The best photo albums can be used to show off your professional portfolio or family snaps, and although the practice has fallen out of fashion in modern times, they are still a brilliant way to keep your most sentimental memories – or prized photographs – together in one place.
In the digital age most of us will keep our photos stored somewhere online, or on a hard drive, so much so that the creating an album might seem outdated or even quaint. But what better way to celebrate your favorite photos than by printing them out and keeping a physical copy inside a beautifully bound album?
The best photo albums are of course a nice way to display your photos, but a physical copy of your images also provides a level of protection should you lose your files. What if the hard drive that you're using to store your images gets corrupted, or the website goes down and your images can't be retrieved?
A photo album will ensure that your precious photos can be passed down in your family, and that the memories remain accessible and available as time goes on and technology changes.
• See also: Best wedding albums
A photo album is not just about the past or the future, but about the present – and treasuring the memories you have right now. Whether you want to celebrate an anniversary, special trip or wedding, a photo album will house these memories in a beautiful way. They also make excellent gifts for special occasions!
If you're looking for more ways to show off your images, check out our guides to the best photo books for an all-in-one printed option, or if you're feeling crafty, the best scrapbooks. There's also the best digital photo frames for an alternative way to display lots of images. The best photo albums need filling with top-quality photos, and for that, check out our best photo printing online guide or our best photo printers guide.
The best photo albums: What to look for
When we put together our guide to the best photo albums we considered the type of album, the quality and material, and the size.
1. Type: There are many formats for photo albums, including slot-in pockets and self-stick pages. Slot-in pockets are simple to put together, but they offer little layout flexibility. The best scrapbooks give you the most freedom for your layout, but you'll need additional materials to secure your images to the page, such as photo dots, photo corners or the best scrapbooking glue.
2. Quality & Material: No matter price point you're looking at, make sure you purchase an album that uses acid-free paper. This will ensure that your photos will have the best possible chance of surviving over time. If you're celebrating a special milestone even or occasion, you also might want to consider splashing out on a higher-end photo album with a great quality cover. However, there are plenty of affordable photo albums if you'd prefer that instead.
3. Size: There’s a few questions you need to consider when selecting the right sized photo album… How many photos do you want to include in the finished album? And how many are you hoping to display per page? For slot-in albums, the choice is straightforward, but it’s a little trickier to calculate about when using self-stick pages or scrapbooks.
Here are some of the best photo albums that we have been able to track down online, to help get your pictures in order…
Best photo albums in 2022
This stylish Pioneer photo album will look fantastic on your shelf, with the leather cover giving an air of sophistication and quality. There’s room for up to 300 photos in this album, with an easy-to-use, slip-in format with space next to the photos for captions. This album is acid, lignin and PVC free, too, so you can rest assured your photos will stand the test of time.
Choose from three cover colors; the black is a classic option, while the red and brown versions also look great. You could pick up a few in different colors for different years or occasions.
This gorgeous Leatherkind photo book has a real sense of luxury, thanks to its high-quality, handcrafted Italian leather cover. The interior is scrapbook in style, giving you maximum flexibility when it comes to layouts – but you will need to think about photo corners or photo mounts, which can be quite fiddly compared to self-adhesive or slip-in albums. You can fit up to 300 6x4-inch photos in this album, though of course you’ll fit fewer in if you want to include larger prints. What’s great about a book like this is that you can mix and match print sizes to suit your own personal taste.
If you like to get creative, a scrapbook-style photo album like this Hama book is the best idea. You can stick in photos in a variety of different sizes, as well as including ephemera such as tickets, postcards and other mementos, if you wish. You can also use embellishments for a further touch of creativity. Since there’s no adhesion or slip-in pockets you’ll need to remember to also purchase mounting squares or photo corners, which although completely flexible can be a little fiddly to use. This is the best photo album choice for those who get a lot of enjoyment out of the creation of a photobook and have lots of patience.
The Vienrose album is designed to take lots of pictures - so a great way of capturing a big celebration from every angle in the one book. There are 600 4x6in photo pockets in the standard version - but there is also an alternative with 620 pockets that allow you to mix 3x5in, 4x6in and 5x7in prints. There is a good range of colors for the hard-wearing leather cover too - the gold version looks particularly impressive, but there is blue, black and brown options too.
The stylish leather travelogue design of this ZeeYuan photo album makes it an ideal choice for gathering together all your best holiday and travel shots. With a scrapbook-style design, you’ll find space for up to 120 photos, but you can experiment with the layout to create a book which matches your own preference with ease. You’ll also have space for all your travel memorabilia, such as tickets and postcards. One nice touch is that it comes with a set of photo corners to get you started. Finally, the ring binder design means you can add extra pages should you fill it up quickly.
We love the design of this photo album, which has the look and feel of your great grandparent's writing case – buckled up to hide its secrets from prying eyes. Inside you get a traditional scrapbook with thick 300gsm pages one which you can choose how artistically you want to arrange your images. The 8.2 x 5.7 inch sized pages give you enough room to fit two 4x6in prints on each of the 72 pages. There is a choice of either black or parchment-colored pages on which to mount your photos – and the whole thing is bound in hand-stitched cowhide.
A self-adhesive album like this one from Pioneer is great for both flexibility and ease of use. You can create your own layouts and templates, without the bother and hassle of photo corners or photo mounts. On the down side, captions can’t be written directly onto the pages, so you’ll need to create caption cards or inserts for that. With no restrictions on layout, you can also include tickets, postcards, menus and other keepsakes. The traditional (faux) leather cover looks great on your bookshelf, and with several different colors to choose from, you should be able to find one to match your taste, or the occasion.
This Kiera Grace photo album is a great choice if you have lots of photos to store and want to get them sorted as quickly and as easily as possible. With space for 400 6x4-inch prints, you can cram lots of memories into this book, and for a very reasonable price too. There’s even a slot for a CD, which you can store your digital images on for re-printing in the future. The downside of a book like this is in the inflexibility of layout – you don’t get to choose how many images you include per page, plus there’s no space for nostalgic ephemera either.
Equally ideal for your own little one and as a gift for new parents, this sweet Pearhead Baby Photo Album has space for up to 200 photos – which should be enough to get you through at least the first few months. The album is super easy to use, which is great for busy new mums and dads, and there's space next to each slot for a caption, note or memory. You can also choose a favorite photo to slot into the front of the album to really set off the overall look of the book.
When it comes to displaying your photos in multiple albums, you'll want a design that allows you to see one album from the others. This neat and affordable design has a window cover – allowing you to customize each volume with a different picture that can help you tell which album is which. It's scrapbook in style, so remember to pick up something to attach your photos to each page – such as photo corners, or photo mounts. These can be a little bit fiddly, but a scrapbook does give you scope to include lots of different photo sizes, as well as other items, such as wedding menus, tickets, and so on, on the pages.
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