The Top 5 Online Photo Book Services for 2020
Custom photo books make a perfect gift for friends and family and are easy and inexpensive to create using an online photo album service.
They’re also a nice item to keep on your coffee table, especially if you miss the coziness of photo albums in our digital world.
However, while they might look similar at first glance, custom photo books are a world away from a traditional album and offer many more possibilities to personalize your photo collection. Most photo book services allow you to select a design or theme and cover option, set the size and page layout and even add customized backgrounds frames, stickers and text.
So what is the best photo book service?
Read on to find our top 5:
Mixbook features on just about every list of best online photo books services, and for good reason. While companies such as Printique and Shutterfly (see below) are well-known for providing an array of digital photo printing services, Mixbook are famous for their photo books.
Like all the best photo book services, Mixbook really guides you through the process of designing a custom photo book. The site invites you to select a design by theme, such as wedding or travel, and with a total of over 500 different designs you are almost certain to find something for you.
You can add photos from desktop or phone, or from social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. The editor offers an autofill option to add your photos automatically to the template, as well as various customization options, such as changing background color.
There are also lots of helpful hints and tips which make this service suitable for beginners. For example, the editor tells you if one of your photos lacks the resolution to get a good quality print.
Prices for custom photo books start from $11.99
FreePrints Photo Books
Nowadays most of us take and store pictures on our smartphones, so why not create a photo book directly from your phone? This is exactly what the FreePrints Photo Books service offers, and what’s more it’s (almost) free!
Download the app from Google Play or the App Store and get started straight away. You can easily select pictures from your smartphone photo library and arrange them page by page to build a custom photo book.
FreePrints lacks some of the customization options of photo book sites, but there is a wide selection of backgrounds to choose from, allowing you to create attractive and colorful books.
FreePrints is the best online photo album service in terms of value. You can get one 5×7 softcover photo book per month, paying only for delivery. FreePrints also has lots of offers and deals, which can make things even cheaper. So while it may not be the option for your wedding photos, FreePrints Photo Books is perfect for making a personalized gift for a friend or family member.
Price of a custom photo book – Free; additional charge for larger formats and hardcover books.
Another contender for best photo book service is Printique by Adorama.
Printique offers an array of formats, including fabric books and traditional leather albums. What’s more, you can customize everything from design to paper type. All books are lay-flat meaning that you won’t loose any of your pictures in the margin.
What makes Printique one of the best photo book sites, is that it gives you a free hand to design your photo book as you like. Instead of choosing a standard design you have the option of uploading your own PDF. You can also build your own photo book using Printique’s editor.
Upload photos from your computer or from an online photo collection, such as Flickr or Instagram. You can even upload photos from Lightroom. Printique accepts JPG and TIFF formats.
Next choose from one of many designs and start placing your photos or let Printique place them for you. The editor is easy to use and you can have fun adding all kinds of annotations to your book, from text to stickers and frames.
Prices start from $19.99
From calendars to lunchboxes, Shutterfly will print your pictures on practically anything, and one of the company’s specialties is a digital photo book service.
Shutterfly’s photo book selection includes hard and soft cover versions, as well as yearbooks and flush mount albums.
The ordering process is straightforward, and the trickiest part is choosing from the 50 different styles and various customization options. It’s worth checking out the inspiration pages to get a better idea of how your design might turn out.
Once you’ve selected all your different options, you can start adding your photos. Upload from your desktop or mobile, or from a service such as Google Photos. Note that Shutterfly only excepts JPG format photos.
You can place your photos in the different slots by yourself, or let Shutterfly do it for you, suggesting an optimal arrangement.
For those who’d like a bit of extra help, Shutterfly offers a “Make my book service” where you send your photos over and designers create your custom photo books for you.
Photo book prices start from $13.98 and there are discounts for bulk orders.
Did you know that Google provides an online photo album service via Google Photos? It’s inexpensive and has to be one of the best photo book services for convenience, if you’re a Google user.
True, Google doesn’t offer the same variety of themes and designs that you get on specialized photo book sites, however, what it lacks in choice it makes up for in speed. Simply click to start creating your book and select pictures from your online photo collection.
The editor is very simple to use, partly due to the limited options, and lets you add a legend to each photo.
So while it may not have the creative possibilities of some other photo book services, if you’re looking for something quick and simple and you’re already using Google for your photos, then this is definitely worth a look.
Photo book prices from $12.99
Types of photo book
Are you feeling lost in a sea of options for your online photo book? Here are some of the main kinds of photo books and albums available:
Softcover and mini books
These are perfect as a small gift, inexpensive and easy to handle but still offering lots of options to personalize.
Hardcover photo books are best for photos of events and memories that you want to preserve for the long-term. They offer good print quality and durability, though with a higher price tag.
Lay flat books
If you want something that will sit perfectly on your coffee table, opt for a lay flat photo book. As the name suggests, these will open out easily with no folding necessary, and keep all of your images flat on the page.
Premium photo albums
A more traditional option but still offering an array of options for customization, photo albums are made from high quality materials, often leather bound. They are the best choice for special events and occasions such as wedding photos and also the most expensive type of book.
Perfect photos for your album
Whichever photo book service you choose, you want to ensure that your photos look their very best. Photo Studio from inPixio can help you to put the finishing touches to your photos before printing.
Whether it’s erasing distracting objects or removing blemishes from your portraits, Photo Studio provides all the tools you need to make your photos even more beautiful than ever.
*All prices correct at time of publishing.