There seems to be lot in the wedding photography world about the whole issue of albums v digital/disc only photography packages at the moment and, despite previously backing the “you must have an album – it’s your children’s heirloom” point of view I thought it might be quite interesting to have a look at the long and ongoing debate from the other side!


Reflections of bridal make up in mirrors

First of all, it’s well worth noting that many photographers charge a hefty mark up on albums and they are often seen as a good way to increase revenue. This is particularly prevalent in the sale of so called story book and coffee table albums which can be produced relatively inexpensively from a wide variety of sources with wildly varying results in terms of the quality of the final product. So, on the trail of a handy bonus the hard selling photographer cites a number of the reasons below, many of which are regurgitated from the depths of the wedding press and other photographer’s blogs, as to why his newly wed (and by now probably more or less penniless!) clients should have an album.

Nobody will be able to read the DVD in twenty years.
OK, reasonable point but, having made the decision to spend your (or your parent’s) hard earned cash on a professional photographer most people are going to copy the images they get from their DVD straight onto their computer hard drive and probably a number of other places as well. Technology will move on and the humble DVD may well become a thing of the past but there are very few people who are simply not going to transfer their documents/images etc as they upgrade their technology.

People won’t see the photographs if they are just sitting on a computer, they will just be forgotten about.
Definitely, if you don’t do anything with them but, if the photographer gives you them in a usable format you can create slideshows, make screen savers and wall paper. You can email them you can share them on your Facebook page and through any other social media channel you choose. You can display them on a big TV screen, you can have them on your phone, you can make a beautiful album slideshow on your Ipad. In fact there are so many things that you can do with them that surely many many more people will see them than if they were just sitting on a shelf in an album at home.

You will never get the pleasure of seeing and holding real prints.
Interesting. We have historically been conditioned to believe that real photographs are prints. Not any more. If you do want prints you can go to a good high street printer and have the images printed. Photographers should supply them as print ready – now this is extremely contentious because photographers will tell you that the prints they supply are far better than anything you can do yourself. This is true if they haven’t been edited to be made print ready, this makes a massive difference but the quality of print from a professional lab and the quality from a very good online consumer lab can often not be that much different for standard photographic prints. I can tell the difference but many of my clients may not be able to, I know the professional prints will last longer are richer and more accurate in tone and are printed on superior paper but we are talking about the amount of difference between viewing digital files on my colour calibrated studio monitor and on my Mac Book screen – I’m pretty happy with the screen on the my Mac – it does a good enough job most of the time.

Your photographs look better arranged in an album rather than singly.
Agreed. I create an electronic album design for my clients to have on the DVD with their individual files for that very reason. The album is also online and completely share – able.


Confetti - wedding at Harlton Church Cambridgeshire


There’s nothing like the smell of leather, the feel and texture of a quality album. It’s a tactile experience.
I agree completely. However, I also think that there are a lot of rubbish albums around and that to create an album that is really worthy of becoming an heirloom (irrespective of the quality of pictures – I’m thinking about quality of materials, printing, fluency of design and enough pages and images to really do your day justice) is incredibly expensive both in raw materials and production time. Is it really worth spending a significant amount of money perhaps to get something that feels incomplete, isn’t truly amazing in your hands and doesn’t caress your senses and emotions like a truly great album should? Many albums are also incredibly environmentally non friendly – apart from the materials used many of the highest quality ones are flown from the other side of the world! Is it not time to try to break away from last centuries photography traditions and think of the term “album” much more laterally?


Bride doig make up - Newnham College Cambridge


I think as photographers we have the duty to provide our clients with the most flexible amount of options available. I provide DVD’s and I also supply albums. My DVD’s have all of the images from the wedding ready to print, there is also a duplicate set at a good size to email or upload onto Facebook as well as a slideshow of the photographs. I also include a complete electronic album design which can be shared electronically. The aim is to provide the most flexibility possible – I hope, as technology progresses, to keep moving forward and to develop the presentation methods of my work in as many innovative ways possible. Like it or not the screen is going to take over, to a greater or lesser extent, from paper.


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