There are a wide variety of photo book building tools available on the internet, and while their quality and specifications might differ between each service, the crucial element that should be a major concern to you is the quality of the paper. Granted, the standard paper thickness many photo book companies use for your order are far from being bad, but they don’t convey that extra touch and feeling most people are looking for.
Thankfully there is typically a solution to this, with many companies giving you the choice between various types of paper.
When to Choose Thicker Paper?
While there is nothing wrong with the standard paper companies use to print out your books, the semi-glossy texture is a true fingerprint magnet. There is also a slight chance of bleed-through during printing which might destroy your best pictures. Not only that but the default paper can only be paired with standard soft or hard covers, meaning that quality material like leather, linen, metal and so on are out of question.
Another thing to consider when choosing a higher quality paper is whether you want to affect the appearance of the paper or not. Thicker papers are available in matte, which is ideal for paintings, drawings or anything that requires a more subdued feel. However, you can have the option to pick glossy paper for a better emphasis of your photos while there is also luster, which is the perfect, photo-paper like material. This last type even removes those small little dots pictures are composed of during regular printing, resulting in a smoother appearance. And to make things better, luster also allows you to ask for small modifications in the texture and add a pattern to the paper to simulate linen or even silk.
You can also go for the always popular layflat binding option, which demands thicker paper types due to the way the photos are presented in this type of book. And last but not least, there are flush mount books, the Rolls Royce of photo books that provide extra thick, board pages which, unlike their regular layflat counterparts, do not blend.
Still, the most important aspect of picking higher quality paper is the purpose of your photo book. If you have a photo album in mind or you are creating the book for a once in a lifetime occasion, like a wedding, then you should always opt for a thicker type of paper. However, with the exception of standard covers, the square shape and sizes smaller than 8.5×11, you can pair thicker paper with any cover, theme and size.
Availability at Photo Book Companies
Almost all of the photo book builders we have tested provide the option to select any paper type you like, including the special layflat ones. As an interesting contrast, though, the best of the best – Mixbook and Shutterfly – and specialized builders like Montage or BrideBox offer the least number of paper types. The heaviest papers (300lb) can be found at PrestoPhoto, the super thick board pages are available at Picaboo while the largest selection of paper types comes via AdoramaPix and Photobook America.
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