After the last thank you note is (finally!) sent and life post-wedding begins to settle into a comfy cozy new normal, the time for finding a more permanent home for your wedding photos has arrived. While sharing the highlights from your big day on social media is fun, decades from now you’ll probably want a physical wedding photo album to pass around between family members and reminisce over.
But the process of creating your perfect wedding album, especially if you’re looking to use an online service, isn’t easy. With countless options to choose from it can be difficult to settle on the one that will work best for you and make your photos shine.
Wedding Album Creators: Pros and Cons
I recently went through the process of putting my wedding album together, and to be honest it wasn’t the most fun thing I’ve ever done. After spending hours organizing the photos in the online album creator and developing a severe case of achy trackpad finger, I ordered our wedding album…only to realize the next morning that I had left out 40 images! I was able to get a 50 percent refund to try again, but when I received the printed copy, my heart sank. Every picture was mysteriously tinted blue!
After contacting the company, they looked into the problem and sent me a new photo book, but the mysteriously blue images remained. Whether the method of printing or paper type caused the malfunction, my patience was starting to wear thin, so I accepted a refund, and set out to find a new printer. That’s when I found my wedding album savior, touted for printing photos with brilliant, true colors. After nearly a month of struggling, I finally received the gorgeous wedding album I had hoped for.
Before you put together your wedding album, consider these pros and cons of these five popular wedding photo album creators, and hopefully your experience will flow smoothly from receiving your images from your wedding photographer to opening your album for the first time.
Pros: You simply upload your wedding photos and choose your favorite album and design style, and their professional design experts do the rest with unlimited free revisions. That means you no longer have to sit in front of your computer wondering how to arrange your album. The result is a beautifully designed heirloom-quality album at an affordable price, which explains why so many couples and wedding photographers love the service.
Cons: The design service and professional printing process can mean a longer wait time until you receive your album. Once you approve your album design, printing and shipping can take around 10-14 days vs. 5 days for some DIY online wedding photo album creators (though they do offer an expedited option for an additional $25).
Starting Hardcover Wedding Album Price: $49
Pros: As one of the trendiest photo book makers available, this service offers very high-end finishings and add-ons, including leather covers and presentation boxes. They also guarantee vibrant, true to color printing on archival quality paper.
Cons: But you don’t get this kind of luxury without paying more. As the most expensive option among these five creators, an album here can run upwards of several hundred dollars. The layout editor is also less flexible, not allowing for personalization of their (albeit lovely) pre-made layouts.
Starting Hardcover Wedding Album Price: $194
Pros: Zola’s new wedding album creator is one of the best and easiest tools we’ve used online. I love how you can choose your favorite layout, and organize your photos by category (IE: getting ready, cocktail hour, portraits, etc.). They even include recommendations for how many photos you should include in each category. Need even more help? Their Album Wizard will help you choose the best photos. Once you’re finished, you can download and review your album and review any potential mistakes (like low-res photos).
Cons: Zola only offers layflat options, so if you’re hoping to make cheaper hard or soft cover standard albums for your wedding party or parents, you might have to go somewhere else for those.
Starting Hardcover Wedding Album Price: $139
Pros: With their fabric covers and high-quality book jackets, the photo books made through this service have a high end, luxury look, and with up to 200 pages allowed in the album, it’s no wonder this is one of the top wedding album services online.
Cons: Unlike with other services, there is no choice of paper, taking away the opportunity to select a paper that will best compliment your images. This can lead to color distortion and fading in some cases. The album editor is also limiting, constraining creators to choosing between pre-made layouts rather than designing new page layouts themselves.
Starting Hardcover Wedding Album Price: $75.65
Other wedding photo album creators that made our list:
Pros: With the largest available photo book coming in at a maximum of 399 pages, this is the photo album for brides who want to include every single image from their big day. Using the auto fill option and fully customizable layout, you will surely be able to design a photo book that looks exactly the way you want it to.
Cons: Unlike several of the other photo book creators that are intended specifically for significant events like weddings, this album creator produces only standard photo books without the options of high-end cover finishes.
Starting Hardcover Wedding Album Price: $44.99
Pros: Because all of their albums are layflat, landscape oriented photos can cover the entire expanse of the photo book without the center portion getting lost in the fold. Additionally, their layouts are fully customizable, allowing you to change the sizes of photo and text boxes to meet your preferences. This service also offers a selection of papers, which give your images either a dreamy, faded appearance or a bold color pop. Hint: This is the creator that gave me my perfect wedding album!
Cons: Because the layout designer offers so much customization, it can get a bit time consuming and overwhelming if you aren’t familiar with similar platforms. Additionally, each photo book is limited to 100 pages, meaning some photos might not make the cut.
Brides, and the weddings they plan, are infinitely unique — as are the photo books that preserve their memories. Using these album creator pros and cons, you can build the album that is perfect for you and that you will treasure for decades to come!
Starting Hardcover Wedding Album Price: $138.19
Pros: The Make My Book service makes this album creator the perfect option for the busy bride. All you have to do is upload your photos, send them off to a designer and within three days, you’ll have a layout returned to you ready for your edits. Additionally, if you decide to design your own book, their idea pages can help you along the way.
Cons: Despite the ease of creating the book, we have read some reports of delayed shipping and deliveries as well as some quality hiccups. Just be sure to read recent reviews and contact customer support if you have any questions.
Starting Hardcover Wedding Album Price: $34.99
What to Know Before You Create Your Wedding Album
Ready to make your wedding album? Not so fast! Make sure you keep these important tips in mind before you spend time creating your album and buying it:
1. Who You’re Making the Album For:
If this album is for you and you hope to pass it down to your children and grandkids, then look for an heirloom-quality album. This would include archival paper and would have a layflat or flush mount binding. If you want to gift albums to your bridesmaids or parents, consider a less expensive standard hardcover album, or entry-level layflat option. You’ll want to avoid photo books, which often have thin pages and flexible covers. Save those for vacation albums or non-milestone events.
2. How Many Photos You Want to Use:
While you might want to include EVERY photo your photographer gave you, be selective. That’s because most photo albums start their pricing at 20 pages, and charge for every page after that, ranging from $1.50-$7+ per page. Photographer Jon Lemon suggests using 20% of your edited photos for an album. “If you put 2-3 photos on every spread, that’s about 100-120 photos going in your album,” says Lemon. He notes that 50 spreads is about the thickest his professional flush mount album can hold before going to another volume. “I think that’s more than enough to represent the core story in your day.”
3. Know Your Paper Type and Paper Weight:
Navigating terms like “double thick,” “archival quality,” and “”professional-grade” in photo album descriptions can be tricky. When it comes to the paper type and finish, you’ll likely see these terms:
- Semi-gloss: Semi-gloss paper falls between matte and high-gloss finishes. It offers a subtle shine, which can enhance the vibrancy of your photos without producing overly intense reflections.
- Matte: Matte paper lacks the shine that other finishes offer. Its non-reflective surface means that photos can be viewed from multiple angles without glare.
- Lustre: Lustre is a popular choice among professionals and offers the best of both matte and glossy worlds. It provides a slightly textured surface that minimizes glare, fingerprint smudging, and offers a fine art feel. The color saturation and detail are akin to glossy photos but without the intense shine.
When it comes to paper weight, if you’re seeking heftier pages but are unsure which suits your needs and pocket, inquire with the platform’s customer service about paper weights prior to purchasing. As a reference, we found that Shutterfly’s “standard” pages weigh 65 lbs., whereas Snapfish offers 140 lbs. for similarly priced albums.
Here’s a look at where the wedding album creators we’ve reviewed stand when it comes to the maximum paper weight offered, from lowest to highest:
- Shutterfly: 190 gsm
- Artifact Uprising: 260 gsm
- Zola: 300 gsm
- PikPerfect: 370 gsm
- Mixbook: 775 gsm
- MILK Books: 900 gsm (flush mount option, which is 260 gsm paper mounted on rigid 1 mm board)
- PikPerfect: 900 gsm (flush mount option, similar to above)
Wedding Album Terms to Know
As soon as you dive into the world of photo album creators, you’ll soon realize that there are a ton of terms you might not know. To help you figure out exactly what they mean, we created a glossary below.
Standard Photo Album: A standard photo album is akin to a small coffee table book. Its pages are fairly thin, and there’s a distinct indentation, or gutter, in the middle where the pages bind together (just like a magazine or regular book).
Lay flat: Lay flat albums, as the name implies, lie entirely flat, offering a seamless look. While lay flat albums will generally have the same appearance, page thickness can differ across brands.
Flush mount: Flush mount albums are top-tier, often chosen by professional wedding photographers. They consist of archival prints mounted directly to a sturdy core, resulting in durable pages. While various DIY sites offer these albums, pros usually work with exclusive album makers not accessible to the public.
Wedding Album Creator: Pricing Overview
Not sure which wedding album fits your budget? Here’s a look at what you can expect to spend for a premium layflat album from the five best creators on our list:
|Brand||Details||Size/# Pages & Price|
|Shutterfly||Glossy Photo Hardcover and Deluxe double thick satin pages||10×10, 40 pages
|Mixbook||Matte Photo Hardcover and Premium Lustre pages||10×10, 40 pages
|Zola||Linen Hardcover and Soft Gloss or Satin Thick pages||10×10, 40 pages
|Artifact Uprising||Linen Hardcover and Lustre or Superfine paper||10×10, 40 pages
|PikPerfect||Linen Hardcover and Fuji Lustre paper||12×12, 40 pages
|MILK Books||Linen Hardcover and Photo Lustre or Eggshell paper||11×11, 40 pages
Tell us! Have you started your wedding album yet? Which company did you go with? Let us know in the comments section, below!
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