The Linen Book

In this day and age where cell phones never leave our hands, where images pass our eyes at an almost dizzying rate, where there is at least one screen exploding with imagery in just about every room of the house, it can be easy to forget that photographs are not meant to solely inhabit the virtual world. Just as they always have since the camera was first invented, photographs have the greatest impression when they surround us in the tangible world.

My linen book. Slightly smaller than a full  leather wedding album , parent books are a beautiful way to say thank-you to your parents, whether just for raising you right or for all they did to make your wedding day a beautiful success. 

My linen book. Slightly smaller than a full leather wedding album, parent books are a beautiful way to say thank-you to your parents, whether just for raising you right or for all they did to make your wedding day a beautiful success. 

Linen wedding parent album by New Jersey wedding photographer Nan Doud Photography
Clean wedding album design by Princeton New Jersey wedding photographer Nan Doud Photography

After all, photographs are meant to adhere to our memory receptors, forever binding long term memories of relatively brief moments in our lives, thus anchoring and grounding us. This is why you may hear me repeat the mantra: prints matter.

I design your photo album with both the flow of the day and aesthetics in mind. Simple. Clean. Elegant. I select from the best of your wedding day images, saving you time and allowing you to get your album in your hands quickly for you to enjoy. When doing album design themselves, many couples end up delaying the process for years... even decades.

I design your photo album with both the flow of the day and aesthetics in mind. Simple. Clean. Elegant. I select from the best of your wedding day images, saving you time and allowing you to get your album in your hands quickly for you to enjoy. When doing album design themselves, many couples end up delaying the process for years... even decades.

Understanding the emotional and even psychological impact that the tangible print has on us as we grow up and grow old hopefully gives you a glimpse into why what photographers do is such important work. Yes, it's art. But it's more than art. These are the tangible visual hooks upon which some of our strongest memories, and the memories of those who have gone before us, are hung. You might look at a portrait of your grandma and suddenly you can hear her voice, smell her kitchen and feel the softness of her skin. Or an image may contain within it an entire story that your mom told you over and over whenever you looked at the picture or asked her about it.

Images are phenomenal memory cues! And without us even knowing it, these memories become more deeply imprinted on us when we simply live in the presence of these images that adorn our walls and mantles. They are that powerful.

Luxury wedding albums New Jersey wedding photographer
Good wedding album design doesn't just consist of cramming as many pictures as possible into a finite space. Storyline and design sense, as well as technical understanding of image quality and color play important roles.

Good wedding album design doesn't just consist of cramming as many pictures as possible into a finite space. Storyline and design sense, as well as technical understanding of image quality and color play important roles.

Handmade linen photo album by Nan Doud Photography

So when you get married, it's important to not only have a digital record of the day on a disc or a hard drive somewhere. Your portraits, your album, and even the printed proofs that you can look through with your kids one day... they are important. It makes sense to invest in them. With proper care, they will outlast you and likely even your children so that generations to come will be able to treasure them as much or even more than you do.

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Print Your Snapshots! Check out this amazing photo app!

Soooo, you know how I'm always harping on how important it is to get your pictures printed? While I definitely mean that you need to invest in beautiful fine art wall art from your portrait session with Nan Doud Photography,  I also mean that you need to have your snapshots printed!

Remember photo kiosks? Brag books? Doubles anyone?! It's funny because we have more cameras per capita than ever now thanks to smart phones but we have fewer books of family snaphsots than ever too! Why is that?

It's the same reason a high percentage of "digital only" brides and grooms have yet to do anything with that disc of images in the closet? Desk? Oh shoot... Where is it now?! You see my point. The reason is that we have great intentions but life crowds in and before we know it it's been years! If you're blushing because this describes you, fear not... You are in good company! This is why I do my best to ensure that all my clients walk away with something tangible that is made to stand the test of time. But I digress!

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Friends, this printing your snapshots stuff is important for our kiddos! These things help anchor the memories like grappling hooks to their synapses and heartstrings in a way that digital images on your hard drive never could. There is nothing like getting your hands on your photos in print, whether we are talking about your wedding album or your snapshots from summer vacation. 

I spent many many hours as a child poring over my photo albums. It was my way of reaffirming my own history. It helped me remember who and where I came from. Memories that would have lived only in my parents' minds were being etched into mine. It made me wonder things about people and places and led me to ask questions of my mom and dad that I'd have never asked without the visual tangible prompts.

With that in mind, I followed my own advice this Christmas and bought each of my kids and some of my nieces these photo books from chatbooks.com.

And let me tell you, they were a huge hit! Are they archival? No. Are they super high in quality? No. These are simple one image per page books that you can create using your Instagram feed or your Facebook photos (make sure you have a print release before using any photos not taken by you, especially professional photos) in a matter of a few taps of the finger! They are perfect for the kids to thumb through. Starting at just $8 for smaller page counts, you can fill them with up to 365 pages each! Since its app based the process really couldn't be any easier.

Don't put it off any longer. You know if you do you'll never get around to it! And I must say, the creation process is rather addictive! 

Fine Art Portrait Photography

What is The Real Value of Photography?

The other day I went to an antique store with my husband and was admiring some old daguerreotype prints for sale. $75 for a little tiny wallet-sized photo of someone that no one really knows or remembers anymore. But yet there is clearly value in this tiny portrait. Who could imagine just throwing it away? Why? Because it's clear that by virtue of having been set, in this case, in metal, a certain kind of reverence for that person, that moment, that life represented, this person and hence their visage was a treasure. That captures the true essence of why I am a photographer.

I will tell you that in my early years as a mom I valued photography. I bought a quality SLR film camera after I had my first baby and I had a lot of film developed. I paid for beautiful portraits of him. But then digital photography came around, the harried pace of life with a lot of little ones took over and my other children have far fewer photos of themselves in print. A serious failing on my part! But life gets busy and overwhelming and before you know it, printing photos that old seems kind of strange (not to mention a lot of work!).... but we still feel the lack of them. The photos that I did trouble myself to order prints of are treasures because every day as I see them, my connection with that moment and that person in that time in life deepens. It accentuates our history together. It reminds me of how long I have loved these people, how dear they are to me. It's no surprise to me that studies have shown how psychologically beneficial it is to be surrounded in your home by tangible photographs of family

As an artist though, there are other reasons that I believe in delivering heirloom prints and albums. Design matters, not only with respect to my creative eye, which cannot be found anywhere else... it's unique to me, but in the caliber of people that I partner with to bring you the heirloom prints and products you are looking for. You are not paying me for the raw materials used to make a picture print, though quality most definitely matters. Just as when you go to a gourmet meal, you are not paying for the raw ingredients, but rather for the genius chef at the stove whose work it is to create something that you could not replicate on your own, a creative process and understanding of his craft that is unique to him. 

The creation process of each piece holds as much importance to the end result as the moment I frame a photo and hit that shutter release. For me to take myself out of the equation of the creative process once I have pressed the button would be a huge disservice to my clients. So seeing the whole photography process through from planning to creation to the selection process to hand delivery, is how I am able to ensure that you are getting the best that I can offer. All of those steps are not only a real service to my clients but they are integral parts of the creative process itself. I am, after all, presenting art to you. I am not providing you with a commodity or something you can recreate in a photo booth or at the mall. I am listening to you. The process, unlike a big box experience, is fluid and unique to you because we work together to create something truly beautiful to be treasured. 

Fine art photography is really all about the final product. It's about your end goal. It's not about sheer volume. After all, what is the point of hiring a skilled professional photographer if you are going to get your photos printed at Walmart or Walgreens? I believe the work I do demands better than what you can get from a big box store in terms of print quality and color accuracy, not to mention over all client experience. As the products that I deliver to you are going to express my work in greater detail and more permanently than any other medium, it is important to me that my artistic integrity is maintained by not leaving the results up to non-professionals and imprecise printing solutions with no way for me to ensure a quality result for my clients. I invest a great deal into my business and client relationships so to leave the results, for their sakes and for mine, to so many variables would be unwise. 

Just as when you reach a certain level of accomplishment in your performing arts, you invest more and more into those things and ways of showcasing it which are worthy of the level of skill achieved, so I have developed my own creativity, knowledge of photography, the printing process and client experience to a degree that demands I invest in the best representation of that skill possible.

That is what I offer to my clients. My best. It's not cheap, because my time and my work are valuable to me. Nor is it accessible to anyone who wants a photographer. But I gladly serve those who value the authenticity and bespoke nature of the creative process that is owned each step of the way by the creator as well as the provenance, uniqueness and exceptional quality of the end results which will be treasured for a lifetime.