As someone who was new to wedding photography, I was thrilled when I got engaged!! Don't tell my fiancé but I was probably more excited about practising detail shots with my engagement ring than I was about the proposal! So of course, I took loads of photos of my ring and even convinced my fiancé to participate in a mini-engagement self-portrait session in April 2014.
As a wedding photographer-to-be, I knew I could sign up with an album company who weren't selling directly to brides but only to professional photographers. At the time, I was one month away from shooting my first wedding and months away from launching my website so I couldn't gain access to album companies I was interested in.
Countless Google searches later, I came across Artisan State. Be sure to double click for a larger view of the photos!
I found a lot more negative reviews than positive but I decided to take a chance. It was affordable and I had nothing to lose since it was for personal use. Plus, I was living in Japan at the time and the albums were being made in China so if everything goes to plan, the shipping shouldn't take more than a week.
With all the bad reviews at the back of my mind, I was surprised by the album building software. It was very user friendly with many layouts to choose from. It would be easy for a non-pro to quickly get the hang of it. I was finally on my way to making my engagement sign-in album!!
I choose a 14x14, hard cover flush mount album with lustre paper. I ordered the book on the 6th June, 2014 and received it on the 11th June. This was much faster than my previous shipping experiences from China. I decided to order a sample album and paid half the price. As a result "studio sample, not for sale" is printed on the back cover.
As you can see from the photos, the package arrived in great condition and the finish was very professional. I was surprised by the quality. The colour is spot on and the pages are luxurious and they lay completely flat. The hard cover was also free of flaws, scratches or dents (I saw this issue in a couple of reviews). I took many photos with my macro lens so you can clearly see how the album is put together. The pages are very stiff and thick.
While I got a great album in perfect condition, the reviews I read suggest that Artisan State can be very inconsistent when it comes to quality with almost no customer service if something goes wrong. Maybe I just got lucky or maybe the company has improved since I bought my album.
Some people say it's a great affordable option for albums and some wouldn't offer these albums to their clients. So, if you are thinking of Artisan State, please do some more research. I hope my photos will help with your decision!
I hope you enjoyed the mini-review of the physical condition of my album. Unfortunately, I didn't take any screenshots when I used Artisan State's album builder in June 2014...Sorry!
Would you consider using Artisan State for yourself or for a client? I think I would definitely use them again for my personal pictures but I am not sure if I would when I have paying clients.