So the best day of your life has come and gone and you have a fantastic selection of photographs from your brilliant photographer, but that’s only half the job done, now you need to decide the best way of displaying them…
Whoa… lets backtrack a bit. The first thing to remember is the importance of looking at printing options available from your photographer before you have booked them. Be wary of photographers who only offer the images on a disk, as this may indicate their inexperience. However you should equally be cautious of photographers offering a complete package including the days shoot, prints and printed album, after all you do you really want to be pressured into paying for prints and books before you have laid eyes on the images?
Ideally you should be looking for a photographer that has plenty of options open to you for printing after you have seen the images, and one that is prepared to be flexible to your requirements. If you are considering having a bound book made they should have a range of sizes and specifications available to fit all budgets and be able to show you samples of what you can expect to receive.
The good old-fashioned photographic print
Okay they may have been around for aeons but you can’t beat a well-made photographic print for its unrivalled quality and sharpness. A good photographer should be happy to arrange to have prints done for you and it is normal to offer incremental discounts for any larger quantities ordered, don’t forget the parents and grandparents will all want some to frame! Check with your photographer that the prints will be made on quality archival photographic paper, cheap alternatives may fade in as little as months.
Bound Books – the modern alternative
Coffee Table style books are the fashionable equivalent of the traditional photograph album, the images are printed directly onto the page in a stylish layout and if done well it can provide you with a long lasting and classy record of your wedding day.
Softback or hardback, landscape or square, leather embossed or full colour print cover, size, paper type, design layout, dust jackets, protective boxes, the list of options is endless! Don’t assume that the only bound book options available are the ones your photographer has offered, if you don’t like their options have a look around online and suggest alternatives to them, they may be able to accommodate your wishes.
Your photographer should be able to advise who your book will be designed, printed and bound by. The styles of layout design can vary greatly and are really down to personal taste, my best advice is to ask to see a proof before the book is sent to print, that way there will be no surprises. If you have a selection of specific images you particularly like, make sure you ask your photographer to include these within the books layout. Also enquire how long it will take the book to be produced as the process may take some time especially if it is hand bound or made abroad.
You can pay as little or as much as you want for a bound book, but again a degree of caution should be exercised at both ends of the scale. Some online ‘do it yourself’ options cut costs by using cheap papers, basic layouts and have unpredictable colour results. At the more professional end of the scale it is easy to get carried away with a baffling array of options, which could end up breaking the bank!
I know what you’re thinking…
‘my photographer gave me the images on disk, surely it would be a lot cheaper for me to do this myself?’
I am not going to deny that the range of printing outlets on the high street and the web is vast, but considering you spent so much time and money on finding the perfect photographer to capture your day, don’t fall at the last hurdle and simply upload a few onto facebook or have the whole lot pushed through a machine at your nearest pharmacy. Professional photographic printing is an art in itself and a professional photographer should either have their own printing studio or have a skilled printing company or book producers whom they already use and trust. You will notice a considerable difference in quality compared to your run of the mill processors.
If your photographer has provided you with a disk of images, there are two things you need to consider before printing from it. Make sure that the images are of a high enough resolution to print to the size you require, often an image that looks fine on a computer or TV screen can appear pixelated once printed out because of the low file resolution. As a guide, to produce a 5” x 7” print, the file should be at least 1500 x 2100 pixels, or to print a 8” x 10” print a file should be at least 2400 x 3000 pixels. The second consideration is whether your photographer has given you permission to print from the disk, they should provide you with a ‘licence to use’ document stipulating this.
If after having spent all your money on the wedding of the century and your funds are limited, you could discuss with your photographer the possibility of delaying your prints or book order. Most professional photographers will keep all your wedding pictures on file for years, maybe even indefinitely, and would be more than happy to wait for your order. Try not to leave it too long though as the best thing about having wedding pictures in whichever form you choose is being able to pick them up and muse over your most special memories whenever the mood takes you!
Article by Sally Williams of Sally Williams Photography who prints her wedding photographs on Fuji Crystal Archive Paper and produces quality hand bound wedding books using ‘Booked Images’