Wedding Photo Books

bhambham Major grinsRegistered Users Posts: 1,296 Major grins
edited March 15, 2010 in Weddings
So as to expand the resources and tips links please post your wedding album vendor list and experiences with them.

Albums Inc www.albumsinc.com They have a large selection of brand and types. I have used some of the older traditional type albums with pages with predesigned layouts that you insert prints into. The ones I used were the Renessance Milano. I worked for another wedding photographer for a while and he used these for his medium format film weddings. There is some work to putting them together.
"A photo is like a hamburger. You can get one from McDonalds for $1, one from Chili's for $5, or one from Ruth's Chris for $15. You usually get what you pay for, but don't expect a Ruth's Chris burger at a McDonalds price, if you want that, go cook it yourself." - me
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Comments

  • urbanariesurbanaries hoosier grins Registered Users Posts: 2,690 Major grins
    edited August 17, 2008
    Depending on your layout skills, format preference and budget, here are a few vendors I have personally tried and liked for modern "digital" albums. Ranked from low end to high end.

    Blurb (inexpensive coffee table; free proprietary design software).
    WHCC (press printed coffee table; design in Photoshop).
    Asuka (high end coffee table with custom box; design in Photoshop or buy 3rd party templates)
    Kiss (custom flush mount, very simplistic to order. Design in Photoshop)
    GraphiStudio (the biggest, baddest Italian-made albums out there; lots of custom options. Design in Photoshop; or take advantage of their fairly reasonable design service).
    Canon 5D MkI
    50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 24-70 2.8L, 35mm 1.4L, 135mm f2L
    ST-E2 Transmitter + (3) 580 EXII + radio poppers
  • ShudderzShudderz Major grins Registered Users Posts: 346 Major grins
    edited August 18, 2008
    Finao

    One of my favorite vendors I found at WPPI this year.

    Not only do they have albums, but they have the neatest proof boxes that are canvas wrapped with an image.
    Heather
    www.heatherdunnphotography.com
    My Blog My Facebook Page
    GIVING BACK - How will you give?
    "I look at life outside of the lens and capture the world through it." -Thomas Robinson
  • Jeff_MiloJeff_Milo Major grins Registered Users Posts: 327 Major grins
    edited August 23, 2008
    Graphi Studios - A++++ Rating, have done several albums thru them including my studio samples which I use for advertising. As urbanaries said you can do the layout or let them do it for you. Their designers are wonderful. I have not had a bride yet who didnt love their work. They have a huge range of book sizes, paper types and covers. Their books are so good you can put a huge markup on them and the client will think they still got a great deal. Only downside is they are at a minimum 6 weeks lead time. As they are Italian based I would say they are the Ferrari of wedding albums. oh, their customer service is awsome also. I have a rep in So. Cal that has never taken more than 15 minutes to return my calls. They also have monthly conference calls for wedding photographers to discuss album styles and issues (very informative)

    Asuka Books - probably my second faovirte, High quality, fast turnaround. You have to do the design or use a 3rd party so there is more time involved. Close to Graphi quality for much less $$ so great choice for the Brides on a budget. Just remember to factor in your time in designing the album in your final price.

    Zookbooks - good book for the budget conscious. they have greatly improved their quality and have recently come out with a several new styles including print to bind. Fast turnaround time. I have used them with very good success for engagement books, wedding guest registries (stole that idea from Shay - and the brides love it) I also use them for my "babies first year" albums

    I have not yet used Blurb but have heard good things and my try them for a few studio books I am designing to see how they look.
    Jeff Milo
    MILOStudios


    www.milophotostudios.com
  • david_hdavid_h Hmmmm....... Registered Users Posts: 463 Major grins
    edited August 23, 2008
    Another vote for Finao.

    There are some images of a couple of our sample Finao One albums here
    ____________
    Cheers!
    David
    www.uniqueday.com
  • cdonovancdonovan Major grins Registered Users Posts: 724 Major grins
    edited September 7, 2008
    Wedding Photo Books
    Please hlep!

    I've used the search option and can't find the thread that lists all the digital photo books....... could we maybe do a "sticky" in this section of all the best and helpful links for us photogs!?:D

    I've used
    my publisher
    blurb

    both were, fine based on what I needed, but I'd love to find a listing for better quality books!

    Who have you used and how did you find the quality?
  • jayegirljayegirl Major grins DFW, TXRegistered Users Posts: 250 Major grins
    edited September 7, 2008
    Although I can't tell you where it is, the list is here in this forum somewhere because I copied it to a document on my PC for future reference! Sorry I don't remember who posted it!

    Blurb (inexpensive coffee table; free proprietary design software).
    WHCC (press printed coffee table; design in Photoshop).
    Asuka (high end coffee table with custom box; design in Photoshop or buy 3rd party templates)
    Kiss (custom flush mount, very simplistic to order. Design in Photoshop)
    GraphiStudio (the biggest, baddest Italian-made albums out there; lots of custom options. Design in Photoshop; or take advantage of their fairly reasonable design service).<!-- / message --><!-- sig -->
  • LlywellynLlywellyn Temperamental Irishwoman Mountain View, CARegistered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,186
    edited September 7, 2008
    The one Jaye quoted is from this thread: http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=102947

    There's a larger thread with reviews in the Mind Your Own Business section: http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=38968

    HTH! thumb.gif
  • Darren Troy CDarren Troy C Columbia, SC Registered Users Posts: 1,927 Major grins
    edited September 9, 2008
  • ElginetPhotosElginetPhotos Major grins Registered Users Posts: 134 Major grins
    edited September 13, 2008
    Idlewild wrote:
    Hope this helps....and I believe I got these through the DGRIN community:

    http://www.finaoonline.com/

    http://www.graphistudio.com/en/products/Book/index.html

    I like some of the products from GraphiStudio, but as I got all excited...I saw they were in the UK.

    1. Have you ever used them?
    2. Do you know if they ship to the US?

    Thanks for the links.

    For what it's worth, I've done several books with MPIX. The overall quality is pretty good. I did their custom covers and after quite a while, got it to come out ok. Their software is pretty easy to use but I found them to be way too expensive to do any kind of quantity. They DO offer a 25% discount if you order 50 of the same book and their limit is 50 pages.

    You can get a "next day" option for just 15 bucks more also, so if you need it in a hurry and money is no object.....
    Bill O'Neill - Media and Fire Photography
    ________________
    www.elginet.com - www.elginet.smugmug.com
    Toys: Nikon D3x, D300s w/MD10 grip, D300, Fuji S3Pro &S2Pro,
    Nikon 18-200 VR, Nikkor 80-200 2.8, Nikon 105mm 2.8
  • Darren Troy CDarren Troy C Columbia, SC Registered Users Posts: 1,927 Major grins
    edited September 14, 2008
    Not sure regarding the "shipping to the US". I simply did a search on this site or maybe in my browser and kept 2 of the highest quality sites that appealed to me. I would imagine they would ship here...crazy not to w/ the caliber of their work.
  • heatherfeatherheatherfeather Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,739 Major grins
    edited September 14, 2008
    They do ship to the US nod.gif
  • Jeff_MiloJeff_Milo Major grins Registered Users Posts: 327 Major grins
    edited September 15, 2008
    I like some of the products from GraphiStudio, but as I got all excited...I saw they were in the UK.

    1. Have you ever used them?
    2. Do you know if they ship to the US?

    There offices are actually in Italy not the UK, and yes they do ship to the US. Each region in the US has their own rep, the one I deal with in So Cal is wonderful. She returns phone calls within 15 to 30 minutes never fail. Their work in impeckable, their designers are amazing. Graphi is by far the best quality books I have ever used. I would highly recommend them to anyone. They are not cheap, and probably out of the price range or the budget conscious B&G, but they are so worth the $$. Only down side is they are a minimum of 6 weeks delivery time.

    If you have a budget conscious B&G I recommend Asuka Books. high qulaity work for mid ranges prices. A little more expensive than blurb but much better quality and CS. They are US based and have a 3 to 4 week turnaround. I also use them exclusivley for photo guest regestry books.
    Jeff Milo
    MILOStudios


    www.milophotostudios.com
  • jhelmsjhelms Major grins Registered Users Posts: 662 Major grins
    edited September 15, 2008
    If you have a budget conscious B&G I recommend Asuka Books. high qulaity work for mid ranges prices. A little more expensive than blurb but much better quality and CS. They are US based and have a 3 to 4 week turnaround. I also use them exclusivley for photo guest regestry books.

    I've got a need for something kind of in the middle - the client doesn't want a 'thin page' book like the ones I've done in blurb. They want a 'thick page' full bleed book but not a ~$500+ typical wedding album style.

    Is there an option around ~$100 bucks for a thick page style photo-book?
    John in Georgia
    Nikon | Private Photojournalist
  • urbanariesurbanaries hoosier grins Registered Users Posts: 2,690 Major grins
    edited September 15, 2008
    jhelms wrote:
    Is there an option around ~$100 bucks for a thick page style photo-book?

    $100 wholesale or client cost? Are you talking about a flush mount? There is no flush mount I know of that is only $100. And if there were...well I'd probably lean toward a nicer coffee table for the money. Custom wedding albums...ones that will last more than ~1 year...are not commodities.

    You would be wise to educate your clients on the intense amount of hands on labor (yours AND the manufacturers) involved in a flush mount.

    ETA: I was very impressed with this email notification I recieved from Kiss, my favorite flush mount manufacturer. Very enlightening.

    Dear Lynne ,

    New turn-around time for standard orders: 15 working days. Rush orders are still 5 days.

    As we've ramped our production into full swing, we've learned some things over the past year. One of them has been in regard to how fast we can make a book. It's true, we can technically flip a book in about 3 days--if absolutely nothing goes awry--but any hitch in the process can bring us to a halt.

    To give a thumbnail sketch of how your books are built:

    * The files are uploaded.
    * We review every file, in detail, to determine if we think it will print properly.
    * If not, we work with our clients to ensure they get the files to where they need to be
    * Once the files are approved, they go to printing.
    * If there is anything wrong with a print (scratch, color, dust, etc.) they are reprinted.
    * Once we have good prints, they are creased for the fold.
    * Sometimes, the creaser or the person running it makes a mistake--back to printing.
    * Once the pages are creased, they are all hand-folded.
    * If a page doesn't lay down in the fold properly--back to printing.
    * Once we have properly folded pages, they are hand-stacked onto the page backing.
    * If the glue is uneven on the backing, which may cause a bump, the page is pulled and re-stacked.
    * Once we have a stacked book, it is inspected for any problems (dust under a page, scratches, page order, etc.) If anything is not perfect, the page is pulled from the stack and sent back to printing.
    * Once we have a stacked book that has been checked and approved, it goes into the hot press.
    * When pulled from the hot press, it's inspected again for bumps, scratches, etc. If anything is bad, that page is pulled and sent back to printing.
    * Once we have a stacked and cooked book that looks good, it goes into the cool press.
    * Once out of the cool press, it's inspected again. Any defects are pulled from th e book and sent back to printing.
    * Once it clears the cool-press inspection, it is ready to be hand-cut.
    * In cutting, many things can happen. A page can crack. The blade can have a defect that damages the book. The cut can be slightly off. Etc. If any of these things happen at this stage, it frequently means starting over.
    * Once we have a properly cut book, it is covered. This stage is usually easy. (whew!)
    * After it is covered, it is, again, inspected. If anything is amiss, it's likely not fixable (sometimes it can be) and the book has to be remade from scratch.

    When things go smoothly, or there's only a few problems, 10 days is no big deal. Some books, however, seem cursed and require multiple fixes at every stage. So, we have decided to push our production time to 15 working days from 10. It was either that or raise prices to slow things down and bring in more labor. We are doing this in your best interest, and I hope you all see it that way!

    In love,
    Kevin and Shaun (and the rest of the hard-working crew at KISS)
    Canon 5D MkI
    50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 24-70 2.8L, 35mm 1.4L, 135mm f2L
    ST-E2 Transmitter + (3) 580 EXII + radio poppers
  • jhelmsjhelms Major grins Registered Users Posts: 662 Major grins
    edited September 15, 2008
    urbanaries wrote:
    $100 wholesale or client cost? Are you talking about a flush mount? There is no flush mount I know of that is only $100. And if there were...well I'd probably lean toward a nicer coffee table for the money. Custom wedding albums...ones that will last more than ~1 year...are not commodities.

    You would be wise to educate your clients on the intense amount of hands on labor (yours AND the manufacturers) involved in a flush mount.

    That's cool - I guess that is the type of book we/they are considering. The pages are thick enough to where the page is 'stiff' like a thin cardboard.

    What is the ballpark pricing on something like this?

    I've also thought about getting something similar for my daughter (almost 2 years old) for an alphabet book - lots of the popular kids books are printed with really hardstock paper so the child doesn't tear the page; is there a more inexpensive printing option for something like that?
    John in Georgia
    Nikon | Private Photojournalist
  • Jeff_MiloJeff_Milo Major grins Registered Users Posts: 327 Major grins
    edited September 15, 2008
    jhelms wrote:
    I've got a need for something kind of in the middle - the client doesn't want a 'thin page' book like the ones I've done in blurb. They want a 'thick page' full bleed book but not a ~$500+ typical wedding album style.

    Is there an option around ~$100 bucks for a thick page style photo-book?

    As Lynne said is the $100 your cost or cost to client. I dont know what others charge but I usually charge between 2 and 2.5 times my cost. The cost of any book, in most cases, is going to be dependant upon four to five aspects of the book.

    1. Style of printing/binding
    2. Size of book - dimensions, ie 7x7, 8x10, 9x12, etc
    3. Number of printed sides
    4. Cover type
    5. Paper type

    Without knowing these things, expecially #'s 2 & 3, its hard to tell you if there is a book in that range.

    I have never done a flush mounted book so I can't realy comment on that. All of my books are print to bind.

    If you are looking for a thicker paper in the print to bind style I did see an email from Zookbinders the other day introducing metalic paper. I have not seen it first hand to atest for the quality but on general Metalic paper is usually significantly thicker than laminated paper. Zookbinders print to bind quality has come a long way in the past year or so. they may be woth checking out.

    www.zookbinders.com
    Jeff Milo
    MILOStudios


    www.milophotostudios.com
  • jhelmsjhelms Major grins Registered Users Posts: 662 Major grins
    edited September 15, 2008
    As Lynne said is the $100 your cost or cost to client. I dont know what others charge but I usually charge between 2 and 2.5 times my cost. The cost of any book, in most cases, is going to be dependant upon four to five aspects of the book.

    1. Style of printing/binding
    2. Size of book - dimensions, ie 7x7, 8x10, 9x12, etc
    3. Number of printed sides
    4. Cover type
    5. Paper type

    Without knowing these things, expecially #'s 2 & 3, its hard to tell you if there is a book in that range.

    I have never done a flush mounted book so I can't realy comment on that. All of my books are print to bind.

    If you are looking for a thicker paper in the print to bind style I did see an email from Zookbinders the other day introducing metalic paper. I have not seen it first hand to atest for the quality but on general Metalic paper is usually significantly thicker than laminated paper. Zookbinders print to bind quality has come a long way in the past year or so. they may be woth checking out.

    www.zookbinders.com

    Mainly something around 40 pages (sides), book size in the 10x8 to 13x13 range.

    I just threw that ~$100 price range out there, I really have no idea what these cost and haven't been able to find many estimates online for these.
    John in Georgia
    Nikon | Private Photojournalist
  • Jeff_MiloJeff_Milo Major grins Registered Users Posts: 327 Major grins
    edited September 15, 2008
    jhelms wrote:
    Mainly something around 40 pages (sides), book size in the 10x8 to 13x13 range.

    I just threw that ~$100 price range out there, I really have no idea what these cost and haven't been able to find many estimates online for these.

    Yes, the better book companies are very photographer friendly when it comes to publishing prices. They know most of us have high mark-ups on these types of books, so they dont want to undermine our pricing by positing pricing for B&G's to see. Almost all the venders I deal with require you to complete an application for an account which will give you access to their photographer only pages with pricing. Graphi Studios & Asuka Books go so far as to check out your web site before granting you access. They dont want their prices out on the street!

    Asuka is probably out of your price range on this one, check out Zookbinders you might find something close but I would still bet your at least double the $100.
    Jeff Milo
    MILOStudios


    www.milophotostudios.com
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,235 moderator
    edited September 16, 2008
    I merged bham's thread with cdonovan's as they are both about albums.
  • MaryBooMaryBoo Big grins Registered Users Posts: 55 Big grins
    edited October 28, 2008
    Blurb is now doing thick pages
    Just this week Blurb started offering the option of thick pages clap.gif I haven't tried it yet, but I have tried the new Image Wrap, and it's very nice. No dust jacket to fall off or get ripped.
  • sherijohnsonsherijohnson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 310 Major grins
    edited October 29, 2008
    MaryBoo wrote:
    Just this week Blurb started offering the option of thick pages clap.gif I haven't tried it yet, but I have tried the new Image Wrap, and it's very nice. No dust jacket to fall off or get ripped.

    Thank you for pointing out the premium pages, that is a great thing to know. I can't wait to get my hands on one.
    Sheri Johnson
    Atlanta, GA USA
    my smugmug
    Atlanta Modern Wedding Photographer
    SheriJohnsonPhotography.com
  • jhelmsjhelms Major grins Registered Users Posts: 662 Major grins
    edited October 29, 2008
    MaryBoo wrote:
    Just this week Blurb started offering the option of thick pages clap.gif I haven't tried it yet, but I have tried the new Image Wrap, and it's very nice. No dust jacket to fall off or get ripped.

    I wonder how thick? Would like to check that out also as an option. I agree the imagewrap feature is really awesome!
    John in Georgia
    Nikon | Private Photojournalist
  • heatherfeatherheatherfeather Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,739 Major grins
    edited October 29, 2008
    The image wrap with blurb is pretty exciting until you try it. I had used them for a couple years, and then with the image wrap I have had some pretty major QC issues with my last order from them, and have pretty much decided not to use them as I had to have my order redone and the client had to wait an extra month for their album.

    Here is a picture of the problem. The image wrap is like some sort of contact paper type stuff stuck on top of the hard backing. On this album it was improperly installed. You can see it in the picture. If you press on it it made a stick and unstick sound and was not professional looking. In the photo it looks as though the plastic cover had been cut, but it wasn't- it just isn't stuck down well. I got 2 copies and both had the same issues.

    HOWEVER, blurb replaced them at no charge and the new ones did not have the issue. All in all, quality wise, they are not as good as some other albums, but if you have the time to deal with it, the price is definitely right.

    351896670_3Fosu-M.jpg
  • sherijohnsonsherijohnson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 310 Major grins
    edited October 29, 2008
    The image wrap with blurb is pretty exciting until you try it. I had used them for a couple years, and then with the image wrap I have had some pretty major QC issues with my last order from them, and have pretty much decided not to use them as I had to have my order redone and the client had to wait an extra month for their album.

    Here is a picture of the problem. The image wrap is like some sort of contact paper type stuff stuck on top of the hard backing. On this album it was improperly installed. You can see it in the picture. If you press on it it made a stick and unstick sound and was not professional looking. In the photo it looks as though the plastic cover had been cut, but it wasn't- it just isn't stuck down well. I got 2 copies and both had the same issues.

    HOWEVER, blurb replaced them at no charge and the new ones did not have the issue. All in all, quality wise, they are not as good as some other albums, but if you have the time to deal with it, the price is definitely right.

    351896670_3Fosu-M.jpg

    Is there another company that makes these books that you do recommend?
    Sheri Johnson
    Atlanta, GA USA
    my smugmug
    Atlanta Modern Wedding Photographer
    SheriJohnsonPhotography.com
  • heatherfeatherheatherfeather Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,739 Major grins
    edited October 30, 2008
    Is there another company that makes these books that you do recommend?

    I just made my first graphistudio book and I LOOOOVE it.
    iloveyou.gif
    It is like comparing apples and oranges it is so good. Of course that difference is reflected in the price tag. But I do have to say that I had a bride in my studio raving about a blurb book that I had done and then I showed her my graphistudio book with a price tag over 90% more than my blurb book price tag and she bought it hook, line, and sinker and the guest books and parent books as well. It was rather humorous to see her practically drop one in her excitement over the other.

    To be honest I had worried about being able to sell the graphistudio books because they cost so much more, but apparently that is not going to be a problem. :D

    I am also going to be checking out the Kiss books, and am in the process on working up a sample with them as well. We'll see.
  • sherijohnsonsherijohnson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 310 Major grins
    edited October 30, 2008
    I just made my first graphistudio book and I LOOOOVE it.
    iloveyou.gif
    It is like comparing apples and oranges it is so good. Of course that difference is reflected in the price tag. But I do have to say that I had a bride in my studio raving about a blurb book that I had done and then I showed her my graphistudio book with a price tag over 90% more than my blurb book price tag and she bought it hook, line, and sinker and the guest books and parent books as well. It was rather humorous to see her practically drop one in her excitement over the other.

    To be honest I had worried about being able to sell the graphistudio books because they cost so much more, but apparently that is not going to be a problem. :D

    I am also going to be checking out the Kiss books, and am in the process on working up a sample with them as well. We'll see.

    Heather, Thank you for that feedback on the books. Please come back and share about any others as I weigh heavily by feedback and input by real people with discriminating tastes for high quality.
    Sheri Johnson
    Atlanta, GA USA
    my smugmug
    Atlanta Modern Wedding Photographer
    SheriJohnsonPhotography.com
  • jhelmsjhelms Major grins Registered Users Posts: 662 Major grins
    edited October 30, 2008
    The image wrap with blurb is pretty exciting until you try it. I had used them for a couple years, and then with the image wrap I have had some pretty major QC issues with my last order from them, and have pretty much decided not to use them as I had to have my order redone and the client had to wait an extra month for their album.

    Here is a picture of the problem. The image wrap is like some sort of contact paper type stuff stuck on top of the hard backing. On this album it was improperly installed. You can see it in the picture. If you press on it it made a stick and unstick sound and was not professional looking. In the photo it looks as though the plastic cover had been cut, but it wasn't- it just isn't stuck down well. I got 2 copies and both had the same issues.

    HOWEVER, blurb replaced them at no charge and the new ones did not have the issue. All in all, quality wise, they are not as good as some other albums, but if you have the time to deal with it, the price is definitely right.

    My blurb imagewrap books (4 copies so far) have all been great - maybe they refined their methods of getting the image on the cover recently? Mine were done this summer.
    John in Georgia
    Nikon | Private Photojournalist
  • sherijohnsonsherijohnson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 310 Major grins
    edited October 30, 2008
    That is good to hear John! I watched the blurb video yesterday and I got all excited about making these books and getting creative.
    Sheri Johnson
    Atlanta, GA USA
    my smugmug
    Atlanta Modern Wedding Photographer
    SheriJohnsonPhotography.com
  • HirePhotographerHirePhotographer Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 4 Beginner grinner
    edited November 3, 2008
    Shudderz wrote:
    Finao

    One of my favorite vendors I found at WPPI this year.

    Not only do they have albums, but they have the neatest proof boxes that are canvas wrapped with an image.


    Tried them, not too bad if its something the clients are ready for . . .
  • geospatial_junkiegeospatial_junkie Livin' In 3/4 Time Registered Users Posts: 707 Major grins
    edited November 5, 2008
    Has anyone used Embassy Pro Books? I've heard very little about them, but they appear to be nice.

    Thumbs up for graphisoft... there really is nothing better at the moment. The wait is worth it. thumb.gif
    "They've done studies you know. Sixty-percent of the time, it works every time."

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