I recently photographed a wedding. As part of the package I supplied a Photo Book. You know the ones… the photo albums that are printed directly on the pages and then bound, to produce an actual book. A great memento of the day and much more liable to survive the years.
After lots of deliberation, I decided to go with a company called fotobook. I chose them for various reasons, but price, cover options and max pages were significant factors.
I’ll let you check out the company for yourself and the options they supply, I’ll move onto the review of the software and actual book.
Okay, downloading the software was easy and simple to install. No Mac version available though which was a let down, however they do have an option to send the files on disc. I didn’t have time for this so I installed on a windows machine.
The first bit was easy…choose your cover. I chose their “shimmer white” cover as it was for a wedding and they said on their website it was perfect for wedding albums. You also have the option to add some text to the cover (at added cost). Finally chose the size of the book. I opted for the 30x30cm one.
Now here’s where it gets complicated. Laying out the pages. I COULD NOT get this programme to do what I wanted. There are quie a few layouts already supplied, which you drag to the pages and the drag the photos into the ‘frames’.
This would be perfect if I didn’t care what it looked like
My book was in a square format, but the layouts seemed to be for rectangle formats (or 6×4 ratio). Seriously, if I just wanted to chuck loads of photos in from say a holiday, it would be great. Quick and easy. But I didn’t.
So i tried to build a custom layout using their programme. This was just as bad. It didn’t matter how precisly I placed the boxes, they never stayed put. Just as I thought I’d got it right…. I zoom out and they’ve moved.
I gave up and done my layouts in Photoshop.
I created 30x30cm page and layed-out my images on there. Then saved as a high quality jpg (300dpi, quality-12) and imported that to the fotobook software. I done this for all 54 pages.
When I was completely happy with all my pages, I was ready to upload. Rollowing the instructions was easy. Though it did throw up some errors when checking the document. I knew all my images were okay and of high enough quality, that I let them go through. But this could worry those with less knowledge.
Upload was slow, but to be honest, this is understandable with the file sizes.
I completed by making my payment.
Fotobook say they will get the book back within ten days. It had to be back in ten days for me, as my clients were having a garden party. They made it in nine! Phew!
The book came well packaged and without any damage as expected. The shimmer white cover is padded and wedding like as suggested. Paper and binding feel good and strong. And the print quality is also superb
To conclude, fotobook produced a very fine end product and I would certainly use them again. However next time I will opt for the ‘send on a CD’ option, as i found the software a nightmare.
Hi Rob – thanks for the review, I’ve been thinking of using their services to print off a few travel albums. I’m slightly disappointed they don’t produce mac compatible software (well last time I checked). I have a quick question for you – did you have any problems colour proofing to get your shots in synch colourwise to their printers.
To be honest you’ve really got to trust them on that one. All printers will be different depending on ink brands and paper stock unless you supply a hard copy for them to match to.
They ask that the images be supplied in RGB, so i suspect they are printing digitally. I did read previously that some people did not get the results they were expecting in terms of colour, but in some way i suspect that may have been their own fault based on the images they were supplying.
So you really need to be confident in your own system. Don’t rely on your monitor, make sure your colour settings match what they suggest. And check your histograms to ensure you have good tonal balance in your image.
My images came out exactly how i expected them to in terms of colour and tone, but i did check every photo’s tonal range.
Yes it’s a shame about the mac software and their current software for windows sucks, however there are other companies out there who do mac software for their systems. I advise requesting a pack from their site…. they even provide a cd to burn your images on!
Good luck in your choice.
Thanks for your comment
As a follow up to this: The clients loved it! They couldn’t have been happier. I’ve been offered more weddings as a direct result of this book.
Still, I’ve had to turn them down: Weddings are too stressful!