© 2014 photobookgirl

The Ultimate Lay Flat Photo Book Comparison Guide – A Book for Every Budget (Updated 2015)

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When I first started this blog four years ago, there were few photo book companies offering lay flat photo books for the average consumer. Most of the lay flat beauties out there were marketed only to pros and for the obsessive DIY bride like me, that left just a few options.

That’s how this blog began – the more I researched options for making my own wedding album, the more my head was swimming with all the information I was finding. I thought there had to be other brides and grooms out there trying to navigate through the photo book mire and I decided to start this site.Β  About 10 wedding albums and tons of birthday, travel and baby photo books later…as they say, the rest is history.

Mixbook lay flat reviewWith the fourth anniversary of this blog approaching, I thought it would be a good time to revisit lay flat books and compile an overview of what options are currently out there. Several more photo book companies have added lay flat products to their line ups since I first started this blog. I frequently get questions emailed to me and posted on my Facebook fan page from newlyweds who want to make their own wedding albums so I hope this will help everyone navigate all the exciting choices out there.

First of all if we’re talking about lay flat books, I should show you what a standard photo book looks like. Below, you can see the book’s pages do not lie flat and some of the image isn’t quite visible in the middle because of the way its bound. It’s like your garden variety book you may find on your bookshelf. This particular one is a Deluxe size photo book from MyPublisher.

MyPublisher Deluxe Photo Book Leather

Below is also a MyPublisher book but with the lay flat upgrade which typically adds $15 to $45 to the cost depending on the size of your book.

MyPublisher lay flat photo book

Here’s a close-up side view of the MyPublisher lay flat book which shows how the binding flexes. There’s a thin laminated hinge that is visible, but blends into the background. This is what I’ve been calling “flex hinge” in the chart below. There is a small gutter with this book.

lay flat MyPublisher

Paper Options

One of the main differences you’ll see in lay flat photo books is the type of paper that is used. There are two basic options:

1) For some companies, upgrading to a lay flat book means only a change in binding and not a change in the actual paper used. (MyPublisher – shown above, and Picaboo);

2) For others a lay flat book is a completely different product altogether, different binding and different paper. (Mixbook, MyPhotoCreations, Picaboo, BrideBox, ArtsCow, Shutterfly, Snapfish.) (AdoramaPix only makes lay flat books.) The upgraded paper may be real photo paper or may be digital press paper – usually the printed page will be fused to another surface giving the page a weightier feel. You can see from the photo below that there is a white inner core to the pages. This is a photo of the Lake from BrideBox. If you want a detailed comparison of standard paper vs. photo paper, and information about the differences in how they are printed, check out this two-part series on paper options.

lay flat BrideBox

BrideBox / MyPhotoCreations Lake Photo Book

A Special Type of Lay Flat Album – The Flush Mount

I frequently field questions from brides asking, “Where can I get a professional photo album with super thick rigid pages that lay flat? This dear friends is what you’re looking for – a flush mount photo album.

Flush Mount album

My flush mount wedding album (Anza) from BrideBox / MyPhotoCreations.

A flush mount album is typically the most expensive album you can get. It’s the high-end luxe version of a photo book and used to only be offered to pro photographers, but are now readily available to consumers. Most companies targeted to pros do not sell to consumers, but there are some that do. The ones that do however may not offer software which is as user friendly as the interfaces offered by the more commonly known companies, so they may not be the best option for beginners. My site focuses on companies that market to the average person.

As mentioned, flush mounts are a special type of lay flat photo book. Note, “All flush mount albums are lay flat books, but not all lay flat books are flush mounts.” I have sometimes seen comments or reviews from readers disappointed when they’ve ordered a lay flat book, thinking that lay flat instantly translates to thicker pages (like a flush mount), so be sure to make note of the specs in my handy dandy lay flat photo book comparison chart below.

In a flush mount, the image is printed on real photo paper and then fused onto a hard, stiff heavyweight board. If you look closely you can see the core in between the two pages of photo paper. The pages are very thick and you cannot crease the page unless you were intending to and at that point, you would be purposely trying to harm it. These types of books will give you the thickest pages you can typically get. The thicker pages make the book feel more upscale, and correspondingly they are more expensive. Because of the higher price, you’ll usually see these albums used for special occasions like weddings, anniversaries and milestone birthdays.

lay flat wedding photo album

Anza binding side view.

The super thick pages typically mean you can’t have a ton of pages in your album. Usually flush mounts max out at around 20 to 30 pages (meaning sides). I have seen some go up to 70 or 80 pages however. Flush mounts are printed on real photographic paper which results in a clearer image – you don’t see the individual dots that make up an image like those you’ll see in a digitally press printed book. Again, be sure to check out my post about photo paper versus standard paper for more details.

Flush mounts are offered with leather covers and full photo covers, as well as acrylic, glass, and metal covers too and in some cases you can have a title embossed. You’ll typically get a nice matching presentation box with these types of books.

This is not the type of book I leave out on my coffee table. For one, I have a toddler running around the house and two, I have a lot of adults running around the house. Either could accidentally damage my lovely book. You might say to yourself, why make a book that you’re scared to show off? Well, I will show it, but I just don’t leave it out. I also have other less high end wedding photo books that I do leave out and don’t worry about. A flush mount is an heirloom in my opinion, so I’ll look forward to passing it on one day with the rest of my photo book collection…

MyPhotoCreations Review Flush Mount Anza

The Gutter

Flush mount or not, every book has a gutter. The gutter is the very center of the spread where the book folds. Some photo books will have a separation in the middle (an actual split) while others will just have a crease. The ones that just have a crease are printed on a single sheet of paper that is folded in the middle. If you love to make two-page spreads where a single image or layout encompasses both pages of a spread – like my wedding layout shown above – then you naturally want the smallest gap possible. Even where there is a gap, it’s pretty small as you can see above. The most important thing is not to place anything too crucial like someone’s face in the gutter!

lay flat photo books What’s nice about a lay flat book is that it lends itself to designing across the spread, and by that I mean not only the ability to have a single photo take up both sides of a page, which is a common feature now, but also allowing for stickers and other clip art, borders etc. to be used across the middle of the page. Nearly all of the companies allow you to do this. (At left is my AdoramaPix book). Of the ones listed below, Shutterfly is the only one that doesn’t easily allow for that, but there are workarounds and you could always design your own pages in an outside program. You’ll find more specifics on each company in my reviews in the chart below. I chose an 8 x 8 square hardcover book for comparison purposes. If the company doesn’t make that size, I picked the next closest size and noted that in the chart.

The Logo

One of the most controversial topics that come up in photo book circles (okay I’m exaggerating here, but I have to make this sound exciting) is the logo. For the professional photographer, a logo is a no-no. You don’t want to spend hours and hours designing a book for a client only to have the printer slap their brand on it. Some of the books below do not come with any company branding while others allow you to remove their logo for an additional fee. For some companies the logo cannot be removed. On some books you may also find a small barcode which some may find unsightly. I have heard some folks have cut out the logo page with a sharp razor – which may or may not work in all cases depending on where the branding appears.Β  Not all companies make this info easy to find by the way, so I had to chat a lot of them up this morning!

Lay Flat Comparison Chart (Updated 2015)

Company
Product (8 x 8 unless noted)
Paper Specs
Binding / Gap Base Price (20 pg. 8×8)/ Extra Page Cost Min/Max Pages Logo / Barcode* / Pay to remove
Photo Book Girl’s Review
AdoramaPix
Hard Cover Photo Book (Custom cover, real leather, or leather-lux) 5 Photo paper options: Pro Luster or HD Glossy etc. Folded / Seamless $35.60 / $2.56 for 2 pgs 14 – 76 None Review
AdoramaPix
Hudson Flush Mount Album Hard Cover (real leather, or leather-lux) 7 photo paper options: matte, luster, metallic, linen etc. Folded / Seamless $126.00 / $5.20 for 2 pgs 10 – 76 None Review Software review
ArtsCow Deluxe Photo Book Photo paper w/750 gsm premium card stock Folded / Seamless $34.99 / $1.50/pg 20 – 32 No / Yes – on back cover not removable Review
BrideBox/ MyPhotoCreations Ashbury (8.5 x 11) No – 100 lb. text fused to cardstock Flex hinge / Yes $79.99 / $2.00/pg 20 – 80 None Review
BrideBox/ MyPhotoCreations Lake Photo paper fused to cardstock Folded / Seamless $109.99 / $3.50/pg 20 – 80 None Review
BrideBox/ MyPhotoCreations Anza Flush Mount (leather cover) Photo paper fused to hard board (thickest) Accordion/ Yes $209.99 (20 pgs)/ $369.99 (30 pgs) 20 or 30 (fixed) None Review
Mixbook Premium Lay Flat Hardcover (8.5 x 8.5) Archival paper fused to cardstock Folded / Seamless $79.00 / $0.50/pg 20 – 99 Both – back page and on box not removable Review
MyPublisher Classic w/lay flat upgrade (11.25 x 8.75) 120 lb. or 170 lb. or super gloss (same paper as standard book) Flex hinge / Yes $54.99 / $0.99/pg 20 – 100 Both – back page – Pay $10 to remove Review
MyPublisher Premium Flush Mount Album leather cover Photo paper fused to hard board Folded / Seamless $270.00Β / $10.00/pg 20 – 90 Both – back page – Pay $10 to remove Review
Photobook America (and Photobook Canada)
Hardcover Lay FlatΒ (Imagewrap or debossed) 400gsm E Photo Matte paper Folded / Seamless $54.99 / $1.50 for 1 pg, must add in increments of 8 24 – 160 None Review
Picaboo Classic w/lay flat upgrade 100 lb. text (same paper as standard book) Flex hinge / Yes $54.99 / $1.00/pg 20 – 90 Yes (back page vellum) / No – not removable
Picaboo Flush Mount (11 x 9) leather cover Photo paper fused to masonite board Folded / Seamless $399.99 / $10.00/pg 20 – 90 Yes (debossed on back cover) / No – not removable
Shutterfly Standard Book w/lay flat upgrade Double-thick 110 lb. photo paper fused to cardstock Folded / Seamless $54.99 / $1.00/pg 20 – 110 Both (back page) – can be removed with purchase of Pro Gallery Plan ($99) Review
Shutterfly Premium Leather Double-thick 110 lb. photo paper fused to cardstock Folded / Seamless $99.99 / $1.00/pg 20 – 110 Both (back page) – can be removed with purchase of Pro Gallery Plan ($99)
Snapfish Premier Lay Flat 100 lb. paper fused to cardstock Folded / Seamless $49.99 / $2.49 for 2 pgs 20 – 100 Both (back page) – not removable

Chart is a representative list of lay flat photo books, not all styles or options are noted above. Prices researched as of 2/26/2014. *For those companies that allow you to pay to remove a logo, I am not 100% sure whether the barcode can also be removed as well.

A Lay Flat Book for Every Budget

Hope this helps you navigate through the options. There are many choices and as you’ll see from my reviews, I like many of them for various reasons. For me, I think about what kind of book project I’m doing and then I pick the appropriate product from the appropriate company. Because there are a number of affordable lay flat books to choose from, I make lay flats for more than just special occasions. I do a lot of my vacation books as lay flats as that type of book is suited for beautiful landscapes and panoramic shots. Additionally in particular I like to make “board books” for my toddler as the stiffer pages are more baby-proof and often drool proof (be sure to watch for sharp corners though).

Of course I’m always on the lookout for sales. Even though lay flat books may not have sales as often as the standard books, there’s a couple things to remember:

1) For some companies like MyPublisher and Shutterfly for example, you still get the discount off the base price of the book and the extra pages, even if the lay flat upgrade fee itself is not discounted. So, the 70% off free pages MyPublisher promo I have that’s running for the next two days will still get you the discount on the pages themselves;

2) None of the flush mounts I have listed above are on promotion now, but I have gotten special coupon codes for our readers from time to time. Be sure to check out my deals page for the latest deals on photo books and other photo gifts.

If you’ve narrowed it down to a couple options, be sure to click on my links for a more detailed review of that product. If I’ve tried it before it’s linked, if you don’t see it here, I haven’t tried it yet. Regardless, I’d love to hear about any of your experiences with these books or with other companies you’ve tried.

Please note, this post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and place an order, I may receive a referral fee. Regardless, my views are entirely my own and an honest review is always given.

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Be sure to check out my CANVAS DEALS!

83 Comments

  1. Michael
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 6:45 pm | #

    Thanks for the review. I have never ordered a lay flat book from any other company than MyPublisher. I absolutely love the lay flat from their company for my everyday books. Actually, I love it so much, that when I order a copy for family or friends, I always (at an extra cost) order them in the lay flat style. The books are so much easier to flip though and I like that the pages are thinner. I got a little too confident when I made my last book and I put some text in the gutter. There is a slight trim from each page that ended up cutting off one letter out of each word that feel directly in the center. But, even with that, I love the lay flat option at MyPublisher!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted February 27, 2014 at 12:57 am | #

      Hi Mike! I’m a big fan of the lay flat MyPublisher books myself. Who do you use when you’re doing more than an everyday book?

      • Laura
        Posted February 19, 2016 at 1:17 pm | #

        Help! I’m doing a photo book for my dad for his 80th birthday. I have a LOT of photos! I would definitely like the very best quality as this will be a book about his life that will be cherished by all of us for many years to come. I’m looking at lay-flat pages for sure and would like the best photo quality and paper thickness as possible. Which company would you use for a project like this?

        • photobookgirl
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 9:26 am | #

          I would look into a flush mount versus a regular lay flat. But if you need more pages than is typically offered in a flush mount, then look into AdoramaPix’s standard lay flat books or Shutterfly with a lay flat upgrade.

  2. Lee
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 1:14 am | #

    What a great post (and you were worried?!)! I wish this post were out when I was researching lay flat albums. I debated between Mixbook, Shutterfly, Bride Box and My Photo Creations. I ended up using Shutterfly because of their most recent special and I’m already familiar with their site. BUT I will make a flush mount album with My Photo Creations or BrideBox one day… If ever a special comes around or another special occasion!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted February 27, 2014 at 1:36 am | #

      Hi Lee,

      Haha, I wasn’t worried – it was just taking a lot of time to write cause I had to research a lot of the minute details. A lot of the information is in various places on the site, but just not in one place so I wanted to organize it better. I’m glad you found it helpful. Yes, make sure to check back for deals – I do get them from time to time! πŸ™‚

  3. Catherine
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 10:01 am | #

    Thanks for this post! I reference your site a lot and was just hashing through the pros and cons of my next layflat book. I have 2 that I just finished from Picaboo and Mixbook and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the regular kind! I’d love to know what your go-to books/companies are for certain occasions like a fancy vacation vs a family birthday party vs a wedding… I know that is probably a really hard question!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 12:16 am | #

      I actually use a lot of these companies (the ones I have reviews for). I do alot with MyPublisher. Shutterfly I often use for my son’s “board books”. For nicer books, the Ashbury and Lake by BrideBox/MyPhotoCreations are my higher end choices. A flush mount is what I would use for a wedding. I’m always on the lookout for new and fun products though! I always wait for a sale so that’s what helps keep the costs down. Hope that helps. πŸ™‚

  4. Melinda
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 12:33 pm | #

    LOVE MyPublisher! i’ve made 3 books so far in Classic size and will always add this feature for my own personal copies!! Recently tho, I won 2 free 4×6 Layflat booklets from Snapfish from the McDonalds Monopoly game and made basic 20 page books of assorted pics of me & my parents to give on Valentines which turned out super cute & worth the wait! Great gift idea – quick and easy to create

  5. Kay
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm | #

    I have been a big fan of Picaboo layflat books having made at least 6+ of 90 pages. I’m starting another using their online-only software. I know I should ramp up into using Photoshop Elements but I don’t want to take the time to learn. These big books are such a project and I’m always behind schedule to get them done. Sigh! PBG, this is an amazing research blog. Wow!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 12:16 am | #

      Thanks for commenting! I’m glad you found my post helpful πŸ™‚

  6. Donna
    Posted March 5, 2014 at 4:07 pm | #

    I have ordered quite a few books this year and they are all lay-flat books. Worth every penny! My favorite is AdoramaPix, except for their page limits. Even since they’ve changed their limits recently, I still find myself needing more pages than they allow. I’ve been ordering from Shutterfly and I am very happy with their lay-flat books, especially since they now offer a 10×10 size.

    I will never order from Arts Cow. I did once, since I had a coupon for a free 8×8 book. It was horrible! Besides the fact that it took over a month to receive it, the quality was the worst I have ever seen. Plus, who numbers pages in a photo book??? Not me!! Every page had the edges cut off – more than the 1/2 on all sides was gone! That is unacceptable to me.

  7. Diana
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 9:17 pm | #

    It says on your chart that MyPublisher offer an option to remove their logo for $10. Can you explain to me how? Or at least direct me to the instructions on how to do it? Thank you!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 11, 2014 at 11:47 pm | #

      It should be an option at checkout. πŸ™‚

  8. Patrick
    Posted October 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm | #

    Have you tried Blurb? What is the highest quality you have found? I assume that option would include photo paper. I’m trying to decide between MyPublisheer, AdoramaPix, and Blurb.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted October 12, 2014 at 12:16 am | #

      I make books frequently with all three. If you look at my main reviews page you’ll see reviews for all of them. Blurb and MyPublisher do not print on photo paper, only AdoramaPix does. It depends on the look you’re going for – perhaps the reviews will help you figure out which is best for your project. Best!

  9. xpgurliexo
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 4:41 pm | #

    Any opinions on the following?
    I’ve wanted to use this company for my wedding album but I guess it’s still relatively new..
    artisanstate

    • photobookgirl
      Posted October 30, 2014 at 11:19 am | #

      Sorry, I haven’t tried them yet!

  10. alejandra7
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 4:37 pm | #

    Photobook Girl, Any advice on wedding photobooks? Recomendations? I saw samples of yours and it was beautiful. How many pages did your wedding photobook end up being (front and back=1 page)? I am not certain how many pages/photos is too many and for instance, how many pages did you devote to just your wedding dress and details or getting ready photos? I am concerned that I may be putting in too many photos for each section of the wedding, (e.g.getting ready, details, bridesmaids, groomsmen, ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, etc.) Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted January 27, 2015 at 1:42 am | #

      Hi Alejandra – all my wedding photo books are here with specs: http://www.photobookgirl.com/wedding/ I think you’ll find a lot of info here! I think you should pick your fave photos and not worry too much about how many pages each section ends up being. It’s all about the photos you love from your special day! Congrats on your wedding!

  11. piggie
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:19 am | #

    Great post, do you know if mixbook will have layflat pages that are thinner. 2 inches thick for a 100 page book is just too much! My photobooks are generally like 200+ pages and the lay flat option is way too thick. I got a snapfish layflat book once and the pages were much thinner which suited my needs.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted January 27, 2015 at 1:41 am | #

      I don’t know of any specifics for a new lay flat from Mixbook. They do have the Montage product now. I have a review on my site. But the printing is done in a similar way as the Mixbook lay flat, just a different interface.

  12. Kristie
    Posted December 29, 2014 at 10:30 pm | #

    Thanks for the great comparison! I’m interested in creating a lay flat book for my son’s “First Year” album and I want to make as large a book as possible. I’m currently planning on using Adobe InDesign to create the book. Do you know if any of the companies in your table (especially the ones with the highest page number options) will print a pdf or some form of exported book pages not created in their software? I’ve spent some time trying to figure it out and it’s not always very clear so just curious if you’d have any more information. Blurb is a standard choice from InDesign but they don’t have a lay flat option, unfortunately. Thanks!!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted January 27, 2015 at 1:22 am | #

      I believe you can save the design in InDesign as a jpeg right? If so, then any company can accept a jpeg. I design my own pages in Fotofusion and/or Photoshop and I save my pages as jpegs and I don’t have any problem using any company. Sorry for the last response – I missed your comment until now.

  13. Michelle
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 9:29 am | #

    Have you tried Bay Photo? I’m debating going with them for a flush mount album now but I so wish they were included on your list!! πŸ™‚

    • photobookgirl
      Posted January 27, 2015 at 1:20 am | #

      No sorry I haven’t – there’s so many companies out there and I don’t have too many big occasions to do flush mounts (nor the budget)! I will have another flush mount review coming up though. You can check out AdoramaPix and their Hudson book. We’ll be having a giveaway shortly too!

  14. Jacqui
    Posted January 8, 2015 at 10:13 am | #

    This is awesome! Thanks for doing it. I am trying to decide between doing a layflat-pages book through AdoramaPix (not the fancy flush mount) or mixbook. I read your review for both, but I can’t really tell from those if one is really better than the other. If you had to choose to make a book with one of those companies, which would you choose? Thanks.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted January 27, 2015 at 1:09 am | #

      I like both products but for different reasons and it’s hard to compare because they are pretty different even though they are both lay flat. If you like real photo paper I would go with AdoramaPix.

  15. Maka O
    Posted February 1, 2015 at 1:45 am | #

    First, thank you for a very informative blog.
    Like Kristie I’m creating a first year book for my daughter and trying to include the maximum possible pages. The way it looks now it will be between 100-150 pages. My question is which company would you choose for this voluminous job. I was debating between Mixbook and Shutterfly, I just want to make sure that they use thickER (i.e. upgraded) paper for the layflat pages, but not so thick that it wouldn’t be able to handle the quantity. I understand there is a difference between binding styles also, and I’m not sure which one provides crease vs gutter and what’s best in my situation. Bottom line, I would like to create a LARGE layflat photobook that is sturdy enough that pages don’t fall apart. Please help and many thanks.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 1:46 pm | #

      Hi Maka,

      Did you get a chance to look at the comparison chart I have in the post? It tells you what the max page count is for each of the lay flat options as well as binding specs. I also have a link to the specific review for both Shutterfly and Mixbook’s lay flat books so you can find your answers there for sure. Neither of the lay flats go to 150, so if you have a longer book I think you have two options, go with a larger size so you can fit more information on 100 pages or do a two volume book. I have more on doing book series here: http://www.photobookgirl.com/blog/multi-volume-photo-books-make-a-series/ They both use thicker paper but it depends on the look you’re going for. I think the Shutterfly one is thick but not too thick, but Mixbook’s software is more user friendly and flexible.

  16. Mary Jane Olsavsky
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 4:16 pm | #

    Your evaluations are awesome! I recently bought a layflat-pages book through mypublisher & look forward to trying AdoramaPix.

  17. Debbi
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 9:27 pm | #

    This is a great post. I just wanted to throw my two cents out there for others who are trying to decide which company to use– I recently made a huge photobook for pictures from our European vacation. I used Shutterfly’s lay-flat option and their new 11×14 book size. My book was 107 pages total. I was super impressed with the book! The paper was nice, thick quality and the photos printed very nicely. While the lay-flat option adds a lot to the cost, it was well worth it, especially for this type of book. I definitely recommend it.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:06 pm | #

      Thanks for your comment Debbi – yes, if I order from Shutterfly, I upgrade 99% of the time to the lay flat option. I’m too spoiled to get the regular Shutterfly books now πŸ™‚

  18. Laura
    Posted February 5, 2015 at 4:10 pm | #

    Thank you for these posts, really helpful. I’m trying to make our wedding album, we were married in august. I don’t understand people who don’t make albums! I’ve heard great things about mypublisher and was under the impression, until I read your post that they did print on photographic paper archival paper. Looking on their website I’m still not sure. Best I can find is:https://www.mypublisher.com/quality
    Have they now changed their quality to photographic paper(since you wrote your review- I appreciate it was a year ago) or am I getting confused and they still do not use the best quality paper. I want something that will last a lifetime (if not beyond!). Thank you again for your posts. Laura

    • photobookgirl
      Posted February 5, 2015 at 4:56 pm | #

      MyPublisher hasn’t printed on photographic paper until very recently, but that’s only in their new line of flush mount albums that just came out. Photo paper does give you very good print quality, but that doesn’t mean that companies that don’t print on photo paper don’t also have good quality as well. It’s more of a preference in my opinion. I think this post will be helpful. There are two parts to be sure to click on the link at the bottom to see both: http://www.photobookgirl.com/blog/how-to-choose-the-best-paper-for-your-photo-book-part-1-of-2/ I think many of your questions will be answered. b/t/w be sure to check out my giveaway for a flush mount album – see the blog! Regards!

      • Laura
        Posted February 5, 2015 at 5:09 pm | #

        Thank you! And for you’re speedy reply! I only found your post today. Will def enter comp thank you

  19. Emily
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:58 am | #

    So happy I came across your site. Can you confirm that Shutterfly does in fact give you the option of removing their logo with the purchase of the Pro Gallery Plan. Does this apply to individually purchased books as well or books purchased in bulk only. In addition, does this also allow for removal of the barcode as well?

    Thanks.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted February 21, 2015 at 10:58 am | #

      Hi Emily, sorry I’ve never used the pro plan before, so I’d suggest checking the site to be sure. Details can change from time to time…

  20. Lauren
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 7:54 am | #

    Your site is great! Thanks for all the reviews. Have you ever looked at Artisan State? I’ve heard both great and terrible reviews! They have flushmount and also regular layflat albums. Thanks!

  21. Carol
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 8:21 am | #

    Has anyone had trouble with a flush mount and the pages getting wavy or bowed? I tried artisan state and the pages did this even at the 6 x 8 size. I’m thrilled to have found this article- looking to change companies and find a book that’s flush mount that’s higher quality. Has amount used artisan?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted June 22, 2015 at 11:00 pm | #

      Hi Carol,

      I have not used them. That’s very odd to have the pages get wavy. Flush mounts are typically very thick and I would think very hard to warp. Did it arrive that way or later warp? Have you asked customer service? They should replace that for you.

  22. Carol
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 8:23 am | #

    Whoops! Typo above – I meant has anyone used artisan? I have two pictures but I can’t attach here.

  23. fadi
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 9:39 pm | #

    Just thought of asking, who in your opinion makes quality layflat photobook? with plenty of layouts and not so confusing software?

    Thank you…

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 15, 2015 at 11:25 pm | #

      Well, the answer to your question depends a lot on budget and what type of paper you prefer. The flush mounts offered by several companies are the nicest but more pricey. Overall, I’d suggest giving AdoramaPix, Shutterfly, MyPublisher or Mixbook a try. I print with all of those companies pretty often. It really depends on the project though and the sales!

  24. Posted August 22, 2015 at 3:45 pm | #

    Thank you so much for such an informative article and website! I know it must be expensive to do all of this research, and am grateful that you’ve taken the time to do such a thorough review process for the popular sites. Since we’re based in NYC, I’ve had the most experience with AdoramaPix and have loved their lay flat books, but wanted to check out their competition and design tools that other companies offer, for different projects. Thanks for providing an excellent jumping-off point!

  25. Kathy Backus
    Posted October 27, 2015 at 7:13 pm | #

    Hi. I’m wondering if this is still an active blog. I asked a question of whether the pages falling out of Shutterfly albums was still an issue?
    I also have a question about the best shape for a wedding album. I have mostly landscape photos and would like to do at least a couple of full page spreads. Thanks for your help!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted November 25, 2015 at 11:19 pm | #

      Kathy, I would do a portrait album – you’ll get the best full page spreads with the least amount of loss of the photo if you do that. I haven’t personally had any pages fall out of my Shutterfly albums. Is this for the regular ones or the layflat upgrades? I havne’t had it happen for either.

  26. Posted October 28, 2015 at 9:19 pm | #

    Any further updates to the chart? I do scrapbooking (weekly) and have about 110 pages that I need to print. Last year, I went with Shutterfly & don’t *love* it. The pages seems glued together (front/back) & I worry about how that will hold up over time. I may try Blurb this year, but they don’t offer a lay-flat option at this time. Given how many people are doing Project Life scrapbooking now & need more pages, I’m surprised more companies aren’t going to more pages. Thanks!

  27. Cat
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 9:41 am | #

    I think I have decided on using: my photo creations, The Lake Album, for my wedding album. I don’t see any specials…. do you have any suggestions ?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted January 31, 2016 at 10:37 am | #

      Signing up for the company’s emails will usually get you some discounts sent directly to your inbox. Congrats on your wedding!

  28. Kate Hildreth
    Posted January 8, 2016 at 3:35 pm | #

    Photobookgirl – what are you thoughts on books from Montage? I did my first wedding album for a client with them and they turned out really nice. The leather on the book and the box the album comes in is like butter πŸ™‚ The pages didn’t necessarily lay as flat as I would have liked, but my client and her mother loved them! Just curious what you or anyone else may think about them? Thanks!! So glad I found your page/blog!! – Kate H

    • photobookgirl
      Posted January 31, 2016 at 10:45 am | #

      Hi Kate, did you see my Montage review here? The standard paper is quite different from other photo book companies so it is a personal preference. They also now offer silver halide photo paper but I haven’t tried that yet. Hope that helps!

  29. Hillary Morgan
    Posted January 10, 2016 at 11:12 pm | #

    So, I really appreciate your blog and all of the information collected. Your clearly very educated in all of this. I am a bit overwhelmed by all of the information. Can you please email me privately? I am trying to deciper your opinion on what book would be best for a family yearbook. I want to make one every year. I like the lay-flat option and the leather cover.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted January 31, 2016 at 10:47 am | #

      Hi Hillary, sorry I don’t do private consultations, but feel free to message me here. A lot of it depends on your price point and preferences, how many pages etc.

  30. Irit
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 7:31 pm | #

    This blog is so helpful yet I’m still at a loss for what to choose. Maybe you could help?!
    I’ve only used picaboo because they often offer great discounts like 60% off (I always wait for the discounts to print!). But I find printing on regular paper just doesn’t do the beautiful images justice. Any ideas for companies that print on real photo paper and also aren’t super expensive? I’m fine subscribing to their email if they offer good discounts so I can save $$$!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted January 31, 2016 at 10:35 am | #

      I’m glad you’re finding my site helpful. If you’re looking for real photo paper I would check out AdoramaPix. We feature deals on their products all the time on our deals page. Definitely sign up for their emails and be sure to check our exclusive promos with them too!

  31. Yvonne
    Posted February 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm | #

    Hi I make portrait layflay 8.5×11 photo books for clients and have recently ran into some issues with my printing company. I would like to start using one of these online sites however I am not sure which will allow me to resale the books and not have their logo on the end product. Also, do any of these generate a proof that can be emailed before printing? Which would you say for layflat books is the easiest system to use and allows you to add or change layouts on? Thanks so much!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 9:29 am | #

      Portrait oriented books aren’t as common among photo book companies. I know that AdoramaPix makes them. If you’re a pro they also have a professional division which should mean you would get some professional discount I believe. There are no logos on AP books. Their software is pretty easy to use and is full featured as well.

  32. Marty
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 7:55 pm | #

    Thanks for the great info. I,have a question,is there a company that will use my pages and produce a lay flat book. Thanking you in advance,
    Marty

    • photobookgirl
      Posted March 15, 2016 at 7:41 pm | #

      Yes, you can complete your page layouts in external software and then upload them as finished jpegs if that’s what you mean. After uploading, just select a full page layout with a single box and then drag the completed page into you the box.

  33. Julie
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 7:35 am | #

    I found your blog very helpful with detailed information about many photo book companies. This site helped me select Adoramapix for my wedding album. I received it today and it is absolutely stunning! The quality is excellent. I ordered the Hudson Album with extra thick pages in the metallic finish. The metallic finish has a very nice shine but not too shiny finish. The photo book looks professional and better than my friend’s who paid thousands for a professional photographer and photo book. I’m excited to get started on my next photo book and will be using this site as my guide! Goody bye old fashion scrapbooking. I’m so grateful for all the work you have done and sharing your work for others to use.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted April 4, 2016 at 10:41 am | #

      Hi Julie, Sorry for the late reply – so glad you love your book! The metallic paper is really nice. I used it for the personalized table numbers at my wedding and they really added that extra glamour I think. Congrats on your marriage!

  34. Posted April 21, 2016 at 9:23 am | #

    Since you don’t list it, I will mention how pretty, different and interesting Nowell Books are. I think it should be accessible on other platforms besides iOS. It is a 8″high by 4″ wide flat fall book when it opens it opens best as a square image 8×8″. The pages are very stiff like board books and 20 pages =$20. They have a way of getting discount coins by recommending, etc but you only have a week to use them and they expire (before once you got them that was yours always, my only complaint). But they are so beautiful that complaint goes.

  35. Posted May 24, 2016 at 11:14 pm | #

    Just curious, have you reviewed any of the flush mount books used by the wedding pros? I’ve seen and sampled plenty of books, but I’ve always gone back to the same company as their books are TANKS with a guarantee against warping.

    I look forward to your reviews! Best of luck!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted June 1, 2016 at 2:07 am | #

      Hi Paul,

      No I haven’t except for the pro companies that will also sell direct to consumers. A lot more companies are selling direct to consumers now. I find that some of the pro centered ones have software that have to be downloaded and may not be as user friendly. Since my site is more focused to the general public that’s what I focus on. Curious – what pro company do you prefer?

  36. cwpravello
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:50 pm | #

    This guide is wonderful! I just got married and we have decided to invest in a really good flush mount album. This post was SO helpful, so thank you so much for taking the time to write it. I was about to go with adoramapix, but I ran a google search and found a ton of horror stories (some recent) of albums arriving in poor condition and their customer service department often refusing to correct the issues. This makes me hesitant to use them. I had two questions: 1) have you heard of people having these kind of issues? 2) is the quality of adoramapix’s flush mount album much better than bridebox/myphotocreations? If the flush mounts from adoramapix and bridebox have the same print quality, I’d rather go with bridebox. Thanks for any advice!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:05 pm | #

      I haven’t personally had issues with either company. Any time I have had issues with any company I have asked for a reprint and gotten it. Unless I’m doing a review no one knows it’s photobookgirl, so I don’t think my experience is different from the average consumer. I’ve posted my reviews of both on my site. Check those out if you haven’t yet.

  37. sue
    Posted July 2, 2016 at 6:04 pm | #

    I am making a book for my mother-in-law. Many if the photos are very old and any size I use in the book brings up the caution sign to say the photos won’t be sharp.
    I will use these anyway as they are all I have of that Era.
    But I wondered about others’ experience using vintage pic?
    Thx

    • photobookgirl
      Posted July 20, 2016 at 12:01 pm | #

      Possibly check the dpi and size of the scan? If you have the old photos perhaps scan at 300dpi and see how those look. You can also choose a smaller photo box so it doesn’t get too enlarged. I have also used photo editing software to sharpen and increase contrast of old pics to get faces and other details to show more clearly. That all said, the charm of vintage photos is that they are a bit fuzzy. I would try some photo editing though. Lots of free software to do that online. Best!

      • cgk
        Posted September 19, 2016 at 9:26 pm | #

        Hi! I’ve read so many of your reviews and they’ve been so helpful. I am limited, though, to non internet programs. I had been using a program in europe called hoffman, which had thick glossy pages and hard, almost plush image wrap covers. I loved them and was looking for something similar in the U.S that would offer that with an offline option. I’m trying not to spend the ‘flush mount’ prices. I’d appreciate your advice. Thanks.

        • photobookgirl
          Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:30 pm | #

          Hi, I’m not sure I can think of an equivalent to your Hoffman program. I looked up their site. I don’t see too many plush image wrap covers with thick glossy pages offered by U.S. companies catering to the general consumer – perhaps one of the pro centered companies might have such a project. To remedy the offline book making issue, you may want to consider buying your own photo book layout software. It offers you the most flexibility in printing your book anywhere and is not that expensive if you like to make photo books on more than just an occasional basis. I use Fotofusion myself. You can look up reviews of that on my blog.

  38. mg
    Posted November 6, 2016 at 7:10 pm | #

    Looks like you are an expert on this subject! I recently officiated a wedding ceremony and the couple has asked for a copy of my remarks. I want to do it as a bound book for them but in this case it will be mostly text with just a few photos rather than a photo book. And it will only be a few pages – certainly not more than 8 or 10 once I add a few photos. Can you recommend who I should use for this? Shutterfly’s books are, of course, highly photo-oriented. I also found something called Blurb but am not familiar with it. Any thoughts?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted November 14, 2016 at 3:00 pm | #

      Hi there! Any of the companies can accommodate text. There are layouts with all text and mostly text in just about every company, so I don’t think you should limit yourself. Both Shutterfly and Blurb are well known and would both produce good results. What you’re mentioning reminds me of a baby lullaby book I made for my older son. If you click on the link you’ll see that there is text running in the middle of the photo backdrops I’ve chosen. http://www.photobookgirl.com/blog/new-photo-book-coupon-codes-and-deals-baby-lullaby-photo-book/ Similar in a sense. I chose the images that reminded me of the words of the lullaby, calming, serene… Maybe you can find some inspiration there. Any of the companies will work for you though. I may suggest that you go for a lay flat book – for your particular project I think AdoramaPix would be a good choice.

  39. Juju
    Posted January 2, 2017 at 9:33 am | #

    Your reviews are awesome! Have you heard of Pikperfect? I am finally getting my wedding album done and need all the advice I can get. Thanks πŸ™‚

  40. Annemarie
    Posted January 7, 2017 at 1:26 pm | #

    Hi – so glad to find your blog!
    I want to make my own wedding album and with professionally printed photos that are mounted or slipped into nice mats. Are there any companies that sell albums with mats that don’t look like they are from the 70’s? Or companies that will make one for you online? All I see are flush mount options and I really want traditional photos and mounts.

    Annemarie

    • photobookgirl
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 10:51 am | #

      Sorry Annemarie – I don’t know much about slip in albums as I’ve gone digital for the vast majority of crafts that i do. I would try your local craft store like Michaels or Joann’s. Also try a site selling to pro photographers. They may still have a selection that might work for you. I get what you mean about the 70s thing though!

  41. Netanya
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 6:31 am | #

    Hi, are you familiar with Milkbooks? I am trying to use their site because they offer archival quality materials but I’m finding it difficult to work with – limited in terms of layouts and number of pages per album. I’m wondering if you have used the site and have any tips or would recommend to steer clear of them?

  42. Cgk
    Posted February 23, 2017 at 9:13 am | #

    Have you ever made a flush mount album with photobook America? I was wondering if the print quality was better than their lay flat album which was not vibrant. Also I was wondering if the wrap around cover is the same type as the lay flat. Thank you.

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