Photo Book Printing:
Download or Online? While there are still a few photo book printers that provide online use of their software, most of the best services offer a software download instead. Why? Because this allows for a more complex and faster-running photo book creation software with more designs and features. So unless something about your computer makes this a not-great option for you, downloaded software is generally the best kind to use.
Free or Pay Software? Some photo book printers, like DigiLabs, offer a pay-per-download software. But more offer a free download so you can play with the software and create all the photo books you want before you actually order one.
My favorite is probably the free software download, Picaboo X, which is the program used a Picaboo.com. It's a very small, quick download, it has tons of features, lots of designs, and is easy to use. A good option for both newbies and advanced photo book printing.
Keeping it Simple: Don't have a lot of time to design and print a digital photo book? If you just want to have the photo book software arrange and lay out your photos for you, almost all of the printers we review will allow that feature.
My Photo Book Software ReviewsDon't know what photo book printing service to opt for? A photo book software review of each digital photo book printer can be found on our photo book review pages. This comparison was based on someone who wanted to be very creative in their book design.
2. Photo Editing CapabilitesIf you're looking into photo book printing to create keepsakes using your own digital photos, chances are some of the photos will need a little editing.
Where to Edit? For minor photo editing, such as correcting red eye, cropping a photo, or sharpening an image, your photo book printing service's software should be sufficient. If, however, you want to do things like smooth skin, fix lighting and coloring, or perhaps trim down your thighs in your bikini vacation photo, you'll need photo editing software like Photoshop.
Another Free Option Don't have Photoshop, and don't want to splash out the hefty fee to buy it? You can get most of the capabilities you need from free photo editing software, which will generally have more features that your printer's built-in photo book software, but less than a program like Photoshop. My favorite is probably Paint.net, which is free and simple to use.
3. Photo Book Themes, Backgrounds, and Layouts
One of the reasons why digital photo books have become so popular lately is its flexibility-- with a simple software download, you can make highly designed photo books that look just as nice as a hundred-hours-of-work photo scrapbook.
The reason why this works so well is that many photo book services provide a ton of photo book themes, backgrounds, and layout options. Depending on the photo book printer you use, you can have access to anywhere from dozens to thousands of digital photo album themes. The two biggest are probably:
4. Online Collaboration for Photo BooksIn most cases, having all of the photos and software you need for your photo book on your computer is sufficient-- most photo book designing is a one-person project. But if you're creating, say, a family photo book/recipe book, or a school yearbook, you might need to collaborate with others in its creation.
The amount of collaboration offered for photo book printing by different services is extremely variable. Check my page on online photo book collaboration to learn about which printers offer which collaborative features... and which offer none at all.
5. Photo Book Size, Cover, and Binding OptionsDepending on the scope of your photo book project, the number of cover, binding, and size options may or may not be important to you. For a small brag book or a baby book, the standard sizes and options are probably fine. But for, say, a high quality wedding photo book, you might want binding, paper, and cover options.
Photo Book Size OptionsIf you've ever looked at any of the online photo book websites, you will notice that, with most printers, there are many book size options available. Choosing the Right Size for Your Photo Book highlights the most common sizes and suggests possible uses for each size.
Photo Book Cover OptionsMost photo book printer services offer a variety of different cover styles and materials, from linen to cardboard to velvet. Photo Book Covers explains the different types of book covers that are available. We also provide a chart showing which type of covers each photo book printer offers. If you need a specific cover type this will help you narrow your review to those printers who carry the type of photo book cover you need for your project.
The first choice for a top-quality photo book is generally a leather cover. Visit my leather photo books chart to find out which photo book printers offer leather cover options.
Photo Book Binding OptionsNot sure what type of binding method is good for you? Book Binding Methods will explain the different types of photo book bindings available through most companies.
Photo Book Printing CompaniesNow that you know everything you're going to need for making and printing a photo book online, the next step will be choosing your actual printer. While there are dozens and dozens of photo book print and design services on the web, there are a few "major" ones that tend to be the best and most popular options. Many of these sites will be familar because many of them also print photos.
The"top five" major (and probably the best) photo book companies are:Want to read our reviews of these photo book printers, as well as read about some of the other dozens of options out there? Check out my photo book reviews page, or see some user reviews at photo book experiences.
Pricing and BudgetIf your budget is the biggest concern for you when deciding on a photo book service, you'll probably want to take a look at Photo Book Covers, Sizes and Prices. This page displays all the covers, sizes, and prices for each printer we have reviewed This tool helps you compare each one's offerings, and find out which one will fit most easily into your budget.
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