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.
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!
MODERN ALBUMS YOU WILL PROUDLY DISPLAY ON YOUR COFFEE TABLE LIKE AN ART BOOK.
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.
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.