How to save your wedding photos

Several weeks after your wedding, your photographer sends you an online gallery. It’s so simple! Scroll through the photos, download your favorites, they may even tell you to download the full gallery to a safe space.. but what does that mean? It’s easy for us photographers to get caught in our web of “common sense” and think everyone knows what we know about saving photos. Let’s dive in and hopefully it will be less confusing and you can rest knowing how to save your wedding photos!

How do I store my wedding photos?

Odds are, you’ve received a gallery like this one below. Different photographers have different timelines for keeping photos for clients, my galleries expire after 1 year (but are often still available after that. Just ask!). I tell all of my clients I recommend saving the full high resolution gallery onto 2 different hard drives or other physical locations. In the gallery platform that I use, you can see the options to download the full gallery in web-size or in high-res. If you plan to print your photos at any point in the future, definitely download the high res files!

How to save your wedding photos - screenshot of download selection in a wedding gallery

What should I save my wedding photos on?

If you search Amazon or a camera website for “hard drive”, you will find an overwhelming number of options. So here are a few that I have used personally and would recommend. As with any technology, it could fail in time, which is why it’s important to have two or more copies in different places!

A full wedding gallery will take up anywhere from 15GB to 30GB or beyond if you have a fun filled weekend of coverage. For a reliable hard drive, I have always used the SanDisk portable SSD. It’s rugged for when I travel, and has a secure system that’s less likely to fail. The 500GB version is more than enough space to store your full gallery, probably your video as well, and any other digital keepsakes from the day. They are usually on sale for around $60. Samsung sells a similar product here.
For the secondary backup, the one you perhaps are more likely to use, a small thumb drive is just fine. Different computers have different ports, so check to see if yours has USB-3 (the older rectangle one) or USB-C (the smaller one). I use this drive that has both options. When I shoot destination weddings, I save a copy of my images here to have on me at all times as I travel.

Where should I store my wedding photos?

My advice is to have one copy in a bank safe or wherever you keep important documents, and another copy in a safe place in your home. Having them in two physical buildings may be redundant, but even storing a copy at your family’s house is an easy way to have back ups. Most photographers keep a copy of your images for a very long time, but it’s not worth the risk if you can help it. I keep one copy of my client work at my home in a safe, and another at my office, and a third that travels with me between the two when I am working!

Ways to display wedding photos

I think that having printed photos on display is a lost art, and there are quite a few ways to implement that on any budget with any dream!

how to save your wedding photos - ordering prints

Wall art – Wall art can be anything from large canvases and frames to smaller frames and deckled art prints. A gallery wall is the obvious first thought, with a mix of sizes and orientation. Include a family photo, some portraits, one of the dog, even some detail photos of your flowers, you can choose! They don’t have to only be your smiling portraits. Or pick one or two from the wedding and leave some frames to add photos from your many adventures to come! Gallery walls can be a living breathing thing. Another option is to choose two large vertical prints or one large landscape to hang above a couch or a bed. It can be yourselves of course, but maybe a shot of your venue, of the sky, close ups of your rings or your veil. If your photographer captures weddings like I do, then there should be plenty of photos that look like works of art even apart from the wedding gallery if you aren’t one to hang large photos of yourselves. Subtle and beautiful! Ask your photographer if they offer prints, or check out the store within your gallery like the image above!

Are wedding albums worth it?

Wedding albums are another beautiful way to display your art, especially if you move often, don’t have much wall space, or want a smaller way to keep your physical photos. Typically your photographer can help you design it. While there are album design websites and book-makers, I highly recommend going through your photographer. The album printers that we use are high quality, reliable, and most of us have been using them for years! They will keep your skin tones a normal color and are designed to last for generations. The cost of a fine art wedding album from your photographer is more than a DIY option, but if you want a beautiful statement piece that will last for years and years to come, it is worth every penny.

Did I miss anything?

There are so many ways to display your wedding photos, and I hope that this was helpful for keeping your photos safe! If you have any questions about what to do with your wedding photos, don’t hesitate to send me an email. Hello@jamieprattphotos.com. Get in touch here, and I look forward to chatting!!

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