The Terminology – Spreads and Pages?
As you begin the process of your albums, you may hear terms like “spreads” or “pages” from your designers. While some companies may tell you the limit of photos that you can choose, other companies go by the number of spreads or pages. So let’s get the premise of these terms first. A “spread” is in reference to when a book is opened flat and you see a left and a right page. One spread equals two pages. So when you’re told that your album consists of fifteen spreads, this means that you have thirty pages to fill. Spreads usually hold anywhere from a simple design of two images to ten images for a busier look.
Don’t be Overwhelmed by the Big Picture.
It can be quite daunting to receive the photos from your wedding day and end up with a thousand or more pictures. Don’t be discouraged! Remember: you’re not trying to compile a second-by-second account of events – start with the highlights of each portion of the day and allow them to serve as guide points that will tell an overall and yet intimate story.
Stay On Course.
Don’t allow yourself to be distracted or swayed by the opinions of others. Mom might push for a wealth of family pictures and you may feel obligated to include everyone who attended. Some people may say that the ceremony must be documented in detail or that every reception entrance must be included. In the end, this album is your story, highlight what is important to you and cater these memories as you want to remember them.
How to Organize your Selections.
This can be the most difficult step and cause for delay in your album making. Start by picking your favorites of the day, don’t overthink this process, just pick the photos that stand out to you. Next you want to categorize each group: bride getting ready, groom getting ready, family portraits, bridal party, bride and groom portrait shots, ceremony, etc. Set digital proofs in their own folder category and printed proofs in separate labeled groups. Be sure to weed out any duplicates, blurry shots or pictures that do not offer anything to the overall story. Try to have a balance of close-ups that capture those special emotions and full-length shots.
Have a highlight photo for each group that can be the star of the spread or the main focus of each story. Albums often start and/or end with a single photo of the couple that encompasses the overall unique feel of your wedding day. This can be a silhouette against a romantic sunset, walking off into the distance with hands linked, a portrait with a background that shows off your venue, etc (close-ups do not work well in this situation).
How Many Images Per Spread?
Well, this all depends on how much importance belongs to each photo. Reception photos of people dancing usually do not need to be very large, so you can fit up to around eight to ten dancing photos on a spread. Pictures like parent dances, couple portraits or scenery-focused images shouldn’t be too cluttered and should have room to breathe. If you choose too many photos for the album, you’ll end up with a messy design that takes away from the individual photos themselves. Go for clean white borders that offer fresh negative space and allows the photos themselves to be the central focus.
When to Include Black and White Photos?
Black and white photos have a beautiful classic and nostalgic feel to them. Of course, this is personal preference but some people feel that a page of both color and black and white photos looks distracting to the eye. Try to keep a consistent collection of black and white photos that can be grouped together on the same spread. In the end, trust your designers to know when a photo works better in color or black and white.
Make Both Sides Even.
Often time when picking photos, you may focus on one side of the couple more than the other and this can make for a very uneven album design. For example, an overtly large amount of the bride and bridal party getting ready, and only two or three photos for the groom’s side is going to make for a cluttered bridal spread and a very plain groom spread (and give the appearance that the groom isn’t as important!)
Actions & Reactions Tell A Story.
An example of this can be your First Look – show the bride walking to the groom as well as his and hers reactions to each other. During the parent-child dances, show the reactions of loved ones while the bride dances with her father, the groom with his mother, etc. By showing both the action and reaction, you’re allowing the full depth of emotions from the day to be told.
Take Your Time.
Remember that this album is going to tell a story that will last generations. Don’t rush the process, give yourself time to look over your selections with a fresh eye and feel content with your final decision. But make sure to stay on a diligent schedule that will prevent you from losing your momentum in the post-wedding period.
Best of luck to you! Now go and create something beautiful!