Derek Halkett Photography | Wedding Albums Explained

Wedding Albums Explained

July 10, 2012  •  Leave a Comment




When you’re shopping for wedding photography packages, you want to understand what you’re buying.  Picking out a wedding album can quickly become overwhelming and the amount of options available now seem to be endless.  Wading through the sea of options, it is important that you understand the basic types of albums and how each album presents in terms of layout and overall physical appearance.  Picking colors, finish materials and overall size and amount of pages are secondary to the choice of what style of album you are looking for. 

If you’re not familiar with photography terminology, things can be difficult. In this article I have attempted to cover a few popular album options and explain how they differ from one another:

Album: An album is an heirloom-class presentation format suitable for displaying and preserving photos from weddings and special events. Albums are distinguished from other photo keepsakes by their thick, sturdy pages (called “album-style pages”) , which are professionally bound inside an elegant cover. Unfortunately, not all albums are the same in terms of quality and workmanship. Page thickness, page count, binding options and cover choice affect the final album cost, so if a package you’re considering claims to include a professional-quality album, be sure to verify that it will meet your expectations.


Flush Mount albums have thick, sturdy pages and a digital layout that is mounted directly onto the page.  Notice how hinged pages lay very flat instead of bowing up. Images can run nearly seamlessly across the album spine.

Flush Mount Album: Flush mount albums (also called “Magazine Style Albums” and “Digital Style Albums”) are a high-quality album option that is currently very popular. Flush mount albums have an elegant, sturdy cover and pages onto which prints are directly mounted, with no matting. This format makes it possible to create layouts similar to what you’d find in a magazine or fine-art photography book, and also allows the album designer to push images “flush” up against the edge of each page. Seamless two page spreads are an option when hinged pages are used. Cover materials can include, but are not limited to, leather, synthetic leather, acrylic, metal or wood.


Matted albums are considered more traditional and are also less popular.

Matted Album: The traditional matted album is well known to most customers, although the format’s popularity is waning. This very traditional album style includes an elegant cover and thick, sturdy pages with integrated matting surrounding archive-quality prints. Matted albums are expensive to produce and limit the number of photographs that can be incorporated.

Photo Books have pages that vary in thickness from as thin as a magazine page to as thick as a print.  Less expensive photo books like this one do not include hinged pages. The part of the page nearest the spine is more difficult to see.

Photo Book: A photo book (also called a “Coffee Table Book”) is a very common package include that is much more cost-effective than a full album. Photo books are much like the books of photography that you can buy at your local bookstore. Cover materials vary, but photo books usually feature a printed photo cover on glossy paper, a square binding and a limited number of thin pages. Page layouts for photo books are similar to those of flush mount albums. With photo books, one of the most important quality considerations is the thickness of the pages. While all photo book pages are thin, some are thinner than others. The best photo books (such as the ones Iconica Photography offers) feature pages that are the thickness of a print, and hinged so that the pages lay flat when the book is opened. A lower-quality photo book will have pages only slightly thicker than magazine pages, and if they are not hinged, the pages will bow up when the book is opened flat as on a table.

Sign-in Book: This is a small book, usually composed of images from an engagement shoot. There are many design possibilities, but typical designs feature one or two images on the left page, and either a blank page or lined page on the right for guests to sign. Cover and page materials and quality vary widely.  Some choose a large print with an even larger matted area utilized for signing by quests during the reception.  

Engagement Book: This is usually just another name for a sign-in book, but it can also be a book that is simply comprised of layouts from a couple’s engagement photo shoot. Engagement books are often smaller than wedding albums or photo books, but can resemble either in page and cover options.

Layouts for albums or books spread across two pages.


A two-page spread is what you would see when opening the album and looking at two pages.




Asuka NeoClassic Flush Mount Book


Example of a Neoclassic Flush Mount Book from Asuka Books.  Album comes in a photo wrapped presentation box and DVD with all of the selected wedding photographs 


Zook Binder Lustre Book

The Lustre Book from Zook Binders is another great option and offers lay flat pages with high resolution prints embedded into the page surface.  These books are highly customizable and are an affordable option.  


Leather Craftsman 7500 Signature Series

The most expensive of the offerings at Halkett Photography, but definitely some of the finest leather and finishes available in wedding albums.  There are endless colors of leather, suede and other materials when choosing an album with Leather Craftsman.


More helpful album design terms…

Layouts: A layout is a digitally-created montage of photographs, image textures, graphics and text. Layouts are an album printer’s raw materials; each one is a work of art that can be included in albums, photo books, and even prints.

Pages: Honest photography companies will use the term “pages” to refer to the actual number of bound pages in an album or photo book. For example, when you go to turn the page, the thing that you’re holding in your hand is the page. Some companies misleadingly use the term “pages” to refer to individual page “sides.” The only sure way to find out what photographers mean by “pages” is to ask.

Sides: This refers to each side of a page, so if an album has 10 pages, it has 20 sides. Many companies will use the terms pages and sides interchangeably, deceiving clients into thinking they are getting a better deal than they are. For example, some companies’ photography packages will claim to include albums with 20 pages, while actually offering only 10 pages with 20 sides. It is difficult to add ten additional pages to an album without significantly increasing the album’s cost.

Spread: This refers to two adjoining pages of an album or book when the album or book is opened. The term is often casually used to refer to layouts that extend seamlessly across the two pages.

Halkett Photography Album Offerings:

Please take some time to explore each respective album company’s website.  Explore the different styles of albums, finish options, sizes and layouts.  The websites are very informative and should help you narrow your decision.  If you have questions about the options or available selections, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.  I hope that this article has been helpful!

Asuka Books


Leather Craftsman


Derek Halkett

Halkett Photography 


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