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SmartAlbums: A Killer Album Builder
for Busy Photographers


A startup from the USA, Pixellu LLC, nurturing an idea of a helpful software for wedding photographers, a desktop photo app for creating albums quickly and easily.


Making an excellent album after a wedding photo session usually takes a great deal of time and effort. After refinement of dozens of photos, you need to cut, crop, rotate, and scale them again in Photoshop to make them fit into an album frame, then compose an album in Indesign, and finally export a draft version and send it to the client. Then you get feedback… and start editing over again.

Obviously, the market strongly needed a solution, something that could make album design as simple as possible. The challenge was to shrink time, reduce the quantity of monotonous manual work, and make communication between a photographer and a client more efficient.


At Pixellu they saw an opportunity and decided to create SmartAlbums, a specialized photo album software, simple, with the set of album templates, and intuitive UI. It has to be a Windows and Mac desktop app for accelerating the process of creating photo albums.


Software development was delegated to Vakoms, a technical partner, an IT company with focus on startups and with years of successful experience in web, mobile, and desktop application development.

For this project we formed a dedicated team consisting of:

First, we put our hand on desktop photo app for Mac OS X. We developed it from scratch, using Objective-C language and Apple's native API Cocoa, and officially released it in 18 months.

In parallel with that, the Windows desktop app development began. We decided to create it using Qt framework, because it provides ample opportunities in cross-platform application development, allows to easily create graphical user interface of various complexity, and in general is simple and easy to use. SmartAlbums Windows desktop app was commercially launched after 24 months of development.


SmartAlbums desktop photo album app is very simple in use. Basically, there are 5 simple steps:

  1. Select and drag photos to the app.
  2. Create an album using templates.
  3. Upload a draft version to cloud and share it with a client.
  4. Get feedback instantly and make changes if necessary.
  5. Send the album to print

SmartAlbums application has a number of popular album design templates, just as well users can create their own. Once photos are uploaded, the program automatically resizes them to fit common standards, so you can send the album to print immediately without doing any edits. However there is also a possibility to manually crop, scale, and reposition images inside the album frame.

Having finished a draft version of a photo album you can upload it to Pixelu Cloud and share it with a customer using unique Cloud Proofing feature. The client can open the draft in an internet browser, flip album pages, make comments. The photographer can see comments in real time and make changes immediately. After the album is approved, the photographer exports it (JPG, PDF, PSD, IDML) and sends it to print.

To sum up, SmartAlbums allows photographers to create a photo album within hours rather than days, which the process used to take before.


No wonder shortly after launch, SmartAlbums saw a great success. Pixellu gained thousands of customers from over 100 countries and is now recognized as the industry leader. That is how a small startup from Washington turned into a multi-million dollar company with the help of web and app development company Vakoms.

Technology Stack

  • Objective-C
  • Cocoa
  • Qt
  • C++
  • SQLite
Objective-C Qt

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