Hi all you brides and grooms out there. I know a number of you have been asking me when my Bride Box Lake wedding album review was going to come out. Well here’s Part 1! I’ve decided to do it in two parts. This first part will be about the software, plus I’ll also share some of my design thoughts with you. The second part will be a review of the book itself. PLUS! I’m sure you saw “GIVEAWAY” in the title of this post right? Well, you can win a beautiful lay flat album just like mine! ($329.00 value!) Read on for details!
I have several wedding photo albums already (well, I am Photo Book Girl after all!) so I decided to make another album with my engagement session photos. Our photographer (Albert at SecondPrint Productions) did a great job of giving us direction but we were a bit out of our element. Posing for the camera (without looking like you’re posing) does take some getting used to – you know, acting all lovey dovey in public if that’s not what you normally do. But we did our best.
I was given this book for purposes of review by the folks at Bride Box. If you think their software looks familiar, it’s the same software as from MyPhotoCreations. Both Bride Box and MyPhotoCreations are the consumer divisions of the professional lab DigiLabs, a company that’s been around since 1997.
In particular I wanted to try out the Lake album since I’d never tried it before. According to Bride Box, the Lake is the “best of all worlds” as it’s an affordable alternative to a flush mount album. (Check out my review of Bride Box’s/MyPhotoCreations’ high end Anza flush mount album.) To clarify from the outset, there is no difference between the products offered by the two sites – they are the same but pricing and promos may differ, so be sure to see which one is running the better deal.
Here’s the specs:
|Book size:||10 x 10 (width x height)|
|Cover:||Hardcover – matte wrap-around photo cover|
|Pages:||60 (double-sided), professional archival Kodak E-Surface Photo Paper|
|Price:||$329.00 + $13.99 (two-day shipping) Total: $343.98 (Provided complimentary by company, I paid for shipping.) Use special coupon codes noted above to get this book for $263.00 or a 20-page album for $112.00.
Bride Box Software
The software is both Mac and PC compatible and is downloaded to your desktop. The Lake comes in three sizes: 8 x 8, 10 x 10 and 12 x 12. I personally like the 10 x 10 size. It’s just right in my opinion.
Likes (b/t/w many of these “likes” were taken from my earlier software review, reprinted here for convenience)
- Working on your book is a quick start – you don’t need to wait for a lengthy upload to begin designing;
- You have the option of using the Photo Album Wizard to quickly design a book;
- The “fit to page” and “fit to spread” functions allow you to instantly place a full bleed photo either onto an individual page or both across pages (the spread);
- I’m often wary of using photo correction or editing tools within photo book programs, but I used the “Perfectly Clear” tool on a few of my photos that looked like they needed a boost and my photos printed out nicely;
- You can multi-select the photo boxes (hold shift and click) and make changes to all the items at once which is a time-saver;
- There are several one-click alignment tools that can be accessed by the pull down menu at the top and also by right-clicking on the photos;
- You can save your layouts as templates to the “Page Layouts” tab at the bottom right of the workspace to reuse again;
- You can easily swap out book styles without having to recreate the book. (Go to “Edit” pull down menu and select, “Change Book”);
- The coordinates, measurements and resolution of the individual photo boxes and elements are instantly visible at the bottom of the workspace when you hover over each element. It’s one of the few programs I can recall that tells you the resolution of your photos and in such a convenient way. According to the company, you can probably get away with as low as 150dpi, and somewhere between that and 300dpi is better. For more on dpi and resolution check out my post.
The software is very easy to use. If you like a lot of backgrounds, there aren’t many, but you can upload your own if you find those offered limiting. Clip art is basically non-existent, but with this type of book (wedding or engagement album), I don’t recommend any clip art. In my opinion clean and simple is best. When you have professional photos taken the actual photos and the happy couple should be the focus of the album. I actually tried to add some subtle floral clip art, but it didn’t look good to me so I took it out.
Wish List Fulfilled
In my review of MyPhotoCreations’ software, I had a wish list where I noted some issues or changes I wanted to see. Looks like all of my suggestions were eventually updated in this version of the software, which is nice! I had issues previously with getting all of my computer’s fonts to work, but they all worked just fine here. I was happy to be able to use my own fonts. In particular we used Century Gothic for most of our wedding’s printed materials (invitations, signage, programs etc.) so it was nice to be able to use that same font in my album for cohesiveness. Also, I had mentioned that you could only place a photo across the center of the spread if it completely covered both pages (a full-page spread) but I also wanted to be able to place a smaller photo across both pages. Now you can do that.
Since the software allows you to save a proof to your desktop, I’m able to show you an overview of my entire book. Page 1 is the front cover and page 62 is the back cover. Pages 2 & 3 make up the first spread.
Photo Book Girl’s Wedding/Engagement Photo Album Design Tips
- Keep it simple. Clean layouts showcasing only one or a few photos is best. Too many photos on a page can get overwhelming and look visually cluttered;
- Although you can choose to lay out your photo boxes anywhere you want because the software allows for full customization, aligning your photos looks neater. You can use the program’s alignment tools to make sure the boxes line up on top and on the sides in relation to the other photo boxes on the page;
- Keep your backgrounds clean, again your intent is to showcase the photos. If you do choose backgrounds, try to stick to a complementary palette to your photos. You can see that I stuck primarily with neutrals like black (one of my faves), brown, cream, grey and a few punches of green. Since we took our photos in the park and in a greenhouse, the color green worked well with my photos;
- If you really like a particular photo, then highlight it by giving it its own two-page spread – you can see I did that for several pages including 22 – 23; 34 – 35; 48 – 49 and 56 – 57. Note however, when you do a full two-page spread some of your image can get cut off. If the part that gets cut off is a necessary part of the photo, or the photo doesn’t look good cropped in that way, you can do a “modified” two-page spread like I did on pages 22 – 23. Just add a background;
- If you do a full-page spread where your images goes across both pages, normally I caution against having someone’s head in the center, but since this is a lay flat book with no gutter (the pages fold in the center versus having an actual gap), it can actually work. Regardless, I wouldn’t recommend having someone’s face in the gap. The back of the head looks okay though;
- On pages 58 – 59 I did a “collage” – I often like to do a page which gives the highlights of the book (these photos are repeated elsewhere in the book in larger form). In this case I put it at the end, sometimes I put it at the beginning as a “teaser”;
- Having a 60-page book doesn’t mean you have to make 60 different backgrounds. I’m a big proponent of reusing layouts to save time and to give a cohesiveness to the book. (You can even save layouts in this program for reuse in a later book (they are saved under “Custom layouts”). See “Save Page as Layout” (under the File menu at top.) Notice how 14 – 15 and 30 -31 are the same exact layout. It’s spaced out far enough from the first one to not look monotonous.
One (1) lucky, lucky Photo Book Girl reader will get a 60-page 10 x 10 Lake Album! ($329.00 value!)
You have 6 possible ways to enter, but you must do the REQUIRED ENTRY for the others to count. For EACH entry, you have to COMMENT ON THIS POST below with a separate comment for EACH entry, telling me what type of entry you did.
- Comment below – IF YOU WON, WHAT WOULD BE THE TOPIC OF YOUR BOOK (wedding, baby, anniversary, travel, portfolio etc.)?
- Subscribe to my newsletter (look for light blue box at top right) AND tell me in the comment below that you subscribed and the name you subscribed under (first name is fine). If you already subscribe to my newsletter, tell me in your comment and give me your name. (Please remember for it to count, you must confirm the subscription. Sorry RSS or Google Reader doesn’t count);
- “Like” me on Facebook (if you are already a fan, or become a new fan, tell me your Facebook name in the comment form);
- “Like” BrideBox on Facebook (if you are already a fan, or become a fan, tell me your Facebook name in the comment form);
- Give your review of any photo book company you’ve tried on the company’s main reviews page. Click on the link and then click on the logo of the company you want to review. You’ll see a place to add your review at the bottom of each company’s page. Let me know which company you commented on by telling me in a comment in this post below. (Limit to two (2) entries using this method.);
- Blog about this giveaway on your blog. Be sure to comment on this post with a link to your blog post (Counts as 3 entries!)
Make sure to do the REQUIRED ENTRY!
This giveaway is open to anyone 18 or older. No country restrictions (so it’s international) but void where prohibited. Void in Quebec. Entries must be received by Monday, December 24, 2012, at 11:59pm CDT and any entries not in accordance with the rules will be disqualified at our sole discretion and at the discretion of the sponsor. Winning entries will be chosen using Random.org. After compiling the results, I will announce the winners thereafter and will email the winners. (Please note, due to proximity to Christmas, results may not be posted and winners may not be contacted for several days.) The winners will have 48 hours to respond or I will redraw another entry. Canadian winners may be asked to answer a skill question to be eligible, to comply with Canadian laws. Winners will be issued a code for the appropriate value. Cannot be combined with other promotions. Winner pays for shipping. Shipping varies by location – see Bridebox site for details. Disclosure: If you use my special code to make a purchase, I receive a referral fee from the company. Regardless, my opinions are my own and an honest review is always given.
Thank you to BrideBox for its sponsorship of this giveaway!
Make sure to check out my special promo codes at the top of this post for discounts on all of BrideBox’s most luxurious albums!
Be sure to stay tuned for Part II of my review which will feature the book itself!