Monday, March 7, 2016

Photobook Review: AdoramaPix Lustre Paper

AdoramaPix 8x12 Landscape, Lustre paper

Basic Information

My first AdoramaPix photobook was an 8x12 landscape with the standard Lustre photo paper. Here are the details of the order:

Basic Information
WebsiteAdoramaPix (link) (referral link*)
ProductPhoto Book
Size8 x 12 Landscape
Actual Dimensions
(exterior cover)
30.9 x 20.3 cm
(12 1/8 x 8")
Actual Dimensions
(interior pages)
30.2 x 19.9 cm
(11 7/8 x 7 7/8 ")
Cover TypeHard Cover (image wrap)
Spine Printing?Yes (text and image)
Type of Pages/BindingLay Flat (seamless)
Type of PaperLuster Finish
# Pages36
End pages?Optional
List Price
(excl. shipping)
$81.12 (pricing info)
Shipping CostFree shipping over $39
Promotion Used25% off
Total Price Paid
(incl. shipping)
Cashback at time of order?5% on Ebates (referral link), 6% on MrRebates (referral link)
Date Ordered9/28/2015
Date Shipped10/8/2015** (USPS)
Date Received10/9/2015
Photobook EditorOnline

* If you create an account through the referral link above and place an order of $15 or more, I will receive a $10 credit, and you will receive a $5 credit. You can still use cashback!
** AdoramaPix was closed for Jewish holidays 9/28 until 10/6

Software Review

Please see this post for my review on AdoramaPix's photobook software.

Product Pictures


Inside cover shows the blank end page (same type of paper as the rest of the book)

First printed spread

Custom layout on the left, and fullbleed on the right

Last printed spread

Inside back cover and blank end page on the left

Back cover

View from bottom of the book - very neat and tidy construction

Spine (note that we used a white transparent overlay so the text would show up clearer, but this white overlaps to the front by a 1/4" because the software representation of the spine is not dynamic to reflect real-life spine thickness)

Close up of inside front cover - again, very tidy construction

Texture of the standard lustre paper. Turns out, the fine texture of lustre is not to my taste! 

The construction is a seamless layflat style

Comparison to 4x6 Prints

Some comparisons to my 4x6 ProDPI control prints: 

Cover is a touch warm compared to the 4x6, but not distracting

Inside tone does not seem to vary from the print

This picture is dark in both the print and the book. I should have lightened it in some third party software first. 

This page looks spot on to the print to my eyes

Again, the page looks very close to the print

The orange tone is a tad yellower than the 4x6 print, but again, not distracting

The skintone in the book is actually a little more flattering than the print here!

Another nice example

Some blues in this image for comparison

I do love this picture from Kyoto

In this page, I did feel the book was a tiny bit darker than the print, but rather negligible


Since AdoramaPix prints on photo paper, this usually unfair part of the review is actually good!

Final Thoughts

I have been really impressed with the AdoramaPix photobooks I have tried. This first one I ordered was an 8x12 landscape with the standard lustre finish photo paper.

I found that this dimension is a tad too long for my preference and that I did not care for the lustre finish of the paper (though it provided great colour reproduction and depth). After this order, I decided to try two other photo papers (Fuji Deep Matte and the Fuji HD Glossy paper), and in two other sizes (8x10 and 8x8). Those reviews will be posted after this one.

My initial feeling about the AdoramaPix book was that the prints were a little dark, but when compared to my ProDPI control prints, they were nearly identical. So, I think this perceived darkness has to do with photo prints in general. After making several more photobooks after this one, I now lighten/brighten my photos in Lightroom before creating photobooks, and I would strongly recommend doing so for AdoramaPix as well. If that seems like too much trouble, you may wish to use their colour corrections (at no additional charge), which is the default setting. For my reviews, I opted out of colour corrections (you make this selection after you complete your book and go to the checkout page).

As with other layflat seamless photobooks, the pages are double-thickness. With photopaper, this results in a rather thick page that can feel a bit distracting. Many people seem to like this thickness, so YMMV.

You may find in some older reviews, complaints about pink lines down the center seam (also for Artisan State) - AdoramaPix resolved this issue several years ago. I think they also changed their cover photo paper from a metallic finish to a lustre finish. Since photobook companies do change their products over time, be aware of the published date for any reviews you may be relying on, so you know what to expect.

Regarding customer service, I had a question about the photobook editor, and customer service responded very promptly. If you google around a bit, you'll also notice they have an employee whose job is to respond to complaints made online (see Yelp and various forums), and to resolve any issues. I think this shows good commitment to customer satisfaction.

Pricing is very competitive and easy-to-understand. They do run promotions from time to time (the best ones I've seen are 25% off total book, or 50% off additional pages over the default 10), but not at the same frequency as MyPublisher or Photobook America. The promotions are much easier to understand too, which I really appreciate. For MyPublisher and Photobook America, you really have to read the fine print to know what the code applies to, and the constant barrage of promotion codes feels very low brow to me.

Finally, as I mentioned in my overview post, I am somewhat worried about the pages of this photobook sticking together over time, which I first read about on this site and then further on this AdoramaPix threadAdoramaPix’s tips for preserving photo books, while useful, is slightly off-putting, because I want to be able to put them on book shelves or on our coffee table and actually enjoy them (and not only on "special viewing occasions"!!). For the everyday photobooks I'm making (year in review, travel books), I want to be worry-free. For special occasion photobooks where the print quality is paramount, I would not hesitate to use AdoramaPix.

  • Beautiful print quality (vibrant colours and print resolution)
  • Real photo paper (choice of photo paper upgrade available)
  • Free shipping over $39 orders
  • Good experience with customer service 
  • Very competitive pricing that is transparent and easy to understand (they do run promotions, but not as frequently as other companies, and not nearly as confusing!) 
  • $2 or free end pages

  • Not a fan of the lustre paper texture
  • You will definitely need to lighten your photos, as true photo prints will tend to print out darker  and with more depth than most press-printed products (same goes for the ProDPI 4x6 prints). Or, keep the colour corrections option selected when checking out (maybe?)

Since I have been very satisfied with AdoramaPix, I have provided a referral link that can be used to create an account. If you do so, and place an order of $15 or more, I will receive a $10 credit, and you will receive a $5 credit. Since the referral is for account creation, and not based on checkout, this means you can still use cashback (such as Ebates or MrRebates) on your actual order! You may notice that I haven't provided referral links for most of the companies I've been reviewing, as I have not been impressed by most photobooks I have tried.

Additional Reviews

Here are some reviews I relied upon before placing my order:


  1. Hi, thanks for the helpful review. I was wondering if you could provide some more detail on how you brighten your photos. Is this something you adjust for each photo during the edit phase before printing to jpeg, or do you use a common brightness increase for all p[ictures during batch print to jpeg? If the latter, what amount of increase would you suggest? Thanks very much!


    1. hi Mike!

      I would edit each image during the editing phase before uploading to adoramapix. I suppose you could do this process as a batch, if all your photos were taken under the same conditions.

      You could also try adoramapix's adjustments (With this option selected, I believe they have a person adjust / optimize each picture, rather than an automated process like at Shutterfly).

      hope that helps!

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