We love photo books – and the great news is, there are photo book creation options for everyone, depending on your budget, how much time you want to spend on the project, how much customization you require and how polished you want the finished product to be.
The bad news is, not all sites work for Canadian shoppers, so we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite Canuck-friendly options to help you get started. We’ve also included a few US options at the bottom because they’re big-time fan favourites, but keep in mind you’ll likely get dinged for extra shipping and custom/import duties upon delivery.
Blacks makes photo book creation pretty straightforward, which is great for those who are intimidated by the book-making process or who don’t want too many options. With Black’s you can choose from a few different themes, colours and sizes and build your book from there. Nice and easy.
- Starting price: $12.99 for 20-page, softcover book
- Delivery within Ontario between five and nine business days depending on shipping method
- Photo wallets, magnets, calendars and ornaments are also available
Costco’s online photo centre offers a wide range of products including photo books. Select a cover style and add your own photo(s) and text to be featured on the front. With each option you can choose from a variety of layouts and templates, conveniently drag & drop your photos, and easily add captions.
- Starting price: $25.99
- Delivery in five to 12 business days
- Books start at 30 pages and you can add up to 30 more for a total of 60.
This site offers Canadian-made, affordable, traditional photo book looks. There’s nothing fancy here, but they have some nice, classic options and offer five different book size and cover design options.
- Available in traditional or square formats with the option to customize the cover and spine of your book
- 20-page softcover books start at $12.99, hard cover at $29.99. Additional pages are extra.
- Free delivery across Canada
This Canadian company designs and manufactures premium photo books in Toronto and offers a design service option for extra cost, which might be worth it if you’d like a team of designers to create your book for you (with your input, of course!)
- 10 size options (starting at $9.95), and seven printing material options.
- Design-conscious upgrades include Imagewrap Hardcover (from $30), Textile Hardcover (from $50) and Slipcase (from $95)
- Newsletter sign up gets you a 15% discount on your first order
Photo books are not Vistaprint’s core business so the design options are minimal, but the site is still a good option for those seeking good quality and value for the money. Vista Print also offers fast shipping and has many additional custom photo gifts and ideas to choose from.
- Photo Books starting at $13.
- Seven size options in portrait, square and landscape formats.
- Finishing touches include personalized covers, glossy photo finish and additional pages (up to 120) for extra cost.
Henry’s is well-known in the Canadian photography industry and they have some decent, but not overly sophisticated, services for photo book creation. They also offer many other services, including prints, cards, calendars, canvas and more, if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for custom photo ideas.
- Books start at 20-pages and come in a variety of sizes along with hardcover, softcover and harcover leather options, as well as horizontal, square and vertical orientations.
- 4×4 in softcover books start at $13.99
- Production time is nine-13 business days
It’s no surprise that the makers of the Easy button take a pretty no frills approach to photo books. Staples offers few creative flourishes but a variety of sizes and finishes means you can still create a lovely and customized finished product without breaking the bank.
- Prices start at $22.49 for a 6×8 in book with a linen or leatherette cover.
- Variety of templates and cover options
- Free shipping on orders of $45 or more.
Cheap and cheerful, Walmart Canada’s photo books include soft and hard-cover options, along with an Express Book that can be ready in as little as 2-4 business days. Prices start at less than $10 for 4×4 in soft cover book and go up to $28.97 for a 9×12 in hardcover book.
- 20 page with more at additional charge
- Room for up to 300 photos in hardcover books and 150 in softcover books
- Available for free in-store pick up or ship to home
- Express Books have room for 20 photos, are printed on Kodak Professional Photo Paper and come in 3 sizes.
U.S. Options That Offer Great Quality
We couldn’t pass up including a few of these fan-favourites. They offer great quality as well as more options and variety—but you’ll have to pay the shipping and might get dinged with custom/import duties upon delivery.
Blurb is well known in the photo book scene and has some really sleek, polished, high-quality books. The creation process is user-friendly and Adobe plug-ins are available. Blurb is great for anyone who doesn’t mind paying a little extra for a plethora of options and creative flexibility.
- Save 35% on your first book purchase with email sign-up.
- Five book sizes available.
- In addition to photo books, find templates for e-books, cookbooks, children’s books, graphic novels and more.
- Price for a small square, 7×7 in 20-page book starts at $32.99 CAD for 20 pages. Each additional page is $0.35 CAD.
Chatbooks has gorgeous options for covers that are as stylish as they are unique. Chatbooks are affordable and simple to create, and the “Series” option allows you to automatically create a new book with the upload of 60 photos.
- 6×6 in or 8×8 in sizes
- 6×6 in softcover photo books start at $10 USD
- Add photos from multiple sources including Facebook, Instagram, Flckr, Dropbox or computer.
Forever’s main point of difference is how quickly books can be made. The “just enough” approach to customization options will help you customize to your satisfaction without getting overwhelmed, and the layflat binding option (premium add-on) makes for perfect presentation.
- 21-page books start at $19.99 USD
- Available in two sizes and styles: 8×8 in and 12×12 in, hard and softcover. (Leather cover is a premium add on).
- Archival-quality materials ensures the life and quality of your book for future generations
Mixbook has plenty of beautiful options for customization including templates and fonts. Users can choose from 359 photo book themes.
- Rated #1 in 2014 by Top Consumer Reports in the U.S.
- Landscape photo books start at $21.99 CAD
- The “Get Inspired” tab will help kickstart your creativity for all photo projects, including books.
With no shortage of size, customization and embellishment options, Shutterfly is a pioneer in the photo book space. And they offer three different ways to make your book: have their designers make it for you; make it yourself using Simple Path (automatic photo arrangement on the template of your choice), or Custom Path (layouts are professional and predesigned, or designed by you).
- Excellent image and overall book quality
- Popular design templates include Disney, Sesame Street and Star Wars
- Square, 8×8 in books start at $19.99 USD
Snapfish users love the easy-to-use photo editor and step-by-step instructions, not to mention the number of customizable options including more than 120 themes, backgrounds and templates. But Canadians beware, you’ll wait a lot longer for delivery!
- 20-page 8×8 in hardcover books start at $29.99 USD.
- Square, portrait and landscape options.
- Delivery estimates to Canada are between eight and 30 business days
5 Pro Tips for Creating Your Masterpiece:
- If you’re making multiple books for different people start by creating one master version that can be tweaked for others using dates and images that are meaningful to them.
- If you do photo books annually, create a file on your phone and/or computer every January that you can transfer your favourite photos into throughout the year. And if you’re including photos from other family members, be sure to give them plenty of time to share their favourite images with you.
- Consider attaching a theme to your creation, like “Our Summer Vacation,” “Favourite Family Moments” or “Being Silly in 2019.” This helps create a more structured and cohesive finished product, and you can change the theme year to year.
- Pay attention to how your photos are organized and ordered. A great photo book is like any story, so consider how you want yours to flow and unfold.
- Before you buy or decide on a service, search online for sales. It’s not uncommon to find a promo code for 40%, 50% event 60% off especially around the May and December holidays, as well as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.