Tip – How an Album is Made
May 11, 2015
I was able to recently visit Miller’s Professional Imaging along with Kate Kauffman, our marketing guru, and see how albums are made. Many photographers assume that in this day and age, everything is automated. We believe our print files feed into a giant machine and magically an album spits out the other side. In all reality, nothing could be further from the truth – even at a lab as big as Miller’s. An amazing amount of care goes into album production. Many of the steps are done by hand and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Stories are extremely important to me and each album should have its own story – inside and out. This is the story of Miller’s Lab, but many album manufacturers work similarly. We hope you enjoy seeing how a Miller’s Signature Album is made.
It takes a huge space to produce albums. All of the album manufacturing machines and people are on the right side of this room. The left size is mostly press products.
Every album starts with the pages, printed on awesome photo paper. Here you can see that this album needs to be completed by Thursday.
Assembling The Book Block
Those prints are then creased and folded. They they are put together using a loose tack to build the book block. This adhesive allows for repositioning, just in case the book block isn’t aligned right.
Bake That Block
Then the book block is put into a low heat “oven” of sorts that “melts” the adhesive and binds the pages together forever.
Once the adhesive is hot, the book block is very volatile. Pages can shift and move very easily, so the book block is placed in large presses – fundamentally a huge vise that sets the block.
Chop Off The Edges
Remember how we talk a lot about bleed and cut lines? Well they are important, because the side of that book block gets lopped off by the sharpest blade I’ve ever seen.
Fly Pages and Block Adhesive
Here you can see the fly pages (added before the trim) and the adhesive that will be used to glue on the cover to the album.
The leather that is used on premium albums is the same leather used on other premium goods. They cut it to the exact size needed and build the cover.
As you can see the amount of work that goes into creating an album is amazing. We would like to thank Miller’s Lab for a wonderful tour. To learn more about Miller’s Signature Album, please click here.