Artisan State Releases $10 Little Black Book with Upgraded Features

June 24th 2013 11:20 AM


I recently had the opportunity to review Artisan State’s Little Black Book prototype. I had been looking for an affordable mini album option for my own family photos, as well as a more sophisticated alternative to the popular accordion mini books, to offer my clients as a gift or package upgrade so these “Little Black Books” intrigued me. I, along with other photographers, offered some suggestions to Artisan State for improving the book, and they listened! The book is now available for photographers to order with a few upgrades.


Originally, the 5×7 inch book was going to have a plain black card stock cover. While this looked really nice and minimalistic, I personally felt the book could be improved with some customization options. If I made several albums for my own family photos and had them lined up on a book shelf, how would I know which album was which? To solve this problem, the folks at Artisan State decided to improve the cover by offering the same textured material used on their hard cover albums and allow full customization.




You can customize the cover with simple text using the design feature on their website without having to download any proprietary software, which I liked, or you can upload a custom designed jpg created in your own design program. I decided to design a couple custom covers in Photoshop, complete with text on the spine for easy finding on the bookshelf. It’s really easy to customize the layout of your book, too on Artisan State’s website, or you can simply go with the default one photo per page.


Originally, the Little Black Book would be offered with two different page thickness options, thick for $15 or thin for $10. In the end, they decided to drop the thin page option, since it just wasn’t up to their high quality standard. To keep the cost down to $10 it was decided they would eventually have to market the Little Black Book to the general public, which is why each book comes branded with a simple url directing consumers to a website separate from Artisan State’s pro photographer site.




For a portrait photographer hoping to sell the book to clients, this is disappointing news but the option to remove the url is available for an additional $10. I was curious to see how the branded url would look. I think it’s actually pretty subtle but I would probably have it removed if giving the book to a client.


Shipping for the the first book costs $5 and $2.50 for additional books. For $10 or even $20 I think it’s a beautiful little album. The flush mount pages lay flat and the silver halide prints are gorgeous. The one and only downside to the whole process for me was that it took two weeks to arrive after ordering. There are rush options available, though. To order, visit artisanstate.com.

So,what do you think of this new product from Artisian State? How would you use it?

CREDITS : Photographs courtesy of Tanya Smith. Newborn photography by Kim Stadler used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artists.



Tanya Goodall Smith is the owner and lead photographer at WorkStory Corporate Photography in Spokane, Washington. WorkStory collaborates exclusively with creative agencies and marketing firms to provide custom photography for businesses so they never have to use a cheesy, boring, cliché stock photo again! Join the stock photo rebellion at workstoryphotography.com.

Comments [12]

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  1. 1
    Nick Ghattas

    Ordered from them once…Seems like the little black books turn out well from what I’ve read on this and other comments sections. I was very happy with mine.

    I would however avoid any other products they offer as I’ve seen nothing but complaints when it comes to albums. These are not a replacement for wedding albums.

    The little black book however is a great promo tool for your business!

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  2. 1

    No Customer Service Whats so Ever !!! If you call The Phone Number no one ever answer no matter what time of the day it is. I’ve notice that the emails That You do Get from Customer service are Auto. I demanded a Refund Of My $240 and I got it 4 Days Later. Very Disappointing in This Company.

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  3. 1

    I am not a professional just a mom looking for a good photo book. Found Artisan State on Facebook and gave it a try. Made a little black book with no problem. I took my daughters senior pictures and made a book to display all of them! It arrived quickly and my daughter and I were thrilled with it. I had planned on making several from this company and boasted about it to many friends! Well – that was in March of this year – barely 3 months and IT IS COMING APART! No joke the pages are literally coming off – the glue is not holding.

    So I took pictures of the book and the pages that were falling apart – emailed them on a Saturday and by Monday had a response that a new book was being printed. I only communicated through e-mail but was very pleased with their support and quick response.

    Just got a DHL notice that I missed the delivery and it will be delivered today. When on the DHL website tracking the package I noticed it originated in CHINA. Ok my error – but I thought it was an American company.

    Overall I am satisfied with the service but very skeptical of the quality of the book. Pictures look beautiful but if the books don’t hold up there really is no point. I have ordered several books from Shutterfly but was ready to step up to something a bit more artsy! Thought this was it but will not order again until I see that this second book lasts.

    Quite bummed because I really do love to the look and feel of the book!

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  4. 1

    I ordered my first little black book a couple weeks ago for a client. The process was simple and intuitive though once I had placed my order it stated delivery could be up to 2 weeks. I was so frustrated as their Website stated Mother’s day orders if placed on the Friday before would arrive on time. Though to my surprise logging in 2 days later to track shipping – it said my album had shipped and would in fact arrive on time. Had I known this was a Chinese company, I doubt that I would have placed the order. My album arrived beaten from shipping, thank goodness the gift box and album were without a scratch. My client was pleased with the album as was I. Client immediately asked to order another copy. When I went to process the order a notice popped up in my PayPal stating I should check my shipping address as it is not the same in my JOYFUL STAR HONG KONG LIMITED account. I was immediately alarmed and backed out of the order. I sent a message to support asking “who is” JOYFUL STAR HONG KONG LIMITED. Their response with broken English type, this is our finance department. I will be canceling my account as soon I hit the submit button on this comment and looking for a USA made similar product.

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  5. 1

    Got a 5×7 black book and was very happy with it. I would recommend it.

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  6. 1
    Sandra DeGarie

    I would like to apply for the application to use it.

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  7. 1

    I ordered a 5×7 Little Leather Book to see how they look. I had no hiccups at all, and knowing they come from Shanghai means that 2 weeks is acceptable. I got the book just under the 2 week mark, and the price to quality ratio is good. You have to remeber that the product is what you see, and it is a photobook, not an album. Big difference. There was no sign of a URL on the back for the leather book, I will have to try a Black Book done as a sample with metal paper to check that.

    Summary, Good bang for the buck, if they stick around, you have a great legacy product in the making.

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  8. 1

    Please send info

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  9. 1

    So far no reply to e-mail inquiry about the $20 price (no $10 price listed anywhere)…two days so far. I did find under “Specials” that there was a 30% discount until 1/26/14, so that may work out in the end…I will have to put together a book and see what the price turns out to be. Of course, having their manufacturing based in Shanghai, China probably means the turnaround time would certainly be longer than expected. I wonder if there are any USA located places that could do this in-house. Probably the price-point is because of the overseas printing. If anyone does use ArtisanState for printing, could you advise on turnaround time? It would be very helpful! Thanks!

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  10. 1
    Mike Lao

    Artisan State

    You guys are extremely un professional. If you guys want to be a “big company” you guys need to work on customer service. 6 Days to reply to email, no attempt on communication about delays, ignored customer concern. Not even a hint of concern that they had screwed up someone’s time line on a deadline. At this point i don’t recommend them to anyone. Extremely disappointed with this company. Take note people.

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    • 1

      Same experience. But first of all. So funny all of this talk of $10-$20! I spent hours designing mine and when I hit checkout it said $193. No problem. I spent a lot of time creating it anyway. But after a week of waiting it still hadn’t been shipped and no response from customer service? I run the marketing dept of a very small company (less than 20 people). If I have an upset customer I’m on it in minutes. I hate these guys. If my family’s photos were not in this book I would burn it and upload photos on their Facebook page -by the way, their only social media channel with only positive reviews and all mentioning “$20”. Joke.

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  11. 1

    Thanks for the review.. Wondering about the quality of these. That’s a shame about the URL. $10 to remove? Bit steep I reckon.

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