Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Be Our Guest

Our photo/guest book came in last week! After we got the CD of our engagement photos, it was one of the first tasks that I set out to complete.  I decided to use Shutterfly because I got a free photo book voucher from them when I bought my new camera this summer at Best Buy.  I also had in $20 credit from them that I got from David's Bridal when I set up an appointment with them at a bridal show last January.  While there will be a separate post on this later - the $20 Shutterfly cards that you get from David's Bridal and Target will NOT work with any other offers!

Here are a couple of pictures for you.  I was kind of disappointed with how the cover turned out because the design looks kind of dirty (but it doesn't look like that on the website), but everything else turned out well!  If you want to see the entire guest book, I have embedded it below so you can click through it.

As you can see, I tried to leave as much blank space as possible.  Since it is only an 8x8 book, I was really paranoid about running out of space for people to sign.  I figured some will just write their names, but I wanted to make sure that if people wanted to write us a message, that they would be able to do so.  I also was worried that I would leave too much white space and it would feel empty. Ah, the balance!

The default for Shutterfly photo books is 20 pages so I went ahead and expanded it to 29 pages to spread out some of the pictures/leave some pages completely blank.   We decided that we are not going to have a guest book attendant, but I have made a sign that we will place next to the book that tells our guests what to do.  Hopefully they write throughout the entire book, but we'll have to wait and see!

After checking the guest book off the wedding to-do list, I set out to find a pen that would work with the photo paper without smearing.  It would break my heart to find our guest book a big, messy smudge so I did some research on to see what other brides have done before me.

Most bee's suggested using either a Sharpie or an archival acid-free pen.  I went to Hobby Lobby in search of a pretty Sharpie and found this:

Looks fancy right? Turns out, its no good for our guest book.  It is only a "fine" tip, not an "ultra-fine" tip and it smudges like crazy.  I tried it out on some paper that was similar to our guest book and it was a big fail.

I went ahead and decided to give sharpie another try and bought Sharpie Ultra Fine Tip Permanent Markers and tested it out.  Much better results were achieved this time!  I also gave regular Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker a run and you can see the results below.  I wiped my finger over the ink about one second after I finished writing:

The Ultra Fine Tip, middle, definitely wins the smudge wars here.  I don't think it dries automatically, but it is set within a second or two.  Being a left-handed person (and incredibly familiar with smudge-marked hands while writing), this could still potentially cause problems, but we are working in the right direction!  I have heard that Sakura Pigma Micron pens are the way to go, so I might find myself giving them a try just yet.  Apparently they are much more fade-resistant than Sharpies are and come highly recommended on the WeddingBee circuit.

All in all, I am quite pleased with out wedding guest/photo book.  I think it will be fun for our guests to find a place to sign their name or leave us some advice/wishes.  It reminds me of yearbook signing when I was in school which was always fun.

The original price for the book was $29.99 and the extra nine pages were $9.00.
The book was free with my Best Buy code and I also had a 50% off code which made the extra pages only $4.50
Shipping at $7.99 and tax at $1.07 made the total $13.56

Not too bad in my opinion!  While it wasn't technically free like I would have liked, the cost came in equal to a plain photo book and much cheaper than a personalized photo book. And I get to check another to-do off my growing list!

Let me know what you think! Did you do (or are you planning) a photo book for your wedding?  If so, what type of pen did you use?

Check out our full wedding guest/photo book below!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Release Me

I knew when we decided on Grant to take our wedding pictures that the engagement session came with a CD and a print release for the pictures.  What I didn't realize was how important the print release was.   I have had plenty of friends that have gotten wedding CDs from their photographer, but I had never really heard them stress the importance of a release for the pictures nor had I ever heard of them actually needing to use it.

Like those wedded friends before me, I wanted the flexibility of being able to choose the pictures I liked and select the printing company of my choice.  I am a huge sucker for bargains, so being able to shop around was nice (although Grant's prices from his website are incredibly affordable).  In addition, having the CD meant that I could use the pictures to create other elements of our wedding day, namely the guest book and our Save-The-Dates. By having access to those high-quality files, I could manipulate the images and use them as needed.

It actually wasn't until my third trip to the Walgreens Photo Department that I needed a copy of the print release.  I had printed off our engagement photos two other previous times, but they didn't seem to catch it:
The first time, they were amongst a million other pictures - easy mistake
The second time I ordered a (FREE!) 8x10 collage of solely our engagement pictures - kinda obvious?
The third time I ordered about 20 of the different Save-The-Date designs that I had saved as image files.   I like to think that it's because my designs are so darn professional looking!

After I had sent in that third order, I got a phone call from Walgreens stating that it looked like the pictures had been taken professionally and asking if I could bring in a copy of the print release.  Sure thing.  When I went in, they asked for my print release, gave me my pictures and said thank you.  Looking back, I probably sounded kind of snobby, but I didn't realize that they keep your print release, so I asked if I could have it back. The girl looked at me strangely, but then we realized my misunderstanding and she went and made a copy of it so that I could have MY original back (I might have been in slight panic mode after seeing the cashier walk away with my release).

Now, they only asked for the release 1/3 times, so 33% doesn't seem like an effective rate for Walgreens.  It seems like taking a gamble would probably get results, or using a service that ships the images to you like Shutterfly would be effective too.  I, however, am a little too paranoid and a terrible liar, so I wouldn't feel comfortable with hoping.  I guess what I am trying to say is that if you are paying someone to take your wedding pictures and are receiving a CD, get a print release from them.  Even if you are just having a friend take your pictures, get a print release.  It will save you the hassle of trying to hunt them down later, in the event that the company that is printing your pictures requests it.  Not only does it make life easier, but it actually protects the work of the photographer and gives them credit for their images.  And don't forget to make copies of your print release.

As for my last bit on print releases, I'm sure there are plenty of templates available on the interweb, but if you are wondering what our print release looks like, here it is:

To Whom It May Concern:
My name is (Photographer), I am the owner, photographer, and copyright holder of all images taken by (Company Name).  I hereby grant (Client) my permission to make prints using this CD.

If you should have any questions regarding the authenticity of this document or the terms here with, please contact me at:


Hope that gives you an idea on print releases.  It was pretty uncharted territory for me as of a month ago.  I still have a hard time grasping the concept that you have an image in your hand, of yourself, that you have paid for, but it isn't technically your property because of copyright mumble jumble.  However, the feds will not be knocking down my door for photographic copyright infringement!

Oh, and take a shot for each time I used the word release.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Work in Progress: Save the Dates

As promised in my last post, here are my Save the Dates that I have designed thus far.

Basically, I found styles that I liked online and mimicked/tweaked them.  I started by using Microsoft Word, but you can't really save them as image files, so I moved over to PowerPoint.  I don't have Photoshop, or the skills to use it, but PowerPoint seemed to do almost everything I wanted.  I do have the free photo-editing program Gimp, which is very similar that I might mess around with, but it's still pretty out-of-my-league.

I did blur out our wedding website (eventually it will have more personal information than I care to share online!), but that should be the only thing missing.

I went ahead and sent these images in to Walgreens so that I could have a physical copy of them.  My goal for the next few days is to go through the examples with Adam and finalize the fonts, pictures, and layout of the design. Then we can get on to ordering these babies!

Let me know what you think!  What is your favorite?
(The white ones tend to blend into the background quite a bit.  If you click on the image it will be easier to see where it begins and ends!)
Horizontal 1

 Horizontal 2
 Horizontal 3

 Horizontal 4

Horizontal 5

Horizontal 6

Vertical 1 & 2 

 Vertical 3 & 4

Vertical 5 & 6

I think that Horizontal 5 is my favorite out of all the designs because it incorporates our wedding colors.  Adam already told me that he didn't like the white ones though when he was flipping through them this week.  He was looking more at the pictures and the fonts, rather than the design, so we're going to have to take a closer look and play around some more.  Another thing, is that if I upload my images to Vistaprint, part of the design is cut off around the outside edges.  I'm going to have to go back in and create a larger template to accommodate for the "bleed area" that the printers don't get to.

All in all, I'm pretty happy to say that I created these and would be happy to send these out to our family and friends.  I have no design skills whatsoever, just time and lots of patience!  If there is a design that you like, feel free to send me a private message and I can send you the "template."

So what do you think? Should I keep my day job? :)

Photo Projects Galore

About 2 weeks ago we got our engagement CD in the mail.

Since then, I have been quite a busy bee:

1.  I ordered 4x6 prints of our picture session

2.  Walgreens emailed me with a Free 8x10 Collage offer, so of course I had to take up on it.  I've spent more money framing/matting it than the $5 that I saved, but we now have some wall art!

3.  I ordered our Photo Guest Book through Shutterfly (post coming soon!)

4.  I've been working on designing the Save-The-Dates and printed off samples

5.  I've been trying to decide where to get our Save-The-Dates printed:  Walgreens, Shutterfly or Vistaprint (I'm pretty sure Vistaprint is winning).

Needless to say, it's been a busy few weeks.  I have started to feel like the projects are adding up and that it might be time to do some real decision-making rather than researching.  I have a feeling that is going to be a problem for me in the next few months; I've had so much time to find the best deals/cheapest ideas for the last 10 months because nothing was urgent, but now we're getting to the point where decisions need to be made and I don't feel fully educated about my choices and am hesitant to act!

I'll post the Save-The-Date ideas in my next post, so you'll have to tell me what you think!

Did you feel like you had a ton of projects to begin once you got your engagement pictures back?  Did you send Save the Dates? Did you design them yourself?  What company did you use?