Wedding albums just like cameras have evolved vastly from the old days.
The digital age heralded the end of film, and that change has not only revolutionised the wedding photogtapher’s job, but also the images that are now captured and the way that they are then used afterwards.
The Traditional Wedding Album
Originally the photographer’s responsibility was to capture formal portraits of the bride and groom after their wedding ceremony, as well as the important family and bridal party group shots.
After that, they would have then headed back to the lab to develop the prints, put together a traditional matted album for their clients (you know the ones with tracing paper divides!), and would then return to the wedding reception that same evening to hand it over to the newlyweds.
They would also of course try and sell additional prints to the rest of the congregation in a bid to increase their earnings.
Oh how things have changed… Weddings are now captured from the bride getting ready in the morning all the way up to the first dance, if not beyond!
Today’s Contemporary Wedding Albums
The old fashioned ‘formal’ only style of shooting has been surpassed, with wedding photographers now having to provide a wide array of skills such as photojournalism (natural documentation), fashion photography (lifestyle images), and commercial photography (details of the dress/shoes/flowers) on top of the original portraiture.
Such evolution in the approach of the photography means that weddings are now ‘documented’ as a visual story, rather than just a handful of formally posed portraits.
Naturally, as the end product has changed (ie the photos; their style and their quantity) the role of the wedding album has had to move with the times as well.
Today’s albums now boast more pages, and are far less formal, and come in all different shapes, sizes and finishes.
Their strongest point, is that their layouts are far more flexible and that they use their images to literally illustrate the day as a visual story – hence why the modern album is often dubbed ‘the storybook’.
The choices are literally endless, and seem to grow by the day… there’s always some new product or style being released by the album suppliers. Whilst this can be a nightmare for the photographer having to re-invest in new samples each time new products launch, it’s good news for the brides and grooms out there as they literally have so many different products to choose from that they are bound to find one that fits to their tastes and requirements.
The only one thing that I do question, is that with albums constantly changing and evolving, it almost becomes like fashion. Whilst this super cool looking album product might be looking mighty swanky now in 2014, will it be just as cool in twenty years time? I suspect not!
To be fair I guess you could argue that will be the case for most if not all albums, that everything does date in some shape or form over long periods of time. Although if you adopted the old adage of keeping your album simple, clean, elegant in design and features your album will definitely have a better chance of not dating unlike specific materials and effects which will.
The Future of the Wedding Album?
So what does the future hold long term for albums? Who knows… Whilst digital photography is now widespread, and technologies always further evolving in how we can display our media, we are no longer just tied to the form of print.
Could print die out, will it be fully replaced by some fancy new media beyond screens and projections?
Whilst that may well be possible in the far future, I still think that just like today, the age of the internet has proven that whilst we can read/view media on devices at our finger tips whenever we wish, quite often people still prefer to read/view things via a hard copy.
Originally the boom of the internet initially heralded a potential death warrant to newspapers and magazines, they all feared for their longetivity in the print format, and were predicting that ‘online’ media would replace printed articles/publications.
They were wrong, what they had underestimated was how people engaged with that media and that they enjoyed the physical experience of holding, touching and feeling that item whilst they consumed the content. This is something that is not the same when you’re reading from an electronical device.
I hope that remains the same for photography in the long term, not just for albums, but for all forms of it’s print – that is it’s heritage and I hope that never changes.