- Easy-to-use, mobile-friendly editor
- Advanced photo adjustment options
- Over 200 themes (backgrounds)
- Non-expiring coupons
- Long running refund policy
- Expensive base prices
- Inconsistent size–cover pairing
It’s an old cliché that the competitors of each market (including photo book editors) can be divided into three categories: the big fishes, the mediocre solutions with shameless marketing and the hidden gems. And despite its empty meaning name, Collage.com is such a hidden gem. Founded in 2008, this Michigan-based company provides over 50 different products, including photo books that can be created in one of the simplest, yet most advanced editors we have tested. In Collage.com your photos are auto-arranged in the best layout possible, you have over 200 themes and you can select 6 sizes and pair them with 3 different covers. You can edit your photo book anytime from anywhere by accessing the editor either from a regular or a mobile browser. Books, which can be ordered with plenty of everlasting discounts, are produced and shipped within a relatively short period of time, and if you are not satisfied with the final result you can ask for reprints or refunds from the apt customer support for two whole years.
Editing Speed Comparison with the Competition
Collage.com’s photo book editor is a huge surprise – in a very good way. First of all, you can create photo books with relative ease from a desktop or a mobile browser. After a quick upload from a computer or your Facebook/Instagram account, which you can do only once, you have the option to place your pictures manually or use the fast auto place option. It is during this step where the software offers you to make a nice collage of your photos on the front cover, which, if not liked, can be rearranged any way you want.
By default the brutally simple editor previews all pages of your book; this way you can easily rearrange not only the pages, but your photos as well. However, if you want to make modifications on one particular page, just simply zoom in and enjoy virtually countless customization options for your photos. For instance you can crop and rotate them, make them pop out, enhance them, add frames and stickers, doodle on your pictures, and the list goes on. Quite uniquely you have the option to arrange your photos in various shapes like a continent, a birthday cake or even a soccer ball and/or simply use the 3 simple photo borders on them.
Automatically Picture Perfect
As for layouts, the editor uses the most optimal ones for your photos, which automatically changes whenever you add/remove a photo or a text box. If you don’t like the layout, you can always shuffle your photos until the perfect layout is found or you can turn on the Free Form Mode which allows you to place your photos wherever you want. You can change the background of the pages in two ways: either by modifying the background of one or more pages or by applying the changes globally.
Collage.com makes sure that nothing is lost thanks to the continuous auto-save option. Furthermore, it also automatically recommends you to add more pictures to the page if it contains low resolution photos. And if you want to change the size and the cover, you can always do that retroactively.
When it comes to designs in Collage.com, you’re in a bit of a pickle. Don’t get us wrong, you have plenty of options within the editor; it’s just that things are a bit more complicated.
Like we mentioned before, layouts are automatically created by the software each time you add/remove a picture/text box on a page unless you customize the layout of the pictures on your own with the Free Form Mode. However, this way you have the option to customize the backgrounds in almost any way you want, either changing them one by one or by modifying all of them at once.
As for your options, you can change the color of the background by choosing the ones offered by Collage.com or by mixing a color of your own. But if you want something more traditional, you can choose from 224 preset backgrounds under 9 categories like vintage, geometric, family, patters etc. Just don’t forget that these preset backgrounds, which we are going to call designs without remorse, could reappear under multiple categories.
The company’s selection of book sizes and cover types is a bit disappointing. However, this disappointment quickly fades away once you realize that no matter which size and cover your choose, you can change your mind later in the editing process.
Keep in mind that you should always start with selecting the customizable cover, because not all covers can be paired with all six sizes. For instance a soft cover book can be ordered in square or landscape shapes in 8×8, 4.5×6 and 6×6 sizes. Hard cover books, on the other hand, are available in 8×8, 8.5×11.5, 12×12 and 10.5×14 sizes. All these books can contain 20–500 photos on at least 20, but not more than 150 pages.
There is a third category: books with premium hard covers and layflat pages. These books exist in 8×8, 8.5×11.5 and 12×12 sizes and like the other types of books, they can contain the 20–500 pages on at least 20 pages. However, unlike their regular counterparts, these books can only have 70 pages tops.
Collage.com’s prices are a bit high: believe it or not, an 8×8 book soft cover book is the most expensive in its category with a price tag of $29.99. Just for comparison: a 4.5×6 and a 6×8 soft cover book is $9.99 and $19.99 respectively. Upgrading to hard cover while keeping the same 8×8 size costs an additional $30, while premium hard cover books with layflat pages start from $65.99. Depending on the chosen cover and size, each new page adding up to the default 20 costs $0.50–$2.00. No matter how many books you order, soft and hard cover books can be shipped for at least $5.99 within the U.S. If you order a premium 12×12 or 10.5×14 book, the price tag is $15.98 plus $5.99 for each additional book.
Naturally the company has many coupons and discounts: like the must-get option for newcomers with which you can save on your first orders with the possibility to get a 50% discount on one copy of the same product in your cart. You can gift the pleasure of creating a photo book with Collage.com by sending a loved one a gift card via email or postal mail. The absolute best thing about these gift vouchers is that they can be kept as long as long as wished, because they never expire.
Support & Shipping
Through Collage.com’s customer support (provided by the so-called Customer Satisfaction Team), you can get answers to your questions the usual way. You have the option to email or call the personnel every day between 8am and midnight; in fact, emailing Collage.com is the only way to receive personalized bulk discount offers. The company also maintains a well-developed help section with frequently asked questions, and a blog with the latest tips and promotions, which can also be found on their social media pages. Quite interestingly Collage.com is so confident in the quality of its products that, should you dislike your order in any way, you are entitled to receive a full refund (including shipping and returning costs) or a replacement product within two years from purchase.
Your photo books are produced within 3–5 business days and it takes the same amount of time to ship them with standard shipping – unless you choose the overnight or 2-day shipping methods. As for international shipping: it is $8.99 per order and takes 1–4 weeks.
Becoming a Collage.com client is like buying a lesser known smartphone: at first you think it is a lemon, but after a while you feel like you have found the Holy Grail. This photo book editor is a true hidden gem with only very few cons; such disappointments are the rather expensive prices, the few photo book promotions, the inconsistent size–cover pairing and the confusion with the themes that are called backgrounds.
But other than that, Collage.com is a worthy competitor of the bigger fishes. The editor is very simple, yet it has a lot of options with which you can customize your books to your liking, either from a computer or a mobile browser. And with a maximum processing and shipping time of 10 business days alongside the record-holder two year-long refund policy, Collage.com photo books will definitely please you with countless happy hours for many years.