Wedding planning usually calls for hiring professional photographers to snap your wedding photos, commemorating your big day by capturing all the special moments you’ll remember forever. But what do you do with all these photos after your wedding day? Many wedding photographers offer professional wedding albums that showcase all of your special moments, but these wedding photo albums vary greatly in cost. To help you navigate your options during the wedding planning process and ultimately make the most of your wedding photography, we’ll break down the different types of wedding albums, which ones cost more (and why), and help you determine which one is right for you.
Most wedding photographers offer wedding albums either as part of the photography package or as an additional service. These albums are typically the most expensive, but for good reason. Your photographer will create the album for you from start to finish. The time and effort needed from you and your spouse is zero, and that alone can be well worth the extra investment.
What’s more, your photographer already has all of your images and is experienced at picking the best of a bunch, so you can rest easy knowing the end result will be beautiful. When he or she is done creating it, it will arrive at your door and be the best mail day ever.
If you want to have a bit more control over what photos make it into your album and what the finished product looks like, plus don’t want to fork over the money for a professional album from your photographer, you’re in luck. Digital albums are easy to create and widely available.
Plus, because there are so many great options to choose from, they’re more affordable. Just keep in mind: Things like the material, the number of pages, and the amount of personalization will all affect the overall wedding album cost. When you’re working with hundreds of photos and beautiful options, it can add up quickly.
That said, if you’re comfortable with an online album generator and can make prudent choices when it comes to your additions, a digital album is a great option.
When shopping for digital ways to showcase your wedding photos, you will come across two overarching types: albums and photo books. So what’s the difference? While every digital creator’s albums and photobook options will vary, the main difference is the type of paper the photos are printed on.
Albums are usually created with thick paper that lays flat when opened, while photo books are created with thinner, more flexible photo paper that will open near-flat, but be separated by a binding. The thinner paper also means photo books can hold more pages than albums and are more lightweight. Albums, however, are more durable and look more substantial.
In terms of cost, albums are typically crafted with higher quality materials, which means they will be more expensive—even three to four times that of photo books.
If creating an album with your hands rather than a mouse and keyboard is important or exciting to you, you may want to go with a more traditional album complete with photo sheets or even craft a wedding scrapbook for your wedding photos.
The cost of the actual album will depend on the materials you choose and whether or not you opt for a custom cover. While it may sound like the cost-effective option, scrapbooks can be just as expensive as digitally created wedding albums once you add up the cost of photo prints and the additional materials—fancy markers, paper, and other embellishments—you’ll need to dress it up.
Having a wedding album doesn’t mean you're chained to a physical book. Given the age we live in, it’s not surprising that tech-based wedding albums are available. You can use digital frames to show off a slideshow of your best wedding images or even create an actual album complete with collages and captions that can be scanned digitally. This modern wedding book alternative starts at about $200.
When you’re planning and designing your wedding photo album, it’s important to understand what factors impact the wedding album cost. These choices can increase—or decrease—how much you have to pay, and include the album cover materials, photo covers, cover options, number of pages, size, and album design.
Let’s take a look at some of the key elements that will impact your wedding album’s price tag:
From the pages, to the binding, to the cover, there are a lot of materials that go into the making of a professional quality wedding album. And the more expensive the materials (such as a leather cover), the more expensive the album. For instance, standard photo paper will cost less than satin finished paper, and thinner paper will cost less than thick pages. Adding finishing touches, such as rounded edges and foil text, will also increase the cost of the pages.
The number of pages will impact the overall wedding album cost as well. An additional photo spread could run as little as $2 (or as much as $50—or higher!), so if you need 20 additional spreads, the cost will add up.
In order to keep the cost of your wedding album under control (as well as make sure you can get the design finished quickly), count how many photos you want to include before you select your album style, and consider how you want them to be laid out. You will need more pages if you want to only feature one photo per page; fewer pages if you feature more photos per page. If you consider your preferred images and layouts ahead of time, you will be able to compare prices and select the album style that suits the number of pages you need that also fits within your budget.
It’s intuitive, but the bigger the album, the bigger the budget needs to be. If you want a large wedding album (think: 8x11, 10x10, 12x12, or 11x14) be prepared to pay more for it. Bigger albums require more materials and higher-resolution images as well, so make sure you upload the right quality photos and pay attention to the image and text size throughout. However, they also leave room for more photos on each page, so you could potentially need fewer pages total.
How you design your wedding album plays a significant role in determining your wedding album cost. Simple or DIY designs can help keep costs low, while investing in a professionally designed album can ramp up the price. It’s all a matter of preference. While some couples prefer to invest in a professional to choose and layout their photos, others enjoy the process of creating the album from scratch. Plus, a DIY design can make your album feel more personalized and uniquely you—all while keeping costs low. (For example, Zola allows you to customize your own wedding album starting at just $149.)
A keepsake box is a beautiful way to store your wedding album and keep it safe from harmful elements such as light and liquid. It can be made of wood or fabric and engraved or embossed to be more personal. If you want to store your wedding album in a box, a lot of sites offer the option, but it comes at an additional expense, as does its personalization.
If you think you’ll see the end of wedding expenses when the day is done, think again. Album pricing and wedding album cost can be a tough pill to swallow, especially after you’ve just spent a significant amount of money on your wedding, but it’s a necessary check to write if you want a special keepsake for your beautiful photos.
Exactly how much you should budget really depends on the type of wedding album you want and the size and materials of that album. Lower quality photo books can cost anywhere from $25 to $75, while higher quality photo albums may run anywhere from $150 to $1,000 (with some professional photographers charging upwards of $3,000 to $5,000, depending on what you want).
As a sweet spot, we suggest budgeting $150 to $350 for a nice, high-quality wedding album. While you can get a bare-bones wedding photo book for under $50, we wouldn’t suggest it. This is your wedding album we’re talking about. It will likely live on your coffee table and may even be passed down to your children and your children’s children later.
This Zola Classic Wedding Album is a budget-friendly layflat wedding album featuring thick, high-quality paper for a professional look and feel. With a linen cover to tie it all together, this is a traditional wedding photo album that gives you the chance to look back on your favorite wedding day memories with all the timelessness and durability you’d expect to find in a more expensive photo book.
Zola, $149 to $599
This Zola Premier Wedding Photo Album comes in your choice of linen or vegan leather covers, with thick, professional-quality semi-matte or soft-gloss paper that brings your wedding photos to life. Each photo album comes with a minimum of 20 pages, with the option to choose up to 70 pages to tell the full story of your wedding day. And with a gorgeous layflat design, this is a photo album that’s sure to remain a family keepsake for years (and generations!) to come.
Zola, $199 to $724
This Zola Deluxe Wedding Album is a layflat design that blends traditional and luxury, with a refined or premium Italian leather cover available in a variety of colors. With a free custom foil on the cover and your choice of 20 to 70 high-quality pages, this wedding album provides a lasting keepsake to capture and store your wedding day memories.
Zola, $329 to $774
The PRINTWORKS Story of Love Coffee Table Wedding Album is a budget-friendly DIY alternative to more expensive options. This extra-large wedding album includes 30 pages of creme high-quality photo paper (and the option to add up to 10 more), with cotton textiles and foiled text, with enough space on each page to add a special note. (Unlike printed photo books, with this option you’ll need to add physical prints of your wedding photos to the album.)
This Graphic Image Personalized Leather Photo Album gives newlyweds the opportunity to put together a classic wedding album with a full-grain leather cover and durable, heavyweight pages. Each album includes 18 pages, holding up to 72 (for the medium size) or 108 (for the large size) 4” x 6” prints.
Graphic Image, $129.99 to $170.99
An oft-overlooked part of your wedding planning is deciding how to commemorate and immortalize the big day—and part of that is deciding how best to save, store, and enjoy your wedding photos. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly DIY photo book or expect your wedding photographer to cover the album design and layout, Zola has you covered with wedding photo albums for every preference and budget. Take a look and snag your perfect wedding album today!