In my quest to find some quality photo book products within Australia, I came across Cahoots. Cahoots was started in 2007 by Catherine Bate and Suzanne McGrechan. Photographers themselves they started the photo book company business where they saw a lack in providing a quality product with extra help and support whilst making your photo book.
Cahoots provide the service to make the book for you or they run workshops to learn how to create the books with their software.
I downloaded the software which was very straight forward, and began to create my book. As usual I didn’t read the comprehensive help guide but chose to work it out on my own.
I selected to make the 30×30 Luxurious 40 page book with a leather look cover and off I went.
The program had the ability to sort my photos by filename which was great as I chose to create a book from a wedding I attended and all the photos were in a number order. The auto feature was great, although I like to design things myself so I changed it around anyway.
It was easy to select background colours, there were heaps of page layout options with the ability to sort the templates by how many photos you wanted on a page.
I could also edit photos within the software itself which I found very helpful if I needed to do that extra crop I may have missed beforehand. The only distracting thing I noticed that even though I started with the auto feature, it gave me a warning that all the pages were too close to the centre, so I had to go and adjust them, even though that is where the program put them.
I also kept going to move the photo within the frame but ended up moving the whole frame. Habit from using other programs but this feature would be handy, although there are other ways to move and place your photo.
You can add text, frames, and coloured backgrounds, I added some text to the front page but that was it. More font and background colour options would be great as there was only a small selection to choose from.
I could also upgrade the album cover from a leather look to a photo cover at an extra cost, but I actually wanted to see the quality and look and feel of the leather look, so I went with that. In choosing the leather look, the barcode that would normally be printed on the back page of the cover (if a photo cover had been chosen) would now be printed on the last photo page. Something to consider when placing your last photo.
The whole process was easy and I had fun putting the album together. Sending off the saved file was a simple process also, it took about 20 mins to upload the book. I had to email Suzanne a few times with a couple of questions and I received a very quick and friendly response. The service was fantastic. It takes the albums between 10-15 days to be completed so now I had to wait.
It took a little longer to receive my book as I was informed the ladies were very busy completing orders, not surprising at this time of year, but it was worth the wait.
I opened up the parcel to find a handwritten note, which was lovely. I love the cover, I think it gives the album a classic look.
I am firstly impressed by the page of vellum covering the text I had printed on the first screen. I don’t recall reading about the vellum page so that was a nice surprise.
The images look fantastic, they are true to the colours on my screen, they look great presented in an album nice and big. I struggled and squinted to see the printing dots which is great, as I don’t want to see them!
The layouts look great, and I love my double page spread. The paper is nice and thick to turn, and the pages have a nice shine to them but still are somewhat matt.
The only issue I came across is with the pages I have selected to have a black background, there are visible marks, perhaps roller lines I assume from the printing process. It is only on the pages that are black, the white and other colours are fine, and the actual image itself is fine, just the background I noticed. Which is a shame as I really wanted to give this book a 10/10!
Other than that, the whole process from start to finish was simple, enjoyable and I received a lovely book.
Prices for Cahoots books start from $49 for a small 21×21, from $55 for a 21×30 Classic Landscape, from $75 for a 30×30 Large Luxurious, and from $95 for a 30×42 Large Landscape.
I would definitely recommend Cahoots products and personalised service.
UPDATE: 27/1/2012 The couple I gave this wonderful photo book too called me and said their book had stuck together. Unfortunately they had left it wrapped in the plastic over summer and the book melted. I contacted Cahoots and they very quickly offered to re-print the book. I cannot fault their service. So please don’t leave your printed books wrapped in plastic, or in a hot place like a car, any books should be stored upright, and with plenty of air ventilation. Consider purchasing a box to store your book in, as long as it is made from acid free materials.
**Disclaimer In return for this blog post I received a voucher to test and try the product and service. All opinions expressed are purely my own personal and honest opinion.