Do We Really Need a Wedding Album?
In this digital world, is a wedding album really necessary? With online galleries, Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok, what’s the point in buying a physical album? In the older days, ‘back when I were young’ (in my head this phrase should always be said like an old man with a Yorkshire accent and I’m not 100% sure why!), by which I mean up until about 15-20 years ago, there was none of that. In the days before digital photography, printed products were all there was and the only way to relive your photos was to get them printed and store them in boxes or albums.
My Nan still asks me about if I have photos ready for couples to view on the day, do I show them proofs and they select the photos – how does it all work? Well Nan, thankfully, gone are the days where couples would only be able to look through all the photos on tiny little prints, called proofs, and select their favourites for the photographer to go into a dark room and develop. Typically an album and possibly a few extra prints for the wall would be all that was on display. No, now things are different. With the invention of digital cameras, and the massive storage options available now, photographers will go to a wedding, photograph thousands of photos (anywhere between about 2,000 and 6,000 for us is fairly typical depending on lots of factors) and narrow them down to a few hundred which will be shared with a couple and their friends and family to look through. We use online galleries, which can be shared really easily with friends and family, to share our weddings whilst other photographers use USBs.
With that in mind, plus the knowledge that you can store thousands of photos on tiny hard drives, the cloud or even your phone, why do we need a wedding album?
1) It’s your first family heirloom
Okay, stick with me on this one – think back to a time when you were looking through some old drawer at your parents/ grandparents & you stumbled on to an ancient photo of your grandparents or other relations, think about all the questions it sparked in your brain, the answers you may or may not have got from those questions, that you realised how similar you look to your great Grandma or how much fashion/ life/ the world has changed. Now, fast forward 50 years, your kids or grandkids are never going to recreate that situation by happening to stumble on to the online gallery that they happened to find some login for, they will recreate it by looking through the bookshelf in your living room and finding your wedding album.
When people pass away, these printed photos and the cherished memories they contain are exactly the kind of thing that will be passed down. So, a wedding album is not just amazing for you to relive your wedding it’s about allowing your kids and grandkids to experience it too.
2) It’s just so easy to view, share and enjoy your wedding album
I’m not talking about the process of creating an album, although with the help of your photographer this can be pretty straight forward, no I’m talking about viewing your photos in an album afterwards. You invite some friends over that you’ve not seen for a while, and you get chatting about your wedding and how awesome it was. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to walk over to a bookcase and pick up an album and pass it to them whilst still chatting about your favourite parts of the day?
Now, in a world where you don’t have an album, to show them your photos you’ve got to load up a laptop, find the gallery and try to remember the password and either gather around a small screen or figure out how to attach it to a TV where the colours might go a bit weird. The moment has totally gone and then they’ve got to flick through 500 photos which, as much as they love you, nobody really wants to do!
3) Your photos deserve more
Weddings cost a lot of money. There, I said it! It’s probably one of the most expensive things you’ve done and a big chunk of that cost will often be hiring a awesome photographers – like us. And a great reason for spending so much on wedding photography is that your photos will be one of the things that will last long after the flowers have wilted and the food & booze been consumed. So what about the images themselves, what are you going to do with them? The photos deserve way more than sitting on a hard drive or living in an online gallery.
It’s almost a disservice to your hard work in planning and paying for your wedding for the images to hang out as digital files being looked through a few times in the aftermath of your wedding then never to see the light of day again (okay, this is probably being overly dramatic but you get the point).
4) It’s a backup that will last forever
Technology is absolutely amazing – but only when it works! Hard drives crash, phones break or get lost. Things happen.
As a photographer, I am hyper-paranoid about backups, I have back-ups of back-ups and feel pretty secure about my data and past weddings. But the truth of the matter is that is because I had a pretty close call with some photos a few years back I didn’t know how quickly things could go wrong with not just one but multiple hard drives. I am so conscious of it these days I even took a hard drive, which had all my photos from a wedding I had shot but been unable to back-up to my computer and multiple hard drives, on a lovely walk along the South West Coast Path just to be safe!
Anyway, my point is you can never be too sure with digital files, hard drive technology isn’t anywhere near flawless and I would always recommend to couples that they back up their photos on multiple different devices places both at home and off-site such as the cloud. If you take nothing else away from this post, please go and make sure your photos and anything which is important to you is backed up to more than one other device and ideally a cloud location like Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud.
The single best way of future-proofing & backing up your photos though has to be a printed album. Technologies change, 25 years ago, not that long ago in terms of how long you would like wedding photos to last, floppy disks were the best way of storing data and the maximum size they could store would be less than the file size of one photo on my current camera! 15 years ago it was CDs, 10 it was external hard drives and it’s only been the last few years that cloud storage has been a thing. So, who knows where tech will go in the next 10, 25 or even 50 years?
A Wedding Album Is More Important Than Ever
So, what’s my answer to the original question ‘Do you really need a wedding album in the digital age?’ Absolutely!
In 100 years’ time, when nobody knows what a hard drive even is – don’t believe this will happen, ask a class of 10 year olds what a floppy disk is – and our computers aren’t working our prints will remain. There really is no better way of preserving your wedding and being able to pass it on to future generations than through print.