I have already posted that I believe photos are one of the most important aspects of a wedding. This is why my h2b and I chose Clive Blair to be our photographer. I may have mentioned that h2b and I were absolutely inspired by all his pictures. I honestly cannot recommend Clive enough but this post is about wedding albums.
Since we booked Clive he’s introduced Queensbury albums. They look spectacular! They appear similar to photo books but with the quality of a traditional album. My sister-in-law and my brother have this tome, I call it, a huge wedding album in a traditional style. I wanted a tome, but I like the style of the photo books. It appears that Queensbury albums combine the quality of a traditional album with the modern chic of a photo book. This is what I want for my wedding album, something that we could keep for the rest of our lives as a reflection of the most wonderful day we spent together, and the start of our married life.
However, that’s just the one album for you and your hubby to keep, what about the rest of your family who want an album. Clive does offer parent albums, but perhaps your sister would like a picture because your niece was a bridesmaid. Many photographers out there offer a CD only service, where they take a lot of photos and put them on a disk for you to order your own wedding album. This is a cheaper and quicker way of seeing your wedding photos but which photo album should you choose?
There are so many websites out there that offer photo books by uploading your own photos and making a book, printed with a hard cover. As I’m a bit obsessed with photos, I do make quite a few photo books. My h2b takes some brilliant photos and I make them up into books so I have used a few of the photo book websites.
User friendly, easy to use, fantastic templates and plenty of choice, Photobox was the first photo book making company that I started to use. This picture here is of me holding the first photo book that I made for my fiancé and I to celebrate seven years together.
There are a variety of covers available in a variety of colours. I chose a black cover because I thought that would be more manly for my h2b. I would have liked a pink cover!
Photobox offers a variety of different products. My friends bought their thank you cards from Photobox, they looked fantastic and they’re a memento from the day. I will be doing the same. Other products include calendars and diaries, wall decor, photo mugs, prints and home gifts. The photo book I received was very high quality. One of the pictures I used was from the camera I had in 2003 which was barely 3 mega pixels, when I put that photo into the album they told me that the photo wasn’t print quality. That kind of help is invaluable! (I used it anyway, it was an important picture!)
The photo books come in different sizes and shapes. It depends on which photo album you’d like. It’s completely online, there’s nothing to download and it’s all easy to use. You can even preview your creation online before you print. My dad so loved the album I had from Photobox that we made a funeral album for my Granddad’s funeral. It was filled with photos from my Granddad’s life and everyone at the funeral said it was lovely and deeply touching. See, photos are for any occasion.
Blurb is a website I’ve only just started using and I like the look of it. They have a variety of methods for creating a photo book. You can use a pdf book, if you’ve taken the time to make one, download their book making program, or make a book online. I have tried both in the interest of giving you a full review – and wow!
I first tried making a book using the BookSmart program that is downloadable from the Blurb website. There is a fairly clear user guide, some interesting templates and the option to edit layout. To me, an amateur, I think this is amazing! I get the feeling that some of the elements of BookSmart are aimed at marketing or advertising companies, as they are very customisable. You can add photo boxes, text boxes, resize these boxes and move them around the page in any layout that you’d like. Imagine working on your wedding pictures, creating an album for a friend and you can design the layout into any format you like.
I am fairly computer savvy but I did find this program very easy and simple to use. I was just bashing about pressing buttons to see what happens but I achieved a fairly nice effect using this program.
I’ve added a photo here to show what the photos looked like when I added them to the template. Pretty nifty if I do say so myself. I just quickly added some photos from my computer (there’s also the option to add from online albums) and messed about slotting the pictures into the spaces.
It really depends how much time you would like to put into your photo album. If this was the only option I had for my wedding album I might spend a bit more time making it. As it stands, this is the kind of thing I would enjoy spending my time making as I’m that sort of person, so I would really use this type of program.
The Bookify option doesn’t seem to have as many templates. I chose a small square album as I would if were making an album for my parents to have and there was a set format that I couldn’t change, although I could alter colours of backgrounds and so forth. This could give the less computer savvy person the option of using a simpler book builder. The BookSmart option does give you a lot more control over what your final book will look like.
Just to demonstrate how good Photobox is, Boot’s online photo book maker is in partnership with Photobox! I was about to type that I thought the Boots books were very similar to the Photobox ones, and then when I click on the website I see that they are made by the very same company! It goes to show that not only do Photobox provide an excellent professional service, but they are also used by a nation wide chain of shops – a brand that we all visit and use from time to time.
Jessops use CEWE to make their photo books. There doesn’t appear to be an online photo book making function, but the program is easy to download and install. However, I didn’t find the program as easy to use as the Photobox and Blurb programs.
I’m not sure if I clicked on anything wrong but the pictures I’d selected (randomly from my pictures folder) filled into the album without me indicating where I wanted them to go. Once you get the hang of it, it is possible to customise the backgrounds, photo layout, and add additional photos to the page. It takes a bit of fiddling and experimentation, but there is a fairly decent customisable element to the program.
Kodak’s photo book maker is online, where you can upload your photos to their website and then edit them into your photo album book. I like the function that you can add yourself as a guest, you don’t necessarily have to sign in or register to use their website. Always a bonus if you’re in a rush.
Depending on the size of your photos and on your internet speed, the uploader is fairly speedy. I uploaded a few pictures from my computer to use with the album and it was fairly speedy.
There is the option to change the layout of the photos if chosen from a set layout, but it seems like the background colours aren’t customisable. It is quick and easy to use, just a drag and drop system, but for me I’d rather use a much more personalised layout than simply using the set layouts.
Which ever website you decide to use, remember you could always ask your photographer for his or her recommendation. I think it’s important to weigh up cost with the product you receive in the end, and to think about how you want the photos from one of the most important days of your life to be presented. Think about how much time you have, and how much computer know how. Each of the websites have their own positives and negatives, I’ve tried to give you a fair appraisal of all the main ones that I use so that you can decide from a bride’s opinion.