Choosing a photo album | Top tips for picking the right size and style of album
Whether you are making a wedding album, a baby’s first year album or a small family album, choosing a photo album can be tricky. I have put together some top tips for picking the right size and style of album to showcase your images.
What size of album should I pick?
I mainly offer square fine art albums. This is because when the pages are opened out the space is really flexible for design. I am not constrained to shoot mainly horizontal or vertical images and can just concentrate on getting the best shots of my clients. For portraits, I generally recommend a size of 10x10 inches. This is a good size for both adults and children to hold and browse, which means the whole family can enjoy the album. Occasionally for one shoot sessions, I will recommend a smaller 8x8 inch album. This allows for just a couple of images per page and has an intimate feel that is great for individual children's portraits and newborn photo shoots.
For weddings, I love the larger 12x12 inch album. The larger page size allows for great showcase portraits of the bride and groom, especially when we are shooting by the lake or in the mountains. It also lets me tell the story of the day with a sequence of images on the page, without any one image being too small.
I also have a smaller photobook of 8.5x11 inches which is designed much more as a series of individual images to tell the story. This one is a lot less popular and more suited to elopements or children's 'make-believe' shoots.
For me the size of the album depends on how you want to view the images. The smaller the album, the more intimate the experience of the photographs. If you want to curl up in a chair and relive the moments, then go for something smaller. If you want to sit in the middle of a group of family or friends retelling the day, then the larger the better.
What kind of paper should I choose for my album?
I offer two types of paper in my main photo albums, trying to keep things simple. One is a semi-glossy traditional photo paper. This paper gives punchy colours and is great for contrasty images. The thickness is about the same as two traditional photos back-to-back so the pages are easy to handle. This kind of paper is great for people who like a more traditional photo album.
My fine art albums are currently printed on a smooth, matte art paper. This paper has a wonderful feel and look to it. The colours are vivid and deep. The print almost doesn't look like a photograph at all and for me this makes them timeless. The pigment inks have a great range of colours and I especially love black and white on this paper.
When I print my fine art prints I use cotton paper which is slightly warmer, and again has a very timeless feel that seems to elevate the photograph to a memory in my mind.
All my albums are 'lay-flat' which means that the crease is almost invisible. They are archival, professionally made and designed to last.
Designed album or homemade album?
Although I love designing albums for my clients, I also love printing images and making my own albums. So which should you choose, a designed album or a homemade one? Both take time. Even if you opt to let me initially pick the images and put together the layouts – something I recommend for busy people – the reviewing of the design still takes time. One of the biggest advantages of a designed album is that you can take advantage of my experience. As well as my client albums, I design albums for myself and my husband, and more recently for my fine art work. I love working out how to order the images to tell a story.
If you would rather do it yourself, I now offer fine art prints up to A3 size. As well as my print collections, I can provide personalised quotes for sets of prints to fit your creative desires. There is something quite special about sticking photographs in an album and adding names, dates and remarks.
A fully bespoke album
One of the things I have just started doing for our home and holiday snaps is handmade books. Both printing directly onto the pages that make up the book – like my photo albums – and making more traditional albums. Handmaking the books gives me the opportunity to be really creative and play with things like gatefolds for panoramic images or other kinds of fold-out pages. At the moment I am just playing but may one day offer fully bespoke handmade albums. If you like the idea I can recommend the book-making courses at Dlignes, Vevey.