Photo Books - any experiences?

Hello all,

I am interested in printing a photo book. I see the ads for Blurb, Shutterfly, Walgreens, etc., but I would like to hear of your experiences with photo books. Were you happy with the quality of the book, the prints, the paper, etc. If so what did you order?

I am also curious to hear if anyone has experience with a higher quality photo book provider or if such a thing exists.

I am not looking to print a run of 50 to a 100 books, this is mostly for myself.

Thanks in advance.


I have made many books with Blurb and am totally satisfied. I always made hard cover, the largest size, and with one of the premium choices of paper, I think Luster. If you use LR, it’s really so much easier because you can edit your photos even after you put them in the book (of course not after you upload to blurb for printing).


I’ve used both Shutterfly and Artifact Uprising. Artifact Uprising definitely has higher quality paper. Both suffer from excessive contrast in my opinion.

I haven’t found a vendor I’m 100% with but the books I had done were for personal gifts so it didn’t need to be top professional quality printing.


@Tony_Siciliano @Richard_Wong Thank you for the replies! My current plan is to use Blurb for exactly the same reason you have noted. Everything is setup in LR and ready to go. I’ll check Artifact Uprising as I’m not familiar with their offering.

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I recently purchased Slavomir Dzieciatkowski’s ‘The Stillaguamish’ from Blurb to compare the books images to his website. They were greatly inferior. Definition in both the highlights and the shadows was greatly diminished and the colors were less vibrant and sometimes off. I compared those printed images with those from the Sierra Club calendars and found them to be greatly inferior. I’m quite certain he could have made superior prints on his home printer. It would be nice if you could see sample printed pages of your book and be able to back out if you’re not satisfied.

I wouldn’t write off Blurb completely because of Tony’s comments but that was my impression of Blurb. The book was printed on semigloss paper and had a softbound cover.

I have made several books with Blurb including 2 wedding books. I do hard cover and the largest size as Tony does. When I switched to the ProLine Pearl Photo paper- a Scott Kelby recommendation- there was a marked improvement in quality. The soft cover with lesser quality paper was not very good. I like Blurb much better than MPix. I lay out the book in LR and upload. I did download and use Blurb’s icc profiles for soft proofing but didn’t see a particular difference. From the time you upload you have an hour window to review the layout etc. and cancel if you need to make changes, after that the order goes to press.

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Thank you for the replies @Igor_Doncov and @Craig_Marvil. I am uploading to Blurb right now so I’ll know soon what I think about their books. At Craig’s suggestion (via Scott Kelby) I did set the paper to ProLine Pearl Photo.

I am intrigued by the Flint and the Chinle products for sale on Moab Paper’s web site. These two options allow you to print your own photos and display them in a portfolio or in a box format. Each one is probably worth experimenting with.

I’ll post once I get my book and let you know what I think of it.


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I’m late to the party here, but to anyone considering a Blurb order: they have in recent years posted a 50% Off Black Friday coupon that lasts about four days over the holiday weekend. Serious savings for big projects and orders.


Time got away from me and I forgot to get back to this post. I did receive my book, and I am super happy with it. I’m really glad that @Craig_Marvil posted to recommend the Pearl Photo paper as that was a great suggestion.

As long as you don’t expect it to be at a quality level that would be what you would expect when you purchase a limited edition photo book from a specialty printing company I expect most anyone would be happy with the quality from Blurb.

I will say that I felt like I was fighting Lightroom to achieve a consistent look and feel from page to page. The interface is limited and I had difficulty making any type of global change, but otherwise it seemed more straightforward than using Blurb’s web site.


I have made several books on Blurb and am most satisfied with the quality. Both the ProLine Pearl and Pro Line uncoated papers are great. I get the hardcover and wrap an image or two around from the front cover through to the back cover. The uncoated paper doesn’t pop as much as the Pearl. Also, the uncoated is not as durable, but it is most artistic for a book that will be gently handled. It is most important to inspect everything (images and subtitles and writing) before uploading. I inevitably have had a typo or two in my books in spite of repeated scrutiny and proofing. Be sure that your images are not too dark; this can be a problem, especially if you are using a gray or charcoal paper. You might want to look at the Book Module tutorial of Jay Graham on Vimeo. He has some helpful techniques for book layout. Blurb does an excellent job.

As a reminder, Blurb’s annual 50% OFF deal ends tonight. Use coupon code BIGFIFTY.