyone end up disappointed.” — Audra, owner of Audra Wrisley Photography
“Many of our clients ask how long the album process takes. The answer to that question depends entirely on how long it takes the client to respond to us. My tip to couples is to tackle your album proofing quickly. If your photographer posts an online preview of your album for you to proof, try to get that done as soon as you receive the email. The faster you respond, the faster we can produce the album for you.” — Cicely, owner of Procopio Photography
Photo Credit: k. thompson photography
What Goes Into Album Design
“It isn’t the design work that makes albums so expensive. Yes, design takes time, but most of the costs of an album come from the actual physical costs of building it. Each album is handmade, each album is a custom creation. There is no assembly line to speed things up or keep costs down. The better the album the more expensive all the pieces are (the archival paper that the photos are printed on which ensures they will last 100 years without fading and the quality of the linen or the leather cover).” — Lelia, owner of Lelia Marie Photography
“Albums are completely crafted by hand, start to finish, from the design process to the final printing and production of the physical album. On average, an album takes a photographer anywhere from 8-12 hours start to finish. There’s the time prepping to design (i.e. selecting the images), then actually designing each album to tell the story of the client’s wedding day. From there, we are often working with our clients to refine the initial design so that it is exactly how they want it to look. Once a design is completed, then we begin retouching the album because if something is going to be printed, we want to ensure it looks absolutely perfect. From there, we leave it in the very capable hands of our extraordinary album companies who loving print, bind and press our handcrafted albums. Not all albums are created equally, and pricing will often reflect this. Just like a well-made handbag will last many years of use where as a cheap one will have the strap break on you after 4 months, so the same goes with a wedding album. If not crafted properly, an album’s spine and binding will begin to wear heavily after time, whereas the well-made (and often more expensive albums) will hold up decade after decade.” — Michelle, owner of Michelle Lindsay Photography
“We create a custom design for each client’s album. That design takes time to put together and tweak with the client’s input. Then, once the album is approved, every single image in the album receives highly intensive edits. These edits typically include skin softening, blemish removal, whitening of teeth, brightening of eyes, and under eye circle removal. We also may go in and dodge or burn certain areas to bring emphasis to the subject. There is a lot of time and care that goes into the design and editing of images for your album.” — Cicely, owner of Procopio Photography
“Album design work is pretty extensive, and it’s all custom designed for your specific wedding photographs. This means it involves a lot of time to pair the perfect images together in the best groupings, to craft a beautiful narrative. While the end result should look and feel effortless, the design process is quite complex!” — Audra, owner of Audra Wrisley Photography
More Ideas for Wedding Photos
“Your parents deserve albums too! We highly recommend making albums for your parents who would also cherish these hard copies of your wedding. A parent album is conveniently small enough to pop into a purse and pull out whenever needed to brag about their children at work or at coffee with friends.” — Cicely, owner of Procopio Photography
“To display in your home! Canvas gallery wraps, framed and matted prints, multi-image wall displays are a few ideas, but the important thing is to print the images and display them (Facebook doesn’t count). You most likely paid quite a bit of money for your wedding images—it is so important that you enjoy them and have the opportunity to look at them on a regular basis.” — Michelle, owner of Michelle Lindsay Photography
“A wedding album is one of the more traditional choices for displaying photos, and one of the most popular, for obvious reasons! If wall space is at a minimum and you love the idea of having an album of images to flip through on your coffee table, an album is a great choice! If albums aren’t your thing, gallery wrap canvases and modern wall portraits are just a few of the other products available to get those photos off your USB drive and on display to enjoy!” — Audra, owner of Audra Wrisley Photography
“Smaller prints are great for desktop photos at your office or gifts for siblings and parents. Remember, when you order prints through a photographer, you can get advanced editing as part of the price. If you are good at video editing, you can create a slideshow and set it to your favorite song(s). Some photographers also offer this service as an add-on or part of a package.” — Rachael, owner of Rachael Foster Photography
Thank you so much to all of the photographers! Be sure to check out the fabulous DC area wedding photographers listed above who helped with this advice post possible. They truly do know what makes having a wedding in this area unique!
If you are planning a wedding in the DC area, there is plenty on United With Love for you. From tips and advice from DC area wedding pros, a real wedding gallery for beautiful Washington, DC area weddings and loads of inspiration in our DC area wedding idea galleries.