Back when I first started out in the wedding photography game, I was tasked in finding a suitable Storybook (or more traditionally, wedding album) supplier, who could produce beautiful books for my clients. I trawled the web plenty and eventually came across a Switzerland based company whose books I really liked the look of. They looked pretty & minimal, and photos could be printed directly onto the paper – ticking 3 of the specs I was looking for.
I ordered a couple of books, and I found the finished product to be a bit… lacklustre. I mean they were nice enough, but felt quite fragile. The debossment on the front cover text wasn’t as deep as I had hoped, and the inside paper was shiny and light-weight. There was also a barcode that had been printed on the last page of each book. I contacted the company to ask if there was any way of getting future books printed without this invasive barcode printed LITERALLY ON TOP OF THE PHOTOGRAPH on the back page… they said no.
These books looked fab in 2D, but physically holding them and seeing them in real life, there was something missing. To be fair, they were okay. Not all that bad. But they were not perfect. They ought to be perfect – I would be providing these books to wedding clients, who would be sharing the contents with loved ones. These books would be passed from hand to hand, and looked upon for a lifetime, maybe even longer. They needed to be perfect.
So I continued my search.
After many, many more hours and days of searching, I came across a company called Folio Albums, who were to my surprise, based just a 30 minute drive away in Barnsley! Visually, their Storybooks were EXACTLY the kind of thing I had been looking for – pretty and minimal, with a beautiful variety of pastel colours to choose from for the wrapping. The photos were printed on to the paper itself, and it seemed as if the books laid out perfectly flat, meaning that a large photo could be printed over a double spread without any chunky line cutting through in the fold. When ordering my first Storybook, I decided to pick it up from the Folio Albums HQ itself, so I could get acquainted with the company I’d be working alongside for the near future. They were only 12 miles away too, which was super convenient 😁.
Unlike last time, I was not let down by the book IRL. It was so heavy and sturdy! It felt like a real high-quality piece of work. The inside pages were made out of a very thick, matte paper. The printed photos were lovely and crisp, and even printing them over a double page spread didn’t lessen the quality. The covers, (which I had ordered both in cream and a minty-colour) were made of a soft, plush leather, with a nice deep debossment print on the front. Both books were presented in a 100% cotton bag within a sturdy cardboard box, that had a pretty and simple tree design printed on. I couldn’t fault them at all – they were just what I had been looking for.
If you’ve ever been backstage at a theatre, in the stockroom of a restaurant, or the warehouse of a clothes shop, you’ll know that typically there is quite a contrast between the front-of-shop and back, in terms of tidiness and presentation. HOWEVER, this was simply not the case at Folio Albums, which is one of the reasons for this blog post. The back production room totally took me by surprise – it was impeccably clean, bright, organised, and full of cheerful staff.
I asked about coming back to take photos to document the experience, and they were more than happy to oblige. Upon returning, I was surprised to be greeted by the owner of Folio Albums himself, who took the time to introduce himself and tell me a bit about the company, which he spoke about passionately and had heaps of knowledge about every question I asked. I was then handed over to a friendly member of the customer care team, who gave me a tour around the Storybook making process. I just had to share my experience! ✨
The staff seemed genuinely happy as they did their part in crafting these books, and took the time to say hi and smile at the camera-toting stranger (me)! It was nice to see that they were able to dress in their own choice of individual attire – the whole atmosphere was very cheerful and relaxed.
The printers print directly onto sleek & thick 200gsm wood based, Art White paper, which contributes to the overall sturdiness of the books. To ensure the overall quality of the pages and books, the entire room is actually climate controlled to a consistent temperature and level of humidity. I never even considered that something like that would be a concerning factor!
Where requested, an entirely female team can work on the Storybooks from start ’til finish. They have their own password protected files that their male counterparts can’t access, and once the Storybook has been shipped out they will delete all the files stored on the computers. I was so impressed to learn that they offer this level of customer service, and think it is such a wonderfully inclusive and considerate method for any muslim brides or for boudoir photography.
It appears that Folio Albums are doing their part to be aware of their carbon footprint and be Eco-friendly, which is fab. There were plenty of recycle bins dotted around the room, where any waste paper was to be recycled rather than simply thrown away. I was also told that they make sure not to use any more plastic than absolutely necessary.
The leather that they use for their covers is simply a by-product from the meat industry, and they even offer an alternative vegan leather, which looked and felt very nice.
In the final checking area, someone will go through the book under a bright light to check that there are no scratches on any of the pages. After making the final check, a layer of thin paper is placed between each page and the Storybooks are packed away into 100% cotton bags and thick cardboard boxes with corner protectors, ready to be shipped.
Overall, a total of 7 pairs of eyes check each and every Storybook from start to finish. The detailed thought process and level of care behind each and every one of these books is just perfect.
I find Folio Albums to be an absolutely delightful company to work alongside, and am super happy to be able to provide these beautiful Storybooks to my wedding clients.
Natural Wedding Photography | UK | Worldwide ✈️