Customizing Your GraphiStudio Album

Overview

Congratulations! You probably have arrived here because you have contracted with Vibrant Memories Photography for photographic services, including a fine Italian GraphiStudio album. The pictures have been taken and you are probably in the process of picking out the ones that you want for your album.

There are lots of choices for your album; this page should help you in making those choices. You can review the page layout styles available to you. In your initial meeting, you probably already saw actual samples and came up with a rough idea of which styles you like the best and what percentage of each of those layouts that you would like in your album. You can also upgrade the page count of your album. You will need to tell us which images to include in your album and what layouts appeal to you. We will also guide you on how best to communicate all of this to us. So, shall we begin?

Your Images

In your gallery, you will find images named something like IMG_1234.JPG or 00aFavorite IMG_5678.JPG. Please refer to these with the 4-digit sequence number (e.g., 1234 and 5678 in these cases). It helps to prefix the image with the category - e.g., Engagement portrait 9012 or Ceremony 3456.

If you would like to have a poem, event invitation, announcement, wedding vows, love note, menu, or other document or item included, please let us know. We can scan or photograph items or just include text to be produced in your album design.

For most of the weddings and events that we photograph, we create a bookmark; we recommend including the front and back on back-to-back pages (i.e., an even page number and the next page, such as pages 2 and 3 if you want to see the front of the bookmark as soon as you open the album.

GraphiStudio Page Layout Styles

GraphiStudio offers a number of different page layouts, each conveying a different style. You can mix and match styles, but we recommend that you pick one style as the predominant one. You can review some of the styles in the context of multiple album pages online. Here are the styles, including links to detailed layout choice codes, and our recommendations. (Please take our recommendations merely as points of departure - there's no "right" choices here!)
Layout Description Recommendations
Reportage Contemporary, clean layout on black backgrounds with no fading of images; pictures laid out with multiple sizes, accomodating the most images per page As the most photojournalistic style, we love, for events shot predominantly capturing spontaneous moments, having at least 50% of an album in Reportage style; great for bookmark images; though we aren't fans of it, for those who do like mixing color with black and white, sepia, or blue tones in a single picture, it can be done for some of your images
Design Soft blended backgrounds with multiple image sequences; more contemporary than Studio Goes well with Reportage layouts; for pictures in this layout, consider including at least some with a black and white background image and a foreground color image
Studio Water color effects soften your images for an elegant, stylized presentation Dreamy first-kiss and romantic images look good in Studio style; excellent for superimposing text (e.g., wedding vows); if you like this layout, particularly well suited for albums with more portraits than candids, consider creating an album that is entirely in this layout or perhaps 80% Studio and 20% Director
Director Most intricate design including variety of effects, gradients, and torn pages; horizontal images typically laid out as double page spreads If you like this layout, we recommend considering an album that is no more than 40% Director and the rest Studio; good choice for superimposing text; we recommend specifying detailed layout choices as some layouts that may appeal today may possibly prove to be less appealing over the years as tastes change
Panorama Similar to Reportage but with white backgrounds and space around images, a simple but elegant contemporary layout with no graphical effects We recommend choosing this somewhat neutral layout for 0-10% of your images, possibly for images bridging from one section of your album to another
Family This simple, classic layout recalls pulling family images out of an old drawer and is good for a family reunion album This is the choice for a more traditional looking album; we don't find this layout to blend very well with the others, though it can accomodate the most images (we recommend Reportage for those who wish to incorporate the most images with a contemporary look); if you like this layout, we recommend picking it for all of your images
There is also a Classica style, which is just a combination of Reportage and Panorama. Though, in theory, it can take the most images, we don't recommend it as the sometimes-black and sometimes-white backgrounds make the overall album less cohesive.

How Many Images?

You are probably on this page after having contracted for a certain number of pages in your album. Use your layout goal from the previous section along with the table to the right to determine the number of pages that you have to work with for each layout.

For example, let's say that you have contracted for a 30-page album and want to have approximately 75% Reportage and 25% Design layouts. According to the table, you can pick .75*(45 to 55) = 34-41 images for Reportage treatment, and .25*(39) = 9 or 10 images with Design layout. Remember to include each side of a bookmark as an image; if you feel you can't afford the space in your album, you can always just insert an actual bookmark into the album and use it - as a bookmark!

What if you find that you have more images that just must be in your album than this calculation allows? Your contract should have specified a cost for upgrading your album. Common page size upgrades can be selected and paid for, inclusive of state sales tax, here with a credit card. Don't hesitate to contact us for other upgrades (including to a larger album size) and/or to upgrade but pay by check or calling in your credit card details.

Common Album Page Size Upgrades

Paper

GraphiStudio offers a choice of commercial offset (on textured or smooth paper) or digital laser (on photographic or metallic paper) printing. Prices are the same for each, except metallic, which is a little bit more expensive. We are happy to show samples; here is a summary of the choices for your main album, along with our recommendations. (Note that an album will contain only one paper choice; you can't "mix and match".)
Paper Description Recommendations
Offset (Textured) Advanced color offset printing gives an elegant look with slightly muted colors; printed on a heavy stock linen This is our favorite choice and our usual recommendation; offset printing results in pictures that are slightly less sharp than photographic printing, usually more flattering for portraits
Offset (Smooth) Offset printing onto smooth paper stock Choose this if you want your album to look like a fine-art magazine or if you typically pick matte over glossy finish for photographs and don't want a linen texture
Photographic Traditional photographic paper is a Kodak professional Endura paper that gives a classic semi-gloss look to your images; the development process in combination with the stay-flat process can add a slight discoloration to the seam (pink for light colored images, whitish-blue for darker ones) This is a good choice if you like the traditional feel of looking at photographs in a book; we highly recommend choosing to have the pages laminated
Metallic Kodak professional Endura metallic paper has a high-contrast glossy, metallic appearance with vibrant colors on a bright background; seam discoloration also possible; GraphiStudio always laminates these Choose metallic if you want images that "pop"; we recommend it for smaller albums, particularly for modeling portfolios or commercial photography

If you wish to add more heft to your album, at no additional charge you can choose to have thick pages; a substrate is bound in between the pages with no impact on longevity. We recommend this for albums of up to 40 pages. Otherwise, the album pages are thin and flexible, which you may prefer and which we recommend for larger albums.

All paper choices are created to last for generations - photographic for 80 years in typical home use (and possibly 200 years when stored closed), and digital offset for even longer. All paper is archival and acid-free. GraphiStudio has a patented binding system to allow your album to open flat.

For parent and guest books, thick substrated pages are not available. Books 8"x8" and larger are available in photographic paper (non-metallic). All parent and guest books are available with smooth or textured offset paper except for soft cover pocket books, available in smooth only.

Covers

Your contract should have given you a choice of covers. Popular choices include transparent (hard acrylic plastic with a picture on metallic paper underneath), metallic (1/8" thick aluminum with a picture laser etched onto the surface), and "soft silk" (actually woven polyester). You should be able to see these online (note that leather is not available, but leatherette is). If you pick a cover that takes images, please specify which images you would like on the cover. If the cover takes imprinting, please specify the imprinting (for wedding albums, we assume a default of bride and groom's first names followed by wedding date). You may also be able to specify imprinting in black, gold or silver.

Extras

GraphiStudio is our preferred album vendor primarily because of their high quality. Secondarily, as well! The third reason we like them so much is that a GraphiStudio album opens up many extras at surprisingly affordable prices. Your contract may already have a briefcase and a variety of smaller versions of the main album. You can always purchase these now or in the future; just ask.

Let's Design Your Album!

Okay, now we're ready. You have a set of layouts and a number of pictures that you can choose with each layout. From the example above, perhaps you will specify 36 images to be laid out with Reportage style and 10 with Design, totaling 46 images. You have picked out, say, 6 engagement pictures, 4 "getting ready" ones, 15 of the ceremony, 5 portraits of the bride and groom, 8 portraits with family and bridal party, and 8 pictures from your reception.

The express solution

You hired us. Hopefully one reason is that you like our designs and style. If you wish, you can stop here and just let us know your image choices (e.g., images 1234, 2678, ... from the engagement portraits; 6412, ... from the ceremony; ...). We'll do our best to design a beautiful album. However, we strongly recommend that you put a little bit more effort into your list before passing it on to us.

Order your images

GraphiStudio will need from us an ordering of the images. It's your album, and you can put the pictures in whatever order you would like. If you could prefix each picture with your sequence number, that would be great. When you open your album, you will see on the left a GraphiStudio logo and on your right a Vibrant Memories Photography logo and credits. Your images begin next with pages 1 and 2, with 1 on the back of the Vibrant Memories page and 2 facing it. Your list, along with design preferences, may look something like this:

  
    01-engagement 1234
    02-engagement 2678
        ...
    46-reception 9341
    Note: 36 images in Reportage layout, 10 in Design; designer's choice, but for monochromatic
      effects, use sepia and not b+w
  

Specify layout preferences for images

The more information that you can provide about your preferences, the more likely you will be delighted with the design. (You will get a .pdf file to review the design before it is produced.) It's not necessary, but you are welcome to annotate some images with a layout style that you would prefer for those images. Sample layout - Design Layout, Code 619, which has three images

We recommend that you consider following the links in the table above to look at specific layout choice codes, such as the example to the right (Design 619). We are not looking for detailed design (e.g., "Design 619 - use 2678 as image 1, 5680 as image 2, 5600 as image 3"), but rather any more general input - "I love Design codes like 619 but don't like ones like 614"). Your final list, including any additional design input, as well as cover choice, may look like this:

  
    01-brideGrPortrait 7501 (Reportage)
    02-engagement      2678 (Design - maybe along with the next two in a layout like 619)
    03-familyPortrait  5680
    04-engagement      5600 (black and white)

    05-engagement      5200
        ...
    45-ceremony        6412
    46-reception       9341 (Reportage) 
    Note: 75% Reportage, 25% Design; for Reportage, never mix color treatments within one picture;
      you may override, but given a choice, please use black backgrounds; avoid any layouts
      like Designer code 614 - I don't like tiny inset images
    Paper: Offset textured
    Cover: Silver Metallic with satin finish, "Bob and Mary" on first line, "October 15, 2007" on
      the second, brideGrPortrait 7518 image
  
The more information that you can provide, the more likely that we'll get your album right on the first try!

Communicating Your Design

You're done! Almost ... you need to let us know your choices. Simply email your list to us, including paper and cover choices, or call to make other arrangements. You can create your list in a word processor like Microsoft Word, a simple notepad editor, or, in a spreadsheet. If you prefer, a handwritten note will also do.

What to Expect Next

We will go through your list and possibly suggest some changes, then will pass the information and all of the chosen high-resolution images to the designers in Alba, Italy. GraphiStudio prides itself on its hand-crafted traditions, so the length of time varies, but typically within 6-10 weeks, they will deliver to us an online (.pdf format) file that we can look at, together or separately, that shows the album's design. Once we approve it and/or make any suggestions for changes, it goes to production. Up to 6-10 weeks later your album package will arrive from Italy!

Contact Us

We probably made this process sound more difficult than it really is. Don't hesitate to contact us for any questions or guidance. You can reach us by email at dilip@vibrant-memories.com or by phone (cell) at 919-943-8784.

You can easily return to your wedding or portrait gallery. Or come back to our home page. Congratulations, again, on your new Graphi album!

Created 30 August 2007
Last updated 12 September 2007

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Images courtesy of GraphiStudio and used with permission.