When searching for your ideal wedding photographer one of the key differences you’ll often find is whether or not an album is included in the package. Whilst traditionally the album was the main way in which you would see and receive your wedding pictures and therefore virtually always included, in a digital age where your images are likely to be presented digitally before ever going near an album there’s really no hard and fast rule. So, with professional albums ranging in price anywhere from £50 to over £1000, whether you want that album included or not is something that you need to consider before choosing your photographer as it’s likely to make a big difference to the overall price of your wedding photography package and can also lead to a slightly distorted view of how various photographer’s pricing actually compares to one another.
So the first question is this: in a digital age do you really need a wedding album?
The question of whether or not to have an album is one only you can really decide. We’ve explained our thoughts on wedding albums in previous posts and personally I love having printed images that I can touch and feel and I find the wedding album a very special way to present wedding photographs, particularly as a memento for the years (and generations) to come. It might surprise you therefore to hear that as a photographer I don’t actually include an album in my own wedding packages.
There are various reasons why I choose not to include an album but primarily my feeling is that as much as I personally love printed images, a lot of bride and grooms actually prefer to keep their images in purely digital form and so an album would be completely wasted on them. There’s no right or wrong answer as to how you prefer to experience your wedding images, it’s purely a matter of taste and hence I prefer to let couples choose if they would like to pay separately for an album or not.
The choice of whether or not to include an album is also often influenced by the type of album the photographer feels is best suited to their work. As already mentioned wedding albums can vary hugely in price and, particularly if a photographer is looking to cater for varying styles of album, the cost for each may vary hugely making it almost impossible to create a set price. On the other hand some photographers find that there is one particular type of album that showcases their work better than any other and are therefore able to keep a set price for the albums making it easier to include in their packages.
The second (and often forgotten) question you should really ask yourself is this: How quickly do I need my album?
After all the anticipation leading to the wedding it’s natural to want to get your hands on the pictures as soon as possible after the big day in order to continue to live out the excitement. It’s important to remember though that once you’ve received your pictures and maybe your video if you’re having one then the album is the only part of the wedding left to anticipate, and sometimes it’s nice to leave that a little while to experience that rush of excitement again further down the line. Photographs have a funny way of changing meaning to you as your emotions towards them develop and often we find that the photographs that initially grabbed us or our couples the most are not always the ones that end up meaning the most to us. Wedding albums can only hold a limited number of photographs and these should be the ones that, the moment we flip open that album cover, take us straight back to the day, the images that remind us how we felt in that moment just as much as they show us what actually happened. For me, knowing what images should appear in your wedding album is something that takes time to get just right, and I’m always over the moon when couples come back to me on their first wedding anniversary and ask me to put together the images that now mean something entirely to them than they did at first glance.
If you’re ready to wait for your album then perhaps having it included in your package isn’t the best thing for you. Maybe the money that would go towards the album can be spent elsewhere to make the day itself the best it can be, knowing that you have all the time in the world to save up for your perfect album. Or maybe you’re the sort of person who doesn’t care for digital files and just can’t wait to feel their photographs in their hands, flipping slowly through your album the way your parents did when they showed you their wedding photographs.
Whether you want to have an album or not and whether you want it included in your photography package or are happy to purchase it separately should by no means define your choice of photographer but it is an aspect to consider in order to make sure you’re making exactly the right choice for you.