H&H Photocover Album Review

Some of you may remember that I did a post a while ago about “Session Albums.”   I have been using Finao Elements self mount albums until now, but all this time I’ve been looking for a flush mount album (i.e not a peel and stick!) that would be around the same price, or perhaps even a tiny bit more, but be worth the price difference so I don’t have to assemble them.

I had thought about using WHCC’s press printed albums for this purpose, but unfortunately their press color is just too red/magenta.  So the search continued..In fact, one of my main reasons for attending Imaging USA last year was to scope out the different album vendors to find this elusive affordable flush mount album.

This is where it gets ironic: My search finally ended with the H&H photocover album!  Why is this ironic? H&H is my primary print lab so this album has been under my nose the entire time!

The problem was that I had misunderstood their pricing structure, which is to price per page that is a double page spread. I thought the prices were per side, so in my mind I had been doubling the cost. When I finally figured it out and did the calculations, I realized that the price for this photographic flush mount custom photocover album is the exact same as I had been paying for the Finao Elements (when you calculate the 4×4 window opening, the cost of the album, the prints for the album and the shipping!)

The excuse to try the photocover album came when a client needed an album in time for a birthday surprise for her husband.  There was no way I could gaurantee her a Finao with such short lead time, but the H&H album is just a 2-day turn around time in lab, then 2 day shipping.  The client gave me the green light, I created the album and then a few days later it arrived..and took my breath away!

First of all, I was very impressed that it came in a snug fitting 8×8 box. (Finao 8x8s come in a loose fitting 10×10 box that they stuff with tissue paper to fill in the gap. Yuck. )

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Then, I was even more pleasantly surprised to find that it had both an album bag and a “how to care for your album” card. Nice!

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The cover is lined with fabric Moire:

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Front:

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side

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back

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This shows how flat it lays..

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Trying to show the page thickness. I ordered the standard single weight pages and they are perfect.

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Another view of the lay flat:

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Spine:

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Of course the colors and clarity are amazing, just like I knew they would be from H&H.
Other things I love about this album:

1) You can do as many pages as you want, from a minimum of 10 spreads (20 pages) up to 40! So in this album I actually did 11 spreads.

2) When you order it in EZSuite you have the option of dragging and dropping a full size pano spread into the middle OR dragging and dropping the two sides separately. I love that because my workflow in LR includes a print template that I created to put a 5×7 image on an 8×8 page so I was able to export and use my images in the same way that I did when I was ordering 8×8 prints from H&H to go into the Elements album. (If you are interested in that print template, it’s on my original post about session albums, check it out! )

3) Sample albums are always 25% off (and in January, they will be 50% off!!)

Now, to be sure, this isn’t the album for everyone.. some clients just LOVE fabric album covers (would love for H&H to offer that as an option too! ) so I might still show my Elements albums for this reason. I haven’t decided yet.

Another thing that I actually realized was a security blanket with the self mounts is that I got to see the prints before putting them in the album.. that allowed for me to reprint any page(s) that I noticed a problem with. Not so with an entire album, that would be a costly reprint. I need to get in the habit of inspecting my files VERY closely.

Other than that though it’s really the perfect solution if you are looking for a photographic print album around the same price as a self mount!

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Lauren says:

Well… I know this is an older review… but wondering what the price range is for this album… and also if you ever tried the Finao Playbook? The playbook is $75 for an 8×8 album, an extra $10 for the cutout on the front, plus whatever shipping is. I’m looking into offering albums and am overwhelmed with choices. I really want to keep it cost effective with nice quality.

christy says:

Hi Ariana,
Do you mind sharing where you get your album templates for the cover design or is that something you created yourself? Thanks! ps – this album looks gorgeous with your images!

ariana says:

I designed it myself :)

Sandy says:

Thanks so much for this review, Ariana! I signed up for an account with H&H today! I was wondering if you could tell me about the cover design of your album; did you design that yourself, or did you purchase a template? It is gorgeous!!

Emily says:

Great review! I also switched from finao to H &H albums, and I love them for many of the same reasons! I just wanted to let you know that they do actually have fabric covers, though! (luxury fashion & leathers) They don’t have as many cool choices as finao, though.

ariana says:

Hi Emily, yes I should have mentioned that- I just meant in the same price range as the Finao self-mounts.. the fashion and leathers are more equivalent to the Finao One albums in price. I would love to try those one day too, just need to raise my package prices enough to cover the upgrade!

Kristen says:

Thanks SO much for being so quick Ariana. I ordered another one, hopefully it won’t be green and I’ll send back the green one!

ariana says:

Hi Kristen.. I don’t think so, mine always has kind of a purplish pinkish tone, but the best way to be sure is to take a pictures with it and see how it comes out..?

Kristen says:

Ariana,

So, I got my barnboard today. It kind of has a green tinge to it on the boards where it’s not ‘painted’ white. Is your like this? I am not noticing it in any of your pictures. Wondering if I got a dud?

Brittany says:

Hi Ariana,

I came across your blog and I am new at using H&H Color Lab. I normally use WHCC but I found that H&H has a lot more choices for some stuff and nicer. Well I uploaded EZsuite and when I upload my pictures into the lightbox and click on them to pull them up to order a print I notice they are blurry on my screen the dpi and everything is set to 300 and when I open the picture in Windows Photo Viewer it looks fine. Have you had this problem or do you know what it could be?

ariana says:

Hi Brittany,
The representation of the image in EZSUITE is not how your image will print! I find it to be more pixely than blurry, but anyway it’s only mean to be used as a reference and for moving the image around to decide crop if you are doing that during the ordering process. Hope that helps!
Ariana

ariana says:

Hi Karey – thanks!

I chose the luster paper. I order the pearl paper for prints from H&H all the time and LOVE it. This particular client had already been for a sales session where she chose luster over pearl for her gift prints, so I knew that’s what I should go with for this particular clients’ album.

As for luxe vs. luster, I remember touching/feeling a luxe paper album when I went out to H&H’s lab last year and LOVED it.. I almost ordered this album with it but then checked my paper samples I had at home that come with your H&H sign up kit. What I noticed that the contrast/blacks seemed a bit stronger with the luster. Many of the images in this particular album are extremely hazy backlit and generally lacking in blacks anyway, so I decided to use luster. However, I definitely plan on ordering sample albums of both and letting my clients decide in the future :)

Hope that helps!

Karey says:

Hi Ariana – thanks so much for this review! I’ve been looking for an album supplier for a while and I LOVE the look of this album – not just the construction, but the design too, which is all your doing! Great job!

I was wondering on their paper choices – lustre, pearl, and luxe – which one did you choose on this, and do you have any experience with the others?

Thanks!
Karey

Erica says:

This is beautiful Ariana! I think I just might give them a try. Did you make the cover and back (I love it and would love to try that pattern on an album) or did you purchase it somewhere? I’d love to add it to my collection!

ariana says:

Cathy, In the price range if KISS I would just use Finao One flushmount albums which are lovely and are gutterless! I wouldn’t make enough profit on my packages if I included such an expensive album – but if I did weddings (or raised my prices!)

Kristen, yes, still use it all the time!

Kristen says:

Looks stunning, I definitely need to look into these! Random question, are you still loving your barnwood floor? Thinking of breaking down and buying one (they are still offered through bargain outfitters) for myself for Christmas for the upcoming newborn rush. Would love your opinion.

Cathy says:

Ariana

Would you have suggestions for vendors for gutterless albums. I have yet to order any I have looked at KISS.
thanks off to check out H&H!

Crystal says:

Looks so great Ariana!

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