Albums vs Shoot & Burn

This continues to be a hot topic in the wedding photography world.  Do I need an album from my photographer or should I save some dollars and just get a disc of high resolution image files (the shoot and burn option).  Here’s our take on this.  We were married way back in 2002 and we worked out a deal with our photographer to get the negatives (actual film, remember that stuff?) as part of our package in addition to an album and an 11×14 enlargement.  Being photographers and having access to great labs and even to a nice darkroom, we figured we would print anything else we wanted.  Now fast forward to 2010 and what do we have from our wedding : an album, an 11×14 enlargement and a box of negatives in storage somewhere (with no access to a darkroom anymore and film labs disappearing quickly).  The enlargement is actually on the wall in our loft and the album does get trotted out every so often. In the end, what we have from our wedding photography is what our photographer provided us.

One of the big concerns we have with shoot and burn  is that when we deliver a disc to our client will they copy the files onto their hard drive?  Will those files be migrated to their next computer?  How long will it be until the dvd we use will be only useful as a coaster?  At least we know a well made album using archival materials will last for many decades to come.  Don’t you want your grand kids to see how cool you are?  Prints last, files don’t.

Of course, many people are crafty and meticulous, so they will print and put into albums or frames or scrap books.  And that is great!  I wish more people would do that.  I guess the best way to resolve the album vs shoot and burn question is to be honest with yourself about the likelihood of actually printing your photos out.