- 3 years ago
- Wedding: July 2013
I spent a lot of time researching photo album options on here, along with other internet sites. So I thought I could share my experience with you, and hopefully help someone with their decision!
My wonderful photographer offered a wedding album added to my package for an additional $400. Comparison shopping quickly showed me that this was a perfectly good price for a pro flushmount album. The only down sides were that the album was small (8”x11” and 20 pages) and any add-ons were really expensive too. Extra pages were over $20 and parent albums were $200 each. I felt that was too much for me.
So I decided to get her pro album but just keep it brief – the best of the best pictures and moments. And, like everything else she did, my photographer did a fabulous job. The photos are beautifully printed and vivid, the pictures tell a great story and I love paging through it.
HOWEVER, I knew that I wanted a mega-album too. I wanted it to be really big. I also wanted to include everything from my engagement pictures, to pretty bridal shower detail shots, rehearsal dinner/bbq candid shots, as well as everything from the day of the wedding. I wanted pro pictures mingling with guest shots. I wanted to scan in and include copies of my invitations and programs. Basically I wanted all my favorite parts of the wedding process in one place to peruse whenever I chose.
I really like designing photobooks. I have used snapfish and shutterfly to make books about all of our vacations and have so much fun both making them and paging through them later. For the wedding album though, I wanted to go a step up. I wanted a middle ground between the cheapest book and a pro album. I wanted great print quality, heavy durable paper, as well as the option of lay flat printing (but not flush mount since I knew I wanted a LOT of pages). And that is what most of my research was about.
After some positive reviews here, I checked out Black River Imaging. They had a variety of book options and pricing. I considered making a book through them, but I was unable to get their program to open on my computer. After installing Java several different times, I moved on. The problems may have been due to my computer, and not them, as it is several years old.
Next I tried a local print company, Boulder Pro Photos, they are an offshoot of a professional photolab that described their books a step down for pro, perfect for wedding DIY’ers. Sounds like me! Well I spent hours designing a book on their website (no program to download with them). The next day I went back to review all my layouts, and my project wouldn’t open. I was informed that the company had discontinued the book format I was working on, and no longer offered any lay flat pages. Well since many of my layouts had been designed as panoramas to span 2 pages, regular pages wouldn’t work! Moving on again.
Finally I ended up with MyPublisher. There are many reviews out there comparing this company with many of the other big online photo album companies and MyPublisher usually ends up ranking near the top. They were recently bought out by Shutterfly, but the websites still appear separate. I downloaded their software without a problem and quickly started making my album.
The first one I made was Deluxe (which just meant the biggest size, a whopping 11”x15”). The size didn’t sound gargantuan, but when I opened the box, I realized just how big it was. So great! Adding pictures was really easy. I loved how you could pick a design category (ie Wedding) but easily add layouts from the other categories. It was also easy to make your own layouts, and the program would save them, in case you wanted to reuse it on a later page. The only time the program crashed was when I tried added “decorative elements” little digital stickers that say things like “happily ever after” or “the ring!” etc. Luckily I had saved my work beforehand and after several program crashes was able to get a few of the stickers added. Once I had completed my book and double-checked it, I chose to print it on deluxe, thicker paper, and I picked the supergloss finish. It’s exactly as it sounds, with a high gloss coating that really makes the colors pop. When I opened the book I was amazed – it is almost as shiny as a printed picture. The coating is also supposed to protect the picture a little more from spills. I did not do this album as lay flat pages because you had to limit to fewer pages (I think around 40) and this gigantic album has 100 pages. (I had a LOT of favorite pictures I guess). It was easy to upload all the photos, whether they were from my photographer or my friends, or if I had scanned them in – really any jpeg would work! The other great thing is that MyPublisher is almost always having a sale with the albums 50-60% off and free add-ons like supergloss or layflat pages. Just sign up to receive their emails and you will get all the deals.
I had so much fun making the album, I just finished making a smaller one for the parents. I pared it down to just the best wedding moments, and this time used the lay flat pages. This allowed me to create bigger panorama layouts that span 2 pages. I also changed to a leather cover with a picture insert, since it seemed a little more formal then the photo cover I did on the first one. I can’t wait to see how it turned out.
Here are some crappy phone shots of my new album. Overall I am a big fan of MyPublisher’s quality. It is more pricey then the basic albums but in my opinion the price is well worth it!
1.) front cover
2.) back cover
3. one of the inside pages with a multi-picture layout as well as a “decorative element”
What my scanned in invitation looked like. they were printed on wood and the wood grain is visible in the photo in real life.
Let me know if you have other album sites that you really enjoy, or other experience to share!