I am thrilled to finally be able to announce that Lush Albums, the fine art photo albums line that we’ve been developing since December of 2013, is officially up and running – and we are ready to receive orders! Lush Albums have been in the making for quite some time because it took about a year and a half to – well, basically, make it. That included picking out all the custom fabrics, determining the paper type and printing options, building out the software, testing it, confirming shipping details, building a website, setting up a backend process and so so so much more – but it is finally live and ready to go. Lush Albums is a partnership between Tamara Lackey Photography and Fundy Software, creator of some extraordinarily time-saving software products for the photography industry. We built this line from scratch and worked directly with Finao to craft these albums in the United States.The goal of Tamara Lackey’s Lush Albums was to develop a series of photo albums that are simple in concept but offer mix and match choices to suit every photographer. I am very, very proud of this album line for the following reasons. What we cared about most when building this line from the ground up: 1. High-Quality, Fine Art: Our studio has been selling high-quality photo albums for years, and we decided to build Lush Albums to offer many unique advantages over our previous experiences, but we knew it had to start with a high-quality book, protected fine art paper that didn’t look protected, unique custom fabrics that were personally sourced, giclée printing, archival inks, attention-to-detail construction and completely handmade covers. When all is said and done, thirteen different people handle one Lush Album from start to finish. Here’s a lot more on the attention we paid to the quality of these books. 2. Eco-friendly: We wanted to use all eco-friendly products, as green as possible. This meant a lot of little shifts in terms of how we chose to put these albums together. For example, Lush Albums are assembled using pure-quality, all-natural, extraordinarily strong photo glue. Each page substrate is 100% plant-based cellulose. By using plant waste, such as corn stalks, cellulose becomes a re-purposed material that is lignum-free with a neutral pH level. Pretty cool stuff. 3. Animal-friendly: It mattered that the fabrics and materials that made up this book were beautiful, soft to the touch, durable and striking – and that they all be sourced and assembled without using animal products. Our Zen Silk line, for instance, looks and feels just like silk. It just happens to be more durable and leaves the teeny little worms out of the process. And not using animal products also adds to the eco-friendliness of Lush Albums. 4. Fast Design: You can literally (and I actually mean literally) design a beautiful, very well-designed layout for your album in a matter of minutes. Even if you choose to customize multiple layouts repeatedly! You really have to try this to believe this – it blows any other design software I’ve ever used completely out of the water, making photo album design not only fast but also quite fun. This perk was brought to you courtesy of some pretty brilliant software design from Fundy Software. 5. Fast To Receive: I’ve worked with a variety of vendors over the years, and it can be pretty trying to wait and wait for your photo albums to arrive – especially if there’s any issue with the book once you receive it, and then you have to wait and wait again for a replacement. You can receive your Lush Album within a week and half or so, depending on your shipping preference, after designing it. And that’s including the fact that each print is required to dry for a minimum of three days before a protective surface coating is applied – and then they dry again for 24 more hours. (This assures you of the finest quality, longest-lasting prints as this process requires special handling.) In order to ensure that you still receive your book quickly, though, these books start being produced within the first hour your album design is received. That makes a huge difference when it comes to timely delivery. 6. Happy Pricing: Working with high-quality products is a great thing – you offer your clients heirloom pieces that will last a lifetime and know you are standing behind your promise of delivering value. But when you can mitigate a bit of your expenses while still offering a fantastic product? That’s a smart, great thing. We are launching Lush Albums with happy pricing to get your attention and to see just how wonderfully these are received – so that you can truly fall in love with these books. … and … drum roll here … THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: The ability to give in ways that make a measurable difference in the world. For every single Lush Albums product sold, we are donating 10% of our profits directly to Beautiful Together, our non-profit organization that’s completely focused on improving the lives of children without families (whether they are in foster care or living in group homes, care centers, or orphanages) through specific, tangible and measurable projects – while we work to improve the adoption process for all involved. I shared quite a bit about Beautiful Together in my last post and you can check out the website for more information. * (Please note, if you are interested in supporting this work in any way, please subscribe to our newsletter.) We’ve created three distinct, and truly lovely, collections for Lush Albums. Each book is printed on fine art paper, employing striking print quality for both color images and black & whites photographs, and all album pages are coated with a very subtle but very effective protective treatment. You can receive your photo albums in any of the following fabric covers: The Velvety Suede Collection – The perfect combination of fabrics to compliment your home décor. They are durable, soft and eco-friendly – and they are available in five carefully-chosen colors. The Soft Linen Collection – This collection is a warm take on natural linen fibers, with a similar feel but with an eco-friendly, softer fabric overall. You can choose this fabric in the five colors that we have noticed that our clients have selected the most frequently over the years. The Zen Silk Collection – These lovely fabrics look, feel and present just like silk, but they are also animal-friendly and more durable. They are also available in five gorgeous colors. We also have custom bags available for your Lush Albums, each of which are made by hand. They are meant to protect, store and better present your fine art photo albums. If you want to get started and see just how easy it is to design and order the first of your Lush photo albums, check out these exact instructions, which walk you through every step (don’t worry, there aren’t that many!). Lush Albums are ordered exclusively through Fundy Direct, which also means there are no purchase or transaction fees to use their software so that you may quickly – and beautifully – design your album. This is because all costs are already bundled into our straightforward pricing! Our photo albums line is brand new, but we’ve been fortunate enough to share it with a few photographers here and there, and we’ve already heard some lovely words about the look and feel of Lush Albums. We look forward to sharing a lot more feedback as we start rolling out books. So, check it out, love the fast and seamless design & order process, enjoy the fine art books – and come back for more!!