The wedding album is an extremely important part of your overall wedding planning. After everything is over, the photographic record (and hopefully your new spouse!) are all you really have left. There are many types of wedding albums available, and they are not created equally. Even some of the names used to refer to the different album types are used interchangeably by different photographers. It is important that you know what kind of album each one is selling, so you can appropriately compare. Here are some of the most common styles currently being used, and their pros and cons.
1. “Slip in” Matted album – you may have seen this style in your parent's album. Photos are literally slid underneath the mat overlay, and are usually secured with some sort of tape or adhesive. Pros: this album style is traditional and inexpensive. Cons: it has a very dated look, and the photos often come loose over time.
2. “Coffee Book” style albums – available from numerous online retailers and from professional photographers. These albums are digitally designed, and then are press-printed and bound, often with shiny photo covers. Pros: A modern look and very inexpensive. Cons: Thin pages gives the album a “cheap” feel, and the pages can easily rip and tear. Also, the press printed process does not reproduce crisp images.
3. “Flush Mount” or “Magazine” style albums – usually available only from professional photographers, these are the most modern and high quality option currently available. Printed on real photographic paper and digitally designed, with thick pages where the images go all the way to the edge of the page and an overall heavy and high-end feel. Pros: Built to last a lifetime as a family heirloom, wide variety of high-end cover options, archival prints. Cons: Can be expensive, be wary of poor designs.
While “Flush Mount” albums are the preferred choice for most brides and grooms, unfortunately the $1,000-$2,000 price point often puts them out of reach. Recently some album companies have allowed individual consumers to bypass the professional wedding photographer and order the albums directly from the album manufacturer, saving a lot of money. If you are interested in taking this approach, be sure that you use a wedding photographer that will give you a DVD of high resolution images, along with the copyright permission to make your own album.
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