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The Coffee Table Book has been in the business of designing wedding albums for over ten years now.

One of, if not the first business in Australia to offer albums direct to the bride and groom. Before, couples could only access these high quality albums through professional wedding photographers.

With a rebrand and website refresh in the last 18 months, designing albums hasn’t changed much over the years, but certainly the styles of albums have changed.

Wedding Album Designer - The Coffee Table Book - Wedding Albums & Fine Art Books - A tribe of people that love the printed photo

No albums that require a forklift to pickup.
No more sticking photos into sleeves.
You don’t have to hide your album away in a cupboard or get out the white gloves!


The Coffee Table Book carved out a niche service designing wedding albums with the bride and groom in mind. It was the beginning of the digital photography era and the beginning of receiving your wedding photos as digital files, rather than negatives and prints produced through film photography. Giving couples options when it came to the type of album they wanted to display their precious wedding photos without being locked into using their photographer.

Wedding Album Designer - The Coffee Table Book - Wedding Albums & Fine Art Books - A tribe of people that love the printed photo


Below the designers share tips and advice on album design.


Q: What attracted you to designing albums for brides & grooms?

It started when I was an amateur photographer. It was the beginning of the digital photography era and the idea we could put our photos straight on a computer to view them. But the the amount of digital photos I had accumulated quickly and got a little lost in the thousands of photos on my computer. Printing the best of all those photos was something I enjoyed early in my photography days. Photo Books were becoming popular and as a hobbyist photographer I loved the idea of printing my photos in a book format. You could say I fell into designing wedding albums. Weddings make great stories so its easy to fill lots of pages to create a book. I loved looked at printed photos because thats what I was familiar with growing up in the 80s. Even today in 2017 Id still much rather look at printed photos. Then it was a simple realisation, if I could design albums for one of the happiest days in a couples life and get paid for it, that would have to be the best job in the world. The rest is history as they say.


Q: How long have you been a wedding album designer?

It’s been over ten years now. I started The Coffee Table Book when I moved to Queensland in 2006. I started designing albums for professional photographers, before realising the real need was to provide albums directly to the couples who were receiving their wedding photos in digital format on CDs back in those days. Back then professional photographers were still wary of outsourcing their album design. Whereas couples have no way of sourcing quality albums, apart from through their photographer, so a year or so after the wedding when the relationship with their photographer ceased, I became that link to tell the story of their wedding in a professional quality album.


Q: Do you find it challenging to work with images from a wedding that you didn’t photograph?

I actually enjoy seeing the photos for the first time and seeing the couple’s wedding day play out in front of my eyes. When I started back in 2006/2007, and being a hobbyist photographer, I actually went to a few weddings with one of my photographer clients to get the perspective of the wedding day and then designed the wedding albums. It certainly gave me another perspective and lead me to my own wedding photography journey. However, I can appreciate both perspectives and I just love designing wedding albums whether I was apart of the day as the photographer or not.


Q: Do you prefer to select the images for the design or for the couple to select the images?

I prefer to receive all the images and make the selections myself. It gives me free reign over the design and show the couple the best possible design. As well as provide a storytelling approach versus just photo after photo or a cluttered design. Sometimes people can’t see the potential in an image because its not necessarily a great image, whether the colour is off, its at an angle or the image is too dark/light, but I can easily see if the image can be saved.

If a couple were to want to choose their favourites for the album, I cant totally work with that too.  Sometimes I feel couples believe because I wasn’t there on the day, that I don’t know who the important people are and I might miss including them in the album. But Ive shot enough weddings myself, to get a good feel and detect who the important people are, but thats what the revision process is for, so we can iron out all those important people and ensure they make the cut for the final album.


Q: How would you define your style as a wedding album designer?

Less is definitely more when it comes to designing album pages. Ive seen too many albums, not mine of course, where the pages are just too busy with lots of images and even too similar images on the same page.  My style would be clean and simple while letting the ‘hero’ images take pride of place. Keeping images shot in the same location, in the same light on the one spread. Id usually keep the spread either all colour or all black & white, however, sometimes mixing colour and black & white is quite effective when used sparingly. I spend a bit of time cropping images too to focus on the story or emotion in that one picture.


Q: Do you have a preferred album size or shape?

Hands down Square 10×10 is my favourite. The square shape is contemporary and timeless at the same time. I like the 10×10 because its compact yet big enough. Also its a great size to carry around, because we all want to show off or wedding photos right! But when couples ask me if any size album works better, there really is no wrong or right answer – its a personal preference. I know some people prefer a landscape/horizontal album because digital photos are either landscape or portrait, so the landscape orientated photos fit nicely on a landscape page. But I still think the landscape image looks beautiful filling the entire spread of a square album, just be mindful you will loose some of the top/bottom of the images, but just equally as nice is the landscape image filling one of the square sides and overflowing onto the other side.


Q: What’s the turnaround time for an album design?

We offer a fourteen day turnaround for the first design. Then depending on how quickly the client gets back to us wiht there changes can vary. From approval of the design, delivery is usually around 3 weeks.


Q: What are some of the hot trends appearing in the wedding album design community?

Definitely the hot trends are in what’s available for the cover of your album.  We are seeing the move to fabric covers, something a little softer than leathers which have always been popular. Definitely more adventurous colours, like bolds as well as neutrals. Personalising covers with embossing – over recent years embossing has moved away from just one line of text in limited fonts, to now we can quite economically customise embossing to include any font as well as illustrations. The most recent trend for album covers is steering away from just embossing the couples names, but using quotes like “from this day forward” – I personally love the more creative and adventurous cover concepts as a way to bring the unique style of a couples wedding to their album which is a summary of their special day.


Q: Do you include ideas for the cover as part of your service?

Absolutely yes. As designers we love getting to experiment with new ideas and using different colours than the standard black leather. Usually its experimenting with different fonts for the embossing and incorporating illustrations from the couple’s wedding stationery.



If you have been considering having your wedding photos printed in a beautiful keepsake album, then get in touch as we’d love to work on your album.

Our wedding albums are of the finest professional quality and their contemporary style is deserving of a place on your coffee table. They are more like an art book than a wedding album!

After the wedding day has passed, you are left with just the memories. Most couples spend a large part of their wedding budget on professional photography, but then go and leave the memories sitting on a USB in the bottom of a draw. Where they are waiting to get lost, technology outdates or simply the device fails.

We all witnessed Apple removing DVD drives from their MacBooks in favour of USB slots. But what will the next advances in technology bring? We actually don’t know. Your precious memories deserve to be treated better!

Besides wedding albums being a tangible backup of your most precious memories, they are simply just beautiful.

Maybe it’s nostalgia kicking in from when I was a kid, way before digital cameras existed, and looking through printed photos kept in shoe boxes or albums.

Scrolling through images on a computer screen just doesn’t do justice to the art and creation of a photograph. Back in the days of film photography, every captured frame was precious because it wasn’t as easy, it certainly wasn’t cheap by the time you purchased the film, had it processed and printed.

While technology has come along way in the digital era, still a lot of skill, experience and expense goes into creating an image. There is the cost of the camera, lenses, memory cards, batteries and chargers, the computer. But that doesn’t even address the hours and hours spent learning techniques and the craft of photography to create a beautifully exposed, colour corrected image. Nor does it address the cost for a professional photographer to operate a business. It would be a mistake to underestimate the value of a photograph and a professional photographer.

There is something special about curling up in a chair and flicking through printed photos. Photographs that someone has taken a lot of care to produce, to capture a beautiful storytelling image of a moment in time, that will now live on forever.

This is why we need to print photographs.

Wedding albums are a great way to collate a collection of images and put them together in a beautiful story.

Slapping a bunch of images on a page is not our way of doing things. Our experience as wedding photographers and designers, allows us to look for stories in images and how to tell that story as a bigger picture encapsulating the entire wedding day.

Below we tell the love story of Chloe & Anthony’s romantic garden wedding in one of our stylish fabric covered Fine Art Albums with copper foil embossing to personalise their album.

The dark blue linen fabric ties in beautifully with the groom’s navy blue suit. The album has a matching slipcase.  It’s important to choose a cover fabric that ties into the wedding colours for consistency but will also fit in with the interior styling of the room in where you wish to display your album. There are many cover colours to choose from to suit every interior or style – from photo-wrap covers, to natural and bold coloured linens, and sexy leathers.

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Let’s face it. Weddings are crazy expensive. I’m all about finding ways to save money, and there are lots of ways you can do so. But if you only splurge on one thing for your wedding, LET IT BE PHOTOGRAPHY. Why? Because its true! If you live in any Australian city or suburb, chances are you know someone who is a “photographer” {and I use that term loosly because owning a camera does not make you a photographer, simply a camera operator} and its tempting to hire them for cheap or even have them shoot your wedding as a wedding gift to you to save money, but hear me now and believe me later, DON’T DO IT!!!

Here’s why:

1. You will not get this chance again.

This is your wedding. Hopefully you will only be having one. Isn’t it worth the investment? The #1 regret I hear from brides about their wedding day is that they are not happy with their photos. Don’t be one of them. Besides, when else will all your family and friends be gathered in one place? Probably never, except for at your funeral, and by then you won’t care. As much as we don’t like to think about it, your wedding may be the last chance you see your grandparents before they pass away. Those are the last family pictures you will ever have, and if they are not good you can’t replace them! The value of that now far exceeds the $1,000 or whatever money was saved on the photographer.

2. It’s not just for you, its for everyone who loves you.

Your uncle couldn’t capture those precious moments of the first time the groom see’s his beautiful bride, the first kiss with his Point and Shoot camera!

Of course your wedding day should be all about your and your fiance, but don’t forget how much time, effort, and money your family and wedding party have put into it as well. They deserve some nice photos to remember the occasion by. But even more than that, think about future generations. Won’t your kids and grandchildren want to see these? What girl doesn’t love seeing old wedding photos of the generations before her? This is the one aspect of your wedding (aside from your marriage itself) that will last forever.

3. A wedding photographer can anticipate what will happen next.

This is why you should not only get a great photographer, you should get a great wedding photographer. The word “photographer” encompasses a variety of people; family photographers, fashion photographers, commercial photographers, etc. Being good at one area doesn’t necessarily mean you are good at another. If you hire someone whose livelihood is shooting weddings, there is a pretty good chance they have done this enough times to not only know where they need to be in order to capture those all important moments as well as the emotions of the day.

4. A great photographer can turn an ordinary wedding into an extraordinary wedding.

I have seen this first hand on multiple occasions. A couple is on a tight budget and doesn’t have a lot of money for decor or fancy extras at their wedding. But they hire a great photographer, and lo and behold when you see the photos you would think the wedding cost twice what it really did. The photographer captures everything at its best, and everything that is wonderful about the day, and when you look at your photos you remember your wedding day fondly.

5. If it doesn’t turn out well, you don’t want to have hard feelings with a friend.

This is a big one. If you hire (or ask a favor from) a friend and the photos don’t turn out well, it can seriously damage your relationship. Every time you see that person for the rest of your life you will think of how s/he “ruined” your wedding photos. It may not be intentional, but you will. Its kind of like if they ran over your cat with their car tire. You know its not intentional, but you can’t help but associating them with this one unfortunate act.

Only the other day I was talking to a client and they told me that a friend trusted him to video their wedding, and not being a professional videographer, he realised 10 minutes into the ceremony he hadn’t pressed record because he thought it was recording. Again this is where an experienced photographer understands their equipment as well as having backup equipment should something fail.

6. So how much does a great wedding photographer cost? This depends on what all is included. Some photographers quote their rates for shooting only, while others quote packages that include both shooting and prints, albums, digital images, etc. When you are researching photographers you should keep this in mind and make sure you are comparing apples to apples with regard to pricing. That being said, I know a couple of great photographers whose coverage starts around $2,000, but you should not be startled at a base price of $3,500 either. Sure that’s a lot of money, but what you get in return is priceless and something you will value for many many years. How can you argue with that???

I can’t stress to brides and grooms how important using a professional photographer is. I see way too many couples who have gone with their friend or an amateur and not happy with their photos – and its too late after the wedding.

Your wedding photos are precious memories and should be valued. Its important to like the photographers work as well as having a great rapport. We are happy to recommend photographers we know and trust – just ask.

There are a lot of great professional photographers that come at affordable prices and don’t lock you into purchasing an album and spending ten’s of thousands of dollars – just hunt around. Most professional photographers these days offer packages where you can get high resolution images on disk so then YOU HAVE THE CHOICE OF HOW YOU WANT TO PRINT YOUR WEDDING PHOTOS – whether it be prints, canvases, coffee table books or a wedding album.

I think that is the important thing – we all want to decide and control what we want and how much we spend. That is a big part of the reason I started my business The Coffee Table Book – to encourage people to use reputable professional photographers not just because they are more expensive but because they are skilled professionals as well as running a professional business. A professional photographer ensures you get great quality photos and they are memories you will treasure for a lifetime so its important to invest in good quality photography especially if you want to display them around your home as family and friends that visit your home will be seeing them on display.

Just because someone says they are a ‘professional photographer’ or even an ‘accredited professional photographer’ or has been working in the industry for 10+ years, doesn’t necessarily mean they can produce great photographs – so its important to look at a wide range of the photographer’s work to evaluate they can repeat the quality and then compare them against other professional photographers to make sure they are the best photographer to capture your memories. Most people can capture a couple of great shots during a shoot, just make sure you evaluate a bunch of shots from one photo session and a variety of shoots by the photographer to get a feel they can produce great photographs consistently.

Also with the age of digital photography, more photographers are editing their photos and using effects – so make sure you like the treatments they are applying to their photos as Ive seen some dreadful editing from strange skin tones, over sharpening an image to losing detail through too much black in the shadows, and even out of focus shots, etc. – so its important to make sure your photograph understands editing and colour. While we are currently going through a trend of ‘vintage’ effects which can either change or desaturate skin tones – its important that the photographer understands these techniques and produces images that are pleasing to the eye. While I love the vintage feel – Ive seen both amazing photographs using this technique, but I have seen more horrible edited images and really strange colours. Its usually the rule that the more creative photographers can get away with pushing boundaries on composition and editing techniques which is usually clear when you are viewing their portfolio of work and through reputation in the industry.

When creating this business, I also wanted to make sure people had a choice of a range of products from a reasonably priced product option through to high quality products, and funky designer products that are unique. Its really all about giving people a choice based on personal tastes and something to fit your budget as we do all place different value on different things – some people really value people in their lives and the memories photos hold of those people, whereas others put more value into purchasing a home or their children’s education. We like to think we can give everyone something of value and quality no matter what your budget !

If you have any questions about our products or photography, please email us using the contact form.