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One perfect day – Part IV – The wedding album

For new readers, I grouped all related articles for your re-reading pleasure.

I. The decision to be a (wedding) photographer
II. Preparations, building up to one perfect day: schedule, shot list & gear.
III. The wedding day
IV. Post processing & the wedding album

IV. Post processing & the wedding album

After a long day filled with emotion I came home as a happy photographer. Normally the first thing I do is transfer all images to my computer and check the picture, a way to be at “ease of mind” (are the pictures good enough?) before I go to bed. That evening I had a final drink while sitting in the couch rambling my story to my always listening lovely spouse, I didn’t check the pictures, I knew I did a good enough job and I was worn, I was exhausted, what a roller coaster day it has been, it was time to hit the sac.

Slideshow

In the next days I nearly went through all (3000+) pictures flagging the good ones and rejecting the bad ones (never delete pictures on a first viewing). The next week I presented the couple with this slideshow.

Processing

I kept processing to a minimum, no heavy photoshop, I used lightroom to tweak levels, contrasts, vignettes and I tried out and tweaked a couple of new presets. I’m not a believer of trendy looks in wedding pictures/albums, things that are IN now won’t be in a couple of years. (remember red roses on black & white pictures, I rest my case). A good black&white or sepia will last a lifetime.

The Album

Roosje & Jelle also asked me if I could make a wedding-album. I agreed on my terms: I don’t like books with ALL images, a wedding album should tell the story of that day and shouldn’t necessarily contain images of every guest etc…. Personally, I approached it at as a good photo book, a more elaborate slideshow if you wish…. as fast as I could select images for the slideshow, so painstakingly slow was the progress on designing the album, I think I even made up a new word for it :

“Wedding album designer”-block

“I want everything to be perfect, a fixed set of margins to create white space so my pictures can breathe in the album. No mixture of layout styles on my pages, but an idea throughout the album. I want to stick to that. But after a couple of pages, doubt creeps in…

Will clients even notice my tidy margins? They will probably just flip the pages. Will they appreciate the clean layout or does it become boring after a while? Do I go for white or black background, do I mix? Do I call and show the couple 2 ideas, let them decide (and ruin the surprise) or do I blow them away on presentation day.”

My final layout approach

– Formats with fotobuch.de were A4 and A3. Rather horizontal, so I did the layout accordingly.
– Lots of whitespace around images makes the image speak.
– No collages & different styles on a page, but clean pages.
– Not bringing too much images on one page, brings rest.
– A double truck connects pages and tells a story. (Watch those bleed areas in the folds of the book)
– Couldn’t have each page look the same so sometimes full bleed pictures where inserted.

(I spent 40+ *cough* hours on it *cough*)

A couple of page excerpts from the book

Wedding book layout (by Tom Leuntjens Photography)

Wedding book layout (by Tom LeuntjensPhotography)

Wedding book layout (by Tom Leuntjens Photography)

Wedding book layout

Wedding book layout (by Tom Leuntjens<br /> Photography)

Wedding book layout (by Tom Leuntjens<br /> Photography)

The finished product

I used fotobuch.de (+ their software) to design the book. I really prefer the fotobuch.de software over blurb. I’m a total idiot if it concerns printing so no in depth review, here is my two-cent: image quality was very good, I chose the professional A4 format thinking that non-professional formats would have inferior quality. (anyone with experience?), no weird color casts, blacks were black, no funny patterns, the binding looks decent, the paper thickness feels just right and Pricing was okay.

Only one negative point, the ability to design your own cover , or better .. the lack of it. Now you are stuck with these.

(sorry about the non-calibrated book “snapshots” I made, but to get an idea I did include them)

Fotobuch.de wedding album (by Tom Leuntjens<br /> Photography)

Fotobuch.de wedding album (by Tom Leuntjens<br /> Photography)

Fotobuch.de wedding album (by Tom Leuntjens<br /> Photography)

Fotobuch.de wedding album (by Tom Leuntjens<br /> Photography)

Fotobuch.de wedding album (by Tom Leuntjens<br /> Photography)

A simple little marketing trick

Around the time that I ordered the book I also ordered some sample business cards from MOO.com. I added a couple of images from Roosje & Jelle’s wedding to my order and inserted them in the album. Future clients won’t forget where they got the card from.

Moo business cards (by Tom Leuntjens<br /> Photography)

Why it pays of to read the full article

For everyone brave enough to have fought through 6 articles of my own ramblings. Here is a a little treat, the couple was so kind to allow me to share the online version of the wedding album. (silverlight required) Being a developer has its perks, I didn’t like the fotobuch preview so I exported as a PDF, then to JPEG and adjusted Microsoft’s Silverlight PageTurn example to fit my needs. A much better “book-preview” experience.

Conclusion

Presenting the couple with their book , hearing the “ooohs and aaahs” made it all worth it. (not to mention the relief falling from my shoulders).

I’m well aware that every single thing I jotted down could have backfired in my face. Their wedding day was amazing: from the house they were preparing in, the bright city hall, to the great location and super party tent. And I would almost forget the couple, personality, looks and clothing, oh yes, the sun shined bright that day! It was a privilege to be their wedding photographer.

I also want to thank the readers of my modest little blog, I’ve noticed quite an increase in hits since I started doing this series. Thanks for hitting the comments and I hope I was able to share something of interest.

And for me? I’m as nervous, anxious and excited for my next wedding as I was for this one. But that keeps me on edge. Sleepless nights here I come !

12 Comments so far  
by Peter-Paul 03.11.09 11:09 pm

Super gedaan en nog leerzaam ook. Kwaliteit!
Voel zelf ook al wat slapeloze nachten aankomen … don’t wanna be like yr uncle Bob met zijn “Kodak”!

PP

by tomleuntjensphotography 02.22.09 12:06 pm

bedankt allemaal voor de vele positieve feedback. de “oohs en aahs” van een koppel zijn me dierbaar maar het is leuk het ook van mede-fotografen te horen dat dit geapprecieerd wordt.

by Jef Janssens 02.21.09 1:11 am

The real thing to get nervous and all anxious about for you is to keep the comming articles at the same level as this one 😉

Outstanding performance, you ‘ll succeed next time!

Curious though about the slideshow since I just wrote an article about them. Where’s yours comming from (I mean software)?

by Frederik 02.20.09 5:04 pm

Geweldige interessante en informatieve reeks. Niet dat ik gigantisch veel ambititie heb o het te maken in de wedding bussiness maar ik leer er toch heel veel van bij !

by Jan Verbeke 02.19.09 10:12 pm

Inderdaad een heel mooie reeks die je hier neergepoot hebt. Ik bestel al een tijdje bij fotobuch.de en ben er heel tevreden over, niet alleen over de professionele boekenreeks.Thanks for sharing.

by Serge Van Cauwenbergh 02.18.09 11:27 pm

Tom, een erg interessante reeks heb je hier gepost. Ik ga die zeker en vast nog eens herlezen.

Ik hou wel van full bleed foto’s wanneer ik een fotoboek(je) laat maken, maar de witte spatie rond een foto ga ik zeker ook eens toepassen wanneer ik nog eens een portret of huwelijksalbum moet opmaken.

by Frederik 02.18.09 9:41 pm

Ik kan mijn voorgangers alleen maar bijtreden, prachtig fotoboek !

by Sofie 02.18.09 9:40 pm

Echt super goed gedaan!!
Ik heb met veel plezier alle artikels gelezen, en zal het waarschijnlijk nog een paar keer doen.

by Fotogeniek Belgie (Koen) 02.18.09 8:21 pm

Professionaliteit ten top!

by tomleuntjensphotography 02.18.09 8:10 pm

@nimsa you make me *blush*

by nimsa 02.18.09 6:41 pm

mag ik nog iets zeggen? 😉
Ik heb nog eens gekeken en vind het zéér zéér goed!

by nimsa 02.18.09 6:37 pm

Mooi verhaal, Tom! Heel herkenbaar (van fotobuch tot Moo 😉 ). Weet je wat de ooohs en de aaahs, maken? Naast het feit dat je erg mooie foto’s maakt ook je visie, je passie en al het werk dat je er in hebt gestopt.. Bravo!