A Little Black Book by Artisan State

Little Black Book by Artisan State

I've been waiting for a reason to try out a Little Black Book from Artisan State. That opportunity cropped up recently after I photographed the grand birthday bash my wife's family held for grandpa Smokey's 85th birthday.

We were cordoned into a private area of the local Spaghetti Factory so I felt comfortable bouncing a Speedlight off the ceiling and walking around for better angles. It was a perfect setting to practice adding light to faces without losing the colorful under-keyed ambiance of the restaurant. And the Fuji XF35mmF1.4 mounted to my Fuji XE-1 still surprises me with beautiful results. I was happy with the photo set, enough that I felt laying them into a Little Black Book would be a great memento of the occasion for Smokey.  

I am quite happy with the 6x8" book I received back from Artisan State.  

The 6x8" may be the smallest Little Black Book but it is an affordable offering and fits in the hand nicely 

Layout was simple enough, using the online book builder to arrange photos across spreads much like Blurb and other online book providers. The difference here is Little Black Book pages lay flat, allowing photos to be spread across the centerfold. 

The Little Black Book's unique lay-flat binding allows photos to spread across the entire page beautifully

There is only a slight fold line between spreads, but absolutely no gutter

The Little Black Book feels much like the many toddler board books on our shelves, the pages are substantially thick and stiff. The surface of each page is comparable to that of a luster photo and show absolutely no CMYK dot patterns - these appear to be truly photographic prints. Colors are rich and sharp, accurately matching my calibrated screen. 

Sharp, colorful, true photographic prints

Nicely done Artisan State

Each Little Black Book page lays flat

Sharp, accurate colors

Last year I reviewed a Blurb book. So how do the two compare? I found the Blurb book to be a huge step above my previous experiences with photo books, easily matching the quality of a press printed photo book found at a book dealer. The Little Black Book is a different animal all together, less of a book and more of a collection of photos bound together... if that makes sense. Two different mediums. If I am telling a photo journalism story I will build a Blurb book. For an album of family or couples shots I will probably build a Little Black Book. To document a corporate event probably back to a Blurb book. The Blurb book has a professional sense to it, I feel that holding a book which appears to have come off a high quality printing press has great value. On the other hand the Little Black Book exudes intimacy and focuses entirely on the photography. 

Another photo spread across the fold

Little Black Book by Artisan State

So there you have it. Have you tried a Little Black Book, a Blurb book, or any other photo book service? Share your thoughts in the comments below - I look forward to hearing about your experience!  

By Adriel Henderson