Is there any better way to share photos and hold on to the memories they represent than a photo book? For consumers and amateur photographers, a book is a great way to store photographs from baby's first birthday party, your vacation cruise to Alaska or your collection of best flower pictures. For serious and professional photographers, photo books are also important marketing tools, as well as products (to sell to the bride and groom). But among the many online photo book services, which one is the best?
Credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's GuideWe tested seven of the most popular photo book vendors: Apple Photos, Blurb, Mixbook, Montage, Picaboo, Shutterfly and Snapfish. We used photos taken by an amateur of her children, with the most minimal of editing to those photos.
- Mixbook (9 out of 10 stars)
- Shutterfly (9/10 stars)
- Picaboo (8/10 stars)
- Snapfish (7/10 stars)
- Apple Photos (5/10 stars)
- Blurb Bookify (5/10 stars)
- Montage (5/10 stars)
For the second year in a row, our Editors' Choice Award goes to Mixbook, for its intelligent, versatile and creativity-enabling software and the excellent quality of its printed books. Shutterfly came in a very close second. Both services produced great books. However, Mixbook gets the edge for its superior photo reproduction, and easier-to-use interface that offers greater flexibility.
Mixbook and Shutterfly are both also having promotions which can get you anywhere from 30 to 50 percent off the price of your orders. Check back for more deals, which should increase in frequency closer to the holiday season.
How We Tested and Rated
Our testing and analyses focused on two areas: the vendor's software for creating the photo book, and the printed photo books themselves. In tallying our results, we gave double weight to our rating of the printed books, since no matter how good the software is, the end result is what is most important.
In testing and rating each service's photo-creation software, we paid particular attention to ease of use, as well as the quality and versatility of the software's themes, page layouts, clip art and more. We also focused on flexibility and how well the software enables your creativity. In particular, how easy it is to customize and personalize the page layouts, such as adjusting photo or text size, orientation, and placement on the page.
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To rate the printed photo books, we created a blind test for our small jury of experts in photography, printing, art and book production. In other words, none of us knew which book came from which service.