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when all’s said and done i usually turn over anywhere from 800-2000 wedding images to my bride and grooms. from those choices they select the 20-30 for their wedding album. sifting through thousands of wedding day memories to compile an album keepsake can be a daunting task. it’s challenging when there are so many to choose from and not even 10% of them can make it into an album.

in march ashley and i shot maria and mike’s incredible wedding in san diego. the day, the celebrations, the details, the love, everything was so incredible and moving. i was really touched to have been a part of all of it. it’s always a bit nostalgic for me to review a wedding day while editing. i hope the bride and groom feel that same nostalgia only on a more poignant and significant level when looking at their wedding portraits.

i recently had a brief conversation with maria about finding the images for her album. she shared she was having a tough time narrowing it down. i told her to allow me to relieve some stress; i pitched an idea to my friend and colleage, april from photostory albums: we’d sort through maria’s wedding day images, choose the ones we feel should be included in an album and then present a mock idea to her with all of our rational. april was totally on board and excited by the idea.

we got together and rolled through all of the proofs trying to find the ones we felt best communicated the feel, the look, and the love of their day.

this was such a good exercise for both of us. it’s really hard to do!!!!! we essentially put ourselves in the shoes of the newlyweds and acted as if we were them. we asked ourselves, “which pictures will best remind us years from now of one of our most important days. and which pictures will best share our day with all who look at the album.”

our first narrowing down got us to 200. we needed to get to 20-30 images. we knew this was going to be tough. we looked again. scrutinized, and continued eliminating (this is why it is so wise to include a disk of all of the images in your wedding package!! ;)) we needed a certain amount of group shots, details, portraits, moments, etc. the more we narrowed the more difficult it was. it was painful to cut certain images. we got to 100. then 75. 50. when we got to 50 we got really picky. if one hair was out of place we cut the image. if the sun was shining one certain way to the right it was put to the side. after hours of pulling images, replacing them, pulling them again and then finding ones that we decided we preferred we finally got to our final cut.

essentially an album is the culmination of the entire wedding experience. it’s the piece de resistanc. it’s what lasts long after the dress yellows, the flowers wilt, and the cake gets freezer burn. when investing in your wedding day, put your dollar on memories, because years from now you will be grateful you spent the money on the nostalgia you will feel. i know april and i are in this business, but we can’t stress to you enough how important it is to have good photographs and photographic memories.

we sat down to write this post together so you would have both our voices and thoughts on not only the pictures but also the design and layout of the album. basically this is how april and i work: i shoot, download, backup (several times), edit, blog, build the gallery, clients choose their 20-30 images, i enhance them, and fire off a disk to april. she designs the layouts, builds a photographic story, sends proofs for my approval and client approval, and then once we have it perfected sends it to press. it’s a process. something we take seriously.

when it arrives she and i always have a moment when we revel in the beauty of what was experienced and later created.

mike and maria ordered an 8×8 album. please keep in mind when looking at the photostory proof that you are looking at, essentially, a book. it’s a spread, left and right. the pages look smaller, consider it will be bigger in print. this is also a “mock up”, what we chose for them. we plan on doing a follow-up post of their actual album so you can see the pages, sizing, etc. and their choices.

an album is like any other book: it has to tell a story.

kamee: we wanted to start with the details of the day: shoes, dress, getting ready.

april: when i design an album i want it to start at the beginning of the day. i want people who look at it have to feel as if they were there.

kamee: something that i shared with april when i looking for a designer and an album company is that i see things in print very clean. i wanted the design of my albums to be modern, contemporary.

april: this is the first page of the album. i wanted it to stand out with details. when you open the album these images will be on the right side with the left being blank. when too many images are added to a spread then pictures begin loosing their zest. i want the images to stand out for what they are worth.

kamee: it’s compulsory to include dress pictures in an album. 😉 her sister bought her this hanger and it was significant to the day. ashley and i used it to drap her veil.

april: i had never seen anything like the hanger. for the sheer reason that it was distinctive and interesting it had to be in the album, besides it was to-be her new last name. i am always impressed with kamee’s composition. i loved the dress picture and thought once again that the angle was different and that it added to our storying telling appeal.

kamee: this image made me stop and consider: a girl spends so much time thinking, dreaming, and shopping for the one dress that will speak to her and make her feel like the most beautiful creature that ever existed.

april: i LOVE the dress. the image is genius: i love the way kamee captured the image of the bodice and exquisite detail of the flowering. i don’t know maria, but i do know from looking at this that she is incredibly feminine. i love that that translated to me while looking at her images. 

april: there was absolutely no question: this images had to have its own spread! it’s so beautiful on so many levels: the light, the angle, the post processing, all of it!

kamee: i get emotional during several moments of a wedding day. it’s good there is a big apparatus in front of my face to cover that i am crying. maria is so loved, by so many. it was evident. i love being present when a bride’s most special people get her dressed. there is a tender delicateness that is ever-present and felt. every lace is woven and layer perfectly placed. we kept going back to these images. (april: we really did!!) they spoke so clearly to both of us.

april: straight out. these three had to be in the album. i had already envisioned these in the album. we felt the joy, the excitement. i was particularly intrigued by the image of maria in the mirror. there is a certain stillness that comes over a bride during moments of her day. it comes and goes with nerves and excitement, but the middle image really, for me, caught that quiet calm.

april: these three had to go together. maria looks like she will be in the middle of the spread but the gutter will actually run to the right of the image maintaing the integrity of the moment i was talking about above. once again, props to kam for the light, composition, and post processing. (kamee: awww, thanks so much!!! i am blushing!!)

kamee: i like the moment and the lines of this image. this was right after their first look. it was quiet, just them, special, and sweet.

april: this was different than any other for me in terms of portraits. this actually was one i fought to have in the album. i don’t know how to phrase this but for some reason this just really spoke to me. i loved the “lightness” of the moment. i thought the kiss was so soft like it was just happening or just ending. i don’t know. i loved it. it had to be in there.

april: loved it so much it got its own page. this is one reason i love working with kamee (kamee: awww! blushing!!); she gives me the images and allows me poetic liberties in terms of design. we do make a great team!!! i love what we create together!! (kamee: ME TOO!!)

kamee: wedding party portrait: compulsory.

april: props to kamee for shooting here. (kamee: props to michelle, maria’s sister for spotting it, ashley too.)  who would think taking pictures in front of a blue garage door would turn out so good? seriously. the combination of the blue with the pink maria chose for her wedding colors was stunning. nuf’ said. i also really liked how kamee coupled everyone. it wasn’t traditionally taken. i just thought it was so interesting. it belongs in a magazine. (kamee: thank you. so nice!!)

kamee: it was freezing!!! and windy. you would never know, (april: really it was?? no way!) but the wind added some great movement to so many shots.

april: there are a few images that always need to stand out on their own spread.  for the simple fact of highlighting the most important people to mike and maria, and reminding them later of their relationships, it deserved a full spread. I find at times I want to do this for the entire album because I love each and every picture selected for the album; each picture is perfect and tells its own story.

kamee: special people. special relationships.

april: once again i loved that blue door! we just felt we needed to include individuals of the bridal party.

april: these three images needed to be grouped together for obvious reasons. the one on the left is of her sister and daughter, i wanted it to take more precedence due to the simple fact of their relationships.

kamee: like i said earlier i have a lot of favorite moments that get me emotional. the portrait session is one of those times. it’s so nice to have them alone without anyone else present. i think it gives them time to remember the real reason the day is happening; it gives them time to reconnect with each other on their wedding day!

april: i liked the look of both of these. i liked how one was a full portrait, caught in a moment. and i like the other because it was the same moment only close up. it zoomed us in to the emotion of the moment. we chose to contrast the images by putting one in black and white which also contributed to the feeling of the second image.

april: equally important. full portrait and then a zoom of the portrait. same but totally different. loved it on the spread!

kamee: maria!! the flowers showed up!! 😉 they were so perfect, so stunning, so incredible. this image was one of my favorites in terms of details. i loved the color pop the contrast agains the blue. the flowers are swiftly becoming one of my favorite details of the day.

april: ditto.

april: the bouquet has to be included.  loved the up closeness of it.  it needed to stand out on its own for sure.

kamee: the set up. the kiss. and one potentially my most favorite moment: when they are announced man and wife, their reactions are priceless.

april: i favored the first image. it was another favorite of mine!!  the angle. the softness. the quiet. i just loved it.

april: the flow and progression of events was great for this spread. (once again though, it was so hard to choose. there were so many incredible images from the ceremony. i agree with kamee: include the disk in your package. there were just so many to choose from. so many that were so good. i can’t imagine not having all of them!)

kamee: i love portraits! these i just had a particular affinity for. i thought the first had a cool composition and caught them at a sweet moment and the wind in the second picked her skirt up at just the right time!

april: PERFECT PORTRAITS! like no other. not traditional but still so good and transportive.

april: progression of events here. grouped them together because they were the same scenery.

kamee: when the party starts i have to remind myself i am working. 😉 i do love the first dance, so much!! it makes me fall in love with my man and love and the couple i’m shooting all at the same time!

april: speechless.

april: look at them looking at each other. years from now, when their love has grown and deepened and they still look at each other with such significant love these images will be a testament to the beginnings of their relationship!

kamee: cake is equal to flowers. maria and mike’s was different than i had ever seen. it had a different texture to it. it looked like white glass.

april: loved the contrast of the color with the black and white image. i just really liked the post process here.

april: we know the cake is going to be cut. we know what happens after. these two images served as book ends for all of those traditional events.

kamee: there were so many choices for the final image: a portrait, dancing from the party, a final kiss, so many. we chose this because of maria’s truth: pure happiness to be a mrs.

april: i knew i wanted to end the album with this; they just looked. so. happy. so genuine.

april: it just concluded all the feelings of the day.

kamee: i loved this experience. i loved feeling what my clients feel and knowing how hard it is for them! i also loved working closely with april on this endeavor because she offered such a great opinion on what should be included. i have been so excited about seeing it all come together since we started the “project”. i hope it gives maria and mike a good idea of what to include in their album (or maybe they’ll just choose to go with the mock-up; i mean, it’s already designed. we just have to send it to press! ;))

april: for me again, first of all i love designing kamee’s albums. she captures such fantastic images, the story is so evident, the emotion, passion, love, sentiment of each day is so present that i really do feel i am there, that i have been a part of their day. i had so much fun working on this project with kamee.

we both, mutually hope, that whatever maria and mike do choose for their album will serve them with a lifetime of joyful memories of a day they made commitments to love each other forever!

from my heart and april’s too, congratulations, and much love!!

xoxo kamee and april