The majority of Bride and Grooms getting married are often doing so for the first time. Following a visit with a photographer, they can often walk away scratching their heads over the range of albums available.

As a Yorkshire wedding photographer, we know just how many different types, styles and options there are out there so to help Bride and Grooms a little, I thought I would write this blog post to hopefully help clear the fog away a little. Below are just a few of the wedding albums we can supply to our clients.

Coffee Table Books

Coffee table books, story books, magazine style albums, digital albums, GraphiStudio book, Bellissimo - they are called many things but all follow the same basic format - your wedding images are printed directly onto the page of a book. The book may or may not come with a dust cover, may or may not have an image on the front or may even have a perspex, leather, metal or timber front cover, but all coffee table style books follow the same basic principles.

The arrival of digital photography means that the coffee table book has become easier to create for photographers and most photographers, where a coffee table book is in your wedding photography package, will factor in a certain amount of pages and images to go into your book as part of your package. Coffee table type albums can though be upgraded to feature more pages and more images, obviously at a cost.

Album design times can range from a few hours for a small book, to many weeks / months for a larger, more complex book. Most photographers include a set number of photographs and pages as part of your package cost, but you may well want more in your album. Always ask your photographer how much album upgrades will cost BEFORE the wedding as photographers may charge a substantial amount for album upgrades or additions.

The reason is that if they are sat in front of a computer, they are then not actually out shooting.

Album designs can be designed by the photographer or by using the album manufacturers own template based software. In recent years, template based album design software has improved dramatically. In years gone by, many albums looked the same as templates were limited in number and photographers only had a small amount of options available to them. The album manufacturers are now correcting this and increasing the number of templates available to your photographer. Many photographers though prefer to either design the albums themselves for the personal touch, or outsource them to an album design company.

The range of quality of coffee table books is huge. Some cost as little as 50 to complete whilst others cost many hundreds of pounds. Obviously the total amount of pages in the book has a direct impact on the cost but also the actual quality of the book itself must be checked. Some album providers prefer to keep the costs down for the photographer so as to maximise the profit and this can result in a very low quality album that may not stand the test of time. Ask your photographer who his/her coffee table book supplier is (if this album is part of your package) then go do a search on the internet for the manufacturer.

Traditional Matted Albums

Traditional or matted albums generally have an actual photograph taped to a mat or mount and then this is stuck to a page in an album. The mat is a bit like a frame that goes around the image, and sometimes has a keyline on the inside (a different colour to the actual mat itself) or may have a bevelled edge. This protects the photographs from touching when the album is closed and also presents the photograph nicely. Traditional matted albums generally come with 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 pages with each page having two photographs on, one on each side, so a 25 page album will most likely accept 50 images.

The range of traditional matted albums is massive with many suppliers around the world having a substantial range to choose from. Each photographer though may choose to only use one manufacturer, and then only offer a small selection of albums from that manufacturers range. With some albums you can have a single large image in the middle of the page, or multiple images spread across the page that can vary in size. Albums come in a variety of different sizes, for example 8"x8", 10"x10", 10"x12" 12"x12" 14"x10" A4 or A3.

The majority of traditional matted albums can be upgraded to include more pages and more images, and with substantial mat styles available, these types of albums can be built as a totally bespoke album that is truly unique.

Parents Albums

In many, though not all, cases Parents have some sort of financial input into either the wedding day or the honeymoon. Parents albums are a great way to say thank you. The range of parents albums available matches those of the main albums in number.

Most photographers though prefer to make the parents album a smaller duplicate version of the main album. For example, where your album is a coffee table book, then the parents album can be an exact duplicate of your main album but in a smaller size. Where this happens, be aware that the images selected to go in your main wedding album will be yours, the Bride and Groom. You are obviously going to choose your favourites to go in your album and the final finished album will reflect your preferences. What may be your favourites though may not be the same as your parents. In particular with coffee table books, due to the time needed to design the albums, the time required to print them and the costs involved, many wedding album manufacturers will give a discount off the total package cost to the photographer where parents albums are ordered with the main album.

If you have a coffee table style book and require your album designed with your favourite images and the parents albums designed with their favourites, this can substantially increase the costs.

Traditional matted wedding albums though are much easier for parents albums. With a substantial range available and the relative ease of building them for the photographer, these types of albums are much easier to custom build. You will select the images for your album, and your parents will select theirs giving a truly bespoke album that features the favourite images of each person.

With some photographers, they will let you mix and match as part of your wedding photography package, for example, your main wedding album can be a coffee style book and the parents albums the traditional matted type.

Flush Mount Albums

Flush mount albums are a hybrid between coffee table books and traditional matted albums and can offer the best of both worlds. Instead of your photographs being printed onto the page of the book, as in a coffee table book, you actually receive a printed photograph which is then physically stuck to the page of an album often without a mount or matt.

Many photographers use these types of albums as they can design the pages to look exactly like a coffee table book, but are in fact a double page spread which is then separated at the printing stage into two separate photographs and stuck to the album pages. This often results in a physical line between the images where the pages meet the spine but if the design has been well done, this is not noticeable. Flush mount albums have a very modern, contemporary feel to them.

Keepsake / Handbag Albums

Many photographers will provide a keepsake or handbag album. These types of albums can vary in size and number of pages. Where your main album is a coffee table style book, these can be a very small version of the main album, ideal for popping into your handbag or pocket and talking into work etc to show Family and friends.

They also make fantastic gifts for Bridesmaids, the Best Man, Ushers, Page Boy or Flower Girls. Traditional style keepsake / handbag albums will be small in size and contain a limited amount of photographs, as few as 10 images. The idea behind them is that they are just a memento from the day and contain a select few favourite images.

Guest Books

Many guest books have an aperture on each page where an image may be selected from the wedding after the big day. The idea for these types of albums is very simple - the guest book is signed on the day by guests and family members then after the wedding, the Bride and Groom choose an image to go into each of the available apertures giving a fantastic keepsake of the day.

With many hundreds of album manufacturers around the world, offering many thousands of albums across a whole range of different styles, the available options can be confusing. When you take into account that many album manufacturers can blend two different styles, for example coffee table book and traditional matted, into one single album, this further increases the options available to you when choosing your wedding album.

When looking at wedding albums look at the quality of the book itself, the mats, the photographs and ask if it will stand the test of time.

I hope this blog post has clarified just some of the different albums currently available and the ones we can supply as a Yorkshire Wedding Photographer. If you would like to see examples of the above albums, then please do get in touch for a no obligation viewing at our Studio in Rawdon, Leeds.

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