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  • Writer's pictureGiovanni Rusconi

What is the difference between a photo book and a wedding photo album?

Choosing the best option (according to your personal taste) is the first step to creating your precious memory on your wedding day. To help you discover which product is perfect for you, whether a photo book or a photo album, we thought we'd explain the difference between these two types of products.

Today's technology offers a variety of options for preserving memories, from soft-cover photo books to hard-cover lay-flat albums. But these choices can differ greatly from each other.

When it comes to having a tangible keepsake, photo albums and photo books are the most popular. But there are three main differences between photo albums and photo books that are important to know. This is also because it is good to know what you are really paying for.

Today we will give you a general overview of what are the differences between photo books and photo albums.

The memory of your wedding

Photographs capture the precious moments of a wedding for generations to come. Traditionally, the wedding album has been one of the most cherished memories linked to this special day. Digital technology offers modern spouses a variety of new options for recording wedding memories: digital files stored in the cloud, home made photo books (typically online) and traditional albums prepared by professional photographers.

Today, the two main physical products regarding wedding souvenir photos remain photo albums and photo books. The main differences between them, but not the only ones, are: the technology and the paper used to print them. While photo books (which are often purchased from online suppliers) are printed by digital printers on normal paper, in a process very similar to printing a company brochure, the Wedding albums are printed using a different photographic process on photographic paper, similar to 8×10 photographic prints.

From this main difference between the two types of final products, there are also many other small “sub-differences”. For example, you can use professional photo paper or regular photo paper, or you can use flat lay digital paper or regular digital print paper. The type of binding, the process and the materials used are also significantly different. For example, photo albums are usually bound in a real leather cover with a precise manual process.

As with everything in life, differences in quality lead to differences in price.

What is a wedding photo album?

Photo albums were invented to vividly illustrate stories from our past and protect the precious memories of our lives. Traditionally, professional photographers collected all the photos taken at an event and organized them well in an album. The photos would have been manually attached with various types of adhesive to the pages that were supposed to protect the photos.

As mentioned, they are printed on photographic paper (single-sided) using a photographic process similar to an 8x10 print, typically on professional paper (which renders the image better and has a much better duration).

Albums are generally made in these variations:

  • Traditional albums: the images are printed separately (4×6, 5×7 8×10) and inserted in "frames" which are part of the album pages

  • Flush mount album: each page is printed as a photo and then mounted on cardboard, one image per side. Therefore the pages are thick and do not bend. Today this is the most common and popular wedding photo album

  • Album with flexible pages: This is a new product on the market, where the pages are printed with photos but glued back to back with a unique technology that offers a magazine style but with photo pages

One of the most interesting aspects of a photo book, compared to a traditional photo album, is the price. Photo books can be created and purchased for much less than a traditional photo album.

You may be wondering, "Why would anyone ever opt for a traditional leather photo book when a personalized photo book has certain advantages?" Well, I've found that there are some features of traditional photo albums that many people will always wish they had.

Just as some love the compactness of photo albums, some couples want the photo album thick and heavy. Many photographers have said that some of their clients find that a heavy, leather-bound book makes their photos more meaningful. A colleague once told me: "When you take a wedding photo album and put it on your lap, because of the weight you feel that you are about to embark on a visual experience of a significant event.

Many of my historical customers have also said that they prefer a traditional photo album because their photo albums, even with decades behind them, still look new. Photo books haven't been around long enough to know if they have the longevity of photo albums (although I personally know they don't). Pictures tell stories and couples want their stories to be told forever.

My advice? Whether it's a photo book or a traditional photo album, make sure your precious memories are well preserved for a long time to come.

What is a wedding photo book?

Photo books have entered the world of photographic solutions with their new elegant design and trendness" factor . To put it simply, a personalized photo book is a printed and bound book (just like a children's picture book) that combines photos and, most of the time, text. People can create and personalize their own photo books, which they couldn't do with traditional photo albums, with special photo effects, imaginative text and other aesthetically pleasing features pleasant.

Let's see some customizable elements:

  • Soft cover: cover printed on paper, book pages printed on plain paper and bound with staples

  • Photo cover: hard cover with photos, book pages printed on plain paper, generally bound with perfect binding or stitched

  • Imitation leather cover: cover with leather effect, book pages printed on normal paper, generally bound with a perfect edge or stitched

  • Genuine leather covering: alternatively, "not real" leather can also be used, but materials containing a mix of real and artificial leather

  • Lay flat paper: generally in wedding photo books the paper protrudes and does not lay flat unless this type of special (and more expensive) paper is used

When binding a photographic book, all the pages are taken and grouped together, creating the book block, and then the book block is placed inside a prefabricated cover< /strong>. To keep this book block attached to the cover, a portion of the cover is first wrapped around the book block, creating a tunnel in which the block itself sits. When glued or sewn, this "tunnel" does not allow pages to fold completely. Therefore, when the book is opened, it will tend to close if left alone on the table and its pages will certainly not remain flat. But flat paper, which is more expensive and difficult to print, has a small "plastic" hinge which allows the paper to lay flat.

Photo albums and photo books: let's summarize the distinctive features

The type of paper

One of the most obvious differences between albums and books is the type of paper. Photo album photos are printed on photographic paper, just like a traditional photographic print. The photo paper has a slight sheen and is protected by a UV coating.

The images of the photo book are printed directly on the printing paper of your choice (semi-gloss, linen, matte or pearlescent). Although it differs from photo paper, print paper is a much better option for printing photos than typical computer paper. Plus, because it's easier to write on paper for printing, photo books are perfect for use as guest books and travel diaries.

The photographs

As anticipated, the images in the Photo Albums are printed on photographic paper. In contrast, photographs for photo books are printed by digital presses on regular double-sided paper with a glossy or matte finish. This is why the pages are thicker and more resistant in a photo album.

Images for photo albums are printed using advanced digital printing or traditional photo developing processes. The prints are then hand mounted onto sturdy photo cards. This creates completely flat pages and provides full panoramic images and designs. Thanks to this process, the pages are thicker, more durable and resistant to wear. This process also allows your images to display lifelike color vibrancy.

The construction

The images in the photo album are printed on photographic paper reinforced by a high quality substrate. This material makes the pages rigid, thus ensuring the long life of the finished product. Once printed, all album pages are expertly paired with a hand-crafted cover to create an archival-quality heirloom album.

Scrapbook pages are available in two styles: thin or thick.

The pages of a photo book are printed directly on printing paper and then precisely bound.

The final construction steps differ depending on the page style you choose.

Covers and Binding

Photo album covers are handmade and can be in leather or linen while photo book covers are available with a flat hard cover, a classic hard cover and a flexible soft cover. The photo album covers are tailor-made based on the needs of the individual. Instead, as for most photo books, they are tied together by points like magazines or books.

The covers of some photo books are also made by hand and can be made of leather, imitation leather, linen. These are also custom made to fit each individual album perfectly. In contrast however, online photo book sellers can make the covers from a machine that only allows for a limited number of spine capacities.

Photo books might even offer the option of having a fabric lining and a die-cut window on the cover. Most photo books are assembled/bound by gluing or sewing like most magazines or books.

Duration and style

Photo albums are known for being extremely resistant thanks to the material used, while photo books are printed on thin paper and more subject to the passage of time. Photo albums have flat or recessed pages, while photo books are available in a wide range of paper types: glossy, matte, textured and velvet.

All photo albums have what are called "flat" pages. or "flush mounted", which means there are no bindings to interrupt the flow from one page to the next. This allows you to create stunning panoramic openings or express creativity with two-page layouts.

Photo albums are known for being extremely durable thanks to the material used, its construction process and its heavier weight. You'll find that albums will still look brand new even after many decades. That's why photo albums are highly recommended for family and wedding albums so they can be passed down to future generations.

In contrast, because photo books are printed quickly using a digital printer on relatively thin paper, they are not intended to last for particularly long periods.

Final evaluations on quality and price

Since photo albums are made with high-quality printing techniques, material, mounting and construction methods, they are much more expensive than photo books .

In light of the many variables listed in this article, it is clear that photo albums can cost up to several hundred euros.

The most interesting aspects of a photo album are its duration and its sophisticated style.

If you want something that will last a lifetime, a handmade photo album is worth the investment.

I hope that now you know all the main differences between Photo Book and Photo Album and can decide which is the right option for you.

Of course it is clear that, in general, a photo album represents a better choice than a photo book when it comes to choosing your collection of wedding photos.

But, on the other hand, if you want modern and personalized photo pages, you can opt for a photo book as it offers you various options of cover, paper, shapes and sizes at a lower price than the classic wedding photo album .

They are also a great option when it comes to ordering gifts for friends and family, for graduation or birthday parties.

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