Best Review Guide / Reviews / Services / Photo Book

Best Reviewed Photo Book


1

Mixbook

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ProsPros
  • A myriad of themes, ready-to-go templates and backgrounds available
  • User-friendly online photo editor 
  • The publisher offers returns at any time and international shipping
ConsCons
  • No phone support available
  • Only one type of printing paper available

Mixbook is one of the largest photo design tools on the market today. It is an online service based in Palo Alto, California. The company’s initial focus was to help students create their own yearbooks, but in 2009 it launched its photo book editor tool as well.

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9.7

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2

York Photo Labs

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ProsPros
  • Impressive print quality
  • Unlimited storage space on yorkphoto.com
  • Not too expensive
  • Easy to work with
  • Overnight shipping
ConsCons
  • Doesn’t allow you to import TIFF files
  • Poor customer support
  • Website is too slow

York Photo Labs is an average digital photo printing service. It is not too expensive, but not the cheapest, it has decent editing tools and options to create your photo book, but doesn’t really stand out from the crowd. We didn’t like the fact that it doesn’t support TIFF files, but we were really impressed with the quality of the images: color, clarity and so on.  

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9.5

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3

Snapfish

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ProsPros
  • Easy to use interface
  • A wide range of templates and backgrounds to choose from
  • Extensive help resources
  • Good customer support
  • The online editor is compatible with both PC and Mac
ConsCons
  • Not the best turnaround time
  • Limitations and missing features with the online editor

Snapfish is an online photo printing and sharing service launched back in 1999. The company that developed it is District Photo and it is based in San Francisco.

Snapfish was acquired by HP in 2005, for $300 million but sold back to District Photo in 2015.

The service is available worldwide: United States, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe (Germany, France, UK, Italy and others).

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9.3

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4

AdoramaPix

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ProsPros
  • Very high quality products (color, paper, cover)
  • A wide selection of paper, sizes, covers available
  • Affordable printing service
  • Fully customizable
  • Useful editing tools available
ConsCons
  • No flyleaf included; you have to pay extra to add one
  • Not the easiest interface

AdoramaPix is an online digital photo printing service that has been on the market for more than one decade. AdoramaPix is a division of the Adorama Camera company.

AdoramaPix accepts TIFF files and JPGs and it stands out mostly through its high quality printings.

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9.3

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5

Blurb

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ProsPros
  • Great printing quality, professionally looking books
  • You can upload PDF files and use other programs like Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to create your project
  • You can also make magazines and e-books
  • International shipping available
  • Useful price calculator and shipping calculator on the website
ConsCons
  • The online editor has too many limitations
  • They discontinued phone support

Blurb is a unique company that offers printing services and features you can’t find in most competitors. With this company, you can create not just personal photo books, but also magazines and e-books. You can upload your PDF from the computer and also use other programs such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. The printing quality is impressive from cover to the inside pages and they ship internationally. What we didn’t like about them was the fact that they don’t offer phone support anymore and the fact that the online editor has quite a few limitations.

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9.3

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6

Picaboo

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ProsPros
  • Flexible photo editor; adaptable to both amateurs and professionals
  • Mobile app compatible with iOS and Android
  • Good customer support
  • Constant discounts, coupons, vouchers
  • International shipping available
ConsCons
  • Limitations in editing and available sizes
  • A bit pricey
  • Not the best quality on the market

Picaboo was founded in 2002 and offers a wide range of products, from photo books, for which it is most known, to calendars, cards, prints for phone/tablet cases, school yearbooks and others.

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8.8

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7

PrestoPhoto

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ProsPros
  • One of the largest selections of sizes, formats, papers, covers and templates on the market
  • You can import a PDF project or create an Apple Book
  • Good customer support
  • Affordable
  • International shipping available
ConsCons
  • Not the best printing quality on the market
  • The online editor lacks some important options/functions and is not user-friendly

PrestoPhoto is really appreciated for its large selection of layouts, formats, sizes, papers and covers, so you can make almost any combination you have in mind. They also allow you to import your own PDF file, so if you want, you can create your project using different software and then upload the PDF. You can also make an Apple book and it will cost you less. On the downside, this printing service doesn’t have the best printing quality and it could really work on improving its online editor and make it more user-friendly.

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8.7

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8

Montage

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ProsPros
  • Simple interface, perfect for beginners
  • International shipping with tracking
  • Free refund for US customers
  • Good paper quality, especially with the premium option (Silver Halide)
ConsCons
  • Small number of themes and features
  • Limited editing tools, limited book sizes
  • Not affordable

Montage is the little brother of Mixbook. It is a photo book service launched by Mixbook in 2013 as a faster and easier alternative. With this new service you can create a personalized photo book in less than 15 minutes.

It is a good choice for less experienced users who are new to this whole photo book business. 

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8.4

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9

Photobook America

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ProsPros
  • Good printing quality
  • Plenty of available types, sizes, covers, papers
  • Fast delivery
  • 100% quality guarantee and free express shipping for orders above $75
ConsCons
  • Not the best online editor
  • Not enough shipping options available
  • Poor customer support
  • Small number of available backgrounds

Photobook America is a good choice in terms of printing quality and available types, sizes, materials, covers and so on. However, they are a bit pricey, especially considering some of their limitations and issues. The online editor could be more user-friendly and intuitive, customer support leaves room for improvement and  they could also work some more on their mobile app.

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8.1

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10

Shutterfly

Product Image
ProsPros
  • Hundreds of themes, fully customizable layouts
  • Your photo book can be made by one of the Shutterfly designers, for 9,99 extra dollars
  • Safe, unlimited storage for an unlimited number of photos
ConsCons
  • Limited working hours for live chat and phone support
  • Limited shipping options for other countries than US (no expedited shipping, no tracking for Canada)

Shutterfly is a photo publishing that was founded in 1999, initially as an online social expression and personal publishing service. It made a partnership with Kodak in 2000, offering scanning services and film developing. It started its photo book services in 2004 and it currently has millions of customers worldwide.

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8.0

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Last updated July 15, 2019

All About Photo Book

We live in a digital era. From music to e-books or digital photographs, everything looks, sounds and feels better, crisper and longer lasting. But even though technological advancements are unquestionable and groundbreaking, they also make everything seem less tangible, more impersonal.

It is the case with photographs, too. Even though gadgets nowadays can take pics at an amazing resolution and store hundreds and hundreds of gigabytes of precious memories, more people start to miss the good old printed photo books, especially when they want to immortalize special moments in their lives, such as weddings, birthdays, graduations and so on. Moreover, information stored on hard drives, DVDs and the like can get lost. DVDs can get scratches, hard drives can crash.

That is how photo books appeared. Despite the times we live in, they continue to boom and become more and more popular. Photo books are simply printed books with digital photographs inside them. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they can have dust covers, a hardback, spiral bound, etc. They are significantly better than old school photo albums, because the quality of the photos is unquestionably better, the photographs won’t continuously fall out, you can print more copies of the same book to send as a gift, etc.

There is a whole photo book industry out there, with more and more companies that offer online photo book services. Publishers such as Mixbook, Shutterfly and others offer a wide range of online tools and features that can help you create your perfect photo book. You can add, edit photos, choose the type of paper and cover you want, decide on the number of pages, add text, make a custom layout, etc. The possibilities are endless and the result is a professional, personalized, physical printed photo book.

How does it work

Publishers have an online interface where you can create your desired photo book. There are usually tutorials that get you started and teach you how to edit, crop, arrange the photos and the more advanced editors also offer the possibility of adding text, with different styles and fonts. For those who are not that experienced, there are predesigned templates that can save them a lot of time.

You can import your photos directly from your computer or from an online source (including Facebook, Instagram, etc.).

Once you are set with the design, you can then choose between the numerous cover options (hard, soft, leather or fabric, and so on). Prices vary depending on the size, paper quality, number of pages, the type of cover and the delivery time. You can pay $13 for a 7X7 photo book with 20 pages and a soft cover, or $50 for a 13X11 inch photo book with a hard cover.

Kids’ photo books are usually 8X8 inch square and family albums, 11X14 inch.

Some people might argue that paper is not durable, but you shouldn’t be too worried. Today’s photo books are solidly built and the quality of the paper and cover will preserve your images for years and years to come.

Photo books are usually processed, printed and shipped in up to 5 days, but there are publishers who can deliver them overnight. You can either wait for them to be shipped, or you can pick them in store, if possible. There is also a money-back guarantee and international shipping available, for those interested.

The advantages of photo books

There are numerous benefits to making a photo book with digital photos. First of all, as we already mentioned, photos stored on electronic devices can get lost if the system crashes. DVDs are also fragile, can get scratched, can break, etc.

The fact that the photos are preserved in a tangible, physical album, makes them more personal, real, while the fact that they are digital saves you the trouble of digging through dozens of loose photographs in a crammed box. The photo resolution is also significantly higher than in the past, so you will have a memorable experience every time you shuffle through the book.

Photo books make lovely gifts, especially because they can be customized to meet your expectations, so that’s another aspect to consider.

The best services let you choose between multiple backgrounds to apply to your pages, sometimes even hundreds, tailored for various events (weddings, baby photos, holidays, school events, pets, special moments with friends, etc.)

Photo Book Publishers – What To Look For

Creating the perfect photo book is a complex and subjective process. It is a matter of taste and it depends a lot on the event it’s trying to capture. There are a lot of special occasions in our lives that worth being immortalized and just as many ways in which to do that. Here are some useful tips that might help you choose the right publisher for your photo book:

  1. Decide what kind of photo book you want to make. Is it going to be a wedding photo book, a family, or a birthday one? Knowing the theme of the photo book will help you form a general idea about its content, design, number of pages, etc. All these are factors you should have in mind when browsing through different websites, because you will know what to pay attention to, in terms of design options, materials, prices, and so on. You might need more advanced photo editors if you want to add text, you might need more backgrounds available in order to customize your photo book to match the event you’re trying to capture, you might need the publisher to offer overnight delivery if you are in a hurry and you want the photo book to be a gift and so on.
  2. Make a budget and compare publishers and offers. This one is pretty self- explanatory. Depending on your desires and wallet, you should know how much you are willing to spend and orientate accordingly. Compare prices (paper, cover, shipping, etc.) and go with the best option.
  3. Choose an interface that is easy to use. Select some of your photos (either from your computer or an online photo sharing website such as Instagram, Flickr, Photobucket, Facebook, etc.) and upload them on different websites. Try to mess around with each interface and see which one is more user-friendly, which one has more options in terms of templates, editing tools, available book sizes, backgrounds, covers, etc. You should also be honest with yourself when it comes to your tech skills and choose a service that is in tune with your abilities. If you’re not that good with editing, make sure the online interface comes with plenty of ready-to-use templates.
  4. The more customizable, the better. No matter what kind of theme you want for your photo book, it’s always better to have as many options as possible at your disposal, for both the inside and the outside of your photo book. Look for publishers that offer multiple backgrounds, for different events, pay attention to the editing features and the printing options as well. There are a lot of available sizes (5X7, 8X8, 10X10, 12X12, 8.5X11, 11X14, etc.) and cover options (hardbound, softbound, lay-flat, leather, dust cover, fabric cover, etc.). Another useful feature you should look out for is the ability to invite your friends or family to add and edit the photos. Not all the publishers offer that possibility.
  5. Available upload sources. You should also check and see how easy it is to upload your photos, and what kind of upload sources does the publisher offer (hard drive, online photo sharing sites or social media sites or others: Instagram, Flickr, PhotoBucket, Facebook, SmugMug, Picasa, Google Photos, Dropbox, etc.)
  6. Money Back Guarantee. Nobody wants to put work and hope into a project and then have his expectations crushed. But should the worst happen, you have to make sure your publisher provides the money back guarantee option and it is trustworthy.
  7. Customer support. This one is also an important service. Make sure the publisher has a good reputation when it comes to customer support and you can reach them through as many channels as possible (phone, live chat, email, forums, FAQ, etc).
  8. Print quality. The print quality depends on a lot of factors: the image resolution of the photos, the printer, the paper type, etc. Do your homework before choosing your publisher. Look for samples of their work, pay attention to details like color, clarity, contrast and find out what kind of paper and printers they use.
  9. Processing and delivery time. Processing and shipping time vary from overnight to 8 working days or sometimes even more. Find out what the shipping time of your publisher is.
Tips that help you create your perfect photo book

The quality of your photo book very much depends on the publisher you choose but that is not the only factor. Your creative and artistic abilities play an important role as well. No matter how highly customizable or user-friendly the interface you’re working with is, if you don’t know what kind of photos to use, which ones are more suitable for your event, or what their order should be, everything is in vain.

Make sure you select the right images. Digital photography has the huge advantage of permitting as many shots as you’d like. When storage is not an issue and you don’t have to worry about changing your film, you tend to get carried away. Make sure you restrain from using all the photos you took at a certain event and keep in mind that you have a limited number of pages, so fill them up with the most memorable pictures.

Arrange the images in the right order. Think of the narrative aspect of your photo book when determining the order. Your book should tell the story of the event, only in images. Make sure you have a start and a finish and the pages have a natural flow.