When you hire a wedding photographer, you are making an investment that will bring you joy and even bittersweet comfort for decades to come. You are also creating an heirloom to share with future generations. However, you can’t share them if you don’t take care to save them. Here are 5 ways to share and save your wedding memories.
1. Download, and make a USB and digital copy online of all hi-res images
It should seem obvious but many couples forget to download their photos and can be surprised when access is lost. Every photographer will have different policies, but most leave them online for one year or even 10. (As I have started doing for my wedding clients) Nevertheless, it is still important to download and make copies.
Order a small thumb drive (at least 8GB, some weddings will require 20GB+ to include related events) for placing images in a safe place, like a safe or safety deposit box. Remember to transfer the data when that technology becomes obsolete or your own computer doesn’t have a compatible port. Give copies to parents, or even friends who you trust.
There are many online providers who offer free or cheap online storage. Amazon, Google, Apple, just to name a few. Just be mindful that they may compress or shrink your files, which is not something you want. If you are already using a service like Backblaze or Crashplan, you can just add the files to your back-up set. Share the access with your spouse or trusted family members as well.
2. Make Prints of your favorites and take notes
In some cases, it is possible to print all of your images, but sometimes there are simply too many. I chose my favorite 300 images from my wedding, had them printed as 5x7s (or 4x6s) and placed them in an album(s) like this. Why? Because I could easily write out who is in the photos and any other notes. Trust me, this will be valuable information one day. It is a great first album if you aren’t ready to create your main album yet. Just be sure to order one that uses archival materials and store it in a cool dry location.
You can also order a custom archival print box like these, which I make for my clients. They can hold up to 300 images, come in a variety of colors and textures and can be embossed. You can then use a photo safe pencil to write names and details on the back which will keep acid from destroying the print. Store in a cool and dry location and the darkness of the box will preserve the images for a long time.
3. Digital PDF and Press Printed Book
You can also create a digital or printed proof album. I love using Blurb to make inexpensive family books to share multiple copies or pdfs. You can select your favorites and make a simple proof book, no fancy layout. Add anywhere from 1-4 images on a page, and you can fit in hundreds of images. You can also add in text boxes to share names and other details. They offer different binding options like softcover, hardcover and image wrap, and paper choice.
Please note, I do not consider these to be archival. They are great for sharing and keeping a digital copy with notes.
4. Custom Archival Wedding Album
Now we are getting to the real show stoppers. While some couples start here, there is really no wrong or right way to organize your images. But one thing is for sure, having a beautifully printed custom high quality album is something I believe every couple should have.
It should show off the best images and tell the story of your day. I exclusively work with Queensberry to create such albums for my couples. They only work directly with professional photographers. (I can also order for any couple with a copyright release.) If you already narrowed your images down to 200-300 for your print box or simple album, this should be an easy final step. (Though, I will narrow the images down for you on request.)
My albums typically contain anywhere from 60-150 images depending on size. We work together on selecting the right cover material, album type, embossing and more. It is quite an undertaking, but the final results are WORTH it and will bring your family generations of joy and connection.
TIP: Once you receive your album, record a video of you and your spouse looking at it together. This too will become a priceless memory of names and details that might otherwise be lost to time. (And add it to your USB or back-up online!)
5. Fine Art Prints and Wall Art
While you can use consumer digital photo prints (I don’t suggest the cheapest option like Walgreens or Walmart, however) for your print box and semi custom album, I recommend ordering a few fine art or archival pigment prints. These are higher quality and will offer a longer lifespan especially behind uv glass or in dark storage. I highly recommend ordering anything over 11×14 (wall art size) as a fine art print and with your photographer’s assistance. The larger an image, the possibility exists that it may need retouching or enlargement.
And if you love black and white as much as I do, I suggest ordering a few real silver gelatin prints. (They are rated to last over 225 years!) I work with a lab that makes these from digital files.