Update 3/5/2011: I made a lay flat photo book (Ashbury) with MyPhotoCreations.
Update 11/25/2010: I made my first flush mount photo album with MyPhotoCreations!
Update 8/16/2010: I made a lay flat honeymoon photo book with Picaboo. Check out my Picaboo software and Madison photo book review.
Update 7/20/2010: I recently made my first lay flat wedding photo book with AdoramaPix. Check out my AdoramaPix review and step-by-step guide.
Lay flat photo books have a type of binding that allows the pages to stay open and remain completely flat, so you don’t have to hold down the pages while viewing it. Some lay flat photo books feature two separate pages hinged at the middle, while others may be a single sheet folded in the middle. A coil or wire-bound or post-bound book can also lay flat.
A flush mount photo album is a type of photo book that lays flat. Flush mount photo albums differ from other digital press printed photo books as they are printed on actual photo paper and then mounted onto a sturdy backing. As a result, the pages are thicker and do not bend as easily as a digitally printed photo book. Due to the thickness of the page, flush mount photo albums do not come with high page counts.
Here are some examples of lay flat photo books:
Why are lay flat photo books desirable?
- Some lay flat albums have a very narrow gutter (1/16″ for example) so you lose very little of the image in the center of the book. This is especially effective when you do a two-page spread where your design is meant to extend across both pages or when you have a single-image that you want to fill up both pages as with a panoramic photo. Some lay flat albums have no gutter which means you don’t lose any of the image in the spine of the book.
- Viewing a lay flat book is easier since you don’t have to hold down the pages.
- Aside from the plastic coil or wire-bound versions, lay flat books look more high-end and are generally more professional in appearance. Until recently, this option was only available to professional photographers, but now with the growing number of photo book makers out there, offering an ever-increasing amount of options for consumers, lay flat photo books are within a reasonable price point.
- Lay flat books look different from the average book you can get in the bookstore – and as you know, things that are out of the ordinary are eye-catching.
- Even with the coil or wire bound options which are not thought of as “high-end”, the lay flat option is great for books that you want to stay flat for utility’s sake – such as a cookbook or instruction manual
What types of occasions/topics are best suited to the lay flat option?
- Special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, baby’s baptism, and other heirloom type books make sense with this type of binding.
- Travel photo books featuring sweeping landscapes, beautiful vistas and panoramic views would benefit by an unbroken (or nearly unbroken) two-page spread.
- Artist or photography portfolios would look fabulous in a lay flat book for the same reasons as travel books above.
- With photo book makers offering affordable lay flat options, any topic would look great!
Okay, I want one! What companies offer lay flat photo books?
- In our current database of 26 photo book publishers,
512 of the companies offer a lay flat option (AdoramaPix, createpicturebooks, Mpix, Picaboo, RitzPix) (We’re finding more companies every day so check back often!)
512 photo book makers offer a total of 100 lay flat photo books with different cover materials, styles, sizes and page counts.
- Prices range from $16.00 to $600.00. The price difference has to do with size as well as type of photo book. As mentioned above, lay flat flush mount albums printed on real photo paper, cost more than digitally printed photo books.
On my continuing mission to seek out the best photo books and try unique photo book software features, I will be trying a couple lay flat options in the coming weeks so I can share the information with you. (See top of the post for updates!)
If you’ve made a lay flat book before, please comment below and tell me your favorite photo book maker!