There’s no better way to preserve photos than keeping them in a beautifully bound photo album. Each time you want to reminisce about the old days, you can just flip open a photo album and rekindle fond memories.
But you can’t just get any photo album. If you want your most photographs to stay intact, you need to buy a photo album with archival quality. This will ensure that your pictures stay in good shape for decades.
In this guide, we’ll discuss how to pick high-quality albums for your printed photos. We’ll also share our recommendations for the best photo albums on the market.
What Makes The Best Photo Album?
Taking time to consider which album to buy can help ensure that your photos last for several generations. When shopping, you should look for the following:
Photo albums should be made out of materials that won’t damage pictures. Avoid magnetic peel-and-stick albums, since the adhesive can tear the paper. The cardboard also has chemicals that cause staining.
Look for albums that have the following qualities:
- Acid-free and lignin-free: Lignin is a chemical that’s used to produce paper. However, this chemical breaks down and releases acids after some time. This causes the pages to turn yellow and ruins the photos.
- PVC free: Photo albums with plastic sleeves sometimes use PVC plastic. This type of plastic breaks down and produces acids, as well.
- Photo-safe: Use photo albums that are made out of photo-safe materials. These include albums made from polypropylene, Mylar, and polyethylene.
There are a few types of photo albums available on the market. You can pick from the following:
- Slip-in photo albums: This is the most common type of photo album and also the easiest to organize. You simply need to insert the photos in the pockets and call it a day. However, some people might find that this type of photo album is visually boring. The clear plastic may also make it hard to view the images because it reflects light.
- Photo albums with photo corners: These albums have triangular photo corners where you can easily slip in photos. The adhesive never touches the photos, so it never damages the images.
- Non-adhesive photo albums (scrapbooks): These albums contain non-adhesive pieces of paper, so you need to manually glue your own photos to each page. While this type of album may take a longer time to organize, you’ll have more freedom to add labels, change the layout, and be more creative with how you want to display your old photos.
Self-adhesive: These products are similar to scrapbooks, but their pages are lined with adhesives. That way, you can easily stick pictures as well as other items, like letters and stamps.
Photo albums come in a few shapes and standard sizes. You can pick from the following:
Square Photo Album Sizes
Square photo albums are ideal for people who want their photo albums to have a modern vibe. If you have a mix of portrait and landscape pictures, getting a square photo album can be a great way to showcase all of them. Generally, square albums come in these sizes:
- 8 x 8
- 10 x 10
- 12 x 12
Standard Landscape Sizes
Landscape photo albums are great for travel photos. The orientation is perfect for storing panoramic photos of beautiful locations all over the world. You can pick from the following sizes:
- 6 x 8
- 11 x 8
- 14 x 11
- 16 x 12
Standard Portrait Sizes
Portrait photos have a more professional look. They’re perfect for graduation photos and anything similar. They come in the following sizes:
- 8 x 11
- 11 x 14
- 12 x 16
One of the most important things to consider when picking photo albums is photo capacity. Ask yourself: how many photos will I stick on my new photo album? Does it have enough pages for all my photos?
In case the product doesn’t have enough space for your images, you should also check if the binder allows you to add more sheets. Usually, glue-bound products have a set number of pages, but ring-binder albums can accommodate additional pages for more photos.
5. Cover Material And Design
First impressions last, and the same is true for photo albums. It’s always important to consider the album’s outward appearance, especially if you plan to display it around the house.
Aside from the cover design, consider the material as well. The best photo albums have covers made out of high-quality leather. Other types of albums have covers made out of paper or fabric, but these are not as long-lasting.
The Top 10 Best Photo Albums
Looking for the right product for long-term photo storage can be a hassle. Thankfully, we’ve saved you the trouble and have rounded up the best photo albums on the market. Here are our top recommendations:
Number of photos
Pioneer Sewn-Bonded Leather
5.1 x 23.5 x 35.9 cm
28 x 24 cm
Leatherkind Capri Series
30 x 24 x 6 cm
35.6 x 33 x 5.1 cm
8.66 x 7.09 x 1.18 in
QXX Handmade Leather Album
16 x 22 x 4 cm
12.99 x 12.01 x 1.30 inches
30.5 x 33 x 3.2 cm
Pearhead Baby Album
9 x 8.6 x 2 inches
Hama Fine Art Bookbound Album
29 x 32 cm
1. Pioneer Sewn-Bonded Leather Photo Album
Nothing beats the charm of a traditional photo album – and that’s why we chose this Pioneer Sewn-Bonded Leather Photo Album as our number one recommendation.
Available in black, brown, or burgundy, it’s a classic and sophisticated album that will look great on any bookshelf. The cover is made out of faux leather, a synthetic material that contains no animal by-products.
This huge album holds up to 300 4 x 6 photos. Since the photo sleeves cover an entire page (and are not in standard photo size), you can arrange photos horizontally or vertically, just like a scrapbook. It also has space next to the photos where you can add labels.
As expected from a high-quality album, it’s made out of archival materials. Plus, its pages are acid, lignin, and PVC-free. Rest assured that if you use this album to store photos, your images will stay in good shape for years to come.
2. Hama Photo Album
The Hama photo album is a spiral-bound album with 50 white pages. It can store up to 100 10 x 15 cm photos. Its simple, classic look would go perfectly on any coffee table or shelf.
Unlike typical slip-in photo albums, this scrapbook-style product allows you to get creative with the layout of images. You can also add tickets, postcards, labels, and letters.
Keep in mind that the pages are not adhesive, so you need to buy photo mounts or archival-quality glue. You also need to take time and effort to organize each page and stick photos one by one.
Since this album is on the cheaper side, it doesn’t have the same premium or elegant feel albums made out of leather. The pages are separated by glassine, a type of material that’s generally not recommended for archival storage. If you want to protect photos for long periods, you might need to splurge on a more expensive album.
3. Leatherkind Capri Leather Photo Album
If you want to store photos of your wedding day or birthday in a beautiful and elegant album, then the Leatherkind Capri Leather photo album is the one for you. It’s a high-end scrapbook-style photo album that’s proudly handcrafted in Florence, Italy.
Its cover is made of fine leather sourced from top-tier tanneries in Tuscany. The calf leather is naturally resistant to weathering and can come in a wide variety of colors. Whether you want a cheery, pastel wedding album or a dignified In Memoriam one, you can find the color and design you’re looking for.
The album can be engraved with a special, personalized message. Characters are engraved using heated brass, which creates characters that won’t fade as the years go by.
Since it’s a scrapbook-style album, you need to stick your family photos or other keepsakes one-by-one. Thankfully, the manufacturer offers adhesive photo mounts that would go perfectly with this product.
Each page has a protective interleave that prevents photos from getting damaged. Surely, the blank pages will be a lovely home for your favorite photos for years to come.
4. Vienrose Photo Album
The Vienrose photo album is a high-end slip-in photo album for people who want to store images of special occasions. It has enough space for 600 photos in standard 4 x 6 size. You also have the option to get a version with 620 pockets for various photo sizes.
One reason to choose the Vienrose photo album is the sturdy and impressive polyurethane leather cover. The faux leather wraps around a hard composite board that gives the album a strong and sturdy build. Not only that, the drop-in window allows people to take a peek at what’s inside without opening the album. It works great as a piece of home decor for your living room or bedroom.
Since this product comes with self-adhesive pages, you don’t have to worry about buying glue or photo corners. Its acid-free pages are also ideal for long-term storage. So, if you want a beautiful and elegant photo album for your wedding or anniversary photos, this photo album is a great choice.
One downside of getting the Vienrose photo album is that it doesn’t offer flexibility in terms of layout. You can place photos in photo pockets, but you won’t be able to organize each page to make it more visually interesting.
Still, compared to albums within the same price range, this product offers good value. It has space for a large number of photos and the cover material is also of very high quality.
5. ZeeYuan Photo Albums Leather Scrapbook
For those who want a simple, dainty album for their favorite photos, the ZeeYuan photo album is a great choice. It’s a small piece with 40 sheets (80 pages), giving you ample space to store up to 120 4 x 5 photos. If that’s not enough for you, the album has a small ring binder that allows you to add pages easily.
One reason to choose this product is its elegant and stylish design. It has a soft leather cover with a wrap-around tie, plus a gorgeous leaf-shaped copper charm. You can also pick from four colors: black, green, red, and maple red.
This scrapbook-style album has adhesive pages where that make it easy for you to mount images in various layouts. Aside from photos, you can stick postcards, tickets, and more. If you like getting creative with your photo albums’ layout or contents, then this is perfect for you.
Keep in mind that pages are made out of acid-free and lignin-free paper. That makes it safe for you to store your photos for generations.
6. QXX Handmade Photo Album
If you are looking for a gigantic, handmade scrapbook-style product, this QXX Handmade Photo Album is for you. It contains 250 sheets of paper, enough room for hundreds of photos. If you want to keep only one album for all your photos, there’s a good chance that this has enough space for them all.
One reason to choose this product is the gorgeous cover design. It’s made of thick polyurethane leather and comes in three classic colors: red, brown, and dark green. It’s also engraved with a classy and unique compass pattern.
Since it’s a scrapbook-style album, you are free to get creative with the layout. Aside from photos, you can use it to store postcards, tickets, and more. However, keep in mind that since the pages are not self-adhesive, you’ll need to use archival glue.
7. Pioneer X-Pando Magnetic Album
Not everyone has the time to lay out, label, and design each page of a photo album. Sometimes, it’s good to simply stick your picture onto the page and call it a day. If that’s what you’re looking for, go for the Pioneer X-Pando Magnetic Album.
The product contains 11 self-adhesive pages that can hold all standard-size prints. If that’s not enough space for you, don’t worry – the steel screw binding allows you to add more pages. Each sheet also includes clear plastic that protects images for years to come.
Since the self-adhesive album doesn’t come with standard-size photo sleeves, you are still free to attach any memento on the pages. You can attach letters, postcards, or stationery.
One downside of getting this product is the limited choices available for the cover material. The faux leather cover is available in red, navy blue, and royal blue. Because of the cover’s plain design, there’s no way to distinguish it from other photo albums on the market. If you want a piece that stands out more when kept on the shelf, you might have better luck looking at other options.
8. Kiera Grace Photo Album
Slip-in albums like the Kiera Grace photo album are quite popular because they’re easy to use and manage. But unlike most of the products you’ll see on the market, this one is our favorite because of its sleek and modern cover design. It makes a great impression from the getgo and will look impressive displayed on any shelf.
Another reason to choose this product is its photo capacity. It can hold anywhere between 100 to 400 photos. You also have the option to pick from 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 photo sizes. Photo sleeves with landscape and portrait orientations are also available. Unlike a scrapbook, though, you won’t have the freedom to design each page as creatively as you’d wish.
Aside from the product’s eye-catching minimalist design, you’ll also love that it’s made with acid-free paper. The plastic used for the sleeves is also PVC-free. No matter how long you plan to use the album, you don’t have to worry about your photos getting damaged.
9. Pearhead Baby Photo Album
Nothing’s more important than making sure you have a beautiful place where you can store your child’s baby photos. For this, we recommend the Pearhead Baby Photo Album.
This product includes 50 pages that can hold up to 200 4 x 6 photos. Each sleeve also has space where you can write a note or a memory of your little one. Because of its unique design, it’s more than just a photo archive – it’s a pretty journal that documents your child’s first steps.
One reason we like this product is the cover window where you can showcase your favorite photo of your baby. The album colors are also unisex, so it will work for any gender.
Another reason to choose this slip-in album is that all pages are completely acid-free. Plus, unlike a self-adhesive album, you don’t have to worry about the glue tearing up your photos.
10. Hama Fine Art Bookbound Album
Rounding out our list of the best photo albums is the Hama Fine Art Bookbound Album. Compared to other products on this list, it’s a smaller, more manageable album.
Since this is a scrapbook, you’re free to be creative with the layout of each page. The white sheets are not adhesive, so you have to buy archival glue, double-sided tape, or photo corners to mount your photos.
Each page comes with glassine dividers to protect each page and keep photos intact. The cover material is only paper, though, so you might want to add a fabric cover for an added layer of protection.
Picking the best photo album isn’t as simple as it seems. There are so many factors to consider: the type, the cover material, the size, the photo capacity, and more.
To make the process easy, just choose a product from our list. We’ve picked out high-quality albums that can serve as a home for your cherished memories for decades.