Tips for Getting a Great Photo Album

Use these ideas to turn your big day moments into a book of lasting memories

Wedding photographs can bring remembrances of your special day to life. Here, experts offer advice to help you craft an album to tell the story.

Plan Your Pictures
Tell your wedding photographer about the balance of pictures you want—black and white or color, portraits versus candids—and discuss any shots you deem essential. Candid, or photojournalistic, images have been popular for years, but ask for some formals as well, says Los Angeles–based photographer Elizabeth Messina: “It’s important to take some of those formal portraits to honor your parents.” Consider posing with the relatives to whom you’re especially close, or have your photographer take a picture of the entire group from the ceremony location or the reception entrance, to display them from your perspective.

“Getting great candid shots involves being in the right place at the right time,” says Adrienne Page, a photographer based in St. Paul, MN. Have your photographer view the ceremony and reception sites beforehand to find the best lighting and positions. Page suggests arranging a timeline of images to take throughout the day. Make any specific requests known early: If you want to document moments late in the day, mention this so your photographer won’t leave right after the cake cutting or first dance, which many do.

Select an Album Style
Your proofs will likely arrive three to six weeks after the wedding day. As you start to choose which of them you’d like to include, decide on the album style. Traditional albums have pictures adhered to the pages, like a scrapbook, with many options to select, from cover fabric and layout to page size and matting.

Digital photo albums are becoming popular because they have a very customizable layout and polished look: Images are printed directly onto the page, in any size—even an entire spread, like in a magazine. They can be much more expensive, though, and some pros offer only classic albums. You can order a disc of your pictures whether you get a traditional or digital book—but some photographers charge extra for this album on disc.

Make Your Picks
Choose a color scheme for the book (the same as your wedding’s or in neutral hues), but trust your photographer or a designer to help arrange the layout. With possibly 2,000 pictures, Page says, “It’s so overwhelming for clients to go through them and put something together.” Both she and Messina often create sample albums on a disc, which help couples select their final photos. Think about how the images work with one another, Page suggests. You’ll want to include some shots of relatives, but showcasing all family portraits might not reflect the day the way you want. If your favorite photos don’t help represent the wedding as a whole, frame them instead.

Don’t Limit Yourself
If it’s difficult to condense your day into one book, consider a collection of albums. Devote each volume to one aspect—the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony; they’ll serve individual purposes but together capture the entire event. Such sets are ideal for destination weddings, Messina says.

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