Beauty defined – Finao Upper Elements prototype

Thu, Nov 4, 2010 Harold at Finao was kind enough to let me print off a prototype of an Upper Elements album. As many of my readers know, I am a big fan of the 10 page album for portraits. That’s five spreads for those folks that try to redefine what a page means (if you are unsure, open a book and look at the numbers on the bottom of the ‘pages’). Twenty pages is just too much for most portrait shoots. An album should be a work of art and in an hour portrait shoot, even with outfit changes, the chances of creating twenty pages of art is fairly slim, even for the best of photographers. An additional consideration is the cost. In order to make 20 pages really work as a profitable portrait product, many people have to turn to press-printed books. Again, I’m not a fan, as press books really don’t convey a sense of fine art – or as something that is worth spending a lot of money on. So, back to the Finao Album. Finao has a series called the Elements series. It is a self-mount album series. You can order it blank and put in your own prints, or you can order it with the prints and Finao will stick the prints in for you (my recommended path). The great thing about Elements is that they are a price point around what you pay for a press book. But, you can do a minimum of 10 pages, the albums feel like a fine art flush mount album, and the pages are thick and luxurious, not to mention printed on photo paper. Finao has an album called the Upper Elements. It’s exactly the same thing as the elements, but instead of book cloth and faux leather, you can get real leather. Recently Finao has been adding a lot of really cool funky leathers that have only been available in their more expensive (and twenty page minimum) flush mount albums. After some arm wrestling, Foosball tournaments and ping pong matches, Finao has agreed to do some prototypes of the Upper Elements with these finer leathers, with the plans of possibility of putting them into the regular pipeline next year. One of my favorite leathers is called “Secret Garden.” It has a great organic feel and I think will appeal to people with a bit more of a funky side. It has a worn look to it, a little rough around the edges, much like leather jackets you’ll find now. You know, it’s pre-worn, so you are cooler and look like you’ve been cool for 20 years, even though you just bought the jacket. It is one of the most beautifully made albums I’ve ever seen. In it’s beauty and simplicity I find it even more beautiful than a flush mount with their Erotika metal cover – and that is saying a lot. People can’t help but to pick it up and just feel the leather. And this fine art makes them want to turn the pages slow and just soak up the artwork. Would this sell in a studio? How fast can you design portrait albums, ‘cuz you’ll be designing. I just hope my photography stands up to such a fantastic album. Finao is known for their fine art book making. First and foremost they are a book binder. They take great care in how their books are put together. Some basic handling instantly tells you that these albums are made for the long haul. I use my patented “knock on the door” method of testing. Knock on the front cover, the back cover and, most importantly, the spine – just like you would knock on a door. This will tell you how well an album is made. If it gives at all or feels like it will fall apart, move on to a new album company. The last thing you want is a client coming back in 3 years saying, my album fell apart. Even if they agree to pay the cost of the album, you have to dive into your backups and hope to find that album design. No fun at all. So, if you want a fantastic option for portrait albums, check out the Elements and Upper Elements series at Finao. Fundy