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Allen Ross Photography; Custom designed digital albums and photo gift registries latest trends

Custom designed magazine style digital photo books are becoming a popular way to personalize wedding albums. Allen Ross Photography's staff designed this album for Dustin and Chelsea Harper. Submitted photo by Allen Ross

Brian Grove and Dean Knutson, co-owners of Allen Ross Photography, located at 1291 13th Ave. E., in West Fargo, were first introduced to the concept of custom designed magazine style digital wedding albums a couple of years ago while attending a professional photographer's convention. They took one look at the elegant, high quality albums displayed by an Italian publishing company and fell in love with the concept. They came back to West Fargo already making plans to make the trendsetting albums available to their customers.

Also known as coffee table wedding photo books, the albums have become a popular request. The staff at Allen Ross Photography has expanded to include a team of three designers who work with customers to customize and design album pages that are as unique as each wedding couple. The completed page layouts are sent to Italy where the designs are made into pages and bound into books to become beautiful keepsakes.

The albums can be purchased individually, in a deluxe size of 10 inches wide by 13 inches tall, or in a package, including the 10x13 size, plus two 6x8 inch albums, and eight pocket size books. The pocket sized albums have become popular as gifts for the wedding party, parents, or grandparents after the wedding, or as cherished gifts to treasure at Christmastime.

Albums come with heavy acrylic, aluminum, or padded simulated leather covers, featuring top quality professional lamination, printing, and binding. Album pages are durable for lasting quality, with a sleek design that shows off photographs to their best advantage.

"Your pictures are the only thing after the wedding that increase in value as time goes on," Knutson said. "Digital has really changed the market. Couples can decide to have their albums made right away after the wedding, or they can wait a year to spread the cost out a little."

Grove and Knutson often find themselves filling many roles on the day of a wedding.

"We're the only professional service that is with the family before, during, and after the wedding," Grove said. "The people who bring the cake come and leave, but we're there through it all."

They have sometimes ended up helping pin corsages on, or giving advice which side the flowers go on, they've filled in as ushers, reminded the wedding party where to stand, or even gotten a glass of water to calm nerves for bridesmaids who look like they might faint.

"We almost become like family members," Knutson said. "We get letters from the wedding couple thanking us for helping them get through the day."

The photographers can usually expect to work between six to 10 hours on the day of the wedding, including the time it takes to set up their equipment before the wedding.

Purchasing wedding photography gift cards is the newest trend that Grove and Knutson see in the wedding photography industry. If you don't know what to buy as a wedding gift for a friend or relative, a gift card to help pay for a portion of their photography package is always a welcome option.

Grove and Knutson became partners two years ago as the new owners of Allen Ross Photography, when they purchased the business from Allen Ross after his retirement. Grove had worked with Ross for 22 years. Knutson had been renting space from Ross prior to joining Grove as co-owner in their new business venture. Knutson is the former owner of LaMars Photography Studio in Crookston, which he sold seven years ago. He still retains contracts with 13 schools and does a lot of traveling in Northern Minnesota each fall to take student headshots and school pictures.

Allen Ross Photography specializes in large family group photos (up to 40 people), weddings, senior portraits, and children. This time of year, they are busy with Christmas cards.

Allen Ross Photography staff enjoys getting to know each family and helping make their photography packages unique and special.

For more information, call 701-282-6966, or go to