• VERY IMPORTANT PLEASE READ!!!!!

    Michael McNett Photography has stopped utilizing emails as a form of contact. We are a very hands on company that wants to make sure that each client that has any question or concern or wants to chat gets to talk to us in the fastest and most direct manner possible.

    As convenient as emailing is, its also the most impersonal and we pride ourselves on just how personal of a product we deliver so reach out by phone, will will always pick up or get back to you with in 24 hours.... Or text us we love texts too

    There is a information form that new clients to get your info into our database. But please call us to chat if you are interested in out services.

    Michael McNett
    484.274.0910 (no calls before 8:30am or after 8:00pm)

artisian_state_album_review

Im constantly looking at new products and offerings for my clients. Albums and books are one of the biggest sellers here at Michael McNett Photography because in addition to my photographic background Im also a Graphic Designer and Illustrator. As such Im always looking for products that can complement the next big idea. In addition Im always looking for low cost as well as higher cost items since my clients can range in budgets that we have to work with. So I was very interested in Artisan State.

Some of the most popular albums I offer are Flush Mount Albums. A flush mount album is one where the pages are printed on actual photo media and then mounted to either side of a piece of harder, thicker substrate. These albums are then trimmed so the photograph runs flush all the way to the edge. They are great albums, the photographic quality is amazing, the pages lay flat with no gutter so that one page flows right onto the next one.

Flush mount albums can be labor intensive and higher in cost from a materials standpoint, so when I looked up the pricing from Artisan State… My jaw dropped. Immediately I sent out an album to see the build quality and how it compared to my current flush mount company. (Whom I have been using for the past 13 years, Graphi Studios in Italy)

artisian_state_album_review_outside

Right off the bat I ordered a 7×5 “Little Black Book” (Metallic – Fuji Pearl paper) with 90 pages. I ordered 2/22/14 and right away I got a confirmation email stating that I could expect delivery 3/5 – 3/11/14, so just over 2 weeks not bad my other flush mount company has a 4-8 week lead time on delivery. So when 4/1/14 rolls around (about 1 month past the stated eta) Im thinking hmmmmm.

I called the company and left a message (with a tone of urgency… if this was a clients book, 1 month late would make for an angry customer) and some days pass with no reply. So I decide to call again and Im surprised when my call is answered by a very nice but very frazzled lady whom told me she got my message and was sorry she didn’t call. Make a long story short Artisan State doesn’t print and make the books they are made by a company in China and they will get it out asap they hadn’t started the book yet… Any new company that has a spurt in growth will easily find themselves in a state of growing pains so Im not sweating it.

1 week later the album arrives.

artisian_state_album_review_issues_1

Immediately Im excited I open the box but Im shocked when I flip the book over to see a big mis-cut in the book. (picture on the upper right) it looks like the trimming of the book was done in 2 cuts rather than 1 so that it looks like a big nick was taken out of it (you can see the darker portion) This would not be deliverable to a customer.

In the middle picture you can see the edge of the cover. This would be the second item that would make the product undeliverable. Even before it was used the cover is already peeling off. Most higher end or middle of the road in cost albums have flush mount inside the book but a wrap around cover. And in most cases the cover is slightly larger than the book. This helps protect the pages and keeps the cover from peeling off. In a matter of months this albums cover will be peeled off through normal use.

The other point to note is in the upper left is that there is no durable backing covering where the pages meet and more of a concern is that there is no durable backing on the spine of the cover, the only thing stopping the book from splitting all open is that thin piece of photograph that is already peeling up as the cover. My guess it that the lack of materials here will have this book unusable in a year or so.

artisian_state_album_review_print_qualityOk onto the inside of the album… The print quality is rather good. My other album company uses the same Metallic Fuji paper and the print quality is comparable. In flipping through the book I saw no major issues

artisian_state_album_review_trim_qualityThe only issue I have on the inside is that there is inconsistency in the layout of the pages on the page prior to trimming.

Any flush mount book has whats called a trim, this is the area that gets trimmed off when they cut the book down to size. Sometimes a design can not design correctly for trim and you will have areas trimmed that shouldn’t be. In this case Artisan has its own software that you design the book in so when using their software you would expect no issues with trim since it is hard wired into the software.

You can see the inconstancies by looking at the right hand side of the page. The upper left shows where not enough trim was trimmed (the thick black edge) , The upper center shows how the trim should look (a normal sized black boarder) and the upper right shows where the trim trimmed too much leaving no black boarder)

Inconsistencies are to be expected but this is beyond what the norm is, if you were to use Artisan you would have to design so that nothing important was anywhere near the edge.

SOOOO….  maybe this is a aberration and not the norm in terms of product I decided to send it back and see if this is the norm or if I just caught them on a bad day.

artisian_state_album_review_spineThe replacement album took a little over a week and I was even more disappointed the spine that I already had concerns about came really creased and damaged and there was glue all over it. Like it was rushed through production.

artisian_state_album_review_bind_qualityIm also now having concern for how they bind the albums the spine is signifigantly larger than the end side. Having a book that  isnt even will cause for mis-wear over time. Books are at thier best when everything is level and even.

SO AT THIS POINT…

Im not sending it back it is what it is. And what it is is not something I would sell to a customer with out a huge HUGE disclaimer to the customer. The books are cheap and you are definitely getting what you paid for. Its also bothersome to me that I have to deal with a middle man, If I could call the people making the books in China and get the issues resolved Id be a little more on board, but confidence in your suppliers is HUGE, if you can’t have that confidence then it makes for a bad relationship.

VERDICT: This is not a book for a wedding, not at all. I feel that through normal use this album will need to be replaced in a matter of years. Wedding albums are best when enjoyed though out the ages. with your spouse, with eventual children and then maybe even grand kids. There will be some customers or jobs that this may be appropriate for but in that case as more of a proofing album rather than a finished product.

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David
I had the great pleasure to not only meet a bunch of great brides yesterday at The Waterfalls and hang out with a bunch of the greatest wedding professionals ever… but also photograph David Tutera (of reality shows My Fair Wedding and David Tutera Unveiled)

It was a mad house to photograph everyone and print out the 8x10s so I also wanted to post a link here for those that want to see some of the photography and pictures of them with David.

Click Here the password is “tutera”

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Pleasantdale Chateau,  Black and White Wedding Photography

The end and beginning of the year is always a mad rush of activity with the bridal booking, bridal shows, and trying to close out all the work from the year. I noticed I hadn’t posted in a while so I sat down to come up with a bunch of future posts of some exciting things from this past year and future projects and event from this next year so book mark this site, subscribe all that fun stuff because Im soooo excited about some of the amazing things going on here at Michael McNett Photography.

The above image is from a wedding Im nearly completed processing, It was shot at The Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange NJ. Which is an amazing venue for those that like the old castle english manor type feel.

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You think you found just the right wedding photographer. But how do you know that what you see, is what you will get?

Image theft is huge in our digital age and it happens more than you think. The wedding photographer that you are seconds away from stoking a big check to may not have been the person you shot those kick @$$ images that made you want to hire them in the first place.

Check out this video to see how you can protect yourself.

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  • Steve Mittman - Great information, Mike. Well done. I particularly like this because we tell prospective clients to do the same thing when it comes to event lighting. Unfortunately, there are many DJs and lighting companies that pass off other people’s work (including ours) as work they have done. However, when a couple hires them, just as with photography, the final result doesn’t look like what the client thought they’d get (because the photos were of someone else’s lighting).

When photographing a wedding, every now and then wedding photographers  get to see unfiltered looks into people and emotions. Its these precious little moments that keeps me in love with what I do.

Mother of the Bride watching the bride get ready in her wedding dress in Black and White

Black and white photography for me can help the view focus on certain elements to make a statement

Catherine got ready at The Stroudsmoor Country Inn (the ceremony and reception was held in Ridgecrest). The hands you see are the mother of the groom’s and the stunning lady looking on is Catherine’s mother. The look alone on her face I think speaks volumes about how a mother may feel when she sees her daughter putting on her wedding dress on the day of her wedding.

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  • carolyn kennedy - Michael just photographed my sons wedding August 17, 2013 and did an absolutely wonderful job. We couldn’t have asked for a better photographer. And his “photographer, super hero, bride calmer downer” catch phrase is very true! Thank you for making a great day a wonderful day! The pictures are fantastic!