Family PortraitsWhen I tell people about my business, the first question is often, “Wait, what is a photo book?  Is it like a photo album?”  The answer is, of course, “Yes and no.”

A traditional photo album begins as a blank book, with sticky pages or clear plastic pockets for separately printed photos to be inserted later.  A photo book is printed all at once – photos are incorporated as part of the page design, and everything is printed on single sheets of paper that are then bound together into an album.  It’s like an extremely limited edition book about your life!

Photo by martinak15

Photo by martinak15

Both are book-like volumes containing images of your precious memories.  They both stand as tangible evidence and help bring to mind pleasant events from the past.  Both are records of family and friends throughout the years, and both are valued far beyond their financial cost.  However, there are many key differences.

Let the showdown begin …

Photo Albums

Photo Books

Usually only a single copy available to share Can easily be printed in multiple copies, one for each family member
Difficult to replace, subject to loss or damage Can be reprinted as long as digital backups are kept on hand
Usually very plain, with simple rows of pockets for photos Each page can be custom designed with artful layout that helps tell a story
Difficult to add captions or label with names and settings Text can be added wherever it is needed, in various formats
Can be “cannibalized”, leaving holes if someone removes a photo and doesn’t replace it Photos are an inherent part of the page, impossible to remove
Can be awkward to read if horizontal and vertical photos are combined Each photo is displayed as intended, “right side up”
Difficult to incorporate other memorabilia, such as ticket stubs or badges Memorabilia can be scanned and included as easily as any photograph
Older albums may not be archival-safe, and can damage photos over the years Original photos can be left in a safe place
Difficult to share over long distances Easily shared on websites and social media


Clearly Unbiased Winner: Photo Books!

Honestly, I’ve been doing this for years.  I started scrapbooking in high school before I even knew it was a “thing” and I naively believed I invented it (oh, yes).  I was cropping and matting and embellishing like mad.  I love photographs.  I love working with them in all forms, but I especially love photo books.  There is nothing like opening a brand new one, fresh from the printers, and brushing my fingers over the smooth pages.  There is nothing like the look on a loved one’s face when they open one as a gift.  There is simply something very special about photo books.  Your life, published, in a “real” book – you’re a star!

Ready to get started on a photo book of your own?  Check out some of my products here.