Ever since we got our wedding photos back from our photographers last February, I have had a very big to-do hanging over my head. It made it to number ten on my 101 in 1001 list:
10. Create wedding albums for parents
Finally I was able to cross this biggie off of my list this Christmas (with glee, might I add). In early December, I hunkered down and designed 12″ x 12″, 50-page hardcover albums, which I had printed by Blurb. I had never used Blurb before so I was quite nervous for the outcome, but after reading so many rave reviews from the ladies at Weddingbee, I took the chance… and I am pleased to say that I am extremely satisfied with the final result.
I designed my layouts in Adobe InDesign, using one of the helpful templates that can be downloaded from the Blurb website. (If you don’t already have a layout program you’d like to use, you can download the Blurb BookSmart® software to lay out your book.) The templates clearly show the “safe zone” for all images and text, and illustrate how much bleed to include in your layout for photos or other images that should bleed off the edges. This is especially helpful if you don’t want to chop off the heads of any of your wedding guests :-)
I was also impressed by the cover templates, from which there are several to choose based on the number of pages in your book and the paper used for printing (which affects the width of the spine). I had created smaller, soft-cover books a few months back with Shutterfly, and my cover layout was not what I was expecting in terms of placement of the text on the spine (it ended up on the back). With my Blurb books, everything was lined up exactly as I had set it up on the cover, spine, and back cover.
I think the back cover is actually my favorite… I included our silhouettes and monogram that I had also used on the menus and drink signs at our wedding. I’m a sucker for silhouettes!
Overall, I was very pleased with the image quality and the vibrant colors. While I wasn’t expecting absolute perfection, I didn’t see any problems with skin tones, and I thought the ink coverage was impressive (and consistent) throughout each book.
(I look a bit pale, but, um… I am pale :-)
I ordered three books total — each 12″ x 12″, 50-pages, with image wrap covers and Premium paper. The final cost for each book: $85.95 plus shipping (which I actually got for free with a holiday coupon code). Compared to how much professional albums would have cost, we saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars and still had really beautiful Christmas gifts for our parents.
Does a Blurb book match the quality of a professionally designed and printed album from your photographer? Of course not. Even with the Premium paper selection and the image wrap cover, you aren’t going to get the same attention to detail and the high quality printing that you would otherwise get from a professional album company. But for the money spent, I am elated with the final result, and I’m pretty sure our parents are, too.
In terms of timing, I ordered all three books together on December 8; I received free FedEx Ground shipping with a holiday coupon code. My books were shipped on December 15 and received on December 17. Considering the size and number of pages in my books, I think this is an exceptionally fast turnaround time.
If you’re considering ordering from Blurb, a few pointers:
- Pay a little extra for the Premium paper; the final result is worth the additional cost.
- Use the templates provided on the Blurb website (or download their BookSmart® software to lay out your book) to avoid unexpected cropping of photos off of edges or in the spine.
- If you have questions, be safe and contact Blurb customer support before placing your order; I had a few questions and they responded very promptly.
- Selecting the option to remove the logo page from the back of your book (like I did with my first upload) will add quite a bit of cost — for me, it would have cost another $20 per book! And once your book is uploaded, you cannot reverse this selection. Unfortunately, I had to go back and re-upload my entire file, which, because of its size, took a few hours, but was worth the $20 saved. And the small logo on the last blank page of each book isn’t so bad :-)
What’s your company of choice for self-made photo books?
All photos included in our album by The Wiebners