I’ve been married for well over a year now, but I would still like to share the process I went through to create my own custom wedding album.
This was something I knew I wanted to do ever since my wife and I started interviewing wedding photographers for our engagement photos. Every photographer we interviewed attempted to impress me by showing off their own custom-designed books. Typically, these were included in their wedding packages that required shooting all day. While their photography was generally very good, I couldn’t stand what they were doing with their layout and typography. I couldn’t bear the thought of owning a poorly-designed wedding album. Since wedding photographers make a lot of their money selling prints, they were also unwilling to let me have their high-resolution photos to create my own album. The solution we arrived at was to hire friend / professional photographer Bob Ervin.
Bob let me edit my own photos and design my own album. This sounded like a brilliant plan at the time, but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of work required. Luckily, former Oxide intern / friend Adam Casey helped me with the color correction, letting me to focus on cropping the images and removing blemishes. Without his help, I may still be working on them.
I found the perfect printing option in the online company Blurb. Blurb gives anyone (not just designers) the ability to create custom professional quality books. They offer free software for the novice, but accept PDFs as well. This meant that I was able to use design programs I’m comfortable with to layout the entire album. Their paper selection also surprised me. It went beyond the standard choices of matte or glossy and allowed me to select premium papers from companies that we deal with as designers regularly. The cover (shown above) is their standard black cloth hard cover. They even offer a full cover dust jacket, which I declined.
Most of the design done at Oxide skews towards minimalism, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that my wedding album follows a very basic grid structure and uses no typography whatsoever. I built a two-column / two-row per page structure that allowed the photography to fill the page using each image’s ideal crop. At over a hundred pages and well over two hundred photos, the album tells the story of our wedding from the rehearsal to the reception. We were thrilled with the final product. The cost for the 12″ x 10.5″ hardcover book was just over $100 — a pretty great price for the quality. The real cost however was the insane amount of time I put into it. I chose not to track the time it took me to put it together. I knew I wanted to do it right, and didn’t care how long it took.