15/04/19

The 10 Best Photo Book Companies

So… you’ve had your old photos scanned. You’ve reaped a harvest of likes on Facebook and Instagram, made desktop backgrounds and emails and profile pictures – what’s next? It’s time to make them into something tangible again. Something you can put on a coffee table. Some way of presenting your photos as old as time itself… You need to make a book.

The Internet is awash with companies ready to make photo books for you. So many that it’s hard to know which way to turn. Because we always want to be helpful, we’ve done a round up of the best options, complete with pros and cons, introductions and recommendations. We’ve rated the prices too – a single £ sign means it’s very cheap, and five £ signs mean it’s eye-wateringly expensive.

And so, without further ado, here are our eleven favourite photo book-making websites. In alphabetical order…

(If you still haven’t scanned all your old photos, or have only thought about making a photo book from recent/ digital photographs, click HERE for why you should save all those amazing old family memories.)

 

1. Apple
Best for family mementoes and yearbooks (as long as you use a Mac!)

As well as deciding how we work, listen to music, take photographs, talk to other people, pay for things and watch TV, Apple also adds its user-friendly white sheen to the photo book world. The results are reasonably priced with the aesthetic value you’d expect, though of course, you have to use the Apple Photo app to do it. ££

Pros

  • Affordable prices
  • Easy to use software that links with your existing photo library
  • Customisable themes that give quite a lot of creative control

Cons

  • You have to store all your photos on Apple Photo and use a Mac
  • Not much choice of paper types
  • Extra pages are quite pricey

 

2. Bob Books
Best for small-scale publishers, professional photographers looking for a portfolio

London-based company Bob Books are the paper-lovers choice. Offering five different varieties of weight and finish of paper to print your pages on, Bob’s hardcover books cater to those who are looking for total control of each page. ££

Pros

  • Flat binding for great double page displays
  • The bookshop feature, which helps aspiring publishers sell their books
  • Downloadable design software

Cons

  • Limited range of book covers

 

3. Blurb
Recommended for those looking to start a magazine or publish on a slightly larger scale

Blurb is a popular choice among students and creatives. One particularly interesting feature is the option to create magazines and sell them in the Blurb store, which has helped launch a growing number of print projects. The prices are affordable, and there’s an e-book conversion tool available too. ££

 Pros

  • Quick shipping, depending on the time of year
  • Range of sizes includes magazine options
  • Affordable prices

 Cons

  • Some users have said that their photos were resized by the software, leading to a loss of resolution. It’s avoidable but worth watching out for.
  • Limited range of paper options

 

4. GF Smith

Best for professional photographers, wedding books, or for creating a long-lasting family heirloom

Creating books in Hull since 1885, GF Smith is an artisan bookbinder that offers luxurious, almost completely bespoke options. It’s the work of print and paper devotees, with a huge range of cover options, paperweights, endpaper design and textures. The results are expensive but incredibly beautiful. £££££

Pros

  • GF Smith offers a myriad of cover options, with heavily technical embossing and print options.
  • A range of paperweights that goes all the way up to 820gsm. That’s bulletproof, basically.
  • Printed using real photographic process, which creates the subtlest shades and hues
  • Layflat binding
  • 50 colour plan options for endpapers
  • 8 different textures and embossing options for endpapers

Cons

  • This is not cheap
  • Not a huge range of sizes – only A4, A3 or B5

 

5. My Photo Book
Best for business case studies or family mementos

Made in Germany, My Photo Book’s handcrafted books are designed with a wide range of uses in mind. With a choice of hardcover, softcover, canvas, leather, staple and spiral binding, there are books that are suitable for everything from conference handouts to family heirlooms. ££££

Pros

  • Customisable page numbers and sizes
  • Layflat binding, which is ideal for landscape or panorama shots
  • Option for real photographic paper instead of inkjet prints

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than most

 

 

6. Parabo Press
Best for fun and stylish gifts, artists and designers looking for a quick and easy portfolio

San Francisco-based photography label Parabo Press boasts a very cleanly designed website that’s a real joy to use, and allows users to design books using a smartphone app. The books themselves are carefully crafted too, with pastel linen covers and tipped-in images that are available in a wide range of print options. £££

Pros

  • The app makes designing books very easy
  • Many format options- concertina book, risoprints, news print, and more.
  • They also offer tipped-in cover images, which is hard to find.

Cons

  • The books can’t be designed without Parabo’s app.
  • Parabo is US-based, so prices are in dollars and delivery times a little longer

 

7. Photobox
Best for wedding books and family events

Photobox is a great choice for big occasions. Created with wedding albums and family mementoes in mind, it combines a super easy design tool with premium presentation options like clamshell boxes and silk covers. ££

Pros

  • Premium service for special occasions such as weddings (clamshell box, silk cover, etc)
  • Wide range of formats
  • Many cover options – collage, Pantone, heart-shaped photos etc
  • Can upload directly from social

Cons

  • The image preview tool is difficult to use

 

8. Photo World
Best for Christmas gifts and commemorative annuals

Based in Warwick, Photo World’s books start at £6.99 for a pocketbook. The software for designing the books is one of the simplest we’ve seen, but they also offer templates to make it even easier. 5 different types of paper, either soft or hardcover, linen, booklet or faux leather. 100% satisfaction guarantee or money back. £££

Pros

  • 5 different paper types
  • A wide selection of themed books
  • Most books delivered within 5 working days
  • Money back satisfaction guarantee
  • 10% off your first order

Cons

  • Less customisable than some of the more bespoke options

 

9. TruPrint
Best for Secret Santa presents and stocking fillers

TruPrint specialises in pocket-sized books, designed for giving.  Based in Devon, the company’s prices start at just £2.99, making them one of the most affordable options we’ve seen. There’s a good range of sizes on offer too, and UV coated gloss paper for a professional high-shine finish. £

Pros

  • Ideal for gifts, with gift boxes and other upgrades available
  • Layflat binding
  • Really affordable prices

Cons

  • Less choice of covers and paperweights than other sites
  • No offline option on the design programme

 

10. Vista Print
Best for university projects and business brochures

UK company Vista Print offers bookmaking as part of their massive range of photo printing services. Their easy-to-follow design software is available to use offline or online, and offers a huge range of design options, making this one of the more customizable options. ££

Pros

  • Good paper and print quality for the price
  • A wide variety of covers, sizes and numbers of pages to choose from
  • Well-designed software that makes creating books easier

Cons

  • Not a huge range of paper choices

 

From print to digital to print

So that’s it! Photo books make awesome gifts, especially for parents and grandparents who love a bit of nostalgia. Before you make your book, you’re going to need to digitise any print photos, slides or albums that aren’t on your computer. We are here to help you scan them all. Browse our services or get in touch.

Bye for now!

 

Vintage Photo Lab
because we scan