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Walking around with a camera in your pocket at all times means you can always snap a photo of sunsets, kids, pets, and all of life’s beauty. But there’s something wonderful about an old-school, physical photo album that you can hold in your hands.
Good news: there are lots of options for creating and printing albums online, so you can create one for every occasion: a gift for a loved one, a celebration of a child’s first year, a wedding keepsake, a reminder of an amazing trip, and so on.
Here, some of our favorite online photo books:
Artifact Uprising offers a wide range of options when it comes to creating photo books: You can create books around events (weddings, travel), milestones (babies), or choose from an array of book options to create an album.
And the book you create will be beautiful: The paper is high-quality as well as environmentally friendly. Albums will be ready in three to ten days.
To create the album, you’ll use Artifact Uprising’s desktop editor—you can upload photos directly from Instagram, Dropbox, or your computer. The software is easy to use and offers you freedom to do some light photo editing and layout.
As well as the desktop editor, you can also create photo albums through Artifact Uprising’s iPhone app. One important caveat: You cannot start a project in the app, continue it on the desktop editor, then work again in the app. Your account is linked across both, but you can’t access a project from both spots.
Shutterfly is one of the old-guard photo services from when digital cameras first became available and popular. The service offers many styles, including books for weddings, year-in-review, milestone events, and more.
There are pre-baked templates for themes and styles, or you can opt to customize your book with your own design. Even if you’re using a pre-designed page, you can easily move and resize photos, as well as adding text, colors, and so on to personalize. The photo editor is easy to use, and you can upload photos from your computer, as well as Facebook and Instagram.
If you’re not a designer yourself, you can also opt to use the site’s “design” service—after you upload photos and instructions, the designers will select photos, design the book, and mail you the finished result.
The arrival time of your book will vary (you can pay for expedited shipping) but the standard timeframe is five to seven business days. Keep an eye out for coupons, which the site frequently offers.
Like Shutterfly, Snapfish has been around for decades. Snapfish offers seven sizes, along with a range of designs and themes for photo books. For the cover, you can choose from a linen, glossy, matte, or leather option.
You can build your photo album using either the app (available for iOS and Android) or the web application, adding photos from your computer, phone, or social media accounts. Note: As with Artifact Uprising, you cannot share projects between the web and app editor.
If your photos are low resolution, and won’t look good printed out, the photo editing system will let you know. And while you can pick a template, you also have freedom to change designs and layouts as you go. All photo books must have at least 20 pages (most top out at 150 pages) and you need to have an even number of pages.
Maybe you don’t want to be in the business of designing a photo book, or, frankly, want this project to move along speedily. Chatbooks might be the company for you. Their tagline is “by moms, for moms,” and their products are clearly designed for busy people.
After you upload photos, Chatbooks arranges them in chronological order—there’s one photo on each page, and you can add captions, as well as moving around photos if you’d like. (If you’re importing photos from social media, the captions you shared there are automatically included.)
You can pull in photos from your computer, Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, Google Photos, and Dropbox. You can create a one-time photo album using the Standard Photo Book—this option is available in three sizes and comes with either a hard or soft cover.
But what many people may find appealing is the monthly subscriptions. For instance, the Photo Book series will pull 60 images from your Facebook and Instagram each month (you can remove photos). Or, the Monthly Minis creates a smaller book with 30 photos.
Picaboo offers five varieties of photo books, including the Madison (which is leather-bound and seems geared toward weddings) and mini-books, which are budget-friendly and ideal for holiday gifting.
The photo editor is user-friendly and provides many layout options, as well as the ability to add stickers and graphics. The print quality here may not be as strong as other options on the list, but the books themselves have a high-quality appearance.
Mixbook offers a lot of options without being overwhelming. The photo editor is easy to use (although may perform better if you’re using a PC than a Mac). You can opt to create your own design or select from available themes, which come from featured designers.
The photo books are available in three shapes (landscape, portrait, and square) in several size options for each shape. Once you’ve uploaded photos, you can take advantage of the top-notch editing software, which allows you to zoom in, resize, and add stickers and text. You can upload photos from your computer or phone, as well as social media sites and Smugmug (often used by wedding photographers).
Mixbook is a particularly good option if you’re looking to collaborate—for instance, if both you and your partner have a lot of photos of your kids, and want to work together to create a book.
Once your book is designed, you can select your paper choice and cover. Note: Mixbook allows you to add text on the spine of your book, which is a nice feature, particularly if you’ll be printing books on a yearly basis or for lots of events.
It’s no surprise that Amazon offers the ability to print photos, since the online retailer offers just about every other product under the sun. You can choose between five book sizes and shapes.
Amazon Prints uses the same software as Snapfish, which means that you’re likely to have a good experience with the layout and editing of your book. And, of course, if you’re already a Prime Member, you’ll be able to ship your book for free once you’ve created it. (Plus, you’ll be able to store unlimited photos for free.)
Note that the photo quality may be lower than other entries on this list, although the quality of the books themselves is strong.
Apple fans, gather round! With Motif, you can make photo books in minutes. Motif keeps it simple—you can use the app on your computer, phone, or tablet. The technology pulls the best photos you have available (that is, it won’t pull screenshots, blurry options, duplicate shots, or duds).
Then, it does more of the work for you: It places the photos in a layout (there are more than 80 available) and also crops and centers photos. You can review the results before you finalize.
This option has less personalization and tweaking available than some other options on the list, but if you’re eager to get the photos off your phone, and into a book fast, that can be welcome.