Monday, February 29, 2016

Photobook Review: AdoramaPix (Software and Paper Types)

AdoramaPix 8x12, 8x10 and 8x8 Photobooks

Background Information

I tried three different sizes and paper types from AdoramaPix, so will need to post my reviews separately (otherwise this post would be intolerably long).

For this first post, I will give my thoughts on AdoramaPix's online software for building photobooks, and some quick comparison pictures of my photobooks. I hope to post the individual photobook reviews soon.

Software Review

Here are some screenshots from my 8x8 book:

Software showing the cover. Images are on the left, and spreads/pages along the bottom.
Proper sorting options for your photos
You can reorder spreads easily, but not individual pages
Decent selection of fonts. I'm a big fan of this Carolyna Pro font! Note the spine here is shown wider than IRL
You can add or remove spreads, but only in even numbers. If you delete a spread, it will delete the one currently selected.
Quite a lot of premade layouts, but not many that suit my aesthetic. 
Trim area/guideline is shown in light grey all around the spread
There's also a handy mirror feature (compare to above)
My obligatory ridiculous sticker collage. I didn't use any stickers in my actual books, but if you are so inclined, you have ... options. 
One of the best features here that I didn't see anywhere else: when you select multiple objects, you can then easily center the GROUP of objects. This saved me a ton of time. 
And each object has a Properties box, so you can adjust the position coordinates or dimensions EASILY. 
Double click an image to pan/shift the image around in its container. Much better than some software which opens a separate dialog to do this. 
Another great feature is that you can copy objects, groups of objects, and entire spreads. 
Also adjustable gridlines are available. I didn't use them, since I specified dimensions and coordinates by pixel. 
The Preview mode hides the trimlines, but a warning message on the left shows which pages have images within the trim area. 
End pages cost $2, but if you opt into the logo, they are free. I just paid the $2. End pages are the same photo paper as the rest of the book. 
You can also easily adjust image opacity, but again, I didn't make use of this feature. 
You can select all elements (Shift+A yay for keyboard shortcuts) and clear the images...
to make your own template. Not quite the same as saving custom layouts, but pretty darn close. 


  • Size dimensions and position coordinates
  • Can select multiple objects to re-position (but not re-scale)
  • Live font preview
  • Can copy paste objects and spreads
  • Keyboard shortcuts for most operations
  • Sort photo options available


  • Cannot rearrange separate pages (only spreads)
  • No pre-set spread layouts 
  • Cannot save custom layouts (you must copy-paste spreads and clear photos)
  • Spine width is not representative of real printed book width 

Overall, the software for AdoramaPix is one of the more robust software I have tried, and for online-only software, it's easily the most flexible I have tried. No major complaints from me (for once!!)

Photoshop Guides

AdoramaPix also provides some Photoshop templates if you prefer to create your layout in Photoshop here.


Here are the three sizes I tried. 

Top: 8x12, Left: 8x10, Right: 8x8

Stacked on top of one another
Personally, I felt the 8x12 size to be a bit too long (but it does fit 3:2 full bleed pictures wonderfully). I prefer the 8x10 size for travel photo books and the 8x8 square for more casual projects (like year in review books). 

Although my Blurb book was also an 8x10 size, the actual measurements are a little different. The Blurb is a little taller and a little shorter, which gives it a more squat appearance. 

Paper Comparison

I ended up trying three papers with my three books: 
  • Lustre: the standard paper. No complaints about the detail or colour reproduction, but I found I do not like the slight pebbly texture of Lustre paper (not just AdoramaPix, but all Lustre finish)
  • Fuji Deep Matte: the most expensive paper they offer (and not available in certain smaller sizes). This feels wonderfully luxe, but I found it works better for landscapes than pictures of people. It looks great for full bleed prints, but less impressive on smaller pictures. 
  • Fuji HD Glossy (High Gloss): I generally dislike glossy finishes, but this one is actually very nice. The colours are super vivid, and the paper does not retain fingerprints like most glossy paper. It gives a more casual vibe, though. I think this is great for vacation prints. 
I would recommend the Deep Matte paper for more art-sy projects, and the HD Glossy for more casual prints. Lustre is also good, if you don't have a strange aversion to the texture! Close-ups of the paper will be in each of the individual reviews. 

Fuji Deep Matte, then Lustre, and then Fuji HD Glossy (High Gloss) 

More info on the paper types here.

You can also request a sample of the paper here (down at "Let us send you a sample", although it took almost 2 months for me to get the sample book, haha)

Paper Thickness

I briefly considered getting a caliper so I could provide some numbers, but they are surprisingly expensive, so you will have to settle for a non-scientific comparison! 

From thinnest to thickest (of the three I tried): Lustre, Fuji HD Glossy, Fuji Deep Matte. 

Top to bottom: Lustre (36 pages), Fuji Deep Matte (14 pages), Fuji HD Glossy (40 pages)

Left to right: Fuji HD Glossy, Fuji Deep Matte, Lustre

More detailed individual review posts to come!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Photobook Review: Snapfish Premier Layflat Hardcover

Snapfish Premier Layflat Hardcover Book

Monday, February 15, 2016

Photobook Review: Artisan State (ZNO) Layflat

Artisan State (ZNO) 6x8" Layflat Hardcover ($5 Trial size)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Photobook Review: Blurb Hardcover ImageWrap

Blurb Hardcover ImageWrap Standard Landscape

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Photobook Review: Mixbook (Premium Lay Flat Hardcover)

Mixbook Classic Landscape Premium Lay Flat

Monday, February 1, 2016

Overview: Photobook Company Reviews (Sept 2015 - May 2016)

For quite some time now, I have been meaning to create “year in review” photobooks and photobooks for our big vacations, but only recently started to have some free time. I did a lot of online research, but ultimately decided that I needed to try a few companies for myself in order to decide which company to move forward with.

I only planned to sample 3 or 4 companies, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ones I tried, so expanded my search. To date, I have tried 10 companies, and there are still two on my “to-try” list.

In my online research, I did not find many comprehensive reviews that were recent (from the last year or two), so I decided to post my own reviews here in hopes that it may be helpful to someone else.

I've got a lovely bunch of ... photo books