5 Reasons why you should invest in a professional album
Photo albums are cherished, family heirlooms.
Do you remember flipping through your family albums when you were a child? Sitting there, with a sense of wonder at what your parents looked like, what the fashion looked like (I know I did) and back in those days?
Photo albums were an incredibly special and fragile item in my home. We had to have clean hands, and sit at the table, flipping the pages slowly and carefully (and usually under supervision). My parents wedding album is full of stories - from her big puffy white dress, to the joke my dads mates wrote on the soles of his shoes. When the scrapbooking phase hit us my mum spent hooours immortalising our baby photos in these beautiful books with little stories about our childhood.
These albums are family heirlooms.
But these days we live in a digital world, and we all want those digital photos (especially now that so many of us live apart from our families), and albums are on the decline. Not gonna lie, it breaks my heart a lil’ bit.
And let’s not beat around the bush - professional photographic products are expensive. And somewhat hard to justify or fit into your budget when you’ve paid for the photographer and the digitals. These days, investing in a photographer is a like a two part investment - first you need to invest in a photographer who you connect with (you’re paying for their time and experience, because it’s more than just smiling and saying cheese for the camera now). Then secondly you need to invest in the products. And that second investment is hard, especially when budget labs are popping up all over the place.
So are they worth the investment?
The TL;DR version? YES - a thousand times yes!!
Here’s are 5 reasons why I think professional photographic albums are worth the investment…
#1 | Memories fade over time
Did you know that photographic memory doesn’t actually exist? Some people have extraordinary skills, but it’s never been fully proven.
So for the rest of us? Our memories will fade – as much as we don’t like to admit it, it’s a fact of life.
And it’s probably the main reason my job exists (your professional memory keeper here, at your service ♥), because for many of us, our photos serve as visual keys that unlock those special memories from the recesses of our brain, and allow us to revisit moments that we would otherwise forget.
For me? It’s a photo of me at 9 years old, sitting on my bike with this ridiculous toothy grin. Every time I look at it, I’m thrown back down memory lane to the hours I used to spend riding to school, cutting laps around my house with my friends, heck – now I’m even remembering to when my dad taught me to ride without training wheels. There’s another photo of me as a three year old wearing these rad sunnies and looking très cool – I don’t really remember that specific moment (I was only three after all) but it helps me remember the house I grew up in. There’s this photo I have of my mum holding me as a baby, and I’m sure it helps her remember that time more than me, but I love it so much because I can see her love so clearly.
And my wedding album? Sits on my bookshelf, and gets pulled down all.the.time. It was three and a half years ago, and I can already feel the memories slipping away, and I know it’d be worse without having the album to sift through and remember.
#2 | YOUR GOOD INTENTIONS AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH
When my clients view my price list, I can almost guarantee the thought process is something like this for many of them:
Ohh look how gorgeous those albums are!
YIKES look at the PRICES!
No way can I afford that, I’ll just do it myself…
But then what happens?
You might have the best of intentions, and heck, maybe you even get to the point of sitting down to try and organise an album, but then you realise how overwhelming it all is.
- Which lab do you go with?
- What will the quality actually be like? Will you even like it (because as a savvy human, you know you get what you pay for)?
- How do you choose which photos to put in the album (because you can’t afford to print them all)?
- And even if you manage to cull your photos down, how do you choose a layout? Which ones should get enlarged into a full spread or sit together in a collection? How do you make it look uncluttered?
Honestly, I can’t even tell you how many people come back to me a year after they get married, or one year into parenting and tell me that despite their best intentions to print an album – they just haven’t got around to doing it. And I totally get it – even I had to outsource the design of my wedding album because I personally just couldn’t cull the photos down enough.
Let me handle it for you – the fee for your album includes the design + two rounds of revision (so you can make sure you love it before it gets printed).
#3 | USBS AREN’T A SAFE WAY TO PRESERVE YOUR PHOTOS
Maybe your next line of thought is that you can just as easily look at your photos on a computer screen, as you can in an album. If that sounds like you, I would gently suggest you are missing the point of an album, and overlooking the dangers of only preserving your images as digital files.
The first problem you’ve got is that USBs are so small, easily lost and misplaced, or buried in a drawer and forgotten about. And then the next problem is that once you do stumble across your USB, you then have to have access to a computer that is decent enough to view high resolution files – and what happens if your fancy computer doesn’t even have a USB connection anymore? Look at what happened to the floppy disc, and CDs – did you know that many laptops don’t come with CD readers anymore? And what if the USB fails or breaks?
Hopefully you were smart, and made backups in the cloud, and on external hard drives - but actually, many people don’t and I get a lot of emails asking if I still have their photos (even when they were delivered on a USB).
And sure, you can upload your photos to the cloud. But you don’t own the cloud! What if the cloud fails one day? The servers the store your data are destroyed, and all your files with it? Or what if you accidentally delete them (yep – this has happened to me, learn from my mistake).
Now, more than ever, it’s so important to print your cherished memories – printing is your third form of preservation (after digitals, and cloud storage) and is often the most neglected. It should be number one on your list, and the most cost effective way of printing and storing your beautiful images in bulk, is in an album.
#4 | IT WILL BECOME A FAMILY HEIRLOOM
Like I was talking about earlier, these albums are family heirlooms. All those memories you have, poring through your family photo albums? Will YOUR children have the opportunity to do the same thing?
A photo album sitting on your family bookshelf still has the potential to bring the whole family together. All it takes is your little one to get a little curious, to pull it off the shelf, sit with you on the couch, learning about how much you love them. These kind of moments don’t really happen naturally when you are trying to swipe through photos on your smart phone. Or hunched over a laptop trying to remember where the heck you saved those photos 5 years ago (that you’ve not looked at in at least 4 years).
It’s your turn to add to your family history.
#5 | QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Speaking of our parent’s wedding albums – do you remember what the quality was like? Faded photos, paper crumbling to dust, sticky brown residue, maybe some acid damage from the papers and inks reacting with each other?
Modern technology has come a looong way since our folks got married, and I’m pleased to report that your wedding album is going to last ten times longer than your parents. Professional grade albums are colour corrected, printed on acid free cotton paper, and when stored correctly? It’ll still be in the same condition in 50 years time, as it was the day you received it.
My clients who choose professional albums value quality, know that when it comes to professional photography – you get what you pay for.
Professional grade albums are also made to last generations, unlike the old school albums from our parents generation, and it’s something that will last the test of time and won’t fall apart after a few years from regular wear and tear.
Do you know what I love most though? I love how much the photography industry has changed over the last 30-40 years. Back when my parents got married, it was all film - which meant that it was very traditional, very posed - candid photography wasn’t really a thing back in those days? But now?? Going digital (with our cameras) has allowed us so much more freedom to capture all those little moments that would otherwise be missed. Opportunities to capture what it feels like (not just what it looks like). And going digital allows us to share those moments far and wide, fling them across the internet and not think twice. But we should absolutely be thinking twice, and printing these moments as often (and as durably) as we can.
Looking back, I’ve never had a couple that were disappointed they invested in a wedding album – instead they tell me how much they love it, and how often it gets looked at. On the other hand, I’ve had many couples come back to me years after the wedding is over, to regretfully tell me they still haven’t ordered an album, and that they wished they had prioritised earlier on.
What are your thoughts?
I would love to hear from you (drop me a comment below).