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.
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.
*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
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