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Photo Album Extinction? Don't let your Wedding Photos live in iPhoto!

Photo Album Extinction? Don’t let your Wedding Photos live in iPhoto!

Have you ever spent a holiday taking beautiful photos of everything you see, only to leave them sitting in an iPhoto album?  Even if you upload your favourite photos to instagram or Facebook, you’ve got to wonder whether it was worth hauling around an SLR and pausing before each cocktail or entree to capture the moment, for them to never make it to a photo album or be seen again.
How times have changed, when once the family photo albums were the answer most people gave as to what they’d save (from a burning house, say), who knows what we’d save now.
I’m guilty.
I’m not alone: instagram is where photos go to die.  But I wasn’t about to let that happen with my wedding photos.  First, they cost me a fortune, but also I’m completely in love with them and will take any excuse to show my friends, for which a beautiful coffee table book does a much better job than a Facebook album.
I curated our almost 2000 wedding photos into a manageable album of favourites.  It taught me a lot, and I’d probably do it differently next time too, so here’s what I’ve learned, and what you can benefit from.

  1. Know your photos well before you start. Go through them with your husband, friends and family a few times before starting to think about the album.  You need to have a really good idea of what you’re working with, to be able to make the calls required to turn 2000 photos into 100 (or however many you choose).  But don’t wait too long either, because it’s a long job and you don’t want to lose momentum.  Do it while you’re really in love with the photos and love looking at them.
  2. A second opinion will also help. For example, I really disliked a photo to start with, but with everyone else loving it, I chose to include it because however self-conscious I am about it, it captured the moment.  Know which photos your spouse particularly likes too, as that might surprise you (I was also surprised by photos Blair loved of me that I hadn’t paid much attention to.
  3. It takes a lot of time:  Depending on how many photos you start with, and how many pages you choose, it’s a long and slow process, but if you’re patient and take care you’ll have a beautiful album to last a lifetime.  Break it down into stages instead of attacking it all at once (which might take six hours or more). My task-breakdowns below might help.
  4. Divide into categories: to avoid having the album 50% dinner photos, for example, divide into the following:
    1. 10% getting-ready (each, so total 20%);
    2. 20% ceremony;
    3. 30% portraits and bridal party photos;
    4. 10% post-ceremony mingling;
    5. 20% dinner and speeches; and
    6. 10% dancing and cake cutting.
  5. Choose the number of favourites accordingly, once divided.  So if you’re having a 100 page album, choose your favourite 20 ceremony photos to include.  Of course, this number can move around – you might look to make the album larger, once you realise how many you love.  I settled on 108 pages.
  6. Variety is the spice of life, said someone once, so try to include a variation of different styles of shots: close-ups; candid; posed; guests; different spaces at the venues, some black and white etc.
  7. Once chosen, check with your spouse that you’ve included everything (and everyone) that’s important to him too.  Tick off important relatives and anyone else who was an important part of the wedding day.
  8. Decide on an album type as there are so many options, finishes, styles, colours, materials etc.  I always envisaged a white wedding album, despite not having an all-white wedding, and chose an ivory fabric cover complete with matching box for safe-keeping.
  9. Experiment with layouts. Before turning to Milkbook I used a program called Blogstomp to arrange the photos into layouts of 2-3 per page.  This was a mistake.  You only need Milkbook – it comes with plenty of template layouts, and I would have saved a lot of time (and the cost of buying Blogstomp).
  10. Share: Before printing, share with a parent or best-friend, just to ensure you’re not missing anything.  Ask them to check for typos and anything that looks awkward.  Once ordered, you can even share again, as it comes with an online photo book and downloadable PDF – a really nice way to share the best wedding photos with guests who have returned overseas, for example.

I can’t wait for ours to arrive so that I can physically hold our wedding photos!  Here’s a thought though, you don’t have to wait for your wedding to make a photo book either – I’m going to turn our honeymoon into an album too, and why stop there?  Photo albums are too special to go extinct.

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