With the hundreds of things that need to get done before a wedding, have you given any thought to what to do with your wedding photos after the wedding? Putting dozens of hours into vendor research, making planning decisions around your photography and paying thousands of dollars for pictures is great, but what do you plan on actually doing with those photos? When it comes to your wedding photos, you need to have a plan on what to do with them after the wedding if you really want to make the most out of your photography investment. Photos need to be seen! They aren’t beneficial to you if you just throw the USB in a drawer. Here are 12 tips on what to do with your wedding photos after the wedding.
What to Do with your Wedding Photos after the Wedding: 12 Tips
First things first, we need to acknowledge the whole point of a photograph: photos are meant to be seen! If you’re unsure of what you want to do with your wedding photos, an album is probably your best bet but you can do everything on this list if you want to! The more you share your photos, the more value you get from them!
#1 – Back them Up!
First and foremost, you should always make multiple copies of your wedding photos and ensure that they are stored in multiple places. Whether you make a few extra USB copies and put some in a safe deposit box and give the other USBs to trusted family members or whether you use online photo storage sites like Google Drive or Dropbox is up to you, but you should make multiple copies and do it ASAP!
#2 – The Shoebox
Bulk printing isn’t always the best quality (more on that below) but it does have it’s advantages – the primary one being that it’s CHEAP. Get a copy of every single photo printed and keep them in a shoebox for safe keeping. This is an extra ‘backup’ of your photos and will come in handy if you ever have to quickly access printed photos.
#3 – Make an Album
Whether you make your own album, have your photographer make a professional one for you or simply get an affordable custom layout that you can print yourself, having an album of your photos is a must for all couples. There certainly are benefits of professional albums (that’s another conversation) but if your budget indicates that a DIY album if the best option for you – then that’s okay too! If there’s one piece of advice that I wish all couples knew, it’s this:
Wedding planning life is very different from post-wedding life. During the wedding planning stage, you’re thinking about your wedding nearly every day and you’re constantly working on elements for the big day. Once the wedding is over, though, that moment is gone and life, well… life goes on. Other things will get your focus. Whether it’s focusing on the next family wedding now, buying a house, changing careers, moving or starting a family – life goes on after the wedding and you won’t have that ultra-focused dedication for album making that you had when your life was all about wedding planning. Deciding what to do with your wedding photos after the wedding can be hard, but it only gets harder the longer you wait.
This is why photographers offer album making options for clients – let us do the work for you by either making and printing your bespoke album or create a design that you can print yourself.
#4 – Home Display
You need to remember that photos don’t do you any good unless you’re looking at them! Print your photos and display them in your home! Who needs another Ikea canvas or art from big box stores, when you can decorate your home with your memories? If you aren’t sure where to hang photos or what sizes would be best, your photographer is the person who can help you! Professional photographers have knowledge in display options and can walk you through all your options and even show you mockups of what various combinations of prints can look like. Most couples choose to display in foyers, hallways, bedrooms or livingrooms but the possibilities are endless.
#5 – Office/Workplace display
Like your home, your office or workspace is another area where having some personal memories can really brighten your day. While larger wall prints are typically used for home, prints or folios are perfect for your work space.
#6 – Make ‘Thank You’ cards
The classic use of wedding photos – the thank you card! You can either make cards directly from your photos or have them printed and inserted into the envelope. Some photographers, like myself, provide their clients with online galleries that allow them to purchase custom cards directly through their galleries! This is the most convenient way to ensure high quality cards are created and helps support your photographer and local print shop!
#7 – Give as Gifts
Not sure what to do with your wedding photos after the wedding? That’s okay – let’s take the ‘two birds with one stone’ approach and create some prints and make some gifts! If you’re not going to believe anything else I say, believe this – parents go bananas over printed wedding photos as gifts! While most couples that are getting married now are accustomed to digital media, our parents lived in a world where printed photos were the norm. Giving the gift of beautifully printed images, especially matted images or an album, will have your parents smiling as big as they were on the wedding day!
#8 – Digital Displays
If you have smart devices in your home or other digital picture frames, add your photos into the slideshow feature! This is an awesome way to display a variety of photos without committing to putting a frame and some nails into your walls. While nothing beats the beauty and impact of a professional print, digital display makes your memories a part of your every day life.
#9 – Share on Social Media (or privately)
Most folks already do this, but I wanted to add this to the list as a reminder; especially for those who are having unplugged weddings. All the people you invited to your wedding will love to see at least a handful of your images, especially if you’ve had an unplugged wedding and asked your guests to keep their devices down. If you’re not big on social media sharing, most photographers, myself included, deliver images in a private gallery that you can share with your family and friends.
#10 – Holiday cards
Already did you thank you cards? No worries – you can include copies of your wedding photos in your holiday cards too! If your wedding is in the weeks before the holidays though, you may want to opt send photos out separately from your holiday cards. Don’t forget that not only does editing take time, but having your cards printed and mailed during the busy postal season may cause delays. If you have certain hopes in mind about using wedding photos for holiday cards, always communicate with your photographer so you can work together for a solution.
#11 – Slideshows
Slideshows are a great way to share your images. Some photographers include slideshows with certain packages (I do!) but you can also make your own slideshows at home. Slideshows are great to have playing when you have guests over and sharing on your socials. They’re amazing ways to tell story and evoke emotion much more than standalone images do.
#12 – Organize them
One of the amazing things about digital photography is that wedding clients are getting more images than film clients ever did! With digital photography, you’re not limited to the number of rolls of film you brought to the wedding, you just pop in another memory card and you can take photos of not only the ‘big moments’ but also of all the little moments in between. With that being said, it’s also okay to have your favourites! Nobody will ever agree that all 1,000+ photos are their favourites. Make a file of your favourite photos to help you stay organized for your printing projects (and to keep an extra backup handy!)
A note about printing options:
I mentioned quite a bit about printing above, but let’s get real – you get what you pay for. There’s a reason we don’t buy wedding dresses and tuxedo’s on Wish.com, it’s because we all understand that for the most part, cheap price means cheap product. Here’s the quick summary of the difference between DIY (or publicly accessible lab) printing and professional printing:
DIY printing can be done at places like Costco photo lab, any big box store printing kiosk and publicly accessible album companies like Blurb, Artifact Uprising and VistaPrint. These places are cheap (hooray for budget!) but the downside is that they’re going to fade, the colours will be skewed, album layouts are boring and uninspired, bindings in albums are weak and the overall quality control is poor so your first batch may be okay and your second batch of prints may be a completely different colour tone! This is par for the course with DIY printing.
Professional prints are available through your photographer; either directly or via your online gallery. Professional prints and albums are at a higher price point than DIY items and this is because they’re made with much higher quality materials and for the labour involved in designing albums. The benefit of professional printing includes:
- Accurate and consistent colours
- High quality papers in a variety of finishes
- pH balanced, fade-resistant materials
- Accommodate unique sizes and custom orders
- Variety of materials available for print surfaces and album covers
- And for albums…..
- Custom design based on your unique images
- Rich giclée pigments for albums
- Better binding options (lay-flat!)
- Imprinting and calligraphy options
- Print-to-the-edge capabilities in albums
- Saves you time (no designing!)
- Troubleshooting quality problems
When it comes to deciding what to do with your wedding photos after the wedding, the sky really is the limit. There are digital and print options in a wide variety of price ranges and options for each and every client. What’s most important is that you dedicate yourselves to doing something with your photos and make it your goal to have all your printed products ordered by your 1 year anniversary (ideally sooner)! The longer you put it off, the harder it will become to do – leverage the opportunities you have through your photographer and print your memories, you deserve it!