telling a wedding story

Mary Dougherty

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ABOUT mary

I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories

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The last albums from 2012 weddings are being finalized and sent out for production. It’s one of the last things on my list to finish before I slip off to maternity leave, and at times I feel like I’m racing against the clock… while blindfolded… with a weight vest on. Okay it’s not that dramatic. Yet.

When I design a wedding album I pull 100-150 images to tell the best story of the day. The way those images are arranged and positioned are what allows me to paint a picture of the wedding, and making those decisions are one of the hardest parts of designing an album. Overall my philosophy for wedding albums is to keep the layout simple and clean, and I don’t ever include overlays, backgrounds, or additional elements for that reason. I’ve used InDesign from the beginning to layout for my albums, because it is the best and most flexible layout software. Of course, that is probably a biased opinion from my days as a graphic designer.

Typically to start an album I begin by opening up a previous layout and working off of that. This year however, I decided to simplify the process (I let you know later if it really is simpler) and create an album template that included all of the layouts I use. So, when I open up the album template this is what the document looks like:

There are anywhere from 15-25 pages in most albums, so through the pages panel on the right I add or subtract the number needed. I added each of my layouts in a different layer of this document, and gave them some short hand names for reference. You can see the variety of layers in the image below, and here there are multiple layers visible at the same time :

Since the layers control the whole document, and not individual pages, what I do is search through the layers until I find the layout that I want, and copy it to my base layer – or the one live layer that will contain the complete album design. This is the way I build individual pages and simultaneous have all of the layouts at my fingertips.

At the same time, I’ll be viewing the set of wedding images in adobe bridge or photo mechanic to get a sense of what pictures I have to work with. I enjoy balancing out the pages so that there is enough white space to let images breath and enough images to showcase the details and emotion of the day.

In the end each album should read like a story. A book that is easily turned page by page, and one that contains not just images but memories.

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