Thursday, 15 March 2012

A Wedding Album question

I was asked a question at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange Wedding Fair last week that I’ve never been asked before. And just like the proverbial bus scenario, not one but three brides asked me the same question over the course of the weekend. The three brides in question all fell in love with the bespoke design and look of my Storybook albums. I only use genuine wedding albums at wedding fairs and also client meetings, so the albums that the brides were looking at are actually my own copies of albums that have recently been delivered to my newly wedded couples. It’s very important that wedding photographers show you genuine, real life weddings as it gives a true reflection of their abilities and consistency of quality throughout an entire wedding. Whilst there is no real harm in a photographer having perhaps one 'Best of' album which he may use as his main portfolio you should really be more interested in viewing the real wedding albums and from at least three different weddings to assure yourself of his standards.The three brides I was chatting with had all booked their wedding photographer but wanted to know if they could purchase their albums from me and hire me to do their album design. They were all convinced it wouldn’t be a problem in getting their photographer to provide me with the disc of wedding photographs. Now technically I could do this, but it really isn’t something I would recommend for several reasons. Let me first of all explain a little bit about how Storybook wedding albums are designed and then hopefully this may help explain my caution.All album manufacturers provide album design software for the photographers. Basically this consists of lots of page templates where the photographer can simply drag and drop your selected photographs on to the pre-designed templates as he works his way through the album. This makes album design nice and easy and also does not consume vast amounts of the photographers time. However, although I have access to the same software as all other Edinburgh wedding photographers I am fortunate enough to have the experience and skills to design each album from a completely blank canvas. This allows for great creativity and enables me to personalize each album to fit each couple and their wedding. Although a lot of photographers claim they offer bespoke album design the truth is that there are only a very small handful of professional photographers throughout the UK who have the expertise to do this and it is one reason why my Storybook albums stand out so much from those of other wedding photographers in Edinburgh. If you have visited a large wedding fair you have no doubt noted how many, if not all, of the wedding albums on the photographers stands look very much the same. This is inevitable as due to using the same templates there is bound to be a lot of reproduction.One of the limitations to the template design system is that they only utilise solid colours on the backgrounds. Now unless you have extremely strange taste I’m sure you wouldn’t want page backgrounds in solid blue or bright red or vivid yellow. So you tend to find that black and white backgrounds become the norm. Most photographers tend to lean towards black. Black page backgrounds are extremely classy if used judiciously and carefully, however if an album has quite a lot of black pages it starts to become rather dark and forbidding the further you proceed through it and as you near the end you often find it has become almost funereal. Not being confined to the templates I will quite simply create a background to fit and highlight the photographs on the page. Without being restricted to solid colours I can apply different effects, textures and sheens to the pages, which really do give them a 'weddingy' feel.With a good imagination you really can do pretty much anything, which also allows me to accommodate suggestions and idea’s from my couples as well (and believe me I get many unique and sometimes challenging idea’s and requests). When working on an album design much of my inspiration is drawn from the wedding itself. Not only having taken the photographs but experiencing all the emotions, feelings and atmosphere throughout the day I will endeavour to reflect this in the design of the specific pages. I also will take photographs on the day specifically with the intent of using them as page backgrounds or fillers. You can see a couple of examples here where I’ve taken close ups of a floral display or the chair covers and sashes for this purpose. Throughout the design process I keep every couple up to date with page proofs so they can amend and change anything they like. They can even try different idea’s just to see what it will look like or compare one thing with another. On occasion I’ve even had the couples come into my office and sit with while we try a few unique designs and effects. If a couple has a strong theme or colour scheme for their wedding day I can design the pages to the same theme so their album becomes a perfect fit. It really is a case of the album being designed around the photographs as opposed to the other way round.I have popped a few examples up here to try and illustrate but there really is nothing like seeing them for yourselves in the flesh so to speak. Viewing on a computer monitor or other device is a very poor substitute so I always recommend meeting up so you can look, touch and feel the quality. I am happy to do evening or weekend appointments if you are at work during the day and there is no obligation to book. All my contact details and numbers are on my website: Wedding Photography Edinburgh


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