Simplify Album-Design Workflow with DgFlick Xpress Software
Clients love a tangible product. Portrait and event photography is no longer about providing a few snapshots that get tucked into a drawer for safekeeping. Today, prospective clients are on the hunt for a photographer who can provide them with something to show off. Especially in the wedding-photography industry, offering some variation of an album can be crucial for your business. But, custom-designing albums, slideshows, and marketing materials can be quite time consuming. If you lack the proper experience, it can be downright confusing. For those of you who need a one-stop-shop setup, the folks at DgFlick have a few options for you to consider.
DgFlick’s Album Xpress software is one possible solution for portrait and wedding shooters looking for a way to simplify their album-design workflow. This is a stand-alone software bundle that works for both Mac and PC users and is available as either a Standard or Pro Edition. While the Standard Edition is available for direct download, the Pro software comes on a DVD-ROM and includes a USB security dongle. At its core, Album Xpress intends to break down the album-design process into accessible, automated steps. It’s intended to be foolproof, letting even total design novices feel a sense of control as they build their book.
Both the Pro and Standard versions allow users to either start building from scratch, or browse through a library of more than 2,000 pre-made templates in the software. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, you can head over to DgFlick’s website, where an additional 300 layouts are available for free download. If you own the Pro bundle, which also comes with a plug-and-play USB dongle, you’ll find you’re also able to share or sell your own custom-built templates with others. Each layout lets you drag and drop images into placeholder slots, which you can either do manually, or run in automatic batches. You won’t have to worry about spatial concerns or symmetry; the software will take care of that for you. Most standard album sizes are supported, and they also factor-in photographic and offset printing. You have control over different custom cover options, with accounting for spine and margin sizes. Users can design pages individually or in full spreads, depending on preference, as well as print different-sized variations of the same album. Rather than having to start all over, Album Xpress can resize whatever format you’re working on automatically.
Apart from the actual design and book-building software, both versions of Album Xpress include a suite of image editing tools. These are designed specifically for adjustments to portraiture and wedding photography, and score some extra points for efficiency’s sake. Here, you can eliminate the need to run multiple programs while you work, getting the basic necessities done in one window. These editing features range from the essentials like brightness, contrast, curves, and levels to more intricate post processing. Of the latter, you can do things such as spot removal, lasso selection, and green-screen removal (chroma keying). There is also a bundle of included creative effect filters you can apply to your images, should the artistic mood strike you. If you upload an image that’s just not up to print-quality standards, a Quality Indicator will warn you. The Pro version of the software also comes with more than fifty different brushes and the ability to work in layers, letting you export files as PSDs for more in-depth editing later in Photoshop.
The DgFlick team also has a solution for slideshows, photo presentations, and converting your Album Xpress books into videos. Whether it’s showing off a couple’s engagement session during their wedding or playing back senior portraits during a graduation party, slideshows can be great marketing tools in front of a mass of people. Their Video Xpress Pro software also comes on a DVD-ROM with a USB security dongle. Though it works as a stand-alone program for creating these custom presentations, it can also work in tandem with Album Xpress. Simply import a finished album or book into Video Xpress, and have it instantly become a slideshow.
There are hundreds of backgrounds, clip art, and borders to choose from, along with 18 different pre-loaded instrumental music tracks. You also have the option of adding your own audio. On each page, photos can be manipulated to your heart’s content and then locked once finished, assuring they don’t accidentally get moved or changed while you continue working. If you accidentally upload an image with too-low resolution, Video Xpress will warn you via Quality Indicator just the same as their album-design software. Basic adjustments can be made to brightness, contrast, and curves, along with effects such as Glow, Colorize, Opacity, and Blur. You can also rotate images on the X, Y, and Z axes, playing with tilt and angles until you’re happy with the results. Meanwhile, a decor indicator will keep track of the images, artwork, and transition effects used and tally how often each one appears in your slideshow, ensuring you don’t end up with a repetitive finished product. Images can be imported through Facebook or Bluetooth, then exported to Facebook and shared with an online audience. Since video output formats include AVI, MPEG3, and MPEG4, mobile-device compatibility is widely supported. Video Xpress is also available in a lighter Standard version through direct download. It can be used on one PC running Windows XP, Vista, or 7.
Last but, not least, DgFlick’s Event Xpress software comes on a DVD-ROM with a security dongle, and is compatible with both Mac and PC computers. This software helps you turn your latest marketable photography sessions into fliers, invitations, email blasts, or other types of promotional handouts. Much like the album and slideshow builders, the Event Xpress bundle includes a gallery of pre-made templates appropriate for a range of events and specific needs, such as graduations or Sweet 16 parties. Within each layout, you can manipulate clip art and text around your design. Some fairly basic editing tools are included, such as brightness and contrast controls, along with a catalog of artistic filters you can apply for different creative effects. If you’ve shot something against a green screen, the chroma keying tool lets you change background color or swap in an entirely different scene. Once you’re finished, you can print directly from the software, upload the finished digital product directly to Facebook, or send out a personalized email blast.