Before we look into the secret post-wedding lives of the modern bride (and see what she’s doing with her wedding photos), let’s take a minute to discuss the pros and cons of professional wedding albums as well as DIY wedding albums. Aside from the fact that they are both called “albums”, that’s where the similarities end! The more you can teach yourself about professional and DIY printing options, the more you’ll get out of the second half of this article.
We all know that DIY albums are cheaper than professional wedding albums but have you ever thought about what the real differences are between the pro and non-pro products? In our opinion, the main differences between professional albums and do-it-yourself albums are related to: file types, design, craftmanship and calibration
Professional photographers; however, shoot in a file type called RAW. There are many differences between raw and .jpeg files but the main difference we’re concerned about for this article is quality! The RAW file is uncompressed – it has every spec of data in it which means it is the highest quality of file. RAW files can be turned into photoshop (.psd) files and still contain the vast, vast majority of the data (since .psd files aren’t compressed too much). We make albums out of high quality files like .psd files.
If you’ve ever used a digital camera before or uploaded a picture online then you would be aware of the term ‘JPEG’. A .jpeg file is a type of image file – in fact, the most commonly used image file! Jpeg’s are commonly used because they don’t take up very much space on your memory card/hardrive and they can be easily viewed on any device without needing to download special software. The not-so-great thing about jpegs is that they are compressed. This means that they contain a lot less data than the original RAW file and this affects quality. Furthermore, every time you save a jpeg file, it compressed even more. Have you ever made a photocopy of a photocopy? And then copied it again and again? Eventually it would get hard to read because the quality of so low – well, that’s what happens every time you save a jpeg file; the quality gets lower and lower. For your every day use, a jpeg image is of perfectly fine quality – but when it comes to creating something that holds the memories of a day as special as your wedding, would you not want the best?
So, in regards to file types, the quality of a pro album is far superior to that of a DIY album because the actual data that the album is made out of (raw/.psd files) is far superior to the lower quality .jpeg files.
Why would you want your album to look like hundreds, if not thousands, of other albums? Using DIY album makers means that you end up using their drag & drop template software which results in layouts that are only “so-so” and not very original.
When we design our albums we, at least Ten·2·Ten Photography, never use any type of drag & drop template. We believe that every album design is as unique as every wedding is. Also, when we shoot a wedding, we shoot it with an album design in mind – this means we take our photos from a variety of angles as we’re building the layout in our minds before you even walk down the aisle!
You trusted your photographer to capture the moments of your day – why would you not trust them to design the album that tells the story of your day?
DIY albums can sell for only a few bucks because they are, for lack of a better term, mass produced. Everything is automated from the paper feeding to the folding and binding and even the final packaging and the products that are used (ie: glue, paper, covers, etc.) are not top quality. DIY albums are not made with TLC because they can’t afford to be made with TLC.
Professional albums, on the other hand, are hand crafted works of art. Pages are bound together by hand and every step of the process is looked after by a real human being who is dedicated to the artistry of album making. Take a look at this video from Forbeyon – they let you see what happens behind the scenes at their printhouse.
When you’re looking through your wedding album on your fifth, tenth or even twentieth anniversary, you don’t want pages to be falling out and bindings cracking – you want the album to look like it did the first time you ever opened it. Just another reason to stick with quality!
Professional print houses allow for calibration from their printers to the photographers computer. This means that when I design something with Red 199C, it will print out as Red 199C.
DIY labs and album companies can only take their “best guess” at what the colours in your album are. This means that your reds can print out looking for orange or yellow or your blues can print out looking more purple. Would you really want to own a wedding album where everyone’s faces are so red it looks like they’re sunburned?
Now that you’re well versed in the pros and cons of different album options, let’s take a look at what the modern bride is doing with her DVD of wedding pictures.
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