Before we dive right into the world of different photo book papers, let us clear one thing: even though not all paper types can be paired with all book covers and sizes, there is no bad choice.
Photo book builder companies pay extra attention to print their products in the best quality possible, whether you have ordered their cheapest product or you decided to go for something more special.
With that said, let’s see what you will get once that package containing your self-created photo book arrives.
The Importance of Right Photo Book Paper
To Lay Flat or Not to Lay Flat?
This is the question that must be decided when ordering a photo book, because aside from the cover this choice is the most prominent. But what’s a layflat book, you might ask. Basically layflat is the name of a binding technique with which your photo book can be completely opened in a 180° angle allowing the readers to enjoy a true panoramic experience. Due to this unique binding layflat books cannot be made of ordinary materials: the pages are extra thick and they are often made of super-glossy, high-quality papers often with a silky touch.
Despite looking much classier than a regular photo book, the binding technique also increases the price tag of a photo book significantly. Furthermore, layflat books can never be ordered with soft covers, always preventing photo book editors from reaching the perfect cover–paper type pairing.
The Non-Layflat Options
There are a few things you have to decide before going with a type of paper: the number of photos, the inclusion of text, what you want your book to be and many more.
The Standard, 100lb. paper is an ideal choice for those who fully trust photo book builder companies and want nothing else but high quality paper. Choosing standard paper reduces your costs drastically, plus you still get a nice, satiny touch and a semi-glossy appearance. The huge downside of these paper types is that they usually cannot be paired with certain book cover types (leather, for example) and there is a chance of bleed through. To avoid this either order your books with a black background or choose a thicker version of this paper type if available.
True photo paper, usually made by Fuji or Kodak, is the real deal if you want something more professional or you want to give your photo book as a present for a special occasion like wedding, graduation etc. Furthermore, you have a better range of choices with photo papers: you can choose whether the paper should be matte, glossy (the latter emphasizes your photos a tad better), or lustre (a unique, photo paper-like material). The downside of these papers is the same as that of the regular papers: they can only be paired with certain cover types. And unfortunately, due to the default thicker nature of photo papers, books created with these materials can only contain lesser pages than a book made of the default standard paper.
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