Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Photobooks... What I have learned!

I have purchased 3 Inkubook photobooks in the last couple of weeks, and thought I would share with you some of my experiences. The first book I bought was the guestbook. I used our professional engagement pics and some casual, fun, personal pictures, to create what I think is a pretty great guestbook. I also recently purchased two books documenting the surprise trip my mom and sister planned for me to New Orleans. These two book are identical except for the dedication page at the front. In creating this book, I used the easy photo-editing program Picassa to get vivid colors in my pictures, and I think my ladies are going to love them!! So, here is a breakdown of what I love about them, what I have learned about them, and the changes I will make in the future...

FRONT COVER: below I am showing you the front covers from the two books. In the guest book I used a pretty bold graphic that wrapped around from front to back, and was part of the "Modern Guest Book" background options in Inkubook. This is totally customizable, but I really like the boldness of it. Compare that to the front of the N.O. book, which I used a soft pattern as the background. I really like the soft pattern with the Comic Sans font... it creates a casual feel, and I think the background works well to pop the photo I took at the N.O. airport! The other main difference between the two books is that the guest book cover is matte, while the N.O. cover is glossy. What I learned: I definitely prefer the glossy cover; I like the bigger text I used on the N.O. book; have fun with the background... I thought they both worked really well.

BACK COVER: Again, two totally different covers. For the guest book the same background graphic wrapped around from the front cover... but I love love love the picture I used here, along with the whimsical font. I think that is my favorite part from the book! For the N.O. book, I used a full bleed picture, with a small caption of thanks. I really like the impact of this picture, and the quality is great... I am just not in love with how the background pattern from the front wraps around the spine... that's just being picky though! What I learned: Well, again, I love the finish of the glossy cover in the N.O. book, but I think I prefer the smaller picture of the guest book.

LAYOUT: There are so many layout options available at Inkubook, that it really is only imagination that limits you. While it is definitely possible to create your own layouts in Photoshop or other programs, I really liked how easy it was using the pre-set layouts. If you have great high-res pictures (ie. from your professionals) definitely do the full bleed layouts... they are dramatic, and look fantastic (check out the one below from our e-pics). The layout on the left page of the spread shown below, though, could use some work. I really love the picture-on-picture that I used, especially since the inset pictures contrast the full-bleed picture, but it would have been better if I put the inset pics on the right, so they wouldn't get lost in the gutter. Another thing I found that I loved, was using a background picture behind detail pictures. In the shot below from the N.O. book, my sis took a great black and white shot of one of the cemeteries we visited, and I think it worked really well as a background for a couple detail pics from us touring the grounds. What I learned: keep pictures out of the gutter so as not to lose any details; when using background pictures, make sure there is enough contrast between them and the detail pics sitting on top; have fun with your layouts, and mix up how you combine the left and right pages... keep it interesting!

COLOR: There are many background color and pattern options available to you in Inkubook, and for the most part, I am loving the freedom to choose. I tend to gravitate towards white and black backgrounds, as I find the pictures really stand out against them, but I have definitely used some of the color and pattern options available. You can see in the picture below that I used the yellow background... out of all of the ones I have used, I found this one to be the most bright (read: distracting!). It's not horrible or anything, but I would just be careful of how bright you want to go... the softer colors seemed to add enough visual interest without overpowering the images. What I learned: definitely play around with color and pattern... just be careful not to draw attention AWAY from your images!

So, that's my experience so far... I am definitely learning as I go, but can say for sure that Inkubook is my go-to-spot for photobooks. I looked at a bunch of other options, but it was the ease of use of Inkubook that really worked for me. You can get creative and create your own layouts, or you can simply drag-and-drop to their many preset layouts! The quality of the books has been great (but I don't have anything to compare it to), the colors and quality of the pictures have all met my expectations (but be careful... if a picture looks grainy on your computer screen, it definitely will in print too!), and the customer service is really useful. Hopefully they will find a printer in Canada too so we can enjoy lower shipping rates, but since their book prices are so affordable, they are definitely the most economical option I have found... shipping to the north included!!

I hope this has been helpful! I also hope to hear back from you all if/when you take advantage of the coupon code we are offering here!! I always love seeing the creativity of the brides out there with their photobooks!!

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