Before the age of digital we had to send our family holiday snaps off to be processed and printed before we could proudly display them in frames and albums at home. Now we are able to alter and print our own pictures and we no longer need photo albums either as their digital equivalent, a photo book are now widely available on the market.
Photo books can be bought in many shapes, sizes and colours- from pocket sized books that fit in a handbag to huge, glossy books that wouldn't look out of place on the table of a photography studio. You can choose to have a hard or soft cover, one made of paper or linen and best of all you get to design it all yourself.
You can buy photo books from many companies including supermarket chains, well known printing companies and those who just specialise in producing photo books.
As you build the books by either downloading software or working online you can't judge them on bindings and quality so pay attention to the details and features listed about the books on the sites. Knowing your way around a computer and knowledge of how to download and set-up software is a must as without it you wont get very far. Also if you are wanting to spend under a certain amount remember to take postage and packaging into account.
With the amount of companies that make photo books it can be hard to decide what to buy and who to buy from so here's ePHOTOzine's guide to what photo books are available on the market.
Fotobook have six options you can chose from:
- Large (30x30cm)
- Large with a printed cover (30x30cm)
- Landscape (30x22cm)
- Portrait (22cmx28cm)
- Original (25cmx22cm)
- Pocket (20x15cm)
All of the books have the option to place multiple images on one page and for an extra £8.95 you can add a book title to all but the pocket sized photo book . All the book covers apart from the pocket sized book are thread sewn and can be made from linen or leather. The Large photo book comes with the extra options of special covers or for another £10 you can have soft leather. The Pocket photo book comes with a semi-transparent hard plastic cover and is held together on wireo binding.
The leather and linen covers come in a choice of eight colours and all but the Pocket photobook can have 30-54 pages. You can add extra pages at £1.05 per 2 pages to all but the Pocket book which comes with 40 pages. Prices start at £21.99 for the Pocket book and go up to £54.59 for a Large book with 54 pages. All the prices include postage and packaging and Fotobooks aim to deliver the book in 10 working days.
Once you have downloaded the software you design the book by simply choosing to either create a book from an empty template, create a book from page templates or by selecting the autofill option. If you chose to create your own you can simply drag and drop images into place and add backgrounds, effects or even change the page layout by selecting the option from the appropriate tab/drop-down menu. You can also switch to expert mode to open more options.
You don't have to worry about using the same image twice either as the software ticks the pictures off as you go.
Learn more about this company at Fotobook.
Tricia Aylward used Fotobooks and this is what she thought: "It was really easy to use and the quality of the book is fantastic. I chose black as the background for most images and I was delighted that there is no smudges even after it was handled by everyone at the office. The paper is a really good quality nice and thick and it is finished to a top class standard. So good in fact that him indoors is making one just for his SuperBike images he took this year."
There are 5 sizes to choose from:
- XXL (42cmx30cm)
- XL (30cmx30cm)
- Square (21x21cm)
Both the XXL and XL have covers that can be made from faux leather or linen and can be purchased in a variety of colours. The Large and Square books can have a hard or soft custom or linen cover and the Small book features a custom booklet cover. All three books have a minimum of 26 pages but the maximum number of pages changes depending on what size book you buy. The extra pages are in groups of eight and vary in price from £2.50-£8.00. Pixum use four binding techniques which are: Clamp, glue, staple or screw post and the one used depends on the style of book.
Pixum have a new feature where you can create a Theme book for events such as the birth of your baby or a birthday.
Prices for the books start at £5.99 for a Photo Booklet and rise to £79.99 for a XXL faux leather book. Postage and packaging is £2.99 and delivery is between 3-5 working days.
The software is downloaded from the website and your photographs can be easily dropped into place. A variety of page layouts are available and backgrounds and images can be selected from the appropriate tabs. Used photographs are ticked off and a variety of extra tools can be found at the top of the screen.
Rose Teal made a book with Pixum and here are her thoughts: "We were absolutely delighted with the service and the finished product. The software was easy to download and creating the album was fun with lots of great backgrounds and layouts to choose from. I tried the Quick Layout Assistant which came up with some ideas I wouldn't have thought of, and I also created an album myself - I added text and frames to really personalise my book.
The album is bigger than I expected and the finish on the pages is of a high quality - I expected it to be glossy but it's more of a satin finish - the whole product is quite luxurious and it really makes my photos look quite special. I will be showing it off to my friends, family and colleagues."
Visit Pixum's site for more details. Pixum have some special Christmas offers just for ePHOTOzine members here.
MyCreation have two choices of photobooks:
- A4 Wiro Bound
- A4 Designer Hardback Cover (with window)
The Wiro Bound book comes with a minimum of 24 pages and for 75 pence a page you can add up to 140 pages (plus front and back cover). The Hardback cover has a minimum of 24 pages and you can add up to 60 pages for the same price as the Wiro's extra pages. The Hardback cover has a window cut into it which acts as a frame for your first picture.
You can buy the Wiro Bound book for £19.99 and the Hardback with window for £24.99.
The MyCreation software looks a lot simpler than the other software ePHOTOzine has tried. You once again drag and drop images into place and layouts and backgrounds are easily selected. When you have made a selection, different effects and colours can be found in a drop down menu and they are added by simply clicking and letting your mouse go over the option you want to select. You are free to move images around a page as you chose and using a template isn't a necessity.
Once a photograph is used it's faded out so there is no confusion over what is and isn't in the album.
Text is added by simply double clicking in a text box or by going to insert and selecting text box.
There are no postage costs for the UK and delivery takes 5-8 days.
Breanne Boddy used the MyCreation software and here's what she thought about it:"Once I figured out how the software worked making the book was really easy. I would use this company again as the book is great value for money."
See MyCreation's website for more details.
Bonusprint have five size options you can chose from which are:
- Large (30x30cm)
- Medium (A4 Portrait 21X29.7cm) (A4 Landscape 29.7X21cm)
- Classic (20.4X20.4cm)
- Compact (A5 portrait 14.8X21cm)
- Pocket (A6 landscape 14.8X10.5cm)
All of the books have the option to place multiple images on one page and for an extra five pounds you can purchase a printed jacket for the Medium and Large books which can be personalised. Large and Medium format books can be made from faux leather or linen and come in blue, black, brown or beige and if you choose the faux leather Landscape format in black or brown you get the extra option of having a window on the cover. The Classic and Compact books come with soft, glossy covers that you can personalise and both books contain 30 pages. The Pocket photo book has a similar soft cover and 30 pages. Prices start at £3.99 for the pocket book and rise to £47.99 for a large book with 60 pages.
Once you have chosen the size of book you wish to order you click get started which takes you to a web page where you can download and install the free, easy to use Bonusprint Digital Photo Service Software.
You design the book by simply dragging and dropping images into place.
You can alter the images how you please and add backgrounds, effects or even change the page layout by selecting the option from the tabs.
You don't have to worry about using the same image twice either as the software ticks the pictures off as you go.
Postage and packaging ranges from £1.99-£2.99 and delivery takes around 10 days from door to door.
Nikita used Bonus print and this is what she though: "Bonus Print was fun and easy to use. There are plenty of options and it is quite easy to spend hours perfecting your book."
Visit Bonusprint for more information.
CeWe Photo World
CeWe Photo World have fivephotobook option:
- XXL (42x50cm)
- XL (30x30cm)
- Large (28x30cm)
- Square (21x21cm)
- Small (14x13cm)
Cewe's XXL book can be purchased in a black or brown faux leather cover or a copper or silver coloured premium linen cover. The XL book comes in the same materials but you get four more coloured linen options and one extra faux leather cover. You can have a minimum of 26 pages and up to 130 pages. For every 8 extra pages you will be charged £6.99 for the XXL book and £3.99 for the XL book.
The Large, Square and Small photo books can all have a picture cover (soft cover only for the small photo book) and the Large option also comes with the added options of a linen cover in three colours or a Booklet style. The Large and Square books comes with a minimum of 26 pages which can be extended . For every 8 pages extra you will be charged £2.30 for the Square book and £2.50 for the Large book. The Small book has 26 pages and can be extended to 50 pages for £1.50 per 8 images used.
Prices start at £5.99 for the Small books and extend to £79.99 for a XXL linen photo book.
Once you have downloaded the photobook software from CeWe's website you can design a book with or without the help of an assistant and if you chose to create your own you can simply drag and drop images into place. If your subjects have red eye the software can automatically remove it and you can also freely move your image around the page or box you placed it in. You add backgrounds, effects or change the page layout by selecting the tabs on the left.
Used photographs are once again ticked off and you purchase your photobook by clicking on the green shopping basket icon.
Kirsty Morris ordered a book with Cewe and here's what she had to say about it:"It was easy to use and I was impressed with the many choices I had. The end result is great, I would use them again."
Go to CeWe for more information.
YoPhoto have 4 different sized photobooks:
- Big (30x30cm)
- Portrait (30x21cm)
- Landscape (21x30cm)
All but the Compact can have leather or linen covers (the compact is linen only) and they can be made in a variety of colours. If leather or linen don't interest you then you could try the new Wrap Around Covers which start at £7.99. The Wrap Around Cover is made from one of your photographs so it gives it that extra personal touch.
Prices start at £8.99 for the Compact book and all but the Big book can have 30-40 pages (the Large book has 40-50 pages). Every extra two pages will cost from £0.60-£1.00. All but the Compact can feature up to 16 pictures on a page and all are hand-sewn apart from the Compact which is wiro bound.
You create your book by downloading the software and dragging and dropping your images into place. You can choose from a variety of layouts, backgrounds and colours. You can also create your own captions which can be re-sized and altered to fit your style. All these options are sorted into tabs and the save and order buttons can be found at the top of the page.
Postage and packaging is included in the book price and delivery is 3 days (longer at busy times such as Christmas).
YoPhoto will be adding more products to their range soon.
Nikita received her Yophoto book this week and this is what she thought: "The book is really well finished and the software was easy to use. The full page pictures look great."
See Yophoto's site for more information.
Photobox have six photo book designs:
- Large personalised (37x28.5cm)
- A4 personalised (29x22cm)
- Classic (28x21cm)
- Sqaure (20x20cm)
- Small (18.3x13.8cm)
- Mini (9x7cm)
The Large and A4 photo books both have hard covers that can be personalised with your own images and text. Text can be added to the spine and there are 14 cover designs you can use to create your perfect book. Both books can be made with 26-100 pages with 1-9 images per page and four themes to chose from. The Classic book also has a hard cover but this design comes with a window and the choice of seven cover colours. This also has 26-100 pages, four design themes and can accommodate 1-9 pictures per page.
The Square and Small photo books are laminated and can be personalised with a photograph. Text can be added to the spine of the Square book and you have three colour choices for the cover of the small one. The Square book can have 30-100 pages and can again feature 1-9 photographs. The Small Stylebook starts with 26 pages which can be coloured and it fits 1-4 photos per page.
The Minibook comes in five colours and the cover is plastic. The page number is set at 32 and your pages can be coloured black or white.
Prices start at £5.99 for the Minibook and rise to £44.99 for a large A3 book with 26 pages. For every two extra pages you add it will cost you between £1.00-£2.00.
Unlike the other creators where you can select where your photographs are on your computer and take them from there, Photobox requires you to create albums online. Once you have uploaded your pictures you can drag and drop them onto your pages and choose simple page layouts and designs.
Text is added by simply double clicking in the text box, typing your text and clicking done.
Postage and packaging starts at £1.99 and rises to £9.99 for special delivery and the total estimated order time is 6-8 working days.
David used photobox to create a family album, here's his thoughts: "Once we knew how to use the software it was fun and easy to do."
See Photobox for more details.
Bags of Love
Bags of love have three sized photobooks:
- A3 Landscape (41x30cm)
- A4 Portrait and Landscape (31x22cm)
- A5 Landscape (22x16cm)
Bags of Love are rather unique as all their books are made by hand. All the books come with satin covers, bookmark ribbons, headband and metal corners. For an extra cost you can also ask for the book to be delivered in a box or tin too. The books are personalised front and back with your photos and the company will even remove red-eye and time stamps on some sized books.
The A3 book with up to 50 images is £169 and it's £1.75 for every extra image you would like to use. The A4 books are priced at £129 for up to forty images and every other image after that will cost you £1.50. Finally the A5 book with up to 30 images is priced at £69 and every extra image after that will cost £1. You have to pay before you upload your photographs too.
The only part in the design process you have is uploading your photographs in the order you want them to appear. The rest of the work is completed by the Bags of Love team. The team build the book and send it to the client to be proofed and once they're happy the book is made.
Even though the books are made by hand Chris Childs at Bags of Love said that delivery is around 4 days. Delivery costs are £6.75 for the A3 book and £3.85 for the rest.
See the Bags of Love site for more details.
Blurb have 5 book sizes:
- Square (18x18cm)
- Black and White text (13x20cm)
- Standard Landscape (10x8cm)
- Standard Portrait (8x10cm)
- Large Format Landscape (33x28cm)
Not only can you create a brilliant looking album for your photographs it also allows anyone to produce a book without the need for a publisher or the hassle of having to find somewhere to print the book yourself.
All apart from the Large Format Landscape can be bought as a soft cover, hard cover with dust jacket or a hard cover with an image wrap. The Large Format Landscape only comes as a hard cover. Prices start at £2.50 for a soft cover book with black and white text and 0-40 pages. The highest price is £77.95 for a hard cover with a wrapped image and 281-320 pages. All books are professionally bound and coated in semi-matte paper.
The software can instantly insert photos into your book directly or you can use the drag and drop system and create your own book from the hundreds of design layouts. You can access photographs from your computer or photo sites such as Flickr. You can add borders and layouts by simply selecting the ones you want from the drop down menus. If you click on a text box a text tool bar will appear which will let you change the font, size and alignment of the text. Used photographs are ticked off and you can also add other pictures at any pint. An added feature is the invite contributors button which means more than one person can have access to the book.
Postage and packaging prices are different for every book but the company does aim to deliver books within 1-7 business days.
Go to the Blurb site for more information.
Peter Bargh used Blurb to create his book, here's his thoughts: " I've never been a big fan of photobooks. I'm not a family snapshot album sort of person, so when asked to put one together for this buyers guide I was pleased that I got to trial Blurb. Blurb offer everything that a family/holiday snap creator would want, but take it a million miles in a more entertaining, and rewarding, direction. If you've always fancied writing a book, Blurb is the solution. It offers hundreds of templates which, as an amateur level designer, I found incredibly easy to play with, but even without any design skills you could put a professional looking book together. I'm already a published author but it was still a thrill taking a new book to market. And when it was delivered I was very impressed with the quality of printing and binding."
Snapfish have 8 photobook options:
- Custom Cover book (20cmx20cm)
- Book with dust jacket (20x20cm) or (27.5x20cm)
- Classic (27.5x20cm)
- Everyday (17.5x12.5cm)
- Signature (30x30cm)
- Flipbook (15x10cm) or (17.5cmx12.5cm)
- Mini (7.5x5cm)
The Custom and books which feature dust jackets have front covers that can be personalised. The Classic book can have a personalised dust jacket or a linen or leather cover and the Signature style is available in velvet or leather. The Everyday paperback features a window on the cover.
The Mini and Flipbook are the cheapest of the lot with a starting pirce of £2.99 and £4.99 The others start at £19.99 for 20 pages apart from the Everyday book which is £9.99 for 20 pages. You can go up to 150 pages but you will be charged for every 2 pages you use. These prices vary from £0.99 to £1.99.
To use Snapfish you need Adobe Flash Player but if you don't have it you will be asked to install it. When you have selected your book size you are given a list of themes and covers to select from. From there you can use EasyFill which will build the book automatically or you can start from scratch. You have to create an album on the Snapfish website and take photographs from here to build your book. Borders, layouts, backgrounds and themes are all selected by clicking the appropriate tab. You add text by clicking in the text box which opens a window for you to type in. Pictures you have placed in the book are ticked off and you can add more photographs to the book by clicking get photos.
Delivery time is 4-8 working days or you can pick it up at the store after seven. Postage and packaging starts at £1.99.
For more details go to Snapfish.
Myphotobook have seven photo books to pick from:
- Premium (40cmx30cm)
- Maxi (30cmx30cm)
- Classic (20.4x27cm)
- Panorama (29.7x21cm)
- Original (18.5cmx18.5cm)
- Pocket (14.8cmx10.5cm)
The Original and Compact books come with a hard, soft or spiral binding cover and the Pocket book can be made as a booklet or with a spiral. The three larger books can have a hard cover and the Maxi option can also have a linen or linen back binding cover. The minimum number of pages for all but the Pocket book are 36 and this can be added. The Pocket book has a minimum of 12 pages and for an extra cost this can be extended too.
Prices start at £7.95 for a 12 page pocket book and finish at £274.95 for a maxi book with 250 pages.
Once the software is running you select the type of book, cover type and the amount of pages you want the book to have at the bottom of the screen. Once you have done this you can simply drag photographs into the book and change the layout, text boxes and shapes by selecting the correct tab. Images are numbered and circled in red to show you that they are featured in the book.
Postage and packaging is £4.50 and your book will be delivered in 12 days.
More information about myphotobook can be found on their site.
Your choice of books are:
- XL Square (30x30cm)
- Large Landscape (28x21cm)
- Large Portrait (21x28cm)
- Large Square (21x21cm)
- Medium Landscape (20x15cm)
- Large Portrait (21x28cm)
- Medium Landscape (20x15cm)
- Medium Landscape spiral bound (20x15cm)
- Small Square (9.6x9.6cm)
- Small Landscape (15x10cm)
You can have a linen, faux or bonded leather cover which come in a variety of colours. You can also put your own photograph on a softback or hardback cover. If you want to add text to the cover there is an added cost of £4.97. All the hardcover books come with 20 pages and the softcovers either have 20 or 30 pages.
You can chose to fill your own book or let the software do it for you. If you chose to create your own you add photographs by dropping them into place and coloured frames can be added to them if you so wish. Backgrounds and layouts can be picked from the tabs to the right of the screen. You also have free rotation of your images once they are placed on the page. When you have placed your photographs into the book the title of them will be coloured blue so you know not to use them again. Other functions such as save and preview can be found on the top tool bar.
If you download the Tesco photo book creator then prices start at £6.97 for a 20 page, small square softcover photo book and go up to £24.97 for a 20 page, large hardback photo book. Price per additional two pages starts at £0.25 and rises to £0.50 Prices also alter depending on which cover you select.
Postage and packaging charges my apply and delivery takes seven days.
See Tesco's site for more details.
High street retailers Jessops offer a photobook service but they have joined with CeWe so they offer the same products. Find out more by visiting jpics.
Truprint also use Snapfish so again they offer the same products.