Wedding Album Makers for Professional Photographers and Hobbyists
Despite the format shift in photography from film to a digital, we can still find plenty of value in printed photos. They provide a tangible link to our most important memories and they don’t vanish into cyber oblivion after gaining a few “likes.” For wedding photos in particular, which often number in the thousands per wedding, nothing beats a high-quality, well-crafted wedding album to retell the story of that epic day for generations to come. Wedding albums also provide an excellent means to showcase your work as a photographer. To help you choose between the best wedding album makers, we’ve compiled a list of go-to companies and broken it down between those who exclusively serve professional photographers and others who cater more to everyday consumers.
Why Should Clients Purchase a Wedding Album from Photographers?
Before we explore different wedding album makers, let’s first address one critical point: Wedding albums can be expensive. The price will vary depending on the wedding album makers, of course, but couples in general may find it hard to justify an add-on to their photography packages. Instead, they may decide to purchase and/or design a wedding album on their own. This is one of the reasons we recommend including a free design consultation as part of your client experience. Design consultations will give you an opportunity to help your clients understand why it’s worth having their album professionally designed and printed. Here are a few reasons you can touch on to show your clients why they should purchase a wedding album as part of their package.
A High-Quality Album Will Last for Decades
One of the many reasons why wedding albums are costly is because they are handmade. They are crafted with high-quality materials and put together by skilled artisans. These albums won’t fall apart when handled by guests, and that includes children! In the production itself, a couple’s wedding album is a work of art, and it’s the best, most beautiful way to revisit their special day time and again for years to come.
Professional Design Helps Maximize Impact of Storytelling
Having the album professionally designed will ensure the wedding day story is told in the most impactful way. After all, as photographers, we’re experts at telling stories through our images. See the video above, taken from our S3: Shooting Stories That Sell workshop, for some helpful tips on designing albums.
It helps to have a few samples on hand when discussing wedding albums so that your clients can know what to expect. During the design consultation, which usually happens a short while after the wedding, you can use album design software to provide some sample spreads that feature your client’s photos. At this time, you can also let your clients know that they, too, will play a role in its design and have an opportunity to proof the album and request revisions before it is finalized and sent to print.
Albums Create a Shared Experience Among Family and Friends
Flipping through a photo album with our friends and family allows us to connect with one another in the present while reminiscing about the past. It’s as easy to do as taking out the album and showing it to your family and friends, sharing stories of that wonderful day.
Wedding Album Makers: Available Through Photography Studios Only
It’s one thing to help your client understand why they should purchase a wedding album, but it’s another task altogether to filter through the various wedding album makers and find one that will make an album that your clients will absolutely love. Luckily, there are plenty of incredible companies waiting to take care of you and your clients. The following wedding album makers primarily serve professional photographers, and most (in this section) require a special account. All of the companies on this list have earned their reputation over time, consistently producing and delivering top-quality photo albums that let your photos shine and make your customers happy.
When most people think of photo albums, they might not understand the difference between a professionally crafted album and a consumer-brand album. Vision Art provides luxurious, stylistic, and intricate wedding albums with quality that you can see and touch. Here’s a quick rundown of why it’s one of our preferred wedding album makers.
Custom Design Options
Unlike some of the more consumer-based wedding album options, often limited in terms of pre-designed layouts, cover and paper choices, as well as options for page finishes, Vision Art albums allow for more customizable design so that your clients will get the exact album of their dreams.
Clients can choose from a wide range of book sizes, binding & cover styles, materials, paper thickness, and more. In regards to designing the layout, you can use software like Fundy, Adobe InDesign or Photoshop, Pixellu SmartAlbums 2, or even Album Stomp to create jpegs, which you will submit to Vision Art for print. From the inside out, wedding albums from Vision Art are each one-of-a-kind.
Seamless Spreads and Flat Binding
Wedding albums with flat binding have become all the rage and for good reason. Vision Art’s flat-bound albums provide a perfect viewing experience by giving you flat and smooth print-outs across flat, seamless spreads.
Value for Money
Vision Art uses top quality materials to produce their albums, including archival inks for photos that will last a lifetime. What’s more, they pair such ink with a one-of-a-kind matte paper for a luxurious feel. These wedding albums are built to last, and the quality becomes apparent as soon as you hold one of their albums in your hands.
Another high-quality wedding album maker worth looking into is Bay Photo. We’ve used Bay Photo for years and we’d recommend them without hesitation. Aside from producing amazing albums, Bay Photo also serves as a one-stop printing shop with a host of quality photo album and wall art products. Here are a few highlights that make Bay Photo one of our trusted wedding album makers.
Customizable Album Styles
Bay Photo’s three album styles include the Pacific, Sunrise, and Softbound albums. Every category carries a specification that you can mix and match for a personalized approach. The Pacific line allows for extensive customization, with cover options like paper, acrylic, metal, or wood photo covers, not to mention numerous other options for building your perfect album. A few other design options include page thickness, page gilding, rounded or squared corners, and photographic or fine art paper types, among others.
Pro-Quality Paper Surfaces
In addition to great customization features, one standout option for designing albums includes the variety of paper surfaces that Bay Photo offers. You can choose from metallic, glossy, deep matte velvet, or luster for a unique appeal.
Free Design and Ordering Tools
Bay Photo has simplified the design and ordering process by offering in-house Bay Designer album design software. You can download and install the Bay Designer software for free, and then use it to design the album. You will select ordering options (such as cover options, paper types, and more) as you design the album, making it easy to submit the order once the design is complete. Learn more about how to use Bay Designer with their video tutorials.
For couples who can’t afford to splurge on a wedding album but still desire to have one, Bay Photo albums have budget-friendly options that make it a win-win for both you and your clients.
This album maker has long been one of SLR Lounge’s go-to options. It’s probably one of the oldest wedding album makers we’ve worked with that continue to provide top-notch quality for its clientele. Listed below are some of the reasons why it’s worth looking into using their products.
Undeniable Quality and Consistency
Between SLR Lounge and Lin & Jirsa Photography (and now Line and Roots, as well), we’ve used Finao for years, and that’s because of the consistent quality we’ve experienced across their product line. One of the reasons for this is the “Finao Police.” At no additional cost, these quality control experts will preemptively notify you of any issues with your files that might compromise the overall quality of the prints and ultimately, the output.
Customizable Options and Variety of Choices
To truly cater to clients’ needs for personalization, Finao offers a variety of materials and designs. From cut or creased pages to round or square spines, you can fine tune the album to your needs. A couple of our favorite album options include the ONE luxury flush mount album, as well as the nextONE matted album. Regarding the latter, matted albums represent the “apex of elegance,” and you can custom design this option to include both flush and mounted pages to create a truly unique wedding album. Just download the free design guide and get started.
Finao’s pricing places this option somewhere in the mid-range. It is not the cheapest option, but the consistent quality we’ve mentioned above makes using Finao a worthwhile investment.
Blacksmith Print Co.
A rising star among the top wedding album makers is the photographer owned & operated Blacksmith Print Co. Founded in 2013, Blacksmith Print Co. prides itself on offering top-quality prints and albums, using only the best materials.
High-Quality Leather Covers
One of Blacksmith’s standouts is their use of high-quality Italian leather for the album cover. Available in seven options (four solids and three distressed), these leather covers are the real deal. Blacksmith does not use or offer faux-leather or vinyl cover options.
Heirloom Linens for a Unique Cover
Blacksmith Print Co. offers heirloom linens as a material for an album cover, an option that is hard to come by. The seven coated options you can choose from define elegance in their presentation and are guaranteed to be stain-resistant.
Unparalleled Quality and Customer Service
The Blacksmith Print Co. is owned and managed by a photographer who understands the need for amazing, impeccable, and high-quality albums. They’ve chosen to bypass the traditional route of many other album makers, which includes pitching themselves at all of the wedding conventions and trying to take on any photographer who wants to use them. Instead, they select the photographers they work with through an application process, and the attention they’re able to give to their photographer clientele, as a result, is unmatched.
Miller’s Professional Imaging
A quick look through one of Miller’s Signature Albums will leave a lasting impression on how you measure quality in photo albums from that point forward. One of the photography industry’s premier wedding album makers, and print labs in general, Miller’s has earned a stellar reputation based on their consistent high quality output over the years.
Customizable Options for Wide-Ranging Budgets
Like some of the other top options on this list, Miller’s offers an incredible range of options that you can use to customize the wedding album and fit both small and big budgets. With everything from wraparound covers using genuine leather or fine linens to archival quality photo and press papers, and a host of design options in between, Miller’s albums will undoubtedly exceed your client’s expectations.
In-House Art Department
Miller’s employs a team of experienced design professionals in their in-house art department. They can handle everything from retouching photos to designing your album. You can request a quote to take advantage of this service and then add the fee to the final cost of the album. If the service falls outside of your client’s budget, Miller’s has partnered with a number of album design software companies, such as Fundy Designer, Pixieset, and Zenfolio, to make themselves compatible with your design workflow.
The best of Italian album design is now within reach thanks to GraphiStudio! GraphiStudio boasts the very best of Italian craftsmanship in its albums, wall art, custom boxes, books, and prints. Each album is crafted in Italy, which may add to the waiting time, but as you could probably have guessed, their albums are worth the wait.
Wide Array of Quality Print Products
Like Bay Photo, GraphiStudio provides a wide range of products, including wedding albums, custom books, prints, wall art, and boxes. For clients looking to purchase and album as well as quality wall photo display can have their prints done by GraphiStudio.
Tailor-Made with High-Quality Material Options
GraphiStudio offers more book options than many of the other wedding album makers. Each of GraphiStudio’s photo albums is handcrafted with top-of-the-line materials, high-quality prints, and impeccable finishings. Their “Original Wedding Book,” for example, which features a patented panoramic flush mount, offers seven paper options from photo lustre to HD glossy, and the 22 cover options include organic linen and full grain leather, among others.
Innovative Design Options
GraphiStudio is pushing what’s possible with innovative design options, such as those offered in their exclusive Digital Matted Album. The level of customization is unprecedented with the available choice of formats, papers, covers, and coordinated accessories.
Wedding Album Makers: Available for Retail Consumers
It’s now time to discuss our top picks for wedding album makers that focus more on retail consumers and do not require a professional account. Don’t let the consumer access turn you off, however. While some consumer-based album makers might offer fewer design options, that is not always the case. Some consumer-centric product lines are actually fully customizable. Also, the quality of their products, in some cases, ranks right up there with professionally produced albums. Here are a few of our favorites.
Zno offers premium quality products at a fraction of the price of many “professional” print labs, and there’s no shortage of design options. If you’ve never ordered through Zno, they’re definitely worth a try. In fact, they’re confident enough in their products to offer a free, pre-designed album so that you can see their quality for yourself.
Integrated All-in-One Cloud Platform
Zno offers an all-in-one cloud platform not only for designs, but also for printing, galleries, slideshows, proofing (which costs a small fee to use), and more. This is ideal for clients who are looking for a full range of print products.
Variety of Designs and Bestsellers to Choose From
Zno’s album line-up includes bestsellers such as the Layflat Photo Book, Fine Art Album, and Flush Mount Album. You can also make your photo album part of a Presentation Box Album USB Set with a customizable USB drive, to give your clients the best of both worlds in terms of digital files and prints. These bestsellers are not only ideal for weddings but other events as well.
MPix, owned by Miller’s Lab, prides itself on the perfect mix of experience and visual quality that you can feel in their wedding albums. While you don’t have to have a professional account to use Mpix, they do offer a reward’s program that comes in handy for those who make frequent orders.
Flexible Album Pricing
People with limited budgets can still bask in the greatness of their memories because of Mpix’s flexible pricing. Customers can choose from economy books, premium books, or signature albums. The Signature Photo Album closely resembles the albums produced in pro labs with lay flat features, leather-bound covers, and archival quality prints and paper options. They also cost a bit more than Mpix’s other book options.
Easy-to-Use Design Software
Mpix’s in-house Album Builder design software makes it easy to design custom layouts and let the images tell the story they were meant to tell. Also, with a max of 100 pages to fill in the Signature album, you’ll have plenty of room to arrange an elegant layout for your clients.
Fast, Expert Shipping and Excellent Customer Service
MPix cares for its customers by providing excellent customer service and noticeably quick shipping. When you receive a shipment from Mpix, their expertise in packing their prints for safe travel becomes apparent. We’ve ordered a number of prints (even framed prints) from Mpix over the years and they never let us down. Also of note, their customer service team responds quickly to product inquiries.
Variety of Print Products
Mpix is one of the few wedding album makers on this list that serves as a one-stop shop for all kinds of photography prints and gift options. For example, they offer photo blankets, mugs, dog tags, luggage tags, magnets, holiday ornaments, and even playing cards! This strays a bit from the focus of this article, but is still useful information depending on what you or your clients are looking for.
While you might not expect Shutterfly to offer elegant, professional quality wedding albums, the truth is they do. They even offer easy-to-use design tools to help you build a timeless book, and you can do it on a budget.
If budget is a concern, Shutter Fly offers affordable options. They are known to be one of the biggest album makers in the photography community and one of the reasons why is their affordable prices.
Comes with Shutter Fly Software for Editing
Coming up with a layout for a photo album is now made easier with Shutter Fly’s native software. In it, you can put in cutouts, use available templates and add in some text for a unique presentation. They also offer and recommend an automatic “Make My Album” design option, using an in-house team, at no extra cost (at least for a limited time). You can still edit and customize your book before ordering when you use this option. This might be an option if you’re newer to album design; otherwise, we would recommend studying album design and practicing on your own to tell your client’s story.
Do you have a favorite wedding album maker that didn’t make the list? What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments section below!