Wedding Photography and Videography Forum

DIY Wedding Album Reviews

Hi everyone,

I decided to DIY my wedding album and I promised myself I would write reviews of the companies I used afterwards because it was so difficult for me to decide what company to use when I was making my album(s).  So here they are:

For our own album, we created a flushmount album (similar to what your photographer would offer you, with the thick, layflat pages) using Blackriver Imaging.  We purchased a 12 x 12 album with a leather cover, gilded pages and 50 spreads for $450 (originally $600 prior to a 25% off coupon we found online).  You could get it for cheaper with a less expensive cover or fewer spreads (I think the one our photographer offered was 20 spreads but she was charging $1100).  The album is really fantastic.  The picture quality is great.  We're very happy and saved quite a bit of money.  

For our parent albums, we used Adoramapix and purchased their photobooks.  The photobooks also have layflat pages on real photographic paper but the pages are much thinner than the flushmount album.  Picture quality was excellent (similar to the flushmount album).  The photobooks have a shiny cover which you choose a picture and design for.  We got 8 x 8 photobooks for our parent albums and also did a 12 x 12 with honeymoon pics for ourselves.  Their pricing depends upon what size book you purchase but I think we paid around $40 each.  You can easily find a coupons/groupons for them online.  Adoramapix also offers flushmount albums, which we considered, but I couldn't find any reviews of the albums online so I was hesitant.  They also don't offer a cover with a cameo window which I really wanted.  The one thing I will say about Adoramapix is that I found their software to be the easiest that I used, with lots of layout options and layouts that are easy to adjust.  I think if I purchase photobooks in the future I will probably use them again.

We used Shutterfly for our guest book (using engagement pics).  I got a coupon for a free 8 x 8 photobook so we used that; however, with Shutterfly you have to be careful because the "extra" costs can add up.  Some of their layout options/themes are free but others you have to pay for.  So we paid $5 for the "guest book" theme that we chose and then another $7 shipping.  The Shutterfly book has decent picture printing but they have magazine style pages rather than layflat pages (you can upgrade to layflat pages but I don't know how much that costs).  The paper is not the same photographic paper that you get with the other 2 companies (again, they are now offering premium paper, which is not what we used, so they might have better options at this point).  The price is much less expensive, and they always have coupons.  We were very happy with the guest book, and I think a Shutterfly book probably would be fine if you wanted a book full of snap and shoot pics that you took yourself, but for high quality pictures that you paid a lot of money for, one of the other options is probably better if you can afford it.  However, my MIL made her own album from out wedding pictures and upgraded to a premium album with layflat pages and was very happy with it.  I haven't seen it yet so I can't comment on it.

Some thoughts after making my own album:
-It can be VERY time consuming.
-If I had to do it again, I probably would've ordered (cheap) copies of the photos I intended to put into the album.  When the photos were actually in front of me, I noticed things about them that I didn't notice on the computer screen (unfortunately, it turns out that some of the photos I chose were not fully in focus) and I would've preferred to select another photo if I had known what the picture would look like when it was printed.
-If you know how to use photoshop, a lot of companies will allow you to upload your spreads directly on their pages so you don't have to design them with their software.
-For those looking to purchase a flushmount album, other companies that I looked at included: Somerset Albums (I found their designing software very difficult to understand and finally gave up; they also did not have real leather covers for their albums but were otherwise very reasonably priced), Bridebox (more expensive than Blackriver imaging), and Adoramapix (as noted above).  
-Photobookgirl.com also has a LOT of reviews of companies that make photobooks/albums if you want a more extensive list with reviews and pictures.  

Re: DIY Wedding Album Reviews

  • I used photobookgirl.com for some of my research too and amazingly as I was in the process of making my album (I did the flush mount Hudson Album from Adoramapix) she posted a code for 40% off which saved me hundreds!!  
  • dave1photodave1photo member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited March 2015
    As you say here in your post, doing the album takes a LOT of time.

    You have other options than to try to do your full album on your own.  There are "Services" that do album designs.  Many photographers use them.  Theyr're relatively inexpensive.  So if you've negotiated the digital negatives into your package deal, consider doing an internet search for wedding album designers.  If they're good enough for your professional wedding photographer to use, then they're surely good enough for you to use to get a professional design.

    (edited by mod)
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