à la carte Albums: DIY-ish Wedding Albums

The ladies of the internet have a problem. That is, many of us pay a whole lot of money for beautiful wedding pictures (or spend a whole lot of effort DIYing our wedding pictures), and then never print a damn thing out. We leave the beautiful photo files on our hard drives to get corrupted or get erased because we’re too overwhelmed to figure out what to do with them. Raise your hand if you’re guilty. Oh wait, was that HALF of you? Yup, I thought so. Hence, the existence of the excellent à la carte Albums.

Into this void steps Jane, the powerhouse behind à la carte Albums, which is now better than ever. For those of you who don’t remember à la carte Albums, let me remind you. Jane works to design albums with you, in a variety of styles, with prices generally ranging from $250 to $1200 (though you can go lower or higher if you’re really resourceful). Unlike photographers, this is all she does, and she loves it. She offers you lots of options, works with DIY photos, and generally makes your album the best it can be. In fact, she’s so good at what she does, many APW Photographers are now using her to design all of their albums. She says, “I usually spend a lot of time in the initial consultations discussing how to get the look and feel people want in the budget they are comfortable with; I don’t want anyone feeling regret when they look at their wedding album about how much they paid for it. While the more luxurious options are fabulous, I’m not going to push them at people who don’t have the budget for them; I don’t upsell. I strive for every album to be a reflection of the client; I want their personality to be on the page, not mine.”

But! It’s just gotten even better. Jane says, “Some people just need a little help, not the whole thing done for them. So I am taking à la carte to its logical conclusion and offering DIY assistance.” Which is awesome, you guys. Her new services will help make album-making less overwhelming, even if you’re determined to do it mostly by yourself. Here is what she’s offering:

If you are putting your book together yourself but need a little help with a few parts here and there:

  • Collection Editing. Using an experienced editorial eye to narrow your collection of too many images down to a narrative that both tells your whole story and fits into a book of reasonable size. This is a collaborative process, ensuring the most important images stay in, even if they aren’t the “prettiest” or most technically perfect. ($.15/image submitted)
  • Image Editing Color Correction, black and white conversions, fixing over/underexposure, and general image polishing. ($.50/image)
  • Retouching /Restoration. Including fixing damaged photos, adding or subtracting people/things (a.k.a. when Grandma missed the group shot but the trash can didn’t), wardrobe malfunction fixing, and cosmetic retouching. Quoted by job
  • Just Design. When you need help with a few pages, not the whole book. Like when there are images that don’t play nice with templates, or too complicated (i.e. 12+ image detail/reception) spreads, or you want text laid in with more control. Also, if you need your design reformatted for a different bookmaker. ($6/page design, conversions quoted by job)
  • Specialized Printing. When you need access to unusual surfaces/sizes/etc, i.e. archival prints on fine art paper to match your handmade book, prints on metal or acrylic for special covers, etc. Quoted by job
  • Problem Solving. Assistance that doesn’t fit into the above categories.

There is a $25 minimum on your total order. There is a 10% discount for APWers.

Let me translate that for you: no matter what problem you are having building your wedding album, à la carte Albums can help you for an affordable price. Or they can just solve the problem entirely by taking the project off your hands and doing it (which is what I’d pick, frankly).

Plus, Jane loves you guys. She told me, “Do APWers tend to book the high-end, luxurious with all-the-trimmings, over the top albums? Not usually, no. Are they down to earth, know what’s important to them in memorializing their wedding day, and send me images of thoughtful, fun, wonderful days that are a joy to immerse myself in? Hell yeah. A big part of going into business for myself was to work doing something I actually enjoy, and my APW clients really contribute to that. So I selfishly want to work with more APWers.” Which sounds perfect to me.

So stop worrying about the fact that you haven’t made your wedding album yet, and go get in touch with à la carte Albums. You can send me a little thank you note when you get your beautiful album in the mail. Because yes, it will feel that good.

Photos: All images from APWer albums. Excellent, right?
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  • amy

    Yes, I am having this problem. Yes, this looks like an amazing solution. Yes, that is also my wedding date embossed on the cover of that photo album. MEANT TO BE!

  • I will be working with Jane on all of my future albums because she is amazing and clearly has super human powers when it comes to sourcing the right wedding albums ANYWHERE.. She is nice, funny, awesome, talented, and someone that I want to be friends with – you know all of the qualities that I’ve come to expect from a Wedding Elf – she has them in spades. Hooray for á le carte Albums!

    • Aw, you’re going to give me a swelled head. :) Thank you.

  • I will definitely keep this in mind! I grew up with my parents’ wedding album on display in our living room. I used to love looking through it and can’t imagine not having a wedding album of my own. We just booked our photographer, but didn’t want to pay the exorbitant fee for an album (even though they were beautiful). Yay for practical wedding albums!

  • Yes yes yes! Print your wedding photos!

  • Manya

    We are currently in the process of working with Jane right now, and we LOVE her! She has: Given me a chin, where I had none… given Brian hair, where he had… (a solar panel for brain power?), made our pictures look GREAT, and made us so excited to see our final book! I have tortured her with detailing, and she’s ok with that. So DO IT–Jane is AWESOME!

  • I may or may not be one of the brides above (cough, cough I am), but I certainly am someone that asked Jane to turn our DIY wedding photos into wedding album perfection. And she did.

    She is wonderful and her work is wonderful and now our wedding photo memories are wonderful. I highly recommend her!

  • Whoa! Maybe now I can re-tackle the 2+ year old “design & print wedding album” off my to-do list? I love the idea of a la carte! I want to be fully engaged in the project, but going through all the (hundreds of) images has been too overwhelming to tackle.

    I’ll definitely be looking at this come the new year. Thanks!

  • Erin

    I have to say that out of all of APW’s truly amazing, fantastic, and magical Wedding Elves, I have been most excited about/looking forward to working with Jane of a la Carte Albums. I had just booked my photographer (ya know, from 3,000 miles away in California based on a gut feeling and hours of reading internet reviews) when Jane was first introduced on APW. And I was so excited as I just knew there must be a better way to get an album than upgrading to some overpriced photography package! Don’t get me wrong, I certainly support my photographer’s work and love that she is a smart, sassy business lady doing things her way. But, most private photographers are amazing at taking the photos but then have to upcharge a ton to put them into some beautiful album creation because of the time and resources on top of all their other shoots, etc. (my photographer’s albums START at $800 and up). And then enters Jane and a la Carte. Who totally gets that some of us want something that is beautiful but will also accessible for, and stand up to, our future kids hands grabbing them off the shelf or being passed around when we host our first Thanksgiving dinner; because let’s face it, this APW generation does not want a tissue paper wrapped album to sit on the top shelf in our closet only to be looked at every 10 years! And who totally gets that most of us want to be all stubborn and DIY but who sometimes need a little help (even if we HATE asking for it…but ya know, thank you in advance because I’ll totally need it). Thank you Jane for offering such beautiful but varied options for ALL of us. I can NOT wait to have your artistic eye and insight when putting together our albums next year. Yay for smart, independent, and awesome business ladies! : )

    • Oh my gosh, you just totally made my day. :) I am so looking forward to working with you!

      I love APW. You guys not only make my crazy little business possible, but really fun.

  • Jane, I love that you make a living doing this. Just another bit of proof that we can make whatever we want work, if we send it out into the world.

    My project is headed your way once I wrap my head around it! :)

  • Emily

    Are wedding albums supposed to be fancier than just a ton of 4×6 photos inserted into a storebought photo album? Eep! I hadn’t even realized!

    Thanks though, even though my standards may be lower than normal I can definitely see wanting help with, say, editing and printing friends’ underexposed but fun photos to put next to more expert but less candid shots. That is the kind of thing professional photographers do not do!

    • Wedding albums are supposed to be whatever *you* want, and if 4x6s in a regular photo album make you happy, do it! I mean, I love what I do, but I think fancy wedding albums are exactly as *required* as, oh, separate dresses for the ceremony and reception.

      Just please, print the pictures, because digital files are not really forever.

  • Yep, it is indeed a good reference for as beginners. Love the article and the photos.