So your wedding photographs have been delivered to you on a USB or a DVD, so what do you do with them now?
The first thing to do (as in right this second if you haven’t already done so) is to make back ups of your images. So at least copy them to your computer. There are lots of free cloud based options where you can save them. But be careful of free cloud backups as they are only reliable as long as the company providing the service keeps going. No business can really run for free. As like most things in life, you get what you pay for.
Your wedding photographer has probably already told you, but if not, you need to know the following four things:
- What colour space are my wedding photographs set to?
- What file extension are they?
- How big are they in inches or centimetres on the longest side?
- What dpi is the image set at?
You want the answers to be:
- Tells you how large you can print your photographs.
- The industry standard for printing is 300 dpi (you could write a book about this).
If your images are set to this, you can take your digital files to any printing lab or booth and be able to get prints.
Most cameras shoot images at a ratio of 3 to 2. So images could be set to 12 inches by 8 inches. Some cameras have a 4 to 3 aspect ratio. So an image taken on one of these cameras set to 12 inches on the longest side would actually be 12 inches by 9 inches.
It’s an important piece of information to know for the following reason.
There’s a golden rule you need to aware of (but like all rules it can be broken, at least a little) and it’s this:.
You can always print smaller than the maximum size of your files but you can’t print much larger without losing image quality.
So if you’ve a photograph that’s 12 inches by 8 inches, it’ll print at 9 inches x 6 inches or 6 inches by 4 inches perfectly.
But try and print that same file at 30 inches by 20 inches and it won’t look so great.
If you want to print at 10 inches by 8 inches (a popular common size) you’ll have to crop to an aspect ration of 5 to 4.
So Where Do I Get My Wedding Photographs Printed
You might be tempted to take your photographs and get them printed on the high street. In my experience this is the worst possible place you could choose to get you wedding photographs printed. The person behind the counter will likely know nothing about the machine they’re using. I went into a high street store once offering printing and asked the assistant some very basic questions about the process. They were unable to answer any of them. If they have a problem with the machine they have a number to call to get help. They switch the machine on, they switch it off and replace the ink. That’s it. You may have noticed that the bigger machines for printing have mostly gone and its now a question of sitting at a booth with a screen. Even worse. As I said at the start, you get what you pay for.
The choice is very much yours to make. You have the digital files, if you get a problem you can just re print them whenever or wherever you want. That’s the beauty of having the digital files.
Top tip, your wedding photographs will look better the bigger they’re printed.
I recommend the following two online printing labs (I’m not connected to them in anyway) to get your photographs printed at:
Now you’ll have to decide which finish you’d like your print.
The professionals choice is lustre. These types of prints are more robust and resistant to fingerprints. You can also order canvas, acrylics or aluminium print panels. The choice is endless.
A quick look on the internet will reveal lots of places where you can create and design your own wedding books/albums. Not all photo books are created equal and I’ll again remind you, you get what you pay for.
Are Photo Books a Good Alternative to a Professional Wedding Album
They’re an alternative, but they can’t match the quality and workmanship of a quality handmade wedding album. Some of my sample albums I can’t lift with one hand. They’re heavy. They’re made for longevity and come with a lifetime guarantee against faults and defects. A photo book won’t.
As a photographer, if it means you can see your images in print, I would rather they were in a photo book than sat on a USB in a drawer.
How I Supply Wedding Photographs to Couples
So as a totally shameless plug, I’ll explain how I supply my wedding photographs to couples.
I’ll send you your USB with three folders on it marked:
- 12 x 8 for making prints.
- High definition for watching on HD television.
- Low resolution for internet and social media use.
In the 12 x 8 folder are all the images from your online gallery set to 12 inches by 8 inches in the sRGB colour space, as jpgs at 300 dpi. I send images at this size as most people rarely print larger than this. If I send anything bigger, the file size in megabytes gets huge. So to save in upload time I keep them to 12 x 8.
If you want larger prints, all you need to do is email me the details and tell me what you want. I’ll then email or upload a file, or files for you to download at the correct size and perfectly sharpened. So if you want to make a 30 inch x 20 inch canvas you can.
In the high definition folder I place all the images from your wedding gallery set at 1080 pixels in hieghy. You can then view these on your television from your USB.
In the low resolution folder will be all your images set in lower resolution that you can email or use on social media.
Copyright – Who Owns It?
This seems like a good place to talk about this thorny subject. It’s actually quite straight forward. Most (all the professional photographers I know at least) retain the copyright to their images. It’s standard practise. I need the copyright so I can publish photographs on my site. With no photographs to show who would hire me?
So what does that mean for you?
It means you can’t sell your wedding photographs to either Hello or OK magazine (or anyone else) and you can’t give them away to anyone to use commercially. If you can’t live without owning the copyright to your photographs most photographers will sell you the copyright. This is something media celebrities would be interested in.
So if your wedding florist asks you to send some pictures of the wedding flowers, you need let them know to contact the photographer. Many/most photographers will allow their use, but will ask for a link back to their website. Wedding suppliers like to support each other when they can.
From my perspective, you can make unlimited prints and create your own photo books.
We photographers know you make copies of your USB or DVD to give to parents and grand parents etc. We know you email your friends the digital files so they can make prints of their daughter looking lovely in their bridesmaid dress. We (or at least I) turn a blind eye to all that. It’s the digital age. Being mean isn’t good for business.
Just don’t sell them or give them to other vendors for use in their business and you’ll be fine.
If this was helpful, discover how to get the best wedding confetti photographs.
Updated: 21 June 2018