Britney Gardner is an album designer and wedding photographer in Portland, Oregon. She owns Willow Album Design and co-owns Turn Loose the Art with her husband. When not photographing or designing, she can be found tending her organic garden or spending time with her ridiculously adorable son, Finn Danger.
I’ve been designing wedding albums for over ten years. I’m not ashamed to say that those first few albums I designed were absolutely atrocious, because I learned from the early experiences. I still make the occasional bad decision, but avoiding trends is the number one way to designing better wedding albums.
1. Avoid Trends
In the following few spreads, you'll note the toning of each image on the spread is consistent and all images are either black and white or natural looking color. While actions are fun to play around with on a few special images, it's important to keep similar images across a spread (and preferably an entire section of the book or the whole album).
One of the easiest ways to help yourself become a more efficient wedding album designer is to keep it simple! The fewer images on a spread, the easier it is to find a good flow. The less going on in those images, the better. And when you do have a beautifully composed, layered image, feature it well!
2. Keep it Simple!
Our favorite image from Eric and Katie's wedding was indoors in a library to escape a dreary and rainy day. We couldn't go full bleed with the image due to size restrictions, so I chose a similar image to accent the main image.
Another great example of keeping it simple, mix in a few details with a good scene setter. In this case, the details of the cake nearby lead your eye right to the main action of the ceremony. This was a wedding with very few visual distractions, so the album needed to follow suit.
The third way to ensure your client will hold a memento from the wedding they want to share with everyone they know? Make sure they love it! If you pre-design as I do, consider allowing a full round of unlimited revisions so they get exactly the photos and album they want. If you design from a list your client submits, talk to them about filling in more images as needed to create a design with good flow. Doing either of these things will give your client the sense that the design is theirs.
3. Give the Client Ownership
People love their pets, so what better way to make an album more meaningful than include their fur babies?
Photographers love establishing shots because we are visual storytellers. Sometimes, though, a client may wish to crowd in more face images. The best way to combat this and provide your client with a wellrounded product is to consider both while designing. Khalid and Priya's album provided an opportunity for just that during the portrait session of them outdoors. It makes me happy as the photographer and the client happy for getting in some closeups of them.
The following spreads also do a great job of showcasing images that we, as photographers, might make at any wedding. Since we see them all the time, we might not be as excited about them as the client. It's important to remember that to the client, a lot of thought went into the customs, traditions, details, and moments that make up their wedding day. These spreads show good examples of mixing in those personal touches to add to the story rather than retract.
In all these things, the goal is to create a better wedding album design for your client. The end product is their record of their wedding. A timeless wedding album they can share with everyone they know is the best advertising you don’t have to buy.