Treasured Memories With the Best Photo Books for 2021

The past year has taught us that we need to make the most of every opportunity. And that includes spending quality time with our loved ones. Pre-2000, we took photos with an actual camera, and we even printed them out! We’ll all have photo books, albums, frames, drawers or shoe boxes full of cherished photos from when the ‘kids’ were little. Capturing those special memories of their first day at school, learning to ride their bike and fun family holidays – all ready to dig out and show their other half the minute the opportunity arises. 

Nowadays, it’s safe to say we’re able to capture better quality photos on our smartphones, tablets and digital cameras. And long gone are the days of developing a film (which could take weeks), just to discover that among the 24 opportunities to capture ‘the photo’: three captured half of the hubbies face, several of them had a thumb in the corner of the photo, some were so dark we could only just about work out what the intended subject was, and the rest were so bad they couldn’t even be developed. But at least we had the physical photo to remind us of ‘the good old days’.

It’s great having photos on our phone to whip out at a moment’s notice to show off the grandkids to anyone who’s interested. But what happens if the worst should happen? A lost or broken phone often means we lose all those precious memories too. So, what’s the solution? Well, photo printing is making a comeback. There are a multitude of websites and apps offering free prints. And they also make it easy to print personalised calendars, mugs, fridge magnets and even photo books which you’ve designed yourself to keep those precious memories safe. So, we’ve put together a list of the best photo services, with the easiest sites to make photo books, along with the best quality photo books in the UK.

A woman sitting at a desk with a laptop computer
Credit: Christin Hume

1. CEWE Photoworld Best creation software

CEWE certainly leads the way when it comes to professional and quality photo book services in the UK. Their products are affordable, have a high-quality finish, and they offer a huge range of options. They have six luxury paper options to choose from, and its award-winning design software is super easy to use, with a page dedicated to tutorials on how to create and make the most of your photo book design. They also give the option of adding gold or silver highlights to any hardcover book for a super fancy finish. 

Using the photo book creator tool, you can easily add and edit text. And you can choose from a wide range of fonts and sizes to personalise your book. The CEWE Photoworld book assistant can also automatically arrange your images, allowing you to choose how many photos you want across the pages. You can even design and order CEWE photo books through Boots.com. Whether you prefer to design online, in the Boots Photo App or using the Boots Creator Software, simply choose the option that suits you best.

When you receive your lovely photo book, you’ll notice how crisp and clear the images are. Though it’s worth noting that the sharpness of the printing does mean that noise is more likely to show up than in some other books.

2. Vistaprint – Affordable with a range of options

Vistaprint offers plenty of options to create a fun photo book. There are three different cover options: linen, leather and photo. And you can choose from a standard matte or a gloss finish. 

To create your photo book you can either use the web-based builder on your computer, or you can download the Offline Editor from the Vistaprint website. Both options are pretty easy to use. And there are a decent selection of layouts to choose from (though not as many as some other providers). You can design your own photo book from scratch, or have the builder fill in the pages for you. Some pages will look nicely put-together, while others might look a bit odd so you might want to play around with it afterwards. Overall, Vistaprint offers some affordable options for photo books, and they always seem to have discounts running. But if you’re looking for more sophisticated design choices, then there are better options out there.

3. BonusPrint – Easiest to use

Turn your favourite moments into stunning high-quality printed photo books with BonusPrint’s versatile and super easy to use service. Available via an app for desktop, smartphones and tablets, standard options include landscape, portrait and square books. And you can add a little luxury to your photo book by choosing to have the cover in leather or linen for an additional cost to make your book even more special.

One of BonusPrint’s best features is its Smart Assistant. Simply select the folder your photos are stored in, and the assistant will smartly pick out your best photos. It will eliminate duplicates, blurry and out-of-focus photos to make the whole process quicker and easier. Of course you can edit the album if you’re not quite happy with the selection, but this process can save you hours of hard work. And you can import photos from social media too, so there’s no need to download any images before creating your book. BonusPrint are a little pricier than others on the market, but there are often discounts to be found to save yourself some pennies.

A red photo book on a white table
Credit: Frelo Design

4. Snapfish – Best budget option

One of the best-known photo book services in the UK, Snapfish have been in the image business for the past two decades, and they sure know what they’re doing. They have a simple drag-and-drop photo book editor, which guides you through every part of the creation process. 

Snapfish offer money-saving deals all year round. But this budget photo book provider doesn’t sacrifice quality or variety, with more than 120 themes to choose from. The colour accuracy is pretty good – even on the cover (better than some other providers). Though it’s best to avoid images that are too highly saturated. Overall the printing quality is decent, and although the prints could be sharper, the image quality is fine. But if it’s real high-end you’re after, you might want to consider other options. 

5. MILK Books – Best high-end option

If you’re looking for something extra special, then M.I.L.K. (Moments of Inspiration, Love and Kinship) is for you. Create a beautiful home for your treasured memories with their premium handcrafted photo books that really show your images at their best. They combine traditional book making techniques, the finest materials and the latest print technologies to create a high-quality photo book that you’ll want to show off at any opportunity.

MILK photo books are on the pricey side, but they do offer premium cover fabrics, substantial board pages, stunning high-quality printing, and an optional presentation box, which makes a great gift or keepsake. You can create your photo book via the website on both desktop and
mobile devices, just simply upload your photos into the MILK Design Studio to start creating. There are 1000s of designer templates to choose from. And the smart Autofill function makes it super easy to create your photo book. Their helpful video tutorials are full of handy hints and tips too. The main drawback of the service is the long delivery times—presumably because of the care they take in creating their photo books—but the quality and price easily justify the wait.

There are lots of other photo book services out there. So, to help you make the right choice, you first need to work out what purpose your book will serve. Creating a professional photography portfolio will require high quality paper and printing services to ensure no image quality loss. But if you just want to create a book of old family snaps, or a little memento of a fun holiday, then one of the more budget options may do just fine. 

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