With a camera in every device you own, you have the opportunity to take pictures every day. There’s no reason those photos should be lost on your computer or phone, never to be seen again. You can print them off and place them in albums yourself, or you can use a photo book service to create your very own custom photo book. With digital files and an online photo editor, you can make your photos look professional and add an artistic touch to every image.
In our photo book review, we rated the leading online photo book services to help you choose the best option. The best photo book services provide a wide range of templates, layouts, editing tools and high quality books. We found that Shutterfly, Mixbook and Snapfish are the best photo book services available. To learn more about design techniques and software choices, read our articles on photo books.
Most services regularly offer specials and coupons to help reduce prices, and the cost of creating and printing a photo book is uniform across the industry. Therefore, there are other factors to consider when choosing a photo book provider aside from cost.
When deciding where to publish your photo book, consider the quality of the photo books and the service features. Additionally, the publishing options, usability and customer service play significant roles.
Quality & Services
The photo book’s service features strongly determine the design of your photo book. Services that provide an online book editor that organizes your photos, layouts and templates make the creation process substantially easier. If you are planning to use pre-designed layouts and templates, look for services that offer a wide variety. For example, Shutterfly offers over 200 pre-made templates so that you can make a book for any occasion. While a large selection is important, also pay attention to the quality of the templates. The best photo book services also offer convenience features, such as gift services, free album sharing and money-back guarantees.
Most services provide an online photo book editor or downloadable software to help you place, edit and add design to your photos. The best photo book services will provide an easy-to-use editor that allows you to choose how much or how little design you want to add to your book. Whether you want to add special effects to your photo, customize layouts or add embellishments and text to every page, a photo book editor will help you design your books.
A good online photo book editor should alert you to any errors and allow you to preview the book online so that the published product is of the highest quality. If there are any defects, the company should remedy the problem with no additional costs. If your images are low quality, good editors will alert you so you can remove the photo or resize it to ensure that you get sharp and crisp printed images. With higher-quality images, you can add more design elements, such as color corrections or special effects, without diminishing the quality of the photo.
The best photo books use high-quality paper and cover materials. The pages should be thick and the covers sturdy. In our testing, all of the books we ordered shared similar prices; however, there were significant differences in the quality of the books. Some of the books used weak glue or staples in the binding, which both reduce the lifespan of the photo book. Others had thin pages that creased after we looked at the book a couple of times.
In addition to the print quality and service features, look for companies that offer a short processing time that ensure you will get your photo book in a timely manner. When you combine the processing and shipping times, even the best service can take a week or more to deliver your photo book, so always provide extra time before deadlines.
Each of the photo book services we reviewed offers a variety of cover and sizing options. More options translate into more design possibilities for you. Whether you are looking for a wallet-sized book to carry around with you or a large coffee-table book, the best photo book service will provide an assortment of options. Top services also offer a variety of cover types, including hardbound, softbound, leather, linen or silk.
Whether you are a professional designer or it is your first time designing a photo book, you should be able to navigate the online photo book editor with little trouble. Look for services that offer a user-friendly interface that labels the publishing tools and provides a step-by-step process so that anyone can use the software. At the same time, look for a service that allows creative control for customers who are experienced with design. The best photo book services allow you to upload photos from various social media sites and automatically place all of your photos for you.
Support & Shipping
The shipping time of your photo book plays a significant role when you have a deadline. The photo book services that offer a variety of delivery options and a quality product are the best. Additionally, it is important to have contact information for photo book services in case you have questions, problems or concerns. Most services have a FAQs page, and others offer more personal customer service via telephone, chat and email.
The best online photo book services rank high in all four of these rating categories. When you're searching for a photo book publisher, look for a service that offers high-quality products, features, book options and support.