Consumer Guide to Photo Book Printing & Binding

Not all photo books are created equal. When consumers come to PhotoHand to order a wedding or family book, our first question is what kind of printing and binding they prefer. So, how to choose what photo book you want?

Based on the type of paper and binding used in the production, photo books can be of three kinds: Flush Mount Albums, Coffee Table Books, and Lay-Flat Photo Books.

How to choose printing and binding for photo books

Options available for all the types:
custom photo book design or templated design
– custom photo cover or fabric/leather/vinyl cover with a monogram or without
– UV coating

Flush Mount Album
Flush mount albums have thick, unbending pages with printed photos dry-mounted on cardboard. The covers are mostly made of leather, leatherette fabric, or vinyl.
ADVANTAGES: The book opens flat allowing to see the seamless continues design through the page spread.
DISADVANTAGES: The pages are thick as cardboard which makes the book too heavy and difficult to flip through. Also, the most expensive kind of the three.

Coffee Table Book
If printed at a good printing company, the book looks like an art book sold at Barnes and Noble. Coffee Table Books have been successfully replacing Flush Mount Albums in the wedding album, family, maternity and baby book market. The photo paper pages can be reinforced with UV coating that will make them as thick as business cards.
ADVANTAGES: The book definitely looks more contemporary and elegant. Price-wise, the most affordable of the three options.
DISADVANTAGES: Frequent handling can eventually weaken the binding or cause paper cracking leading to tear at the binding.

WARNING! If you opt for a coffee table book, you might decide to use one the online services that lets you drop photos into templates and send the book into print at a click of a button. This is a cheap solution that probably serves some purposes depending on your expectations. We wouldn’t recommend this for a family memories book. The samples that we received from cheap printers invariably had some defects: front and back covers differed in size, the paper was yellowish (probably recycled) which made the photos look dull, and the stitching was sticking out luck a sore thumb when you opened the book. Top-quality printers only work with photographers and designers and avoid taking orders directly from consumers because there are a lot of technicalities involves.

Lay-Flat Photo Book
A relatively new “hinged paper” technology introduced in January 2008. An integrated flexible hinge, allows the book to open flat like a Flush Mount Album though the book still has flexible photo paper pages making the book manageable. The photo paper pages can be reinforced with UV coating that will make them as thick as business cards.
ADVANTAGES: The most durable binding make the book resistant frequent handling. Through slightly more expensive than an average professionally made coffee table book, a lay flat book is still very affordable.
DISADVANTAGES: Compared to Flush Mount Albums, the design spread has a visible separation line at the binding, though with skillful design that keeps this fact in mind, the separation between the pages will not ruin the visual perception of the collage.

As you can see there pluses and minuses in each option, but Whatever type of printing and binding you pick for your photo book, PhotoHand will create page designs to match the requirements of of your chosen technology.

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