PHOTO TALK: Album Design Options

Let me start with a completely unrelated story. Last night Northside Student Ministry (aka my awesome husband & our awesome student leaders) hosted the Silver Ring Thing tour for the second time. This is a group that started in 1995 out of Philadelphia and performs 80 SHOWS A YEAR to teens about purity and abstinence. It is the most relevant show that we could possibly expose our student too, and it has been an honor to host this group. I wanted to share the stats from last night because it is AMAZING!

*990 attended!!

*357 purchased rings to signify purity until marriage!!

*122 student committed their lives to Christ for the first time!!

I am completely exhausted because we were literally at the church for like 17 hours…attending church, setting up, doing registration, tearing down, taking kids home, and we also hosted two from the team. We stayed up late and had pizza and did laundry…so I’m not even sure if this post is going to make sense…but here we go!!

I have been tossed back and forth on this topic more times than I can mention. I thought I had decided that I was comfortable and confident to ONLY feature one album company when I remade my wedding collections in October, 2010. It is a coffee table book-like design that seemed to be best for the direction I was going. I decided to take another look at my wedding collections for 2011 and went back to the drawing board. I had been very interested in Leather Craftsmen, but I wasn’t drawing a high-paying client who would be able to afford a album that is as much as my entire wedding package. Don’t get me wrong, the albums are STUNNING and I am slowly moving in the direction of using them soon. I was also frustrated with learning to use their design software, and I considered outsourcing the album design work…but once again, that means more $$$ for me and my clients. As I looked for more options, I stumbled across another company that seems to be just perfect in the middle ground. So, if you are having this dilemma, check out the pros and cons of each below. Hopefully it’ll help you decide what is best for your brand and your clients! Blurb: This is what I currently use. My favorite is the 13×11 landscape album. It comes with the option of an image-wrapped or hard back cover. Everything is printed on premium quality paper, full-color, with amazingly-easy free design software for your computer. Albums are set price all the way up to 40 pages before the price rises. I have included over 150 images in a client album before without having to upgrade the price. AMAZING. Also, there is a album preview option that you can send to your clients through email or facebook, and you can easily post it on your blog. It includes the ability to change the price to WHAT YOU ARE CHARGING. CONS: The color printing could be a little bit sharper. And, worst of all, you can’t create a duplicate album in another size. UGH!

Leather Craftsmen: There are a million options on their website (you have apply to be accepted), so it’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed. I decided to head in the direction of the Print & Bind Software because it takes you through step by step. However, at the end of the day, I am still in control of the design and publishing my work the way I want it to be. They respond immediately when you need help and there are tutorial videos on YouTube to get you through everything you need to know. CONS: Sometimes TOO MUCH is overwhelming. You have to wade through it all and find out what works best for you. Graphistudio: I don’t know much about them yet except one thing that I am VERY excited about. A custom sample kit is offered to you when you are excepted as a new vendor. They give you several albums in various sizes featuring YOUR work. That is absolutely priceless to me. CONS: They are hard to get a hold of on the phone – which I think is because this company was started in ITALY.

A few other options that I haven’t tried before, but you should check out…

Miller Labs: I use them for all my print and canvas work. They also offer a variety of albums with pretty great prices. BONUS: Free overnight shipping!

Nations Photo Lab: This was my old print lab that also has great prices, but I kept missing prints that I ordered and would have to get them reprinted. They only offer ground shipping 7-9 days, which seems like an eternity when you are ordering for a client. However, I looked at their Flush Mount album designs and they look fairly easy to create and are affordable.

Hope this is a great start to your week!! More photo tips and instruction next monday, and some great session posts coming up this week!

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