Category: Cool Stuff
All too often our couples tell us “there were so many amazing photos that we can’t narrow them down”. I know that the selection process may seem like an overwhelming task, especially when you can’t visualize how they will all fit together in the final album. Don’t stress, just keep in mind that a little good planning will make all the difference in the world.
1) Pick your absolute favorites
When you are deciding which images to include remember that this is your wedding album, your first family heirloom, and not some generic off the shelf mass-market coffee table book. Select the photos that mean the most to you, not necessarily the pictures that you feel you are expected to include. Select the ones that stir your emotions, bring a smile to your face, that transport you back to that moment in time.
It helps to remember that there are five key segments in the day:
3) Family portraits
4) Bridal party portraits (this includes the portraits of the bride and groom)
Include a handful of key moments from each category. Remember that the goal isn’t to document every smile, tear and laugh that occurred during the day. Which leads me to the next point…
2) More doesn’t equal better
One to two images per page allows for a clean elegant more focused design. It is typically best to choose one strong image that best represents the moment rather than including four or five that are not as compelling. The idea is to allow your story to unfold at a nice even pace and keep the viewer interested and engaged. It’s not a minute-by-minute account of everything that went down that day. Show the parts that you most want to remember.
Weddings are one of the few times in life where all those people who are most important to you are present under one roof. So including a group shot is a must for most couples. However, half a dozen pages of family portraits may be overkill. It is not unusual to make portraits of the same people in various combinations. While they may all be great photos resist the urge to include them all in the album.
3) Tell a story
It’s all about creating a beautiful narrative. The best wedding albums tell a story and this one should tell the ultimate story… yours. Most stories have a beginning, middle and an end and so should yours so think chronologically. Your preparation photos should come before the ceremony and your ceremony before the reception. However, there are no hard and fast rules here. You can certainly mix some portraits throughout or start and end the book with an amazing portrait. What we really want to accomplish is for the book to flow.
4) Don’t forget the details
The details are what personalize your wedding and make it uniquely yours. Your décor selections are all extensions of your personality and were made with meaning and forethought. Without question, a lot of time, effort and expense was spent making these decisions so make sure that they are represented in the book as well.
5) Keep it simple
Focus on the best images and let them speak for themselves.
We believe that the final album is so important. The wedding album is a vehicle to relive all the emotions you experienced that day. But in reality the album is not as much for you as it is for your children and grandchildren. It is through this book that they get a glimpse into who you are and how profound your feelings for one another are. It will show them your deep love for family and how much you enjoy each other. We wrote about the value of making prints from your digital photos in a previous blog post (http://www.timothyglennphoto.com/blog/?p=1407) and the bridal album takes that up a notch.
BONUS TIP: Don’t Procrastinate
It’s not uncommon for a couple to set aside the project of selecting their album images until they have more time to sort through them. Unfortunately, this can turn into months and even years. We all become involved with life and time slips away from us. The sooner you get those selections to your photographer the sooner you will have that amazing heirloom album in your hands to cherish for generations to come.
This past week two separate brides whose weddings we photographed some years ago contacted me. Both asked the same question: “I lost the DVD of our wedding photos, do you still have the files?” This got me thinking about how in today’s digital world, we print fewer and fewer of our photos. It’s never been easier to share our photos; we upload them to social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Flickr etc. We pin them, tweet them, like them, +1 them, but are we leaving anything tangible behind for our children and grandchildren to hold in their hands, except maybe a shiny silver disc?
Today, most people view photos on tiny screens with varying degrees of color and resolution. Since most visual content is consumed digitally these days this all seems very normal, but how would you feel if you went to a gallery or museum and all the art was shown on small LCD screens? The impact and the artistry that went into crafting such works in the first place would be lost. To be honest, I love the times we live in, but nothing quite compares at looking at an old photo of a loved one and reminiscing about that person. Maybe I am being a bit sentimental, but a photo takes on a whole new life when held in the hand. I look at it from different angles, I bring it in close, then further away. I contemplate what was happening at the moment the shutter was pressed, then the moment before and after. It is a much different experience for me when viewing images on a computer as I often skip through them quickly barely giving each a glance.
The reason why most of us take photographs is to visually document our lives. So why then would we chance those memories to the fickle nature of technology? I have had numerous hard drives fail and I have a drawer full of floppy disks, Zip and Jazz drives that I have no clue what’s on them because I no longer own the equipment that can read them. I even know someone who accidentally deleted Grandpa’s 95th. birthday party photos (oops!). Sometimes we forget just how fragile our digital images are. Consider printing your photos as another form of back up. It’s ability to be viewable will never become obsolete even as newer technologies emerge. While physical copies are still vulnerable to damage or loss, you can never have too many copies of something that is truly valuable.
I have always encouraged our couples to purchase a bridal album, but I also realize that it’s simply not in everyone’s budget. We do include printed proofs in all our collections and I wish that was something more photographers would offer rather than just shoot and burn. I believe that the photographic print still has value, even in today’s digital age.
What makes an exceptional image? Well, quite frankly a lot of things. For starters you need to begin with the best capture possible, both in terms of aesthetics and photographically. Photoshop is a tool that should be used to enhance an image and not for salvaging poor images. I hear all too often “you can just fix it in Photoshop”. “Fixing” something in Photoshop is not as easy as it sounds. There is no magic button that you press and whoosh like magic amazing photos pop out. There is no substitute for good camera technique.
So you ask, how to get the best capture possible? Simply, hire a professional. A well-trained, seasoned professional photographer can size up a scene and maximize it’s full potential. After all, many years and a tremendous amount of practice and hard work has gone into honing their craft. They understand how the colors, shapes, light and dark areas of a scene will all work in concert with one another to create an amazing photograph. Moreover, they know how to light and expose the subject so they can, later on, in post-production exploit those elements to capture the viewer’s eye and hold it within the frame. The file your camera produces is just the starting point; it is the raw material that allows a photographer to begin to realize his/her vision. It is that vision that will dictate how they capture and ultimately process the image.
When Glenn and I turn over images to our couples, we want to provide them with the best quality possible. We do this by taking the time to make amazing photographs initially and turn them into superstars during the post-production process.
This process can be time consuming. It is not unusual to spend hours working on a single image. This is why most large studios cannot produce the same type of images that smaller boutique studios can. They simply cannot afford the time to nurture each image into an eye-catching piece of art.
“We don’t take photos, but rather create images”. This may sound like snooty artist talk, but there is a distinction. The former can be a great snapshot while the later pushes the creative potential; making an image that is something new, fresh and inviting. Our couples are all special and unique and we want their photographs to represent that.
Here is a real life example. A before/after from a recent engagement session:
BEFORE (Directly Out of Camera):
The goal here is not to alter reality, just enhance what was already there. You can see that there is nothing wrong with the unprocessed image that came directly from the camera. But by taking the time and care to bring it to its full potential we were able to deliver to our couple a beautiful piece of art that they will treasure for years to come.
We truly have the greatest couples in the world as clients! It warms our hearts knowing that they appreciate us. Glenn and I hope that they know that the feeling is very mutual. These were some of the notes that we received this week.
September marks our 10th. anniversary as Timothy Glenn Photographers. Glenn and I celebrated this milestone by opening our new office in West Orange, New Jersey. We are now located at “THE LOFT” which is inside The Wilshire Grand Hotel. All our points of contact will remain the same. You cannot reach a landmark event like this and not thank all the amazing couples that have welcomed us into their lives and shared so much of themselves with us. Not to mention our wonderful families who have spent countless weekends home alone waiting for us to return from that late wedding. Glenn and I are excited at all the future holds for us. Here’s to another great 10 years!
We have been offering digital albums produced on the iPad for awhile now, but with the release of the new iPad 2 we decided to raise the bar a notch. The folks at Pictobooks gave us a huge hand with that by custom designing a stylish hardcover case to house the iPad 2. This is a beautiful example of fine craftsmanship, the exterior is hand tailored genuine leather and the core is constructed from walnut. They even molded the case to easily access all the buttons and ports including an opening for the camera. These cases can be individually personalized offering each couple a unique way to enjoy their wedding images. It is a perfect complement to a traditional album or as a stand alone piece.
2011 is starting out really well for us. We recently received an email announcing that we have again been selected for a Bride’s Choice Award by Wedding Wire. A few days later we were delighted to learn that we also received the Best of Weddings 2011 award from The Knot. What makes these awards so special to us is that they are given on the basis of client reviews. Thanks guys for the kind words and for being so awesome.