- Sean Cayton
- Haley and Dan's wedding book. They selected a 12x12 flush mount wedding book and we chose the images for her book together.
When you meet with prospective photographers, take a close look at the books they’ve created. They should be easy to read and have a narrative flow. You should enjoy flipping through them — even if you don’t know the people in the pictures.
Ask the photographer about his or her process. Today, there are more choices than ever, and a good photographer should have a variety of book samples to choose from. Don’t leave it as an afterthought; make sure you know what you’re getting well before the big day.
A Permanent Record
Even with all the new ways to view pictures, nothing comes close to a book. A wedding book is more useful than a portfolio of images on CD or a set of 4×6 prints. It’s more convenient than an online slideshow or a digital photo frame, too.
After all of the flowers are gone and the cake is cut, the wedding album is the one thing you’ll have to show for the big event — besides your spouse, of course.
The process of creating a book starts with selecting the right photographs, which can be more difficult than you might think. We offer our couples two options to begin the design process: they can choose the pictures themselves, or we can do it for them.
If the couple decides to select the pictures themselves, I offer them the following advice:
1. Select only the best pictures for a wedding book.
Strive for your book to be more than a keepsake. Think of it as a work of art. It’s something that will remain on display in your home and be viewed and enjoyed by visitors for years to come.
A wedding album shouldn’t be a scorecard for family photos — a book filled with group photographs isn’t fun for anyone to look through. And maybe that less-than-perfect picture of Uncle Bob would be better off as a framed gift; he’ll appreciate that more anyway.
By limiting your image selection to only the best pictures, the design of the book will remain uncluttered and beautiful.
The best books have a beginning, middle and end. By selecting pictures that tell a story, you create a book that’s more satisfying to view and easier to digest.
3. Eliminate redundant images from your selection.
Space is at a premium in a wedding book. Unless there's a sequence of images that work together, more than one picture of any moment on your wedding day is probably too many.
We like to create scenes in our books. One scene might be of the wedding couple cutting the cake. The scene might include a detail shot of the cake, a picture of the couple cutting the cake, and a reaction shot of the wedding guests.
By selecting pictures with scenes and a story in mind, and eliminating duplicate or similar images, you create a narrative momentum for those who view your book.
Designing Your Book
After the images are selected, my designer and I create a proof of the book for the wedding couple. The couple can view the design online and request any changes they would like made.
We carry four main books, each with a different look and feel. In general, wedding albums are becoming more like professionally bound books, with the images printed directly on the pages. They can be easily reprinted as gifts to parents and other family members, too.
Depending on the book you choose, you may not receive your finished album for some time after the wedding day. But when I deliver an album to a wedding couple, it’s a deeply satisfying conclusion to the experience — for them and for me.
Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He's also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout