Tag Archives: leather craftsmen albums

Album Design Know-How: Get in The Folks You Love Without Posed Group Photos

05 | 01 | 2012

Most of us (brides, grooms, photographers) don’t exactly love posed group photos. I do think they are necessary, a few images in the larger body of wedding photographs, a part of family history, to be sure.  But as far as wanting to preserve the folks I love in a photo album, I like to take a different tack.

A couple of years ago, one of my clients asked if we could exclude group photos but include a photo that prominently featured each person who would’ve been in the immediate family and bridal party photos.  This design approach worked beautifully, giving the album such an authentic narrative perspective, and—best of all—each person was really flattered in the photos we chose.

If you have a really large family, as some of us do, then you’ll probably want to get a couple extended family photos in there, just to make sure you cover aunts, uncles, and cousins.  But I think the basic principle still applies to the rest of the album—just focus on the folks who are really in your inner circle (immediate family, best friends, etc.).

{click any image for a closer view}

all photos by: Gia Canali


Collaborating With Your Photographer, 108: What You’re Really Paying For (And Waiting For!) With Your Wedding Album Purchase

12 | 14 | 2009

fine art book

{pictured: Leather Craftsmen Fine Art Book. click any image to enlarge}

Although I’m not surprised that folks balk at album prices—most people don’t know what goes into making them (!)—a wedding album is really essential, the finishing point of your investment in wedding photography.

I. The Labor

I like to think about the album making process as a labor of love.  It is certainly laborious—even a simple album can sometimes run upwards of thirty hours of labor.  Custom books can amount to much, much more work.  So what goes into making an album that can add up to so much time? Well, here goes:

  1. Design time.
    This is a big one.  Perhaps it’s the big one with custom albums.  Album design is a back and forth process—and sometimes a long one—a collaboration between a photographer and her clients.  Often, there are meetings.  There is always time laying the album out.  An opportunity for client feedback.  Changes to the design. Another opportunity for client feed back and/or a final approval.  Design time is all about decisions: decisions about which album(s) to use, which images will and won’t be included, how to tell the story of the wedding day and best flatter the bride and groom; decisions about making the best overall presentation, including choosing cover treatments (leather vs suede vs book cloth), cover photos, deciding on stamping or imprinting …
  2. Editing images.
    Once the images are chosen, and the client has “signed off” on the album design, we begin preparing images to print.  Final color corrections need to be made.  We always take a good second look at images that will be included in a client’s album.  Retouching issues need to be addressed.  The images need to be sized and cropped (if the album’s matted) or inserted into an overall layout (if the album is flush-mounted).
  3. Ordering prints from the lab.
    This seems pretty self-explanatory, but this often takes an hour or two depending on the album type.
  4. Checking quality.
    When the prints come back from the lab, we check every single print to make sure it’s up to snuff.  If we don’t like a print, we have to send it back to the lab.
  5. Assembling the prints & order forms.
    Not my favorite part, for sure.  I check everything about a zillion times.  Prints have to be put in numerical and size order and sometimes hand-trimmed.  I always reference emails and notes to make sure I get everything filled in properly on the order form.
  6. Shipping or dropping the order off at the album bindery.
  7. Checking quality again.
  8. Shipping or dropping the album off to the client.  (Phew!)

fine art book

II. The Prints

A gorgeous album requires gorgeous and expertly-made photographic prints.

III. The Binding (Album Assembly)

This is actually part materials cost and part labor cost.   The album cover and its pages are certainly a substantial cost in and of themselves, but binding is all about the artisan who actually makes the book.  Handmade albums are more laborious and therefore more costly.

fine art book fine art book fine art book

So why is it worth it?

So, although the price of making a wedding album seems high, there is very little markup in the end.  Not only are the materials quite costly, but album-making is also quite labor-intensive—for both the artisans involved and for the photographer.  Ultimately,  your wedding album becomes the official record of your wedding day.  We work tirelessly to ensure that our clients get albums that will become heirlooms.  That’s the goal.  Frankly, your grandkids aren’t going to be interested in a digital photo file.  And neither are your grandparents for that matter.  The albums available to consumers don’t even compare to those available to professional photographers.  And getting expert professional help with the design, printing, and binding is invaluable.  Not to mention that not doing it yourself is pretty grand.  I own my negatives from my wedding (which was back in the all-film days).  I am not sure when I’ll get around to making an album for us … and I think it’s the labor time that’s my hangup (that and the five hundred or so dollars I’d need to spend on prints).


Those of you who are working on albums might also want to check out these posts:

Collaborating With Your Photographer, 107: Choosing The Most Stellar Photographs For Your Wedding Album

Decoding Wedding Photography Lingo, IV: Wedding Albums

photos: Gia Canali


Decoding Wedding Photography Lingo, IV: Wedding Albums

06 | 02 | 2009

I have to confess: if there’s one thing about wedding photography that sets my head to spinning, it’s keeping track of all the (newfangled) wedding album options—and the ever-expanding lingo that describes them.  So I feel a bit like I’m starting this post at my own hazard, but I do think it’s a useful point of reference.  These are the most basic terms used to describe the most popular albums available today.

I. Matted aka Traditional

Matted albums are lovely presentations of wedding photographs.  Some incarnations of matted albums recall that old-time elegance of our parents’ and grandparents’ wedding albums.  Photographs are matted on or into the page, similar to how a framed photograph is matted.  The mat may cover the edges of the photograph (an overmat) or may be off-set from the edges of the photograph.

Below are matted albums from Leather Craftsmen and Cypress Albums.  The Cypress Albums version features hand-torn deckled-edge watercolor paper pages and a ribbon binding.

leather craftsmen matted album 1 lc700-05

cypress-02 cypress-01

II. Flush mount aka Coffee Table

About a third of our clients end up choosing modern flush mount albums.  The album designs are digital, so there is a lot of flexibility in terms of what you can do with the design.  I like the “flush mount” nomenclature because it still describes how the photograph is presented on the page: flush to the edge, rather than covered by a mat.  The reason these albums are great is that you can have huge photographs, ones that fill a full side or spread across both sides of the page. Or you can fit lots of photographs in sweet little magazine-style layouts.

Below are examples of Cypress Album’s flush mount album, the Iris.  They are covered with Japanese book cloth.

cypressiris0733 cypressiris0740 iris0742 cypress-iris-06 cypress-iris-05 cypress-iris-02

*There are actually albums that combine both digital design and matted images.  But … let’s not confuse things yet.

III. Press printed

I actually don’t consider these “photo albums” in the traditional sense as they do not contain actual photographic prints.  They are, instead, like regular books you might pull off the shelf.  Over the last several years, I have become more interested in how they might be incorporated into wedding album design and I promise to share some photographs when I get one in stock.

IV. Cover Treatments

Leather Craftsmen Fine Art Book

Cover treatments are another source of obsession.  Nowadays you can get leather, suede, Japanese book cloth, metal, metallic, hardwood, or cork coverings … just to name a few.  My suggestion is not to jump on the latest trend bandwagon.  Instead, choose something that both matches your overall wedding design and you know you will love in fifty years.

My advice?  Don’t worry about the album until after the wedding.  Your taste may change as you go through the wedding design process, and certainly after you see the real, tangible photographs.  At least in my studio, you can use your package album credit toward the purchase of any album.  And anyway, being open to a variety of options may serve you best as you look for the perfect, permanent presentation for your wedding photographs.  The album is, after all, the culmination of your investment in wedding photography.

Check back for future posts on choosing photographs for your album, choosing good cover photographs, and other photo presentation-related topics.  Nearly as much as we want good photographs, we want to know what to do with them once we’ve got them!

photo credit: Gia Canali