9 Best Photo Book Makers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed by Experts

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9 Best Photo Book Makers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed by Experts

We carefully reviewed this article in May 2023 and stand by our top-rated picks.

Whether you're looking for somewhere to document major life milestones like graduation or a romantic gift for your wife or the couple in your life, making a custom photo book is a convenient way to store memories. But how do you make a photo book? Though you probably can't print one from cover to cover using your home office printer setup, there are plenty of online photo book makers that do all the hard work for you. Services such as Artifact Uprising, with its sleek, high-quality photo books, and Walmart Photo, which offers super-fast-turnaround options, make it easy to upload and format your photos into an aesthetic template.

Though our experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Media & Tech Lab are still testing photo book services for 2023, we previously tested the best wedding photo albums for every budget and style. We also test photo websites, photo-editing apps and photo-related products and score them based on ease of use, performance and features. Additionally, for this story, our tech-savvy pros considered factors like expert input, past in-depth research, positive online reviews and consistently popular brands to find the best photo book makers on the market today.

You'll find more information on how we test custom photo books at the end of this list, plus expert advice for what to keep in mind when choosing the right photo book maker to fit your needs. And if you have a recent grad in your life, a photo book is a perfect personalized present to give as a graduation gift. Check out our general guide to the most popular gifts for any and all occasions.

Shutterfly offers basic photo books at an affordable price. You can choose from a wide selection of themes, like birthday, travel or wedding, or neutral styles, such as modern or rustic. You can also create your own book and choose the book size, cover style and page style, then embellish it with Shutterfly's extensive library of stickers and ribbons to make your book extra special. We appreciate how easily users can edit within their chosen template and the brand's high-quality photo book paper, making Shutterfly a top pick.

You can also opt for one of its 6" x 6" Instant Books, which let you add photos from your phone, tablet or computer in minutes. These mini photo books have only 20 pages, but they're a great place to store goofy candids or Instagram posts you never want to forget. The possibilities are essentially limitless, though the vast array of options could be overwhelming for those starting out.

If you don't want the pressure of deciding on a layout, the brand offers a Make My Book option, in which Shutterfly's professional designers curate your photos and design the book for free. Plus, you'll still have the opportunity to put finishing touches on it before it gets printed. Whether you choose for 50 or 800 photos (the maximum), you'll receive an email notification within 24 hours that your book is complete.

Crunched for time? Design your photo book online and pick up select styles at a Walmart store near you in as little as one hour. Photo books picked up in one hour can have 15 single-sided pages and a linen cover, while same-day pickups (ready in a few hours) can have up to 20 double-sided pages and the option of a hardcover.

On top of the speedy turnaround, Walmart has a great selection of styles: You can choose everything from the photo size and layout to type of cover, including hardcover glossy or matte, linen, leather and lay-flat glossy or matte. If you need help narrowing down the choices, there's also the option to shop by occasion, whether you're looking for a graduation gift or a one-year anniversary present.

Despite the fast shipping and variety, our expert tester, Rachel Rothman, chief technologist and executive technical director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, did note that the quality is not as high as the options offered by other photo book makers on this list — but that may be expected considering the bargain price tag. Regardless, these photo books still make a superb present that can cost as little as $10 without compromising on sentimentality.

Is Amazon Photos already your preferred destination for uploading photos? Then creating a photo book through its interface is an easy solution. Similar to other photo book makers, you can create by occasion and size, or choose its 8" x 8" Premium Photo Book for a versatile option that has a laminated cover and lay-flat binding. There's also an option with standard binding at a lower cost, and all Amazon Prime members get free shipping. (Everyone else is eligible for free shipping with a minimum order of $15.)

In addition to photo books, you can shop large prints, calendars, cards and metal tabletops. There are fewer size and style options than most services when it comes to photo books, but the other photo product choices make up for the lack of available styles. After all, sometimes it's easier and quicker to have fewer options to choose from if you need to pull something together by a certain date, like a last-minute gift for your boyfriend.

RELATED: 25 Best Personalized and Custom Gifts on Amazon

No matter the occasion, you can't go wrong with one of Artifact Uprising's high-quality photo books. There are numerous design options, including preset books to celebrate the birth of a new baby or commemorating a marriage. You can choose from lay-flat albums, books with photo strips and even softcover Instagram Friendly Books for the influencer in your life. The company even has an iPhone app that lets you create a photo book right from your smartphone. However, Rachel found the app to be glitchy at times and noted there's room for improvement with the software. Still, the books come out on top for elegance and simplicity.

One online reviewer wrote, "The fabric cover is beautiful. The photos are amazing quality and look amazing even though the photos were taken on film and therefore are a bit grainy." And the overall 4.6-star rating (out of 5) backs up that review. Quality and elevated designs come with a higher price tag, but there are options for $20 or less if you're shopping on a budget.

If you have a special project and a little more money to spend, Artifact Uprising offers Design Services, which allow you to work one-on-one with an expert to bring your special moments to life. Two revisions are included in the design fee, but know that each additional revision costs $50.

When Mixbook says it has "custom photo books for every occasion," it really means it. There are 374 different themed templates to choose from. From travel and sports to weddings and recipes, there's likely a template here for you. But that doesn't mean you have to give up creative control. You can still customize the look to your liking, from fun backgrounds to stickers to text using the Editor tool. Plus, there are plenty of paper varieties, from semigloss to ultra-thick matte.

Rachel appreciated the nice balance between good photo editing and price, but she did experience issues with the lay-flat option, in which the photos bled into the crease. You can also use the iPhone app to organize your photos with a tool that the brand calls "Automagic": Simply choose the images you want and select a theme. The goal of Automagic is to help arrange your camera roll so your photos are in order when it comes time to add them to your photo book.

If you store your snaps in Google Photos, then Google's very own photo book maker might be the most convenient option for you. Even though there are no fancy designs, the process is seamless. Choose from two options: a 7" x 7" softcover photo book or a 9" x 9" hardcover photo book. You can include between 20 and 140 pages, and you have the option to add a spine title if you hit more than 48 pages for a softcover or any number of pages for a hardcover.

Another hallmark of Google Photos is that you can make one photo book and order multiple copies to give to family members and friends who are also pictured in the photos. Since they come at an affordable price point, you could give everyone on your gift list a copy, whether you decide to create a collection of candid photos for your closest friends or a tangible memento of a fun family trip. Though there may not be as many designs and styles to choose from, that can make the customization process less daunting.

"Set and it forget," Rachel says about the ease of using Chatbooks, which markets itself as "ridiculously easy." You can upload images from Instagram, Flickr, Dropbox, Facebook or your computer and edit them on your desktop or via the app. The service's Custom Photo Books & Albums option is great for families looking to personalize a family vacation, as you can choose colors, layouts, cover styles, collages, captions and more. Peruse its vast collection of more than 300 unique book covers, or shop the premium lay-flat and special occasion photo books.

Or have fun with the Instagram and Facebook series — a 6" x 6" or 8" x 8" book with 60 pages — that lets you store your favorite social media posts in a tangible place to look back on for years to come.

Unique to Chatbooks is its subscription service, which allows you to receive a softcover, hardcover or mini photo book each month. If you and your family love taking photographs of walks in the park, weekend road trips or homemade pizza nights at home, this service is ideal for getting your photos in your hands ASAP. One thing to note about the subscription option is that there are only two sizes available (5" x 7" and the monthly mini).

If you're not sure where to start, our pros love Printique because it's super easy to use. You can select one of the many predesigned layouts or create an entire photo book from scratch. Choose among portrait, landscape and square orientations, as well as hardcover and softcover options. You can even store your memories in a genuine leather or vegan leather book or pick from five different fabric colors. Although you can't choose the color for a hard- or softcover photo book, you can still customize the shape, size and paper type.

Looking for something more advanced? There's also a tool for professional photographers to design and create their own photo books. Of course, you can also build up to this software later, as you add more photo albums to your collection. You could also consider starting with one of Printique's 4" x 4" Mini Softcover photo books, which have a maximum of 40 pages and come in three sizes.

With Pinhole Press, you can choose from various photo book styles ranging from board pages to softcovers to accordion-style setups. Upload your photos and let the system do the work, or manually place the photos into the layout yourself. Rachel says her kids love the Custom Board Books, which have themes such as "Count With Me," "Healthy Habits" and "I Can Be Anything." These photo books aren't just visually stimulating, but they can also educate and entertain kids for years to come.

"I got my daughter the 'My First Photo Book' as a toddler and made it all about her — like pictures with family, doing things she likes, her favorite toys, at the playground and beach, etc. — and she still is obsessed with it," says Lexie Sachs, executive director of the Textiles, Paper & Apparel Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

Rachel also notes the custom Photo Puzzle is a fun option for kids, and the Itty Bitty Books are easy to tote around in a work bag for on-hand entertainment. There's less variety in some categories, including Itty Bitty and hardcover books, but with so many additional photo categories other companies lack, there are still plenty of great options for kids.

RELATED: 30 Best Preschool Graduation Gifts for Kids

At the Good Housekeeping Institute, our pros in the Media & Tech Lab have been testing photo book makers for more than a decade. For this article, we referenced a robust test of photo book makers completed in 2009, examined updates to apps and ordered new products to test.

When choosing the best photo book makers, our Lab experts consider ease of use, performance and appearance. That means our pros take an in-depth look at a wide range of features, such as how easy it is to navigate the interface and add photos and text to the book; upload and delivery time; the number of styles, covers and templates offered; and the photo, paper and binding quality.

Keep the following features in mind when choosing the right service for your needs:

✔️ Size: Whether you're looking for a small photo board book for kids or a much larger album to house snapshots from a long family vacation, there are regular, large and miniature photo book sizes available. It's best to think about how many photos you want to include and where you plan to store the album (i.e., will the book be too tall for your bookshelf or just right on top of your coffee table?).

✔️ Shape: Most photo books are rectangular or square in shape, but some companies also offer photo puzzles, calendars and tabletops to choose from too. The shape is really about aesthetic preference and the orientation you prefer for your photos.

✔️ Page count: Are you compiling 20 photos from your daughter's first-birthday party? Or are you putting together an anniversary album of pictures of you and your partner throughout the years? The number of pages determines the number of photos you can include in an album, so you have enough space to include everything.

✔️ Paper quality: This is probably a no-brainer, as the quality of material your photos are printed on is as important as the quality of the photos themselves. Although companies with higher-quality paper, like Artifact Uprising, may have a higher price tag, the extra money goes toward paper that won't lead to photos bleeding into the crease. But there are still services that are affordable and offer good-quality products, like our best value pick, Walmart Photo.

✔️ Binding quality: Some companies, like Google Photos, will add a binding to your photo album. This feature is especially important when considering the durability and longevity of your photo album. Whether it's a softcover, hardcover or lay-flat book, make sure the binding can withstand accidental drops and the wear and tear of passing the family album around at holiday parties.

✔️ Templates: If your photo album will have a certain theme or be centered around a specific occasion — or it's your first time using a photo book maker — choosing a service that has a variety of templates to choose from will let your creativity flow and also help you warm up to the design process.

✔️ Editing capabilities: When looking at the beginner-level or more advanced designer tools, consider how robust or simple they are to use. Having lots of control over the interface is fun, but if you're looking for a more straightforward experience, opt for a service that does the majority of the decision-making for you or offers designer help, like Shutterfly.

"It really depends upon the service and your preference," Rachel says. Although some online custom photo book makers also have an app, it can have limited functionality, be buggy or not as easy to use as the desktop equivalent. "Often, an app makes it super simple to upload pictures from your phone (a major plus!) but doesn't allow as much flexibility for product assortment or editing once you've selected." That said, designing a photo book on your smartphone or tablet versus a desktop may come down to how many edits you intend to make.

"If you plan to do a lot of editing, the non-app version on a larger screen would likely be your best choice. If you want to quickly make a book with limited changes, an app on your mobile device may be the way to go," Rachel explains.

Elizabeth Berry is the updates editor at the Good Housekeeping Institute, where she ensures product reviews reflect accurate information. Prior to this role, she was an editorial assistant at Woman's Day, where she covered everything from gift guides to recipes.

To update this article, Elizabeth collaborated with Good Housekeeping Institute Chief Technologist & Executive Technical Director Rachel Rothman to gather testing notes regarding current picks. Rachel, who has tested several of the best photo book makers on this list, has more than 15 years of experience evaluating thousands of products, including toys and cars for Good Housekeeping’s annual Best Toy Awards and Best New Family Cars programs.

Amina Lake Abdelrahman is a product review writer and editor who worked as an editorial assistant at the Good Housekeeping Institute from 2018 to 2020, writing original content based on GH Institute Lab experts' product testing and analysis.

Amina is a product review writer and editor who worked as an editorial assistant in the Good Housekeeping Institute from 2018 to 2020, writing original content based on GH Lab experts' product testing and analysis. Amina graduated from Montclair State University with a B.A. in communication studies and journalism.

Elizabeth Berry (she/her) is the Updates Editor at the Good Housekeeping Institute where she optimizes lifestyle content across verticals. Prior to this role, she was an Editorial Assistant for Woman’s Day where she covered everything from gift guides to recipes. She also has experience fact checking commerce articles and holds a B.A. in English and Italian Studies from Connecticut College.

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9 Best Photo Book Makers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed by Experts

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