Advice for Couples | Advice for Photographers

Pro Albums vs. Do-It-Yourself | What are Modern Brides Doing with Their Photos?

The quick answer…. NOTHING!

That’s right folks; along with the help of a colleague of mine I have recently done a survey of newly wed couples to find out what the heck it is new couples are doing with their wedding photos and the overwhelming majority of you said: nothing.  No prints, no pro albums, no do-it-yourself albums… these newlyweds are doing absolutely nothing with the photos they received on DVD.

NOTE:  We had an enormous amount of newlyweds answer our survey so we are very confident that our answers represent what’s actually going on out there in the average newlywed’s world.  Also, if you have a short attention span and just want to glance over this article to get the jist of it, skip down to the pretty graphic and start from there.

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Here’s a little background… The overwhelming majority (85%) of brides said that they received all the pictures of their wedding day on DVD while the remaining group of brides purposely chose a package without a DVD option.  Of those who chose the DVD option, when asked what the primary reason for chosing an option that included everything on DVD, 42% said that it was because they wanted to do their own printing while 30% said they wanted to be able to use the photos online (whether it be in email, Facebook, etc.)  Although most of the brides said that they do want an album, only about 20% chose a wedding package with a DVD option because they were planning on making their own album (this means that about 70% of couples had intentions on buying a pro album while just under 10% didn’t want one at all.)

Fig. 1 – Your Album INTENTIONS

So… you have roughly 20% of brides who intended on making their own albums but when asked, on the survey, what they’ve done with their photos only one-quarter actually got around to making that album.  That means that 75% of brides who intent to make their own albums will never get around to it and there are two major contributing factors as to why.  First, life goes on after a wedding!  You go on your honeymoon, you move into a new house and you go back to work.  Some even begin having families.  You no longer live every single moment thinking about your wedding so the arduous process of sitting down and designing a book is no longer a priority.  Second, unless you have a design background, putting together a proper album is very difficult!  Sure, you can use cookie-cutter templates made by the big-box-store book-making websites but chances are you will never find the right template for the idea you have in mind.  Lots of brides start designing, get frustrated and abandon the project.

So what have we learned so far?  Roughly 75% of brides who intend on making their own album never do!

What about that 70% of brides who were intending on buying an album from their photographer instead of making their own?  How many of you think that those brides followed through with their order?  Only about 10%!  That’s right folks, roughly 90% of brides who claim they will buy an album instead of making their own never end up buying an album!

Fig. 2 – Your Album REALITY

Okay so what the heck is going on here?  Look at those bright pink and bright blue sections of that graph!  Those are the people who never bothered to make or buy an album!  It’s most definitely safe to say that most brides aren’t doing anything with their photos!  Now, I’m not psychic, but I had a feeling that the results were going to point in this direction so what’s why I added a few extra questions onto the survey to help me figure out why so many newlyweds were so indecisive about their albums.

First, I asked about the do-it-yourself albums.  Brides were asked what they would be willing to pay for a large (10×10), hardcover, do-it-yourself album (knowing that the quality of DIY albums is not comparable to that of a pro album) and 50% of the population wanted to pay no more than $100.  Okay, that’s reasonable.  After all, it’s a lot of work to design your own album plus you really won’t be coming close to getting the quality of a pro album.

But what about pro albums?  I asked the same population what they would be willing to pay for a top-quality professional album designed and printed by their photographer.  I was expecting the answer to be somewhere between $500-$1,000 because I innocently assumed that the brides in question understood the value of a quality album.  Boy was I shocked when I saw the answer.  The answer was *drum roll please*: Less than $200.  Yep.  The majority of brides said that they would only want to pay $200 (or less) for a professional album.

Now, this is the part where my brain explodes.  The brides were then asked “In regards to albums, what is more important to you – quality or price?” and I was expecting them to all day “price” since no one seemed to want to spend more than $200 on an album yet nearly 80% of them chose quality.  What?  Huh?  Seriously?

So here’s what we’ve figured out so far… Brides want albums.  They like the quality associated with pro albums and most people have intentions on buying a pro album.  However, since most people want to spend only $200 or less on a pro album, they obviously suffer sticker shock when they see the true price of an album.  After recovering from the sticker shock they then contemplate making their own but still have their heart set on a quality album instead of a cheap budget-book so then they inevitably end up in Album Limbo.

Figure 3 – A Happy Illustration showcasing Album Limbo

If you are an engaged bride-to-be and want not only an awesome photographer but a stunning album, get quotes for the album beforeyou sign with your photographer so that you can work the album into your overall budget.  If you don’t set aside the funds for the album pre-wedding then there’s a good chance you won’t start saving for it once you return from the honeymoon.  If you never wanted a pro album and are intending on making your own album after you receive you DVD of images, stick to your guns and make that darn album!  If you’ve never made an album before, I highly recommend making one (it can contain any pictures you want) about 6 months before your wedding – this will give you a chance to not only figure out if album design is right for you but it will also give you the chance to test the quality of online DIY album suppliers.  If you aren’t happy with your pre-wedding DIY album then at least you have time to set some funds aside for a pro album.

Last but not least, the point I want to drive home is this: wherever life takes you after your wedding, make sure that you actually do somethingwith your wedding photos!  Get your beautiful album made or even make one yourself.  Print your photos!  Display them proudly on your walls and in albums!  Share them with friends or even simply load them onto your hardrive for an extra back-up copy.  Whether your photographer delivers your digital files to you on a CD, DVD, thumb drive or external hardrive, remember this: technology can fail!  CDs can get scratched and hardrives can become corrupt over time.  Please, don’t just let your digital media sit idle; don’t your memories mean more to you than that?

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  1. Great info btw, Thanks

    I think in a few years to come the couples will realise what a big mistake it was that they didnt print and then the cycle will start again. Printing will begin to kick off.

    1. Thanks David!
      I certainly hope couples will start to come back around to the idea of albums! I remember looking at my mom and dads wedding album as I grew up and it was such a wonderful experience! It makes me sad to know that there will be a whole generation of kids out there who will never have the chance to look at their parents wedding album because they never got around to buying one. A shame, really.

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