A photo album is a great way to present your best snaps. It might seem a little quaint, or old-fashioned, to actually print out and keep a physical copy of your digital photos, but there’s nothing quite like a photo album to really show off your best work. Besides which, if technology becomes obsolete, you might not be able to recover digital archives – paper is of course a universal format that should always be accessible.
Photo albums also make for a great present to celebrate special occasions, whether you fill the album yourself, or gift it for the recipient to fill. Weddings, anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, the birth of a new baby are just some of the fantastic reasons to start a brand new photo album.
If you can't find what you're looking for here? Take a look at our guide to the best photo books for an all-in-one printed option, our alternative guide to the best scrapbooks, or consider one of the best digital photo frames for an alternative way to display lots of images.
The best photo albums: What to look for
There were four key things we considered when putting together our guide to the best photo albums: the type of album, quality, material, and size.
1. First up, type. Photo albums come in a few different formats. Those with slot-in pockets are very easy to put together, but don’t give you any flexibility with layout. Self-stick pages give you a bit more room for maneuver. Finally, scrapbooks give you the most freedom, but you will need something to adhere your photographs to the page – such as glue, photo dots or photo corners.
2. Next, quality and material. Regardless of price, you should look out for albums that use acid-free paper to ensure your photos have the best possible chance of surviving the ravages of time. Cheap albums can be a good idea if you have lots of photos to store, but it can be worth splashing out a little more if you’re celebrating a special milestone, event or occasion. It tends to be those with higher-quality covers that will cost more.
Finally there’s a few questions you need to consider when selecting the right sized photo album…
3. How many photos do you want to include in the finished album?
4. 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…
The best photo albums in 2020
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.
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.
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.
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 MagicFly 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 tastes.
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 wedding photos, you’ll want something that stands out from the rest of your photo books. With its pretty silver cover (also available in gold), this Hama product will look great on your shelf and reflect the special photos found within. 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, order of service and so on, on the pages.