How to Select Portraits for Your Heirloom Wedding Album

Designing Heirloom Wedding Albums is one of my favorite parts of being a wedding photographer. Growing up, I loved to look back at my grandparent’s and parent’s wedding photos with them. I especially loved flipping through the photos of my grandparents’ wedding with my grandma as she would share the story of their wedding day with me. She lights up every time she shares this story with me, even the not-so-perfect moments of their day like how a guest had parked their car in front of the back exit blocking the caterer from entering the venue, or how my grandpa refused to wear his tie after the ceremony was over. Seeing the photos from their day and listening to her share their story gives me a glimpse into how their relationship started, it’s a part of their legacy that they share with me, and I love it. Whenever I design an heirloom album with my couples, I imagine them looking back at it 10,20, even 50 years after their wedding day, and sharing their legacy with their loved ones.

I work with all of my couples to help create an Heirloom Album that shares their story. I invite couples to select specific images they would like to include in their album during the design process. The albums I offer in my collections are 8×8 albums with 20 pages (or ten spreads) with the option to add additional spreads up to 40 spreads (or 80 pages) max. Each page can typically fit about 1-3 photos, which means that albums can hold anywhere from about 30 – 120 images. I ask my couples to select a minimum of 30 images they would like to include in their album and a max of 120. Most of the complete wedding galleries I deliver have about 400-800 images depending on the details of their day and the amount of coverage they chose. Choosing 30-120 images from your gallery of 800 can be tricky!! I advise my couples to follow a few simple guidelines when making their album image selections:

First Decide How What You Want Your Album to Share
I encourage my couples to think of their albums as a way for them to relive and share the story of their wedding day. The more portraits they chose to include in their album, the more of the story they can share and relive. Albums with fewer images read more like a highlight reel of your day, while an album with 120 images can cover your story from start to finish. When I invite my couples to select their images, I suggest they use the following guidelines:

30-40 Images – Highlight Reel/Preview
40-75 Images – Abridged Version of Your Wedding Day
75-120 Images – Full Wedding Day Story

If you’re having trouble narrowing down the portraits you want to include in your day, you can always invest in two heirloom wedding albums and break them into volumes (Vol. I, Vol. II., etc.). This option is the best option for couples who had longer wedding days and still want their albums to share their full wedding story.

Ask Yourself, “What Images Will Matter the Most to You 25 Years From Now?”
This question will help you narrow down which photos will make it into your album. Some photographs just connect with us more than others. When you flip through your album years from now, what will you want to see? Some couples choose to include more photos of just the two of them in their albums, while others prefer to include all their formal family portraits. Ask yourselves what matters more to you.

Tell Your Story
Flipping through your album, you’ll want it to feel like you are following along with the overall flow of your wedding day. Select images from every part of your wedding day to help your album capture your story. A good rule of thumb is to choose about five photos from each part of your wedding day. Most couples choose photos from the following wedding day celebrations:

-Bridal Prep
-Groom Prep
-First Look
-Family Formal Portraits
-Wedding Formal Portraits
-Reception (Dances, Toasts, Cake Cutting, Misc. Traditions)
-Sunset Portraits
-Formal Exit

The Best of The Best
Your wedding gallery will have images of the same moments taken from different angles, and similar photographs were taken moments apart. For photos like this, you should be choosing the best of the best. You don’t want to take up space in your album with similar images.

Group Shots
One of the best ways to save space in your wedding album is to utilize group shots. You could include individual photos of you with each of your bridesmaids, or you could include one group photo with everyone together.

Can’t Decide?
You also have the option to print your images! The portraits that didn’t make it into the album don’t have to stay on your hard drive; you can print them! You can display it in your home either in a folio box or a glass portrait display box! Either way, just because a photo didn’t make it into your album doesn’t mean you can’t display it in your home in other ways!!

If you have any questions on designing your album, or want to get started you can email me directly at



Fueled by equal parts caffeine and passion, I spend my days capturing the kinds of images that make you stop, smile and ask time to please slow down. Your story, your love, is beautiful and I can’t wait to capture it in images you will treasure for years to come.

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