Today I want to talk about an interesting challenge in wedding album design – the incomplete set of photos. In this case, the bride (Kelly) had come down with stomach flu at the start of the reception … nightmare! So she was consequently missing from most of the night’s photos. She had only three “bride and groom” shots, since they were planning to get more later on. The situation was obviously very disappointing. Kelly said she could hardly even look at the photos for the first year after the wedding.
But in time, she came to terms with events and even grew to love her photos. She wanted to create something beautiful with them, and turned to me. I was honored to be chosen for this task! But also slightly nervous. How could I tell an emotional story that captured their day without bringing to mind the heartache all over again?
First and simplest, I had to tackle the lack of post-ceremony bride & groom photos. Usually these spreads are some of the most fun in an album, and I didn’t want anything to feel shortchanged. In this case, I created a combined spread for “end of ceremony” and “post ceremony” photos, and focused on family portraits for the latter.
For solo B&G, I kept things to a single spread. I used an entire page for the best photo, wanting to give the impression that the photos were just SO GOOD, there wasn’t room for any more. This photo was so amazing, it needed all 24 square inches to itself 🙂 The second and third photo were extremely similar, and would look too repetitive if I included both full images. I ended up creating a faux “cut-out” frame to include the part of the second image that was actually new (his hand holding her chin).
I usually use a B&G portrait for the cover of the album, but I wanted to avoid repetition here as well. Kelly and Adam had an absolutely gorgeous shot of their rings that had perfect “negative space” for a book title and date, so I used that on the front cover instead. For the back cover, I zoomed in on the same portrait from before, but added a soft white wispy overlay and matting, to make it feel very dreamy and different from the stronger version used later.
Now the hard part … Kelly’s absence from the reception. She never got the chance to take any cake-cutting pictures, toss a bouquet, a garter, or any of a dozen photographic “moments” she had been looking forward to. Luckily, she was there for their first dance, and a father-daughter dance, so those spreads were unaffected. But after that, I had a total of five and a half photos of Kelly to last the second half of the album! (The “half” was her wedding dress peeking out from behind someone on the dance floor).
The fact that the photos were mostly dancing shots actually helped hide Kelly’s absence. I was able to spread her 6 appearances out across 8 spreads and create the impression that she was there all night. There weren’t many specific “activities” that she was missing from. I would simply emphasize the Kelly photo on each spread and use the remaining photos around it as though it were planned.
There was one sweet photo of Kelly and Adam dancing that seemed a little softer and slower than the rest of the wilder dancing shots. I used that one as the last dancing photo, trying to give the impression that they were a little tired at the end of their amazing evening.
In the end, I believe the average reader would be unable to tell that this wedding was any different than usual. I hope so, anyway! This is the wedding I featured in last week’s blog post – did it feel unusual to you? I believe photo books should tell a story that captures the spirit of the event. You might say this one was a little misleading, in the sense that the photos are not chronological, but I think the most important part is to remain true to the heart of the wedding. This is the night that Kelly and Adam want to remember.