Congratulations! The two of you have finally decided on that day, the day when you will make vows to each other before God and man. The start of a new family unit, and the starting point for the rest of your lives together. That day is called “The Wedding Day” and even though it may still be a year away, suddenly you find there are a million and one things to do; to reserve, to try to purchase, to book and there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to even start.
One of the things you will be deciding on is the one thing that will remain with you long after most of the other things concerned with your day have either passed their use-by dates, have been thrown away, or simply forgotten.
This is your wedding album.
There is nothing more joyful than to sit down sometime in the future with your husband, your kids, friends or family and re-live the wonderful day that you call “Our Wedding Day”.
But will it last?
What questions will I have to ask my photographer?
Firstly, let us look at what a wedding album is made of and how is it constructed. What are its components?
The most important part are the photographs. The images taken on your wedding day are the visual records of the memory joggers that will bring emotions flooding forth in future years. They can be stored on a computer or backed up on a hard drive and forgotten about, but today we are talking about the wedding album, so we are talking about the physical printed pictures and the way they are kept together in some sort of book.
These can be printed at home on a home inkjet printer. The lifespan could be as little as a couple of hours to a few years.
What about an amateur photo outlet? A few years? Maybe. Fifty years? Most probably not.
How about digital printing like the photo books being printed at a lot of places? Once again, a few years but not necessarily more than 20 or 30 years.
There are two printing methods that these days claim to have archival properties.
The first is printing on photographic paper by a professional printing laboratory, most of whom are very stringent on methods of development as well as having strict colour management procedures in place. In other words, they care about the product they produce.
Best Photographers Studio makes sure that the laboratories they use are labs that use KODAK Endura paper because this is the only photographic paper in the world that is produced to last 100 years. Even 200 years if kept in low light level condition. From experience, it can be trusted.
The second method is printing by professional inkjet printers on fine art papers by professional labs or by professional photographers who have made the investment to be able to do this in-house. These printers use pigment inks (think of paint pigments used by famous artists in history) and the papers are “acid free”. Once again, we are looking at a lifespan of 100-200 years.
Here at Best Photographers Studio, we have invested in an Epson Professional Inkjet Printer, very simply because we really like the big big choice of beautifully textured Fine Art Papers on which we can print your Wedding album or your wall portrait prints. The result is simply stunning.
Now we come to the album itself:
Albums are essentially book bound paper products that hold photographs inside “frames”, hold edge to edge mounted photographic prints or are bound using the thicker fine art papers.
There are several album manufacturers today that, also take pride in their product and guarantee it for a lifetime. The paper used in the mounting and manufacture process needs to be “acid free”. The adhesives used cannot react with the photographs and lastly the materials used for the cover must be able to last a lifetime.
A lot of photographers are using the “cheaper” option of outsourcing their album manufacture overseas but for us here at Best Photographers Studio we cannot do that and be sure that stringent manufacturing practices are being adhered to. Saving a few Rand now doesn’t compare to the memories that can be lost later.
A final little thing. A few customers ask me if they can have their magazine albums made with their photographs spanning the whole opening in an album without the join in the middle. I tell them that they can, BUT it is not recommended.
Think of this. Have you ever grabbed a photo, folded it in half and then unfolded it, folded it, unfolded it and so on a few thousand times? What happens? The crease in the photo starts to go pink usually, crack and then flake off. This will happen to your photos in your wedding album.