I just thought I'd respond to the questions about albums.
I'd love to share with you my personal pro/con list since I've tried so many different types...
3-RING was my first album.
PRO - You can remove the pages & place them in any order you'd like and the albums hold A LOT!
BIG CON - The pages have this huge gap between them so that two page layouts do NOT lay side-by-side, this is very distracting. If you tip the album the pages want to fall out of the page protectors which is pretty annoying
PRO - Great if you are doing a Christmas album where you add each new year's photos as they come...or birthday album (same situation) or vacation album. The albums typically hold a lot & if you're already doing layouts that naturally fall in consecutive order it works well. Also the 2-page spreads are side-by-side w/o any gap which is nice
CON - if you are wanting to set up your album in date order or some kind of consecutive order, but you want to complete the layouts OUT OF ORDER...You cannot rearrange the pages. You're LOCKED IN.
PRO - Great if you like to complete pages in any particular order you want, you can rearrange them later. The pages typically fit into the sleeves nice and snug so that they do not drop out and you have the same benefit of side-by-side that strap hinge offers
CON - they really don't seem to hold as many pages as strap does.
If you want to go with a 12X12 album, be sure that the pages are true 12X12 (or at least SQUARE and not rectangle) Pioneer's EZ Load 12" X 12" Memory Books are NOT 12X12...nor are they square!!!
Two problems with this:
You don't have as much layout room.
You waste paper since you have to cut a large strip off of your base paper.
If you happen to get your page turned the wrong way while composing your layout, you will find after all the work is done that it won't fit, since the crazy pages are not SQUARE! You will now have to un-stick everything and try to arrange it back on the page minus 1/2 an inch which can really screw up your once "perfect" page!!!
MY FAVORITE ALBUM
I love K & Company. They make QUALITY albums that are beautiful. Refill sheets are very reasonable (you have to check the price of those refill pages when you shop for an album). Also, Michael's routinely offers coupons for 40% off any item not already on sale (perfect time to stock up on albums or refill sheets). AND Hobby Lobby regularly lists all their memory albums 50% off (this includes K & CO. Lastly, K & Co have coordinating stickers, 3D stickers, vellums & papers that match their gorgeous albums!!!!
Best of luck. Hope this spares you money, aggravation and time experimenting :)