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BEYOND THE WEDDING ALBUM

You hired a wedding photojournalist because you know that he or she will capture the true story of the day. But when it comes to deciding on the best way to share your story, the choices might overwhelm. For example, you consider having an heirloom album for your wedding pictures, but should you also get a multimedia slide show you can watch on your TV or email to family and friends?

Photograph by Vanessa Hall of bride and groom embracing a guest

Photo by Vanessa Hall

In our increasingly menu-driven society, options for storytelling are more plentiful than ever. Thanks to technology, couples have more choices than ever for viewing and sharing their wedding memories. Not only is it easier to select and share images via online proofing systems and CDs, but many WPJA photographers have also enhanced the viewing process of your wedding photos through emotionally charged multimedia slide shows.

These slide shows, says wedding photographer Vanessa Hall, "give an extra dimension to the images. They create more of a mood than just having the images in a book." Consisting of music Hall selects and approximately 100 images on a DVD. "These slide shows bring the wedding day back to life and you feel the emotions all over again." 

DYNAMIC STORYTELLING

WPJA medal winner Ira Lippke also offers couples multimedia slide shows, which they can email to friends and family. Like Hall, Lippke selects music to complement the images, which dissolve slowly from one to the next in a dramatic, measured way. The professional presentation has been a hit with his clients. In fact, he received a call from a bride-to-be who had been emailed one of his slide shows. "She didn't know the bride or groom - a friend of a friend - but she liked the slide show so much that she booked me to shoot her wedding."

Lippke has been photographing weddings for more than 20 years and he's expert at creating artistic albums in both new and traditional ways. "We design the albums online and email couples a link so that they can see what it looks like," says Lippke. The bride and groom then email or call Lippke with feedback about the design. Being able to work together on the album so quickly and handily during the preliminary design stage, says Lippke, "makes the process so much easier."

Vanessa Hall, who uses an online album design program made by a New Zealand company, Photojunction, has this to say: "It allows me to make a series of web-quality images. The program reduces the size of the pages so that I can email entire pages to give them an idea of what the album will look like." Emailing album pages is a practical convenience for couples living in another part of the country or overseas, Hall says. Bridal couples living in Victoria, Australia prefer the tactile experience of a bound book, and for them she creates a classy printed proof album. "It's like a journal," she says. "The images are printed on paper and hand-bound together."

POPULAR ALBUMS

Hall works closely with couples on the look of their albums. BookCrafts, an Australian company, makes Hall's albums of choice because of their contemporary, clean design and magazine-style layouts. She also offers journal-style wedding albums. Hall works with a journalist who interviews a couple's friends and family and uses their comments to write a wedding narrative that's printed in the album alongside the photos. "The couple doesn't know what anyone has said about them until they get their album."

Albums are much more popular than slide shows with Oregon couples, says wedding photographer Juan Carlos Torres. While Australian-made DigiCraft albums are popular among his clients, Torres says the album most preferred is made by another Australian company, Jorgensen. "Jorgensen is our best selling album right now," says Torres. "People want a classic look, and the Jorgensen looks like it won't go out of style or become dated."

Photograph by juan carlos torres of bride entering

Photo by Juan Carlos Torres

Some bridal couples do want Torres' multimedia slide show in addition to an album, but it's only a small percentage right now. Nevertheless, he keeps an eye on the marketplace for new ideas, and one recent trend caught his attention.

And, some WPJA members and other wedding photographers are now offering bridal couples slide shows loaded onto iPods that they can take with them on their honeymoon - a new century, a new method of storytelling.

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Exquisite Agony: Selecting Wedding Pictures

Choosing wedding photos can be a difficult and time-consuming process of elimination. With so many wonderful pictures to choose from, no wonder it's tough to winnow the selection down to a manageable number.

Like many wedding photojournalists, Juan Carlos Torres uses an online proofing system on his Web site to help make the selection process more efficient. "Our clients like it a lot," he says, citing ease of navigation and convenience as primary reasons. However, he also offers proof images on a CD for couples who prefer to view images offline. Torres aides the selection process by arranging the image galleries in chronological sections, such as 'getting ready,' 'the ceremony' and 'the reception.' "That helps the couple keep it in perspective."

Ira Lippke says he uses both paper proofs and online proofing to "ensure our clients have the least amount of work and the most amount of enjoyment" in choosing wedding photos. "Online proofing is great for its ease of viewing and for sharing with family and friends," he says. "These days couples are computer savvy and have fast Internet connections," Lippke points out, so requests for paper proofs are becoming rare in his business. "However, sometimes parents and grandparents aren't OK with online viewing and then I suggest paper proofs."

No matter what your personal preference for viewing proofs may be - online, on CD or on paper -Torres advises that when selecting images, keep focused and remember the ultimate goal. "I tell my clients to keep in mind that we are trying to tell their wedding story."

— by Lorna Gentry for The Wedding Photojournalist Association