Decision 1 – Type of the Book
First thing to decide on is what type of the book you want: Coffee-Table Photo Book, Lay-Flat (Hinged) Photo Book or Flush Mount Album.
Coffee Table Book
If printed at a good printing company that works with professionals, a Coffee-Table book has the look of a Barnes and Noble art book. It has quality semi-gloss photo paper pages and satin smooth laminated surface of the durable masonite based cover.
WARNING! If you opt for a coffee table book, you might decide to use one the online services that lets you drop photos into templates and send the book into print at a click of a button. This is a cheap solution that probably serves some purposes depending on your expectations. We wouldn’t recommend this for a family memories book. The samples that we received from cheap printers invariably had some defects: front and back covers differed in size, the paper was yellowish (probably recycled) which made the photos look dull, and the stitching was sticking out luck a sore thumb when you opened the book. Top-quality printers only work with photographers and designers and avoid taking orders directly from consumers because there are a lot of technicalities involves.
Lay-Flat Photo Book
A relatively new “hinged paper” technology introduced in January 2008. An integrated flexible hinge, allows the book to open flat like a Flush Mount Album though the book still has flexible photo paper pages making the book manageable.
The most durable binding make the book resistant frequent handling. Through slightly more expensive than an average professionally made coffee table book, a lay flat book is still very affordable.
Compared to Flush Mount Albums, the design spread has a visible separation line at the binding, though with skillful design that keeps this fact in mind, the separation between the pages will not ruin the visual perception of the collage.
Flush Mount Album
Flush mount albums have thick, unbending pages with printed photos dry-mounted on cardboard. The book opens flat allowing to see the seamless continues design through the page spread. The pages are thick as cardboard which makes the book too heavy and difficult to flip through. Usually used for wedding albums, this book type is the most expensive of the three options.
Decision 2: The Size of the Book and the Number of Pages
These two questions are correlated. A book of a bigger size can have fewer pages to fit all your photos. Generally, we recommend 2-3 photos per page plus some photos for the background.