Wedding photos have [finally] arrived! Now that bills are paid (ugh) and thank-you’s are mostly written (I know, I’m sorry) we must decide on whether and how to create a wedding photo album.
The “whether to” decision is an easy one for us – Yes.
Digitals are great, but digital images are never going to be discovered by your children or grandchildren in the attic. You will never just happen upon your digital images while sorting through a stack of books left untouched for too long. There is nothing special and almost no intimacy involved in gathering around a device to stare at images that are too small to appreciate. Wedding photos are best experienced as part of a narrative — a story that unfolds in a deliberate sequence with one image building upon and informing those before, after and around it.
So as David and I review our images, reflect on the day, and decide how we may want to remember the moments, the wedding album creation & production decision looms — influenced by budget, creative energy, available time, and technological know-how.
I’ve summarized our wedding album website alternatives into 3 price brackets. All of these websites have beautiful wedding album examples to get your creative juices going. Disappointingly, however, none have a same-sex couple prominently displayed in their gallery. Time for some new images everyone.
$$$$ – Custom design/print/bind service. We select the basic layout and the cover, upload the images, provide suggestions for any copy we may want to include with particular images or on certain pages and then let someone else create and print. Cost: Wide range based on number of pages and cover type, but $600 to $1700 covers most of the options available. Yikes.
Blended Motion is a turnkey provider, whereas Storybook Pages focuses on the design component and then allows you to select the print/bind vendor from a list of companies they work with. Both of these companies work primarily with wedding photographers, but they have expanded their service to “retail” as well.
$$1/2 – DIY design using templates/print/bind service. We select from a wide range of pre-formatted designs, most with some customization available, upload the images in the size and position and order we want, then let them produce based on the paper and cover we select. Cost: $200’ish to $750 covers most options available.
This is a more competitive market space, and there are a number of companies. Each of these 3 are worth considering – each with “a look” and particular software & production strengths.
- Milk — wedding focused, minimalist look, basic options, not a budget buster, quality product
- Blurb — oriented to commercial / professional productions, wedding albums as a side business, flexible design system with default templates for the novice
- Adoramapix —Template based with plenty of design flexibility, widest price range based on paper type, page count and cover material
Note: We are not considering BrideBox. Why? There was no “bride” in our wedding. Might be a clever sounding name, but it’s not very welcoming to my husband and me.
$ – DIY design using templates/print/bind service. The primary difference between this price point and the category preceding is that these two providers are not providing a wedding specific product. Their design flexibility is more limited and their production options far more limited. Their product, however, is considered high quality with very fast turnaround. Cost: $100 and under
- Apple Photo book — we are an Apple family. I was a reluctant convert, but have come to fully embrace (accept) the Apple way of life. We have used this service before to make albums of family events and the results have been beautiful.
- Snapfish & Shutterfly — excellent for the novice/non-tech user, low cost, high quality, very limited design flexibility, quick turnaround. You don’t have to own an Apple.
We are going to go-down-the-middle and use Adoramapix. We will share the end result when we’ve got it to show. For us, it’s a good balance of cost, time spent and design flexibility.
Whatever you decide:
Don’t overspend/overthink. Better to get your favorite photos printed in a scaled down book than have no book at all.
Do not let too much time pass. Your wedding album project will get lost in the “to-do’s” forever…and the story you wanted your wedding photos to tell won’t be telling any stories at all.