Raise your hand if you were totally going to make a wedding album, like, two years ago and then life happened and now your wedding photos are collecting dust on a hard drive somewhere in your living room, waiting to have coffee spilled on them? Oh at least half the crowd? (It’s ok, me too.) Well then it’s your lucky day, because à la carte Albums is here to solve your problems, with album design and creation ranging from $75 to $2500.
À la carte Albums is not a one-size-fits all operation (hence the name and wide price range). Jane, the powerhouse #PinkEntrepreneur behind à la carte, doesn’t care if you’re getting a $50 album made by Blurb or if you plan on spending a few thousand dollars on a custom archival book. She just wants to help you get your digital files off your hard drive (because that ish gets corrupted y’all) and into your hands. Jane says:
I really love being able to give people a permanent reminder of important moments in their life that they will really enjoy looking at and showing to others, probably for decades. Fifty years from now, a little girl will get to giggle over Great-Auntie’s hairdo, and I will have helped make that happen.
So it is important to me to be able to serve as wide an audience as possible within the small scope that is albums; I am always on the lookout for options that are archival quality and also budget friendly, as well as exciting new book options—wood covers being the newest find—that are not always inexpensive, but are very cool. I am happy to sit down, virtually (or in-person if you are in Seattle), to guide you through the myriad options and find the best one, rather than just having a website order form for “Package 1, 2 or 3.”
Jane is so good at her job, that I actually used to outsource my own client albums to à la carte when I was a professional photographer. But where Jane works her magic most is taking your non-professional wedding photos and making them look like a million bucks. She says, “When many of my friends got married they were lucky if they even had professional photographers. I spend a lot of time with images from pictures taken by family and friends, including sometimes fixing photos from tipsy Uncle Bill that happened to be the only shot of, say, the first dance.”
You can obviously get wedding albums elsewhere online, but à la carte is the only place that offers this much variety, in both style and price:
As far as I know, I am the only person who does everything I do in one place—not just typical coffee table style album design, but also matted albums, design for albums you won’t be buying from me physically (like Blurb, or scrapbooks), image polishing and color correcting, retouching, collection editing, and even printing. I am pretty much the soup to nuts of albums.
Matted albums, in particular, which are something you don’t see all that often these days (translated, these are the old school album type your parents would have had from their wedding). Almost no photographers offer them any more, though they are slowly picking up steam as a few more companies have started making them, and in fact, they almost stopped being produced in America altogether just a few years ago. Jane, on the other hand, offers not one, but four different kinds of matted albums. She adds:
And I don’t make you choose from a set design style—you can see in the design spreads for the flush albums that it ranges from very minimalist to funky uses of patterns and colors, which is based off the client’s stated preferences and the style of their wedding.
Album Design: For design and image polishing, Jane’s fees start at $30 and go up to $600 (but ninety percent of her wedding clients are in the $200 to $300 range). This price includes the design (whether for an album Jane offers or something that will go up on Blurb, Shutterfly, etc.), revisions, full resolution copies of any updated images (typical polishing includes exposure and color correction, cropping, light retouching; though Jane has a fair number of clients who want their photos left exactly as the photographer did them as well) and print resolution copies of the layouts if desired.
Album production: For physical albums (like matted albums), the low end is $75 and the theoretical high is somewhere north of $2500, but the majority of Jane’s wedding clients choose albums at around $1000, $700, or $300. (Oh and à la carte has a standing 10% discount for APWers for… always. Because she just loves you guys.)
And in case you didn’t already love Jane just a little bit (it’s hard not to), beyond her work with à la carte, Jane has been volunteering with the CARE for Sandy (Careforsandy.org), which stands for “Cherished Albums Restoration” volunteer project, and restores damaged photos from superstorm Sandy. Jane says, “I have been doing some restorations but more ‘CARE packages’ of prints and albums for families that have enough restored images to put together in a book. Many families affected by the storm are still struggling to get back to ‘normal’ and having family photographs restored can help.”
So stop procrastinating on your album already and go check out à la carte today. And if you’re getting married this summer, maybe just go ahead and bookmark this post now. You can always thank me for it later.