Looking back at a memory reminds us how much one has changed as a person; this evolution is a part of life. Similarly, the way we preserve our memories has also changed. Remember, our parents wedding album? How it was all about the stage pictures and other “posed” photos — and how the album was made by inserting every picture in the space provided? Just like our memories evolve, so have the the way we save them. With progress in printing technologies and design, albums today are more like a coffee table book and are capable of telling a very different kind of story.
So, if you are a couple or a photographer, designing albums is one job that can leave many of you confused and wondering what’s the best way to do it. If you are looking for the answers to all your questions then look no further!
Well, that’s what the wedding album is for. Reminding you of your story every time you go through it. Nowadays the design of your wedding album is also completely in your hands so you can decide what you want and who all you want in it. The main challenge lies in photo curation and the story flow.
Photo Selection & Curation: This is one task which can be really vexing as you will be tempted to select everything but, to get a good story out of it, try to only choose the pictures which you absolutely love (that means, you can ignore all the uncles and aunties you don’t like). Well, maybe not ignore completely – but choose images with people in it who mean something to you and ignore the urge to try and just “fit” everyone in!
Layout for Story Flow: Once you have a carefully curated selection of photographs, the next challenge lies in deciding how many pictures go on each spread, in which order and in what priority. The trick, here, is to view each spread in isolation and as a part of the whole.
Telling stories in the absence of motion & sound: One of our favorite tricks for storytelling is to use juxtaposition & action-reaction combinations. In the absence of written words & spoken dialogue, we find this the most effective way of presenting a memorable moment. E.g. you dancing and your fiancée cheering for you or you are leaving after vidaai and your parents are crying.
Remember it is “your” story and you should be there more than anyone else. Although it is inevitable that you will face quite a few dilemmas when it comes to people and things to be included or excluded, but here’s something to help you:
Prioritization: Gone are the days of stage pictures and including everyone (because they may feel bad). Choose the pictures in which you look the best and place more emphasis on your ceremonies, traditions and moments rather than random people. (Tip: If you just HAVE to have all the group and stage pictures as well, consider going in for a companion album – which is another album along with your main wedding story album that can have all the group photos and photos of extended family in it for posterity).
Enriching the story: Focusing on you doesn’t mean you should not have group pictures – pick the ones that include the people closest to you and can enrich the story in the album rather than placing them just for the sake of it.
Since Indian weddings have a lot of functions and everything needs to come in the album, chose the pictures wisely. Other than choosing the pictures, distributing them per spread and selecting proper layouts is also something you need to ponder over.
Number of Pictures per spread: Don’t make your album disorganized and congested. Instead, try to put 2-6 pictures per spread and use different layouts to make it look interesting. For example, alternate a spread of large format couple portraits with another which has more pictures showing a ceremony/ritual.
Layouts and Patterns: Loud patterns and templates as well as using a picture as background and placing other pictures on top of it, is a big no! It doesn’t do justice to any of the pictures. Also, even though white space is necessary to bring clarity and clean lines to the layout but too much white space can cause a distraction.
People always think that designing a wedding album is something only a professionally trained designer can do, but by choosing the right software and a little practice, anyone can do it with ease. So knowing the right tool is very necessary.
Professional Design Software: One of the most obvious options is to use advanced photo-editing, design & layout tools like Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign. These give you a fabulous amount of control and flexibility at the same time but require an extensive learning curve.
Non-Technical Designing Options: If you lack design training, software like SmartAlbums2 and Fundy can come to your rescue. Using these, along with a little practice and taste, anyone can create layouts, arrange pictures and design their albums with ease, even if they lack expertise in design.
Finally, the last step in album production – finding the right vendor partner to deliver a beautifully printed album that matches the quality of design can be as confusing as the curating & design process. With so many options available today, it’s easy to feel lost amidst them – printing technology, paper & finishing can seem like daunting factors to consider. Here are few pointers to keep in mind while making this selection:
Paper, Binding and Mounting: Always ask for sample albums and look for good quality paper as it defines the age of the album. Binding should be strong and lay-flat variants are preferable, as they don’t take away from the pictures stretching across the centerfold.
Cover: It is the first thing that attracts you towards an album and makes you want to see more. Nowadays, there are various options for cover available like, eco leather, satin silk, etc with an amazing amount of personalisation possibilities — so pick the kind that reflects your personal style.
Packaging: Good packaging has two main advantages – it makes the whole album package look more impressive and, more importantly, ensures your album remains safer and is likely to have a longer life.
Online Versions: Since, Indian families are big, usually very close and very enthusiastic about weddings; the excitement to see the album is always immense. Circulating the physical hard copy of the album can be a painful thing to do, so thank god for online versions. So look for vendors who offer this options – all you have to do is get the link and share with as many members of your family and friends you like. They can see a virtual copy of your entire album.
These are a few factors that we look at while designing and printing albums. We hope that these will help make your decision and process simpler. Have any more questions? Ask them in the comments section below and we will be happy to help answer them.
[box title=””]Arjun Kartha is a professional wedding photographer based in New Delhi, India. Along with his wife and partner Praerna, they obsess over how their wedding albums look like and have spent years looking for the perfect way of designing an album. If you’re a bride looking for the perfect wedding album – get in touch with them today! [/box]