5 Steps to the Perfect Wedding Photo Album

Your photographer will capture your best wedding moments, but how will they be preserved and tell the story of your day? Start here.
  1. Step 1: Do Your Homework

    Photo by Jose Villa/CypressAlbums.com
    There are countless album styles to choose from. The most common type is a bound book, but the inside display can vary: printed photos in protector slips, photos mounted on page (either matte or glossy) or physically printed like in a book.
    The Game Plan: Take note of what you do and don't like about each album style. Giving your photographer an idea of what you want the finished version to look like will help guide his shooting decisions.
  2. Step 2: Don't Forget Formals

    Photo by Michelle Andersen Photography
    While many photographers take (and many couples prefer) a photojournalistic approach to shooting the wedding, don't forgo formal shots altogether. Although you may love the look of candid photos, you'll appreciate the classic shots with your families and attendants years from now.
    The Game Plan: There are five must-haves: 

    • Couple alone
    • Couple with attendants
    • Couple with parents
    • Couple with the bride's immediate family
    • Couple with the groom's immediate family

    If you want shots of other groupings, by all means add them to your list -- though most photographers will tell you, the shorter the sessions, the fresher the photos.
  3. Step 3: Get a Balance of Black-and-White

    Photo by Desi Baytan Photography
    Though it's less of a planning issue with digital photography, it's nice to think ahead on how to get a nice mix of color and black-and-white photos. Detail shots (like the embroidery on your gown or your wedding rings) work well in black-and-white, but you'll definitely want to capture the flowers, cake and decor in full color.
    The Game Plan: Look through your photographer's body of work to pinpoint your favorite shots -- in both black-and-white and color. And look elsewhere too. Find as many examples as you love to help your photographer understand what you want your album to look like.
  4. Step 4: Think About the Final Layout

    Photo by Marni Rothschild Pictures
    When it comes down to picking the photos for your album, consider how they'll look when you flip each page. Contrasting tight shots of specific details with pulled-back views of a room can be a visually interesting way to represent the scope of your wedding.
    The Game Plan: Figure out who's going to be designing your album. Some photogs do it themselves; some hire designers; others work with third-party album companies. Whoever it is, be sure to communicate your ideas and needs with them in advance.
  5. Step 5: Consider Extras

    Photo by Orange Fat Cat Studio/PinholePro.com
    Some photogs offer mini albums that can fit in the palm of your hand (or in your purse) -- great for passing out to family. Or rethink the way you hang your couple portrait in your home: Gallery-wrapped canvas (a photo print on canvas, stretched over a hidden wood frame) is a modern take on the traditional display.
    The Game Plan: Make sure you understand album and extras pricing up front. Oftentimes, albums aren't included in the final package price. If so, budget accordingly.