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Professional wedding photo albums

Professional wedding photo albums

I lead a double life.  Part of me designs wedding albums; the other part photographs weddings.  But what is common to both parts is the often asked question, “Why should I hire a professional?”.

It’s a fair question because neither service is particularly cheap.  So what is the answer, just why should you hire a professional to shoot your wedding and to design your wedding album?  After all, these days cameras are pretty clever, and can do most things automatically.  Why hire a professional?  And there are plenty of websites where you can upload photos and design your own book.  Some even offer templates to help you.  Surely it’s a waste of money isn’t it, to pay someone to do something that you can do yourself online?

Well, that depends.  Here’s a thought.  I can go to the supermarket and buy a list of ingredients.  I can follow a recipe and cook a meal.  It might taste great.  But that doesn’t make me a chef.  One of my favourite local restaurants serves rustic Italian pasta dishes.  Now, I can knock up a spag bol like the best of them, but their food is a universe away from that.  Ingredients that I would never think of using (or even have heard of).  Dishes made with expertise and, above all, love.  The chefs absolutely love what they do with a passion (I know this for a fact, as the kitchen is open to view and you can see them preparing your meal for you).  Not cheap, I grant you, but when you taste the first mouthful, having watched them prepare it in front of your eyes ……. you think that it’s worth every penny.

That is why you hire a professional.

Taking great wedding photos has nothing to do with owning a good camera.  It has everything to do with having an eye for composition, the ability to foresee a great moment about to happen, and being able to capture it in an artistic way.  The technology is just a way of doing that.  Good album design is more than just slapping photos down on a page.  It’s about making sense of a selection of images – of sifting them and possibly re-arranging them into an order that makes sense (even if that order isn’t strictly chronological).  It’s about knowing when to fill a spread with images, so that they complement their neighbours, and when to leave white space to give the images room to breathe, so that they can be appreciated to the full.  It’s about designing the pages so that the story of the wedding flows, like the chapters of a good book, or the scenes in a great film.  It’s about ensuring that each photo works their hardest to look their best.

There are other benefits.  Only a professional like myself has access to professional wedding albums.  Albums that are designed from the ground up.  They aren’t off-the-shelf, but designed from scratch and built to order.  Each one has the specific number of pages that the design requires; the design isn’t squeezed in to fit a particular number of pages.  The cover is chosen from a huge range to complement the story and mood of the wedding inside.  Extras, like subtle debossing on the cover, or vellum flyleaves, add that particular sense of occasion that that particular wedding day created.  Photos printed in a Professional Lab, using Grade A paper on the best machines.  Everything the best quality it can be.

Sure, this all comes at a price.  Of course it does, because creating something beautiful like this – carefully designed, crafted with care, by hand – takes time and care.  Which costs money.  Especially the time of people skilled at their job.  But it just might be worth it to you.  If you appreciate something that is made with passion and love.  Something designed with care and thought.  Something handmade, by a skilled craftsman, and designed to last for years and years.

There is a saying attributed to Sir Henry Royce, creator of the Rolls Royce car: “The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.”  He was a man who knew a thing or two about these things, of course.

A professional wedding album might not be for everyone though.  If what I’ve said above doesn’t strike a chord with you, then please don’t waste your money.  Search online for a company that makes books, download their software and create your own keepsake.  You’ll be happy with it and the money that you’ve saved.  But if everything I’ve said above makes sense to you, then please get in touch.  One of the great benefits of a professional wedding album – the fact that it’s completely bespoke – is also one of its biggest problems.  The amount of choice can be overwhelming.  After all, you’re starting with a blank piece of paper (well, I am as I’ll be designing it for you).  So it’s good to start with a idea of what you have in mind, and to give you an overview of the choices available.  Or, if you’re not sure, I can give you a few ideas to get you started on what you want your wedding album to be.  After that, I’ll be able to give you a precise cost and timescale.  If you then want to go ahead, great.

In the meantime, please enjoy this album designed for Chris and Fiona.  I shot the wedding and designed the album after they’d sent me their selection of photos from the complete collection.  It’s the most popular album I design, a square Fine Art book.  If you want to know about the difference between Fine Art and matted albums, browse around this site.  The differences, and how they affect the design, are described in several other posts.  This post is a good starting point.

Please note how I use grids to present the images, repeating and adapting layouts to add a coherence throughout the book.  The weighting of importance in the images is shown by the size of them on the spreads, and there is a flow through the day so that, as you turn the pages, you can relive the wedding day as if you were there.

(To enlarge any of the spreads to look at it in detail, just click on it).

For an informal chat, and a no obligation quotation, please do get in touch.  Feel free to fill in the contact form, email me at info@martinhambleton.com or give me a call on 07766 815703.


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