Category Archives: Albums

Ali and Brent’s custom storybook wedding album

We’re sending Ali and Brent’s album to the printer today (yay!), and I thought I’d share some of our layouts, which feature big play of the best shots. These are super low-res thumbnails of the best two-page spreads in the album. They’re getting a 10×10, so each of these represents a gorgeous 20″ wide hand-made print with a tiny, almost invisible seam down the center. In your hands, they feel like an IMAX of your wedding. Please disregard the orange lines – they’re layout guides, not design elements!

They had a relaxed, gorgeous family-only wedding at the Gallery at Dove Mountain, and I think the album captures that really nicely. We used their 75 favorites, lovingly retouched and spread out over 42 pages. It will be bound in California with a sleek brushed metal cover and black leather spine and back.

Since they live in Austin, I did a first draft of my favorites, and we made a few tweaks when they were here for a visit, and then again via email. The design is gimmick-free: modern, simple and classic, just like their wedding. This book will look awesome in 25 years, and I bet they will too.

Our normal “average” for a 42-page album would be about 120 photos – three pics per page is the rule of thumb for a decent balance of usage and economy. These storybooks top out at 60 pages to ensure that the binding is strong enough to last for generations, so when we have 200+ must-have photos to squeeze in, we can lose the chance to go big with every photo that deserves it. That’s more of an issue with big weddings, but I still think the initial edit involves some of the toughest decision.

Here, less (photos) really is more (space), allowing for lots of “double trucks” – the magazine industry term for a photo splashed across two pages. Magazine photographers love double trucks because the huge size makes for huge impact and, back when magazine photographers actually made money, huge paychecks for usage. Other than a cover shot, nothing gave you bragging rights quite like a double truck. I proudly keep the pages (“tear sheets” as they’re called) from a Men’s Health double truck of mine on mountain biking in Moab that was spectacular.

Life magazine and Sports Illustrated’s “Leading Off” section have always been the benchmark for double trucks, and they’re still hot in the print versions of ski, skate and surfing magazines (and “lads magazines” too, or so I’m told.)

It requires shooting a bit “looser” (wide-angle, that is, not drunk) so you have space to crop the top and bottom of the photo to fit the exaggerated rectangle shape. That in turn requires a developed sense of pre-design when shooting.

It took me a while to get the hang of, coming from newspapers, where your skill was often judged by how tightly framed your images were straight out of the camera. There are almost never double trucks in a vertical newspaper, and having to crop an image showed an inability to instantly recognize and execute a perfect photo. It was good training, and I learned how to compose right in the camera, but as I designed more albums, my priorities shifted. Now  I consciously try and get several variations of great shots – from tight to wide – to keep our design options open down the road.

It makes things easier that our storybook albums have museum-board mounted, lay-flat construction, so there’s nothing lost in the “gutter” – another charming industry term, meaning the crevasse between bowed pages.  It wouldn’t do to have staples through the bride and groom, now would it?

They’re a stunningly good-looking couple, and it should be an album to match – I particularly love the wicked looking cake-cutting shot, and the playful portrait with their crazy bright green rental car as well – my first ever Camaro in a wedding album!


Laura and Kyle’s coffee table book

We’re about to go to print with Laura and Kyle’s coffee table book and I wanted to share some of the fun image pairings! Thanks again to Anne Bryan of Creative Events, DJ Corbin Dooley and Westward Look Resort!


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