Digitals or Albums: Should I Get the Digitals Only or Album Collection for My Wedding Photography?


I have a confession to make. Even though I’m a professional photographer, I was a die-hard “digital files only” girl until recently. In fact, that’s the reason why (as of this posting), all of my packages include the digital files and I have one package that only includes digital files, no prints or products. I completely get that a lot of couples just want the digitals so that they can keep costs down (hey, weddings are expensive!), print on their own, or create their own albums. I make sure to let my couples know in consultations that I have no problem at all with them choosing the collection with digitals files and a print release. Photographers set up different camps about how they feel about providing digital files but, from my perspective, I’ve been there and understand that’s what a lot of clients want these days.

On top of it, I was that bride. When I hired a photographer for my own wedding seven years ago, I was insistent upon a digitals only package. I didn’t know much about print quality or products at the time, and I figured I could easily print on my own. We did it to save on wedding costs and still get great-quality photography without the extra cost of prints and products. Knowing what I know now, would I still do that? 

Maybe. We had great photography at a price we could afford for our wedding day which was awesome. That being said, even though my wedding photos were important to me, it took me five years to do anything with them. Yep, five whole years I let those digital files sit without printing any of them. I posted a few to social media right after I received them, and then they sat. When I finally felt guilty enough to do something with them, I decided to make an album. And…it was as awful of an experience as I expected it to be which is why I put it off in the first place. We had 800 photos from our wedding day and, even though they were in order, I had such a hard time choosing the ones I wanted for my album. It felt like a million tiny decisions and going back and forth, back and forth, on which ones to pick. I like this one, wait, no, that other one is similar but has the bouquet in it, oh, but I like my expression in the other one better. Ugh. For some people, creating an album is fun and exciting and an amazing way to relive the day. For me, I just wanted someone to choose the best shots and highlights and put it together for me to remember. 

So, for me, I wish I would have bought the collection with the digitals and with an album. I would have had my album much sooner, I wouldn’t have had all the guilt of not touching my wedding photos for five years, and I wouldn’t have had the agony of trying to decide which photos to add to the album. However, the answer to this question isn’t the same for everyone. Some brides love the process of creating the album and look forward to making it right after the wedding excitement settles down. Other brides, like me, won’t enjoy the process as much and will prefer to just have the finished album to sit down with and smile and relive the day. 

Interestingly, I love creating albums for other brides. A photographer is there for nearly the entire wedding day and sees the important and emotional moments and has a unique perspective to create an album that the bride and groom will love. On the wedding day, I see the moments that the couple will want to remember and can create an album that they will enjoy having forever. It’s funny how different it is when it’s a client’s album versus my own.

If you’re asking yourself whether a digitals only or an album collection is right for you, think about whether you will enjoy going through all of the photos and creating the album or whether you prefer just having the album to enjoy. If you love creating albums, a digitals only collection might be a perfect fit for you. For me, I wish I had purchased the album up front for the photographer to create and for me to simply enjoy. Of course, if you still aren’t sure, I’m more than happy to help you decide which collection is best for you, or you can use the a la carte options to even create your own collection. 

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