When you begin shooting weddings you start the epic hunt for quality products with which to present your fine work. Over the years I have tried so many different products from many different product companies and manufacturers which, to be honest, were both bland and cliché. It is probably a small thing, this minor obsession with presentation products, but it has been a personal belief for some time that every aspect of your business should in some way differentiate what you do from others. I have used several companies over the years, from plush fine quality bespoke printed books that cost around £400 before mark-up right down to cheap looking £90 books in an attempt to bring the cost and appeal of what I can sell within reasonable limits.

A few years back, a good friend recommended an American company called Loktah to me. Loktah products are made from natural and green resources and this immediately appealed to me. The selection and quality of the products they produce is fantastic, so much so that is its worth stomaching the import tax.

At the end of 2013, some wedding clients of mine wanted me to produce a printed book for them. Having been a few years since I took books off my products list after becoming disillusioned with what was on offer in the UK (yes including those expensive leather bound books. Not a fan of having my images wrapped in the skin of a cow) I decided to give Loktah’s Signature Press Books a look. Trying out a new type of book with a new company can be a harrowing experience, so I was up front with my clients about this being a new company I was using for books.

So, why did I use them? I have been buying their DVD cases and boxes for a few years now and my clients already had a set, so I wished to match the book to what they already had. Fortunately Loktah offer such a product.

Producing the Layout

Half of the pain in getting these things made is designing them to the manufacturers spec and then uploading the artwork, hoping that nothing goes wrong with the upload resulting in an afternoon of savage coffee and cake consumption whilst you hit send for the tenth time. The trend with producers to ease this (minor) pain has gone in two directions:

1) Specific software (either downloaded or browser based) with any and every layout conceivable included.

2) Templates for design software such as photoshop.

Loktah use the template approach (see below for an example) and they also offer a free design service (that does have some limitations applied to it). So if you are without Photoshop or are excessively busy then this is a viable option. Would a software solution suit some? Quiet possibly, demand will tell.

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one of the many templates loktah offer those designing their own layouts.

For me, having a template to work with is preferable. I enjoy the process of designing books and deciding on the flow of images from my clients final selection. Sometimes a selection is changed during the process as the flow of images can be a little out.

Book Options

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The options cover everything you need to customise and the upload is visual based.

The signature books have plenty of options, especially cover design. So, even if you are not product matching you can choose something that will look impressive. What you do not get with these books is the choice to have a photo printed on the front, which personally I think is a blessing, but this is a personal preference. You do, thou, have the choice to have your logo or a personal message printed onto the front if you should choose to do so.

Uploading is a breeze!

This is done in the browser, so depending on your net connection, stability might prove problematic. If you have high speed connection then you shouldn’t have a problem. But, as opposed to some companies that rely on the browsers upload indicator Loktah provide you with a visual upload bar so you can leave the tab open and get on with some other work or go make a coffee.

Postage, Packing and Tracking

This seems to weigh in at about $50 – $60 to the UK using fedex economy and you are presented during the checkout phase with a live quote from several couriers. This is excellent as it allows you to calculate the cost of postage into your final price for your client. Tracking is also provided and thank the heavens it is done through the ‘My Orders Tab’ as opposed to having to scoot off to another website, so you can keep your clients up to date as to where their book is in the world. Delivery times to the UK including production can be 3-4 weeks, which for me was fine. Items from Loktah are also extremely well packed which is of vital importance as returning a damaged item back to the US would take some time. Another thing to note is that books appear to have no import tax applied to them into the UK, so the worry this may create over price increase can be ignored. It is worth double checking this for your own pricing, but the final invoice from FEDEX I received came to £0.

The Paper

You have the option of three paper types: Bright White Matte; Cream Felt and Linen. All of these have differing textures and looks. The sample images of the red cover book below I had made using an older paper type called ‘candlelight white’ which I think has now been replaced with Cream Felt. It is not white, so if you are after pure colour then do not use it. If your style is more of the black & white or faded film replication type then this paper type might suite you. The pink covered book was made with the Bright White Matte paper type, it reproduces colour nicely and has a beautiful texture to it. You also have the choice to have a straight edge to your page or at an extra cost a torn edge. The torn edge actually looks very cool and might suit some clients who are after something different.

Thankfully Loktah have updated the preview image to denote what the paper colour looks like so you can get a semi accurate idea of colour reproduction if you happen to have not ordered their example swatch.

How many pages can you have?  26 – 100. This is a massive plus in my book. Current day weddings shot on digital generate hundreds of photographs for clients and there is nothing worse than layouts that force images down in size because of a restricted page count. 100 pages on a 12″ x 12″ loktah signature series book gives you space to make them nice and large.

You can also customise the end sheeting with either a black or white finish.

Build quality and quality control.

So, what is the actual book like. I will let the photographs do a bit of talking.


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The book is superbly made. The build quality is excellent and compares to offerings two to three times in prices from the UK. There is also an added quality control procedure that ensures the book has been reviewed by three separate members of the production team (you receive a little slip in the box detailing this). I have not seen this before and is a very nice additional benefit.

THE END COST

The end cost is excellent, so much so I thought it was too good to be true. The final cost was sub £100 before postage (I won’t be specific as prices are hidden on the site for trade only) and for the sheer quality of the build of the final product you honestly cannot complain.

The overall experience for me designing the book, having it made and then shipped was excellent. My clients are also very happy. Something worth noting is Loktah’s customer service which is excellent, very fast to reply once they are open for the day (if you are in a different time zone to them….like the UK) so if you have any problems they are, in my experience, fast to reply.

WOULD I BUY AGAIN: YES!