Annie Brophy, was a renowned Waterford photographer from the early twenties to the early eighties and she was the go-to wedding photographer of her time. My parents have exactly 12 professional images from their wedding in 1963. Twelve. I know them so well that I could almost get a sketch artist to draw them by describing them.
How come I know them so intimately? Because I have looked at the images a thousand times, because they were available, on display in a Wedding Album, at home. This album was made by a true professional – and in Annie’s case, hand made by a perfectionist – filled with professionally made and hand printed black and white images and bound in a book only available from professional photographers. It must have had some formative influence on me from an early age and certainly it fascinated my sisters and I, seeing our parents so young, our grandparents, aunts and uncles photographed with them. It’s a very simple Album, white cover with a transparent plastic sleeve, and it has stood the test of time and the wear and tear of little fingers thousands of times over the years. 50 Years.
The real problem with “USB” wedding packages
These days some couples think that a USB package is the best deal in town.
I DO believe that getting a copy of your files is great and most couples will get a couple of hundred photos from their wedding these days. That’s loads more than my parents got. Extra photos that Annie Brophy may have taken of my parents wedding probably sat in a negative box somewhere, probably still do. So I do think it’s great that today’s couples get all their photos. What’s wrong with the USB package is that it doesn’t mean that today’s couples are better off, what worries me is that they will end up having less than my parents got in 1963.
Last week the hard drive in my main computer died. No probs, we have backups. Your average home computer doesn’t. What will the computers of 2063 be like? Will they have USB ports? Or even hard-drives at all? LP records were cutting-edge technology when my folks got married. What if their wedding photos were stored on the equivalent technology, how would I see those photos today? In the intervening years, other media-storage cutting age technologies have come and gone like audio or video cassette tapes, even CD’s are almost gone out of fashion!
Guess what never goes out of fashion or becomes obsolete? Photographs. Not just any old photos. Professionally prepared and printed photographs. The kind that you might find in a dusty box in a drawer or on top of a wardrobe. They could be 50 or even 100 years old but they still look superb because way back then the pro only used high quality materials and the developing process was an art in itself. There were no machines in pharmacies or furniture stores to spit out photos with colour casts onto cheap paper with inexpensive ink. I get mad when I see people standing at these automated kiosks, whatever they’re spending, it’s too much because those prints are not worth the paper they’re printed on. They will fade and crinkle, they will not stand the test the test of time and the wear and tear of little fingers thousands of times over the years.
Your memories are surely worth so much more than that. And your wedding photos? The story of your wedding day? These aren’t snaps from your holiday or iPhone. You trusted a professional to capture your wedding story, in a way that it could last forever. Now complete the story and have them professionally prepared, finished, printed. Have him design a high quality, unique wedding album, showcasing your wedding story, because your story matters, and for you to treasure for generations.
I know that albums are expensive. With good reason. They are custom-designed books, usually hand-stitched and hand assembled and made just for you. Unique! Of all the things you spend your wedding budget on, your Wedding Photographs are the only item that will increase in value. As time goes on and the years pass, you will be glad you have them, especially if you can flip through a beautifully crafted custom designed album instead of just clicking “next” with your mouse or swiping with your finger.
Make it happen, figure out a way to afford the album. A smaller guest list or centerpiece, or a less expensive limousine you’ll only sit in for twenty minutes! But don’t just do it for yourselves, do it for your children and their children. Because when they root around in your cupboards in 2063, they’ll simply have no idea what to do with a CD or USB key!