products | professional albums vs consumer albums

You might recognize these two love birds featured below from our session a few months ago documenting their tenth anniversary here. Of course, a milestone this awesome needs an equally awesome album to display your totally awesome images from your session. Did I say awesome enough? Awesome! Okay, okay, so we’re really over the moon excited with how Andy and Sophia’s album turned out. We love the timeless look of a leather cover vs a photo cover. In particular we love the croc-embossed leather from White House Custom Color (WHCC) featured on this album. The images below do not do this album justice! The smooth heavy weight paper and UV coating really make the color just pop off the pages.

So what makes our albums different from the popular do-it yourself albums offered by many online consumer photo labs (ie: Shutterfly, Kodak, My Canvas, etc)?

the real deal

I’ll have to first admit years ago, before I (Amy) started my photography business I was quite happy printing away at those consumer labs for my family vacation photo-books. I didn’t know better, so I thought it was fabulous. Now, I’m going to let you in on a deep dark secret – my wedding album was also printed from one of those online consumer photo-labs, too. Gasp! Yes, my wedding photographer at the time wasn’t offering pro albums. Frankly, I had never laid my eyes on a “pro-album”, so I had no clue what I was missing with my high-res images and the online lab’s pre-designed layouts I made my own book. Since I had about 600 wedding photos to go through it took me about 10 hours to complete that album. It was a huge headache, but you bet my bottom dollar I used my promo coupon for that extra $45 off. I thought I was hot stuff when I got that puppy in the mail, I thought this is nice.

Then, one day a girlfriend showed me her wedding album from her photographer. The clouds parted and I saw light! Holy moly! It was the most beautiful work of art I had ever seen. The quality, the gorgeous design, the stunning photos. I wanted to chuck my cheap-o wedding album and its already bent pages in the trash so fast and call for a re-do! This experience combined with developing a photography business and using a professional lab that it all “clicked” for me. My eye had been trained and now my standards would take no less than the perfection that only a pro lab could offer. Once you know better and see it, you’ll believe it too.

just the facts

Print Quality: Color accuracy and consistency are very important to professional photographers and professional print houses, whether that’s just prints or a high-end album. It takes a joint effort of calibrating your camera, editing equipment and the pro-print house’s software and printers to get the truest most accurate color rendition. This level of accuracy, testing and customer service simply is not offered at a consumer print level. With a professional print house your albums color will pop off the page. You will not see color bleeds or incorrect color hues that can make skin tones look off or unflattering.

Binding: A very big difference between the pro vs consumer albums is the binding. Pro labs have a very precise binding system and the craftsmanship is par none. The lay-flat albums or books have hairline line seams between the page layouts. This is not offered on a consumer level. You want binding that will stand the test of time with years of looking at your treasured photos over and over. Think how ratty your favorite book can look from years of reading. Don’t let your beloved albums be victim of cheap binding and the “ratty book syndrome”.

Paper: Not all archival and acid free paper is equal. While many consumer online print houses promote their “acid-free” paper, it’s often thin and flimsy. This is something you will not find in a pro-lab’s album. The paper used is not only the highest quality acid-free, archival paper often with a UV coating option for extra protection and a beautiful sheen, it’s extremely thick. I mean thick – these pages will not ruffle and tear from the years of turning them and as you take a trip down memory lane with your photo albums.

Final Thoughts: Likely, you’ve hired a photographer to capture your family or event in a way that you simply cannot do yourself. You have hired them for their talent and artistic eye. This is the same thought process with choosing your albums, choose quality that will last a lifetime. You need a timeless album to show off all your amazing photos from your session. Mandee and I take great pride in designing albums that will become a family heirloom for our clients. Whether it is a family session, newborn session or a wedding – don’t settle for sub-par quality when it comes to preserving your memories.

xoxo,
Amy & Mandee

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