In a digital age, it's easy to think that such classic photographic elements like prints and albums are old news. After all, wedding photography is expensive and it might be the last thing on your mind when it comes to spending your limited budget. Just opt for the guy who'll show up, shoot your pics, and hand you a CD a few days later right?
Here's the thing; CDs don't last forever. Hard drives don't last forever. Storage devices are usually rendered obsolete every ten years or so, and the chances of accidentally frying one of them or losing your files in a computer mishap is staggeringly high.
We went on a holiday to Turkey a few years ago as a family for our very first foreign jaunt. Thanks to a couple of blindingly obvious mistakes in organisation, the digital versions of the memories we documented are spotty at best and mostly completely missing. The pictures we had printed though? Still going strong; a few on the wall in the dining room, and most of the others kept in an album upstairs.
The beauty of a wedding album is that as a large physical object, a well made album has presence on a bookshelf. A tasteful leather or linen cover, bold professionally created images that never seem to fade, all of these things you just don't get when browsing through Facebook.
A modern photo album is nothing like the kind of yesteryear. Remember the old ones where you had to slide your prints into the mounts on each page and glue them down? Forget that! As professionals we have access to so many jaw-droppingly gorgeous options that it can make your head spin. Want one big picture to cover the entire page from edge to spine? We can do it. Want an album that lays completely flat and seamless when you open it? Done. Want a metallic glossy effect on one of the spreads? Easy. Whatever your desires, the chances are there'll be a supplier out there who will cater to it, and that your photographer is going to know about them.
Okay, so wedding albums are awesome. But why do you need one? A friend told me a while back when I first got into this field of expertise about the pure power of a wedding album.
Hands up; who's had a big argument with their partner in their time while married, or even just living together? I can imagine it's going to be a lot of you because that's sort of what happens in long term relationships!
The power of having a wedding album is that you have a physical reminder of the day you made those vows to each other, the love you felt as you walked down the aisle, the reason why you both decided to dedicate your lives to one another. After an argument, he said, he and his wife would sit down with the wedding album and look through it, and talk about each memory as it pops up. By the time they'd finished leafing through it, the argument seemed small and petty compared to the love fuelling their marriage.
Can you imagine doing that with a disc? I can't.
I believe that wedding albums are that important that I include one in every wedding service I offer. I pour my heart into it and consult the new couple on every aspect of the design because if it's going to be something for them to remember, it needs to be perfect. It needs to be something that they (and maybe you!) will show to their children and their grandchildren one day to teach them what love means.
So what do you think? Are you married and have an album? Did you decide against it? What would you want to see in a perfect album? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject! If you're getting married soon and looking for a photographer, why not give my page a look and give me a shout?