Professional photographers are familiar with the name Adorama; it's a well-known, respected full-service photo store based in New York City. So, it isn't surprising that its photo print website (AdoramaPix) is also top-notch. The photo book software was flexible, easy to use and has attractive content, and the resulting book was beautiful, which is why it made it to the top of our list for best photo books, but it was one of the pricier services we tested.
Creating Your Book: Easy-to-use, creative, flexible and precise
AdoramaPix's software is suitable for all kinds of users from families to pro photographers. It was easy to use and flexible. It provided attractive content and a nice level of control. Templates are elegant, clearly designed to satisfy the aesthetic demands of pro and serious photographers. Layouts are intelligently organized and varied, and include some with book-like paragraph text blocks.
All elements are fully editable, which includes the ability to move, resize, reshape and rotate and even span a photo over a two-page spread. And you can make adjustments regarding size, placement on the page, and rotation either interactively or with precise numerical input.
When working on photos, AdoramaPix provides even more options beyond the usual border, drop shadow or opacity slider. For instance, a single click will flip the image, or set it as the background for a single page or a two-page spread. The one limitation is that while the drop shadow has a size slider and a color chooser, you can't adjust its direction or opacity.
Text was similarly flexible and powerful, with the same choice between precise or interactive adjustments. What made it especially helpful was that the fonts were organized into categories, such as Script, Fabric, Fancy, Foreign look, Gothic, Handwritten, Serif, Non-serif, etc.
The interface has a great search engine for clip art, backgrounds and frames, and a convenient holding area for all content that I used in the book. The backgrounds and clip art are attractive and varied. Adorama doesn't have the borders or illustrated picture frames that other services offer, but it does have a nice variety of masks (or cutouts), with and without drop shadows, that you can use to reshape your photograph's outline.
In the Book Settings tab, you can define global attributes for text, photos and stickers, rather than having to set things like font or drop shadow individually; these can all be overridden for specific elements or pages. In addition, an optional grid allows for more precise control over placement of elements.
The Printed Book: Beautiful book, beautiful photos
Our AdoramaPix photo book was substantial and very attractive. The glossy pages were a great medium for displaying photographs at their best. The printing was excellent and the images popped off the pages. The photos were sharp without being oversharpened, and had crisp contrast and clarity, rich saturation and color, and fine details throughout the dynamic range. However, a few of the images that were originally dark reproduced as a little flat. In other words, AdoramaPix didn't do any automatic photo correction. Cover images were well-exposed, but the front cover image and type were soft. Type had clean edges, and the ink covered letters fully.
The binding was solid, and the exterior was smooth and clean, but there was a little bit of puckering (bunching up) of the back spine. The biggest problem was that our first-page spread had been accidentally moved to further back in the book. We contacted the company, and they sent us a corrected book immediately.
Price and Options
The AdoramaPix photo book was expensive: $41.99 for a 20-page, 8 x 8-inch hardbound book. As with all the other books, we ordered the AdoramaPix with the least expensive hardbound options. Unlike other books, the AdoramaPix book was a lay-flat book at no extra cost. Also included was a choice among luster, glossy or silk paper. Or, for an additional $3, our paper could have been linen or pebble. We could have spent another $2 to remove the AdoramaPix logo or to replace it with our own logo. A presentation box would have cost another $8.95
The AdoramaPix photo books were also available as softcovers or with leather or fabric covers. Other photo products available included albums, cards, calendars as well as paper, metal, canvas, wood and framed prints.
AdoramaPix's photo books cost much more than Shutterfly's ($29.99), but the printing of the AdoramaPix photos was of significantly higher quality. Granted, the glossy paper on the AdoramaPix book tends to make the photos pop off the page. But even without the glossy advantage, the AdoramaPix photos had better exposure and color than those in the Shutterfly book. If price is important to you, Shutterfly's photo quality and overall book will probably make most people quite happy. But if you want the best, go with AdoramaPix.
|Import photos from||AdoramaPix Galleries, Google Photos, Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Amazon, your device|
|Templates & layouts||Fully editable|
|Backgrounds||Attractive, varied searchable, can use your own photo|
|Clip art||Attractive, varied, searchable|
Credit: Tom's Guide