Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spotlight on Kristen Scott Photography

This weekend my husband and I traveled to Philadelphia for his cousin's wedding. It was a wonderful trip to reconnect with family we don't get to see often enough! While we were there, Brent's cousin Kristen took some amazing family shots. Kristen's work is simply stunning. If you are in the greater Detroit area, you should definitely look her up for senior pictures or family/baby photo shoots. I just love her bright, fresh style. Check out Kristen's website to see her beautiful galleries. We are so lucky to have a professional photographer in the family!

Here are some shots of my wonderful in-laws:
Brent's sister Lorren, her husband Cole and little Savannah

Brent's sister Joelle, her husband David and their twin girls, Lyla and Pressley. Baby number 3 is on the way!

Me and my handsome husband...I'm a lucky girl

The 3 cousins...these girls are going to be best buds!

Finally, here's the whole family together...

Life can be so busy and time slips away so fast. I find myself wanting to capture every moment so I can still treasure these special days when they are long past. I urge everyone to invest frequently in photo shoots that will preserve each special stage of life. Thank you so much for taking these family shots, Kristen! You're incredible!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Flush Mount vs Coffee Table

On my site, there are pricing options for two types of books - coffee table style and flush mount style. These books are different in look and feel, but both are high quality albums. When I first started KruBooks, I spent a lot of time comparing and evaluating print and bind suppliers. To keep things simple, I decided to pick one strong supplier for each book style. I decided to use Asuka for my coffeetable books, and Leather Craftsmen for my flush mount albums. I continue to keep my eye on other companies and new supppliers...I want to make sure I am offering the best! But in the past year and a half, I have been so pleased with the end product for both companies. Here's a detailed description of each book type:

Coffee Table Books: Featuring Asuka Book Bound - Hard Cover
Coffee table books are slightly less formal and less expensive. These books are like what you would find in the photography section of a book store. The layouts are printed directly on the page. All pages are protected with a varnish coating which gives them a lustrous look and satiny feel. The cover is printed with a picture, and each book comes with a frosted case which allows extra protection. Here are some pictures from the Asuka website:

Flush Mount Books: Featuring Premium Leather Craftsmen 3500 Series
The flush mount books are higher end and more traditional. Your layouts are professionally printed and hand-mounted onto thick pages. There isn't a “gutter” or middle hinge, which means none of your layout will be lost in the middle. This feature provides you with a full panoramic spread. The cover is a made with top grain cowhide leather. For an additional fee, you can get upgraded leather options or premium fabrics. Here are some pictures from Leather Craftsmen's site:

If you have any questions about these two styles, or which is right for your album, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'd love to help!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Image Selection: How Many Images

One question I am frequently asked is: "How many images should I send/choose for my album?" The first and easiest answer, of course, is that it depends on the number of pages. (Quick definition check...the terminology in the album world can be super confusing, because many people define the same words differently. To keep my head straight, I distinguish a "page" as one side of a layout...similar to how a book's pages are numbered. When referring to the two sides together, I use the terms "layout" or "spread.")

To give people an idea of how many images will be included in their end product, I use the guideline of 2-3 images per page (which is 4-6 images per layout). Why the range? When I plan an album, I like to think of the overall balance...not just the balance of a spread, but the connection between all the layouts in the book. To have a real "page turner", you want to keep the viewer involved with interesting and varying designs. This mean having some full spreads, as well as some simple, clean spreads. The more basic spreads have two main purposes: 1) they allow a couple of stunning images to really make an impact, 2) they give the eye a rest, a stopping place to re-orient. I'm never one to lean towards chaotic or busy designs, but when I do a spread that showcases many images, I like to "restore the peace" with a really classic design that has just a few strong images. It's incredible how much impact images can have when they are designed in the simplest way.

Here's a couple spreads to show the value of album variety. This first spread isn't "busy", but it is full. There is a faded image on the right side, as well as an overlapping white bar with smaller images. The balance of the spread is maintained by the larger detail shot on the left side, and the similar color palette across the images.

photography by Dede Edwards

On the next spread, I wanted to add in some white space and just showcase two images (and one GREAT flower detail shot). The lovely bride and groom with a burst of green...

Here's an example of a simple page that really captures the emotion of the images. The large image on the left and the abundance of white space on the right allow the eye to really absorb what's going on. Don't you just want to CELEBRATE?

Finally, a spread with edge to edge images. Still simple, but with a little more to take in. The single sepia image balances the spread and give your eyes a starting point.

Since you can't predict how the images will fit together in the end, it's better to send too many pictures than too few. The guideline of "2-3 images per page" isn't really a design mandate (you can see that two of the spreads above only have 1 image per page), but rather an alternative way to think of album layout. Instead of forcing images into pre-designed spreads, why not let the images lead the way! Group high-energy images (getting ready, reception dancing, etc.) into clean, but action-filled pages. And let those powerful "wow" shots have their own space. The end result - an interesting and stunning album that is specifically designed for YOUR images!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Image Selection: Direction and Freedom

Image selection for an album can be overwhelming. I remember the day after my wedding, I was itching to get my hands on the photographer's pictures. When I finally got the proofs, I was so enamored with seeing myself in a big, puffy dress that I loved every single shot! Truly, all 727 of them. The first wedding album I designed for myself was 64 pages...after I cut back! One of the great things about the switch to digital photography is that brides are getting more images of their special day. But how do you choose which to put in your album?

Several people can be a part of the picture selection process. Some brides want to choose all their pictures; sometimes the photographer selects all the images. My ideal designing situation is to get the CD of all acceptable images (the ones you'd be happy to have in your album) and also a list of the bride's and/or photographer's must have images. This combination of direction and freedom is a designer's dream come true. The list of your absolute favorites reduces the amount of revisions and image swapping down the road. And the range of other images allows the designer to put together a variety of shots that complement each other. Some close ups, some landscapes. Some people shots, some details. Colors and photo treatments that coordinate and make the entire layout look like it just fits.

Here are some examples of what designer freedom can produce:

photography by Dede Edwards

The beauty in the above layout comes from the similar lighting and color tones. Let's say the bride didn't send two of these pictures, so I had to use ones that weren't taken at this time of day or on the beach. The effect is lost when a couple of images are swapped.

Here's another example of a beautiful complimentary layout. In this spread, the soft pink hue is repeated on the right side, which really allows the black and white image on the left to make a statement.

photography by Brooke Schwab

I love the challenge of mixing and matching images to get the perfect look for each spread. Visually appealing layouts are what make the story come alive! So when selecting your album images, you definitely want your favorites in there...but don't be afraid to leave the rest up to the designer. Sit back and enjoy some well-deserved relaxation. You may be amazed at what a little creative freedom can produce!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's Time!

For the last year, I've been talking about starting a KruBooks blog. It was even my 2009 New Year's resolution! I don't know why I've been dragging my feet...but finally I couldn't resist any longer. I can't be the only one with a passion for album design (right?), so why not share with the world?

I started KruBooks in October 2007 and have been amazed to watch it grow and and evolve. The journey has not always been easy, but I consider myself incredibly blessed to be doing a job I only dreamed could exist!

Hopefully this blog will be inspirational to you in some way. If you are an upcoming or recent bride, you can gain some helpful tips to planning and purchasing your dream wedding album. If you are a potential client, you can see some recent KruBooks work and get to know me a little better. If you are a photographer, you can learn more about album options and see some amazing work from your peers. And if you are a friend, I'm sure I will have some personal updates to share as well!

So, here we go!