One of the trends that I have noticed with the digital age is that people are starting to forgo the album in favor of the Hi-res DVD of images. It's only natural to assume that a generation raised with computers is content to view all their wedding pictures on a screen.
I think this is a mistake for several reasons.
But, before I tell you why you should be buying a wedding album, first let me come clean about the price. Wedding albums are the most expensive product that I sell. They are the most expensive to produce, the most time consuming to create and the lowest profit margin of anything I sell... and yet I really want you to buy one. Why? Why do I care what you buy? Shouldn't I want you to purchase the items that bring me more profit for less work?
No. I want you to buy a custom album and here's why:
1. It's an event.
An event? What does that mean? Well, it means that when you have an album you pull it out whenever you are talking about your wedding with friends and relatives. You turn the pages... point at pictures... tell stories about the day. It's a shared experience. Compare that to clicking through pictures on your computer screen. An album is tangible, you hold it in your hand and connect to it.
2. It's just long enough.
I may give you 10 pictures of the Father/Daughter dance but it only takes one to convey the moment. Less really is more when it comes to wedding photography. Sure, it's nice to have 700 images on a disk but it's too many for browsing or telling a story. An album collects only the very best images from the day and uses them to tell the story of your wedding. One red rose is simple, elegant and beautiful. Five-hundred red roses is just a mass of flowers.
3. It's an heirloom.
100 years from now your album will be sitting on your granddaughter's bookshelf. When she plans her wedding she will pull it out and show her fiance'. It will connect her to you in a way that a disk of images never will. She will one day give it to her daughter...
4. It's the best showcase for my work.
A flush-mount, leather clad, custom designed album is the absolute best way to present my images of your wedding. The pages are photographic paper and the prints are hand re-touched by me to perfection. I'm proud of what I do. I work very hard at it. I like to think that people who see my work will see it in the way it's intended to be seen. I know... seems a little selfish... but it's impossible to be a great photographer without having a passion for the art and that passion doesn't stop the day after your wedding.
Whenever I think of a client showing her wedding pictures to someone on a computer monitor that hasn't been hardware calibrated I cringe. You see, no two monitors are calibrated the same so what you see on your monitor is almost definitely not what the picture really looks like. Wanna test it? Print a picture and hold it up next to the same picture on your screen and see if the colors match. Trust me, they won't. This is the reason that professional photographers have an expensive little gadget that they attach to the front of their computer monitor every month. This gadget runs a test and then calibrates their monitor to true color. That's how I know that what I see on my screen is exactly what the print will look like.
I can't tell you how many times I have been at someones home or office and been amazed that they ever hired me since they viewed my website on a computer that turned everything green. Go into Best Buy and look at the TV wall. Look at the three most expensive televisions in the place and I'll bet the picture doesn't look the same on all three.
The only way to truly see a picture the way it was intended to be seen is to print it. And it needs to be printed by a professional lab, not the ink jet printer on your desk and not the 1-hour printer at the drugstore. I have a giant, professional, $1000+ photographic printer and I still don't use it for client prints (I use it for promotional material and test prints).
It's your wedding! You spent all that money and all that time in preparation... it deserves to be preserved in a way that is beautiful and tangible. When you take out a leather 12x12 album of your wedding day you are presenting the day in the finest way possible. It's a once in a lifetime moment and deserves an appropriate showcase.
This is why I offer payment plans on my albums when needed. If I have a couple who wants an album but can't afford it right now, I'll work out a payment plan because I want them to have an album. I don't care that it's hours and hours of work. It's worth it to know that all the hard-work and time I put into capturing the emotion of the day will be forever preserved in the most fitting way possible. I guarantee you that on your 50th anniversary, at the big party with your children and grandchildren, when everyone is gathered around your album laughing and telling you how beautiful you looked, you won't be thinking, "Gee, that was a waste of money."
Get an album. You'll thank me later. :)