THIS?Digital images alone do not constitute a well-delivered product from a photographer.
Or THIS?A professionally designed wedding album becomes a keepsake that stays with your family forever.
"I Don't Need A Wedding Album"
I hear this from couples a lot. Conditioned by our digitally-connected world that is always on, always accessible, and oh-so-full of gizmo goodness, who wouldn't think that "the digital files" were all a girl would ever need to be happy? But I'm here to tell you otherwise.
We love our gadgets. iPads, Smart Phones, Apps, Social Networks...
If it's in the Cloud, we love it. If it's in the Cloud, we love it.Conditioned by our always-on world, brides can't help but think that digital gizmo-goodness is all they need to be happy. (Image: 'The Suit Up' 3D printed iPhone case)
So, it's no wonder that many couples have a half-hearted perception of a wedding album.
Let me tell you why I propose against axing the wedding album.
For a long time, we did albums, because "that's what you did". Then with the digital revolution, we got 'hip', and moved to just providing the digital image files.
I did that for about 5 or 6 years, because that's what brides started asking for, and I wasn't clear enough on the consequences of my acquiescence. I rationalized that with all the technology available, all the options clients had for creating their own products, that it was no longer necessary for me to provide them.
But you know what happened? Of all the brides during that time who did not opt for any products, no album, no prints, just the digital files, only ONE ended up doing anything with them. One! The rest were too busy with careers, marriage, babies, hardships, and just life in general, to ever have the hours and hours it takes to successfully plan, lay out, design, edit, and order, a nice album.
A Source of PrideBooks from our Italian Graphistudio line.
I began feeling heartbroken for all of my couples who'd invested a good amount of money, energy, and time out of their wedding day, to have me create these amazing photographs for them, only to find out that I'd done them a complete disservice.
Sure I'd given them what they "wanted", but as a result, the images had sat cold and unloved on a silver disc, stuck in a drawer in the computer desk. I had abandoned the images for an "Easy Yes".
Album craft in progressThe work of talented artists and skilled craftsmen goes into each album.
But then I realized why it bothered me. I am a full service photographer. I plan, create, capture, edit, retouch, and otherwise give lots of love to your images. So why jump ship at that point? After all....
A commissioned artist doesn't spend hours on an initial sketch, only to hand over a rough draft to the patron with a brush and "paint by number" grid.
An architect doesn't draw up a blueprint, send it off in a tube-mailer to the client, and leave him to figure out how to build it.
The composer doesn't create the measures of an original score, simply to give to the concert benefactor to hum pleasantly to himself.
But this is what was essentially happening with weddings.
OK...OK...Enough with the self-deprecation.
Let's also talk about the real danger this "digital only" phenomenon is taking us...
Care and Closure
First of all, when you think of the rapidly-changing digital environment, there is no way to guarantee the long-term viability of a digital image. If you have parents who've been married a long time, you may have well pulled out the album and gone back through the day with them. Once the images exist in print, they are real, they have life, and they will last practically forever (with certain limitations of course).
I appreciate a digital and sharable file as much as the next person in our tech-savvy generation, but I've also watched floppies turn to laser discs, get shrunk down to CD's, and further still into Thumb Drives. Some laptop manufacturers don't even incorporate CD drives anymore because it is a fading technology. We still have hard drives and flash storage, but they crash, USB's lose the electrical charge that stores their information, and file formats become incompatible as programs upgrade and operating system change.
Floating on clouds? Cloud-based storage is indeed a very useful thing. But the technology is new, and untested. We live in a very connected world where somewhere, in a land far-far-away, there is an IT guy fixing whatever glitch is currently plaguing a system that we benefit from. But what about a global virus? I'm not one of those "Doomsday Preppers", but can you imagine how devastated you would be if you relied solely on cloud-storage for everything that made up your digital life...Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, Picasa, Google Drive, DropBox...and one day it was all wiped out?
LongevityOnce your wedding images exist in print, they take on new life. They are real, and will last practically forever.
So, I decided to go back to the "right way" of doing things, and that is providing the service, start to finish, and delivering something beautiful and tangible, that you can pick up with your two hands, flip through fondly, and display proudly. While I pretty-much-almost-never will say the ugly two-letter word ('no') to my brides, this is something I feel responsible to save you from mis-guided advice.
Delivered with a kiss(figuratively speaking)...The feeling of fulfillment returns every time you look through it.
Couples will ask, but my answer will always be the same. A lonely existence as a sequence of 0's and 1's is not what I want for your wedding photos. Let me give you an amazing day, beautiful images, and a fun time. And when it's done, let me post your images to your gallery, share them with you on Facebook, send them to you on a disc and in a proof book, AND THEN, deliver you a nicely wrapped, beautifully crafted, custom designed, wedding album.
It marks the final stage of our long journey together. It is the final note of the symphony, the last brush stroke on painted canvas, and the remaining corner stone in an architectural masterpiece.