Albelli are part of the Albumprinter BV which are the largest photobook provider in Europe. Investment from a Venture Capital firm in 2007 allowed Albelli to expand which is the reason for their presence on our shores.
Albelli photobook: The site
A minimal site with some attractive images adorn the page with several links to get you started in bright blue. The links are doubled up at the top of the page as well as a background to the company. A few links go to the same page which seems a waste and the way to get started is to download the software by clicking “get started” in the top right corner.
Albelli photobook: Installation and use
Installation opens a new window and takes just a few minutes from downloading everything to the computer and installing the system.
There are five steps to get your book ordered which sounds simple enough but I've done one of these before and they can take a lot of work.
A nice orange icon is placed on your desktop and opening it launches the program. There are five stages to creating the book with the first one already out of the way simply by opening up the system. Next is to choose the type of book. Dimensions and prices are included with a small thumbnail illustration. The thumbnails don't do the books any justice as I saw one at Focus so I knew to choose the XL option which is a square hard cover style book.
Selecting the images you want to use.
Laying out the book in the order you require.
At stage three, you have to upload your images to use. I want to document my children and family so I've got a load of pictures of them on my computer I want to use. To the left of the window is a MyComputer diagram and clicking on the file paths will then load the images into the pane below. The images you want to use can then be dragged over to the main window on the right.
Going through to stage four automatically pops up as window asking if you'd like to add a personal image to the front cover of the photo book. At this point it's worth noting that every stage has had all the prices well documented.
Adding your pictures to the book is a simple drag and drop process but does take some time to load images in to the point where I thought it either hadn't registered the request or I thought it had crashed.
Text is added by double clicking on the text box where you're taken into a separate window to write as much as you like. There are plenty of fonts and sizes to choose from as well as the usual options of bold, underlining and left, right, centre aligning. You can also perform basic editing on the images again by double clicking the image and a separate window pops up. Actions take a long time to perform for such a basic system which is a pain to get through, especially as they don't do anything special.
Once you've finished, it's good to preview it using the preview button which is the magnifying glass icon below the layout. One thing to note is that “close” doesn't mean zoom in despite the same magnifying glass icon, it means to close the preview back to the original screen. If you wish to magnify the images to check the resolution of them, for example, a slider is located in the top right of the preview screen.
Albelli photobook: Finished product
After you've input the delivery details, the book template will be sent over the internet to Albelli who will print it for you. Uploading takes a while but this will vary depending on your internet connection speed.
I sent the book on the Wednesday and it arrived back 13 days later which I don't consider to be a bad turnaround considering they come from Europe. The glossy cover is attractive and I really like the results of around 90% of the images inside.
The cover of the photoboook is glossy and of good quality. However the white balance is slightly out and gives the white sheet a pinkish tone.
These images in the book are really good quality and surpass any other photobook I've seen yet. Unfortunately, there are some problems either down to printing or resolution error but I think they could've been flagged.
There are one or two that suffer from image quality problems and if these were due to resolution then the program should've flagged this before the book was submitted for printing. Looking at it closer, I think it's actually having trouble coping with any noise on a photograph. If the low key areas are noisy, it exacerbates the problem and in my example it's made a dark skin area go red. Despite the attractiveness of the cover, the colours are slightly out as the white sheet has a pink cast to it.
Albelli photobook: Verdict
This is the most comprehensive photobook software I've used to date and certainly looks the most professional. The layout ideas are good and I like the amount of editing available within what essentially is not an editing suite.
I think if the program would work faster, it'd make the experience more pleasant because it can get to be painful when you've been working on the book for an hour and you still have more to do because it takes it's time loading in templates and images.
Albelli photobook: Plus points
Fast download and installation
Easy enough to use
Albelli photobook: Minus points
Colours can be slightly off kilter
Has trouble printing some shadows
Prices vary depending on the book you choose. Visit the Albelli website for more information: