I'll comment partly from my own consumer experience and partly from my photographer POV...
- In '95 we had a great husband+wife pro photography team do our wedding and they rocked! And we have a nice hard page album that is a soft leather-like bound album. It's great. So I think the album is important and desirable if it's done well.
- A lot of Brides are impressed by little details.
- Today, it seems like it is so easy (and cost effective) to have a great album produced by a good service company that I can't imagine investing the amount of work that is required to build one from scratch from a photo printer. My bigger concern is...
- YOU are on the hook for supporting/fixing the album if anything goes wrong down the line, a picture fades, the binding fails, something comes apart, etc.
- The recipient won't appreciate the work or the quality compared to an album that was outsourced. Even worse, they think that a friend's outsourced album is better.
Dustin, I really like you, your work and your dedication to photography. It is truly your passion. While I'm not a professional, I have a hard time seeing the payback for you in doing albums yourself from scratch. But it's your baby and only you can determine if an outsourced album will measure up. The only way to know is to get some outsourced album samples done up with your photos and compare them to yours and see what you (and your clients) can live with.
Good luck!! Please let us know what you decide and what albums you think are best.