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16 June 2021

Best photo album books

Photobooks hold many treasured memories, from photos of the happy couple on their special day to the moment when a parent meets their newborn. Organise and cherish those memories with our top-rated photo album book services.
Joey Willoughby-Rainsford

Photo album books are precious and personalised gifts, which are ideal for cherishing a wedding, a holiday, or the first year of a new baby's life. 

Between late March and early April 2021, we examined seven online services offering photobooks, from popular brands such as Google Photos, Photobox and Vistaprint. We also had photography experts examine the final products.

Find out which photobook services are the easiest to use and offer the best finished photo album.

Pricing and availability last checked: 16 June 2021.

The best photo album books

Only logged-in Which? members can view the photobook test results below. If you're not yet a member, or not yet logged in, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the picture books we've tested.

Join Which? to get instant access to our test scores and recommendations below. 

Asda Photo

Price from £6 available from Asda Photo

What we ordered Hardcover landscape 27 x 20cm (A4) photobook (matte paper) for £25.

What else is available:

Sizes 6 x 4" (15 x 10cm), 11 x 8" (27 x 20cm), 12 x 12" (30 x 30cm), 14 x 10" (35 x 25cm), 8 x 11" (20 x 27cm, A4), 8 x 6" (20 x 15cm, A5), 8 x 8" (20 x 20cm)

Book type Ringbound, softcover, hardcover, hardcover layflat

Shape Landscape, square, portrait

Paper finish Gloss, matte

Asda Photo offers an online service with all the information you need to make a picture book on its website. Simply choose the option you want, and start editing to make your own personalised photobook. 

This service has the lowest starting price for photo album books out of those we tested. 

But what did we think of the creation process and the final product? To find out, log in or join Which?

Bonusprint

Price from £6.99 available from Bonusprint

What we ordered Hardcover landscape in L for £35.09

What else is available:

Sizes S, M, L, XL

Book type Hardcover, softcover, layflat premium

Shape Landscape, portrait, square

Paper finish Glossy, matte

Bonusprint offers a decent range of customisation options for photo album book on its website. 

Just as with the others we tested, you can complete the whole ordering process online, allowing you to design and buy a photobook from the comfort of your own home. 

To see our full review, log in or join Which?

Google Photos

Price from £11.99 available from Google Photos

What we ordered Hardcover book for £22.99

What else is available:

Sizes
9 x 9" (22 x 22cm), 7 x 7" (17 x 17cm)

Book type
Hardcover, softcover

Shape
Square

Paper finish
Standard

It's worth mentioning that you need a Google account in order to access this service. You also need to have the photos uploaded into your Google Photos folders before you start. 

Google is a big name in the tech world. But how did it compare with the others we tested? 

To find out, read our full review. Log in or join Which?

Papier

Price from £20 available from Papier

What we ordered Medium hardback photobook for £35

What else is available:

Sizes
Mini, medium and large

Book type
Hardback, softback

Shape
Portrait, square, landscape

Paper finish
3mm thick with a 200gsm silk-paper finish

The design and ordering process with Papier is all online. With a limited amount of stylish options to choose from, you simply click and start working on your photobook. 

Papier has a higher starting price than the others. Did we think its photo album book was worth it? 

To find out, log in or join Which? now.

Photobox

Price from £7.49 available from Photobox

What we ordered A4 personalised photobook for £24.94

What else is available:

Sizes Little, A4 (8 x 11", 20 x 27cm), A3 (15.5 x 11", 39 x 27cm)

Book type Softcover, hardcover, padded cover, premium hardcover, cut-out cover

Shape Landscape, portrait, square

Paper finish Standard (170gsm), premium (250gsm), pro (380gsm)

Once you've chosen the size, shape and style of the picture book you want, you can go straight into the creator and begin designing your photobook. 

To read our full review on the service and final product from Photobox and the others we tested, log in or join Which? now.

Snapfish

Price from £7.99 available from Snapfish

What we ordered 11 x 8" (A4) landscape hardcover glossy page photobook for £32.99

What else is available:

Sizes
15.5 x 11" (39 x 27cm, A3), 14 x 11" (35 x 27cm), 12 x 12" (30 x 30cm), 8 x 11" (20 x 27cm, A4), 8 x 8" (20 x 20cm), 8 x 6" (20 x 15cm, A5), 6 x 4" (15 x 10cm)

Book type Hardcover, hardcover matte, layflat, leather, linen, softcover

Shape
Landscape, portrait, square

Paper finish
Glossy, layflat extra-thick premium paper, metallic, satin

Snapfish has a lot of options for making a photobook. Once you've picked the style and size you want, you can hop straight into the creation tool.

Log in or join Which?, to read our review of Snapfish.

Vistaprint

Price from £5.99 available from Vistaprint

What we ordered 27 x 20cm landscape photobook with glossy paper and red linen cover for £30.72

What else is available:

Sizes 5 x 4" (13 x 10cm), 8 x 6" (20 x 15cm), 8 x 11" (20 x 27cm, A4), 15.5 x 15.5" (39 x 29cm), 5.5 x 5.5" (14 x 14cm), 8 x 8" (21 x 21cm), 11 x 11" (30 x 30cm)

Book type Photo cover, regular cover

Shape Landscape, portrait, square

Paper finish Standard, high gloss

Vistaprint offers both an online and a downloadable photobook editor with its service. While it's quicker to go straight to the online editor, you do get more options with the downloadable version, which works both on iOS and Windows.  

What did we think of the creation process and the final product? To read our full review, log in or join Which?

How we tested photobook albums

To ensure we covered every aspect of the service, we had two groups looking at these services and products. 

The first went through at the online process for ordering the photobooks, and the second examined the final products. 

The online service

We selected a set of seven volunteers who had never ordered photo album books before, and asked them to rate how easy it was to create and order them on each website from the comfort of their own homes. 

For this test, each volunteer was asked to complete seven tasks. Photobook services that had simple yet comprehensive instructions, lots of customisation and flexible options, as well as user-friendly interfaces, were ranked more highly.

The finished product

For the second phase of our test, our researcher teamed up with three photography experts from our in-house design and picture team to examine the picture quality and physical condition of each of the finished products. 

The photobooks with the punchiest colours, and the best handling of saturated images, contrast and tonal range, were rated more highly. Our experts also kept their eyes peeled for any printing mistakes, smudges, signs of damage or poor construction. 

Ring test

After one of our photography experts noted how one of the photobooks had been easily scratched by their wedding ring, we went back and tested a page from every book by lightly dragging a finger with a ring on across the paper. The three that were easily scratched are highlighted in our reviews.

What photos we put in our test samples

We used a set of photos chosen by our photography experts to really challenge each manufacturer's printer. 

Using photos taken on everything from smartphones to DSLR cameras, we gathered images that displayed a range of skin tones, people of different ages, highly saturated images, pictures with a huge colour range, black and white photos, low-light images, extreme close-ups and wide landscape pics. 

How we chose the photobook album services

For this review, we opted to test website-based services from companies offering similar photo printing options. When it came to ordering the books we went with A4, or the closest size the company offered, with the standard hardcover and the service's standard paper option. 

Paper finish: what does it all mean?

With most photo album book services, you'll have a choice of the type of paper you want your pictures printed on. 

For the uninitiated, navigating these terms can be a bit of a minefield. 

Here's a quick guide to help you with the most common terms. 

  • Glossy paper has an extended white point and a smooth surface. This ensures colours appear vibrant and photos are filled with depth and clarity.
  • Matte paper isn't as sharp as glossy, with softer colours. It's considered more forgiving for portraits, and is a more popular choice.
  • Satin paper is somewhere between matte and glossy.

Most companies will have some space dedicated to describing the types of paper they offer.

GSM

The weight of paper is measured in gsm (grams per square metre). Effectively this is the thickness of the paper. The higher the gsm, the thicker the paper.

Matte vs gloss, which photo finish is best?

Our photography experts explained that matte is never as sharp as glossy paper because it's more absorbent. However, matte has softer colours, darker blacks, and is more forgiving for portraits. 

It's a matter of taste on which you prefer, but matte is currently more popular.

We bought all the products we tested.


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