This week guest blogger Wendy Roe steps in for me while I am out of the office. Wendy has spent the last 10 years ingrained in all things web marketing – from design/development to search/social media. In May 2010, she quit the corporate life and joined forces with her husband, Byron Roe, of Byron Roe Photography, based in Bend, Oregon to shoot full-time one of life’s ultimate highs – weddings!
She is the co-author of “55 Smart Web Ideas for Photographers” , a 2-time speaker at WPPI Photographer’s Ignite, and has traveled the west coast speaking and consulting with photographers.
Are you one of those photographers that doesn't want to outsource your album design (that's just too scary!) but you also don't want to spend endless, countless, hand cramping hours custom designing your client's album? I totally get it and think I may have found a great solution to your quandary. It's called the ‘auto' feature in the Fundy Album Builder Photoshop plugin. If you haven't looked at this product and need some help with your album layouts, take 15 mins and (link to their page, videos on the home page) to get started and you'll be well on your way to realizing the value of this simple product. Spending approx 15 minutes with their video tutorials gave me all the ammo I needed to jump start into my own album and get the hang of the buttons. Kudos to Fundy for the great tutorials and making software easy to understand, that's a feat in and of it itself.
You get the best of both worlds by starting to easily organize your images into individual spreads with a one button click (via Adobe Bridge) and a small form because Fundy builds in page title templates for you. Once you've organized your images, you click ‘new album' and fill out another simple form to define the size and attributes of your album. That's it! Now you're ready to start designing. 80% of the time, when designing your spread, you click one button called ‘design spread' under the auto menu and BOOM your selected images for that spread gets automatically placed beautifully. Looks good? Click, ‘save and next' and you're on to the next spread. The last 20% of the time, or in my case, for a really important set of photos that you want to customize for this spread, you can use a whooping TWO button clicks and custom design any page you want. Yup, it's just that easy.
For those that want ultimate control, yes you can easily custom design your whole album but I think the software really shines because of it's auto feature. It just takes the pain away from alignment and placing images, then tweaking, then swapping, then bumping up and down pixels – I know, we've all been there! Moreover, you're using Bridge and Photoshop, two platforms that are native to photographers. Okay, since I'm being honest here, I have never used Bridge before watching these tutorials but it was just so dang easy to learn with the album builder plugin, I wouldn't worry if you haven't used it before.
Other secondary areas where it shines? Well, you can swap images in a spread with one button click (starting to see the theme here?). You can also apply your own filters, actions, keylines, background color or image and do a multitude of simple adjustments to get your images to match up with the others on your spread with ease. All in the software, all in Photoshop – yeah!
Things I'd love to see would be another way to organize images outside of Bridge; we use Photo Mechanic or even in conjunction with Lightroom would be great! Or maybe a way to do it in the plugin so that you didn't have to switch back and forth between programs all the time (Bridge and Photoshop). I'd also love a way to preview all the spreads together and then click on one to open and edit, that'd be a great addition too!
Once you've completed your album, export to JPGs is…one button click. You guessed it! You can also print a contact sheet from there and utilize their ‘process proofer,' for clients of their other software ‘Album Proofer.'
Overall, this is a great product for photographers that want an easy design solution for their album designing but don't want to click a million times, or spend countless hours, or spend the money for outsourcing for a beautiful album layout. It takes the guessing and the tweaking to save you time, and your body from computer exhaustion. Wouldn't you rather go for a run anyhow? A time-saving app always wins in my book. Kudos to Fundy Album Builder!