Although storing photos on your phone or online is convenient, there’s something wonderful about having an old-school, tangible photo album.
We researched more than a dozen online photo book sites and services, considering factors like ease of assembly, picture and paper quality, page count, and durability. After narrowing down our top picks, we deemed Mixbook as our best overall photo book site. The customized service offers a wide variety of designs and cover types while being affordable and easy to navigate.
Here, our favorite online photo books of 2022.
Best Overall: Mixbook Photo Book
Variety of book shapes, sizes, and themes available
Easy to create and collaborate with others
The editing software may perform better on a PC than a Mac
Mixbook offers three book shapes (landscape, portrait, and square) and several sizes, as well pre-made templates or blank canvases so you can start from scratch. Once you’ve selected your book, you can upload photos from your computer or phone, as well as social media sites and Smugmug. Then, utilize Mixbook’s easy-to-use editing software to resize photos, alter the layout, and add stickers and text.
But the real appeal of Mixbook is that you can create and collaborate with others. For instance, if you and your siblings want to make an anniversary album for your parents, you can all add photos to and edit the book without being in the same room. This expands the options for creativity and collaboration that other options don't offer.
Once your book is designed, you can select your paper choice and cover. Mixbook even lets you add text on the spine of your book, which is a nice feature if you’ll be printing books on a regular basis.
Best Budget: Walmart Photo
Same day pick-up and delivery options available
Thinner pages make the photo book more prone to tears
Walmart offers a lot of the variety and editing capabilities of other online photo books but for a fraction of the price. The site offers six sizes, as well as multiple options for covers, templates, and themes.
Uploading photos is simple, though you can only pull from your computer or an online photo-storage site, like Dropbox, Instagram, or Flickr. You can even edit the photos by adding a filter, cropping, zooming, tilting, adjusting brightness, or eliminating red eye.
With books costing as little as $10, Walmart Photos has the most affordable online photo book on the market. This may, however, mean the quality is not on par with pricier options. Some users noted the pages of their book were thin and, therefore, less durable. But if you’re looking to make multiple copies of a photo book or aren’t as concerned about keepsake quality, then the cost may outweigh the risk of tears.
Best Subscription: Chatbooks Photo Book
Minimal effort required
Chatbooks offers a quick, hands-off approach to creating an album for people who lack the time and desire to design one themselves.
To start, pull in photos from your computer, Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, Google Photos, and Dropbox. From there, Chatbooks arranges them in chronological order, placing one photo on each page. You can move photos around and add captions if desired.
If you find that you are frequently documenting life’s moments, you may be interested in one of Chatbooks’ three monthly subscriptions, each providing 30-page photo albums: Hardcover Month Books ($15/month), Softcover Month Books ($10/month), and Monthly Minis ($5/month).
Best Splurge : Artifact Uprising Signature Layflat Photo Album
iPhone app for on-the-go creating
More expensive than other online photo books
Artifact Uprising albums use thick, high-quality pages that are also environmentally friendly, and options like premium fabric binding and custom stamping truly elevate your photo book.
Get this—high quality doesn’t mean a long wait time. Albums will be ready in three to 10 days. You can create your album via Artifact Uprising’s desktop editor, which allows you to upload photos directly from Instagram, Dropbox, or your computer.
Alternatively, you can use the brand's iPhone app. This is a great option if your featured photos live exclusively one your phone, saving you the trouble of transferring them.
Best Customizable : Shutterfly Photo Book
“Design” service allows for quick, hands-off turnaround
Editing available on pre-made templates
Software may not be as intuitive as others
Shutterfly has been around since digital cameras first became available, and is even a household name for photo books. The site allows users to customize a book with their own design and offers pre-baked templates for those who aren’t as creative. With Shutterfly’s editing tool, you can move and resize photos, as well as add text, colors, and more to customize your book.
For those who want to take a completely hands-off approach, there is the site’s “design” service. After you upload photos and instructions, the designers will select photos, design the book, and send you a proof. Once you approve, they mail you the final album.
Photos can be uploaded from your computer, as well as Facebook and Instagram. The arrival time of your book will vary, but the standard timeframe is five to seven business days.
Best for Professional Photography : Blurb Photo Book
Premium paper and binding
Automated sorting for more hands-off creation
Software is a bit more advanced than others
Although Blurb is geared towards professionals looking to showcase their work, the site can be used by anyone who wants a high-quality album. The site offers square, portrait, and landscape books, with the latter two coming in two sizes, allowing you to make an album that suits your needs.
You can use either the free Bookwright app or the web-based software Bookify, though past customers have noted it’s more glitchy and offers less variety. From there, you choose your book preference and templates, and upload your photos, which you can arrange yourself or have Bookify sort for you. Once everything is to your satisfaction, you send it to Blurb which uses premium paper and binding to create an album that will last for years.
One thing to keep in mind: Amatuer photographers and designers said the software was a bit confusing to use at times. To help, many recommend watching Blurb’s YouTube tutorial before getting started.
Best Quick Delivery : Amazon Prints Photo Book
Free shipping for Amazon Prime Members
No in-software editing tools
Amazon offers four different book sizes and two cover types, giving you enough options without overwhelming you. As with other album creators, you can add photos from your computer, phone, or social media accounts. The software then puts the photos in chronological order, though you can move them around if desired.
The process is fast, easy, and affordable. There is one downside: Amazon Prints does not provide any image editing tools, meaning you have to make all adjustments beforehand. But that may not matter if you are an exceptional photographer and have a quick turnaround.
Book Sizes: 5x7, 8x8, 8x11, 12x12 inches | Available Covers: Hardcover, Soft cover | Starting Price: Not Listed
We love the variety that Mixbook Photo Book offers, from shape, to size, to theme. And it doesn’t hurt that the affordable, easy-to-use site allows you to collaborate with others to create a quality keepsake that will last for years. If, however, you’re looking for a cheaper, faster product, Walmart Photo books start at just $10.
What to Look For in an Online Photo Book
Shape and Size
Determining the shape and size of your photo book is one of the first steps to creating it. With shape, for example, if you are mostly using horizontal images, then choosing a portrait- or square-shaped book will make it difficult to arrange images.
You'll also want to pick a photo book site that will require minimal image resizing. Resizing photos can often lead to blurry or pixelated images.
Unless you take the perfect photos, chances are you’ll want to edit your images before displaying them for all to see. If you’re an avid photographer and have editing programs at the ready, then you may only require the basic functions, like resizing and zooming, in your photo book software. But if you are more of a creator, you’ll want a program that allows you to alter brightness and color, add filters, and remove red-eye.
The point of a photo book is to capture and preserve memories forever, so it makes sense that the book’s pages should last just as long. Make sure your book is made from a premium grade paper, as that implies it is thicker and more durable than your typical printing paper.
But don’t confuse paper quality with paper finish. The latter, which includes options like gloss, pearl, matte, and luster, is related to appearance of the pages, not their durability.
What is a photo book?
A photo book is similar to a photo album, in that it is a way to display photographs from important moments in your life.
That, however, is where the similarities stop. While photo albums are typically made of plastic inserts that store physical photos, photo books are actual books where images are printed on paper and bound.
Additionally, photo books allow for a little more creativity. Similar to scrapbook pages, you can arrange the photos in unique ways, include text to tell a story, or add graphics and stickers to make it more custom.
What is a layflat photo book?
Most binding techniques create space between pages known as the gutter, which creates that small page arch near the spine. Because of this, images are usually restricted to a single page.
Layflat, however, is a special binding that makes it possible for the pages to open and lay completely flat. This allows two consecutive pages to form one continuous sheet of paper, making it possible for photos to span across more than one page. This is the ideal option if you want your photo book to contain panoramic images.
What shape should my photo book be?
This decision ultimately comes down to the shape of your images. If most of your photos are horizontal, it makes sense to go with a landscape photo book. If the majority are vertical, a portrait shape is the best choice. If there is an even split and you plan on putting multiple photos on a page, you could go either way.
Additionally, if your photo book is based solely on photos from your Instagram feed, your best bet is a square album.
How many pages should my photo book be?
Choosing the number of pages in your photo book may require some arithmetic. But don’t worry—it’s easy stuff. Simply count out how many photos you want to include in the book, and divide by the number of photos you want to feature on a page. (Most experts recommend no more than three photos per page). Although most photo books come with a predetermined number of pages, you can add more pages for extra money.
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This article was written by Leah Rocketto, a lifestyle writer and editor for a decade. To select the best picks for your consideration, she sorted through dozens of customer reviews and product ratings.