Saturday, December 18, 2010

DIY parents' album review

Our album arrived Friday :) It took less than a week from submitting our design to us receiving it. We're very happy with the quality, Rob's now talking about getting one made for us; although we've already got prints from the photographer so i'll probably suggest getting a honeymoon album through Albumworks and put our wedding prints in a traditional stiff paged album with mats.

We chose a black faux leather cover over linen, as it's easier to clean, and offers more protection against drinks being spilt etc. It has a nice grain to it, not overly perfect and more like real leather. The cover is heavy weight and it appears that the book is securely bound with glue to a soft cover inside the leather outer cover.

The first and last pages are protected by a plain page between them and the cover. The quality of the printing on each page is more than decent; much better than the quality of digital photos printed at the shopping centre. The paper used has a nice matte sheen to it and feels reasonably thick. It certainly wouldn't accidentally tear easily, i don't think.

These are a random selection of the pages (ok, all the ones that i managed to take a clear shot of!).

Getting ready

The ceremony

Back to the hotel

Off on our photoshoot

St Peter's Square

Spanish Steps

Pre-dinner drinks

Dinner (both the rehearsal and wedding dinners)

I think Mum and Dad will be really pleased with it. We certainly are, i've flicked through it a few times today already.

One thing i would have liked is the option of foil stamping on the cover - i'd have put our names and below that the wedding date. Albumworks offer laser engraving, but there was no font options and no real idea of how the engraving would look, plus it seemed to only let you do one line, so i decided not to add it. Other than that, the whole process of designing and ordering, and the finished album, has been easy and quick and i'd definitely look at getting another album done with them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fast album printing

They're quick!

I'm quite impressed at the speed, especially at this time of year when i expect a lot of orders go through for xmas presents. I was also impressed that within a day of my blog post reviewing the album design software and uploading, Albumworks had found and commented on my post :)

Looks like i should be expecting the album by the end of the week, ready to photograph and review - exciting!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

DIY parents' photo album

My mum's friend sent her an email months before our wedding, letting mum know that she'd had a magazine-style photo book printed by Albumworks and was really pleased with the quality of the book. We had no other recommendations for Australian photo books and my usual printer, Vistaprint, doesn't do this style of them. They were also very reasonably priced - our other option was an American company, Mpix, which does the more traditional style thick-paged albums - very beautiful but they don't offer the same range of sizes for albums, and the base product has only 10 pages, whereas we had 90-odd photos to place! They offer up to 40 pages, but this then gets quite costly for our meagre budget. It's still a very cheap option as albums go however, so if you're looking for a traditional style DIY album i would recommend you take a look at them. Not sure if they ship to Australia, but most companies do.

As she'd given such a glowing recommendation and the pricing was within our budget for a thank-you gift to my Mum and Dad, we decided to go with Albumworks and chose a hard cover, faux leather bound photo book, in A4 size, portrait orientation. They also offer landscape and square, in A3, A4 and A5.

They have free design software for both Windows and Mac that you use to arrange your photos and upload the finished design to Albumworks. It's very easy to use and offers a range of layouts, masks, frames, and backgrounds that you can use, and the album you choose already has a suggested layout. I changed most of mine to suit which pictures i was using on that particular page, however it was helpful as i spotted a few that i really liked and that got me into using the layouts page more.

I chose portrait as i thought all portrait photos would fit on one page, and landscape would fit across two. I hadn't taken into consideration the binding however - most of my landscape photos had people right in the middle, which meant they couldn't be used across two pages. However i did manage to get a few in! Next time i would probably go for the square style as it offers the best of both worlds, more flexibility in positioning your photos.

Here's a screenshot of the program in use. You can see some of the layouts possible on the samples at the bottom of the page. In my left-hand page, i've used one of the suggested layouts but changed it so instead of 3 square photos at the bottom, i've removed one and stretched the other two to create two landscape photos. The right-hand layout i've created from scratch, adding in a frame and stretching it to landscape, then copying it two more times and arranging them on the page. The red lines you can see in the middle are part of the guides which are around all the pages, to give you an idea of what will be printed and what may be cut off. It's really very easy to use and there's a wizard if you get stuck, and a help page on their site which you can search.

Albumworks allow you to submit your project up until the 16th December while guaranteeing Christmas delivery. They send the album by overnight courier. I just submitted mine yesterday and have traced it as far as Press Preparation (it is a weekend so i don't expect much more than this until Monday). Their service level aims for 7 business days from upload until dispatch, which should give me enough time to review and photograph the finished product before i wrap it up and take it to Mum and Dad's at xmas. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

DIY edible favours

Earlier in the year i decided to make edible bombonniere for the Perth reception, and i did a trial run of the Oreo truffles. The day after our arrival back in Perth i bought all the ingredients and that night Mum and I made truffles and dipped half of them in chocolate (we ran out of chocolate). Think we ended up with about 60 truffles from 3 packets of Oreos.

The morning of the reception we finished dipping the truffles and did the strawberries as well. To get the glitter to stick i'd sprinkle it over the just-finished sweets every so often, probably about 5 min - didn't have a problem with it sticking then, it stuck very well. Then we drizzled white chocolate over the truffles and chilled them all, then bagged them.

Unfortunately we were running short of time and didn't get any photos of the making or of all the truffles together, but i took one of some of the extra ones after the reception.

For 60 truffles and 40 strawberries, i used 3 packets of Oreos, 1 tin of condensed milk, 500g milk chocolate and probably about 100g white chocolate. Oh, and 40 strawberries of course!