This post is part of our wedding album review series, where we provide honest feedback on the most popular wedding albums available today. To see all of our wedding album review posts, click here.
Before I dig too deeply into this Mixbook wedding album review, it’s worth mentioning the difference between a wedding album and a wedding photo book. When I started this project, I would have laughed at you if you told me there was any difference between the two that wasn’t semantic. But it turns out there is.
Wedding photo books are the more affordable option, and they are more or less what they sound like: books with photos printed inside. Wedding albums used to be the wildly expensive items you could only get through a professional photographer. You know what they often look like: lay-flat pages, gold embossed fabric covers, the works.
But these days the lines have started to blur. Wedding albums and wedding photo books are now both commercially available to design on our home computers. And with lay-flat pages becoming more widely available, things are even more confusing. But if you’re going to buy something with your wedding photos inside, you should look to see if the product is listed as an “album” or a “photo book,” because the quality of anything listed as an “album” will likely be significantly higher (as will the price).
All that to say, Mixbook currently only offers wedding photo books—albeit ones with with lay-flat pages. That means their prices are significantly better than most other albums we’ve reviewed, but the quality isn’t as high.
What follows is a review that isn’t 1:1. Comparing a photo book to a wedding album might not be a completely fair comparison. But hey, it’s a product you might well consider purchasing as wedding album, so we did it anyway.
MIXBOOK WEDDING ALBUM REVIEW
Price: Mixbook’s photo books start at $17 for a standard photo book. Unfortunately they don’t give you live updates on the price until you add it to your cart, so it’s hard to tell how different factors impact the final cost. However the most expensive lay-flat photo book I could make was just over $300 for 99 pages (which is the max you can print with a lay-flat photo book). Mixbook is also one of those companies that is almost always running a promotion, so it’s safe to say that $300 price tag can be cut down by anywhere from 25 to 40 percent, depending on when you order. While the quality is not going to be as high as a traditional wedding album, Mixbook very likely boasts one of the more affordable lay-flat options in the game.
Cost Per Page: $3–$4
Overall Book Quality: C
Overall, when my book arrived, it wasn’t anywhere near as high quality of a book as albums from other companies (see: photo book, not photo album). I didn’t have any fancy cover options, like fabric or leather. The only cover game going was a photo, and the quality of that cover photo didn’t feel fantastic. And while the book technically has lay-flat pages, they are much lighter weight and don’t fully lay flat on their own. Beyond that, the paper used for printing photos doesn’t feel particularly lush. The photo reproduction is good, but overall the book feels underwhelming if I’m comparing it to pricier wedding albums. That said, this was one of the most affordable books I reviewed, and the price to quality ratio was good. So if you’re looking for an affordable for-now album, or a parent album that doesn’t cost a ton but still has lay-flat pages? This might be exactly the ticket.
Overall ease of use of software: B
Here is the best thing about Mixbook’s album software: it has an undo button. I know, that sounds like one of those tools that isn’t worth a mention, because everything has it. Well, that should be the case, but I’ve found that wedding album software is about a decade behind everything else. (So many “but why’s,” so much frustration.) And do you know how often I need an undo button when I’m laying out photos? Every three minutes. So when I say that I find Mixbook’s software actually intuitive and easy to use, I mean it. They thought about how people actually use online tools, and then created something that made sense, so hats off to them.
So why am I not giving them an A for software? Well, because of the sheer number of options they provide, and how frustrating I found it to sort through them. Mixbook offers tons of predesigned photo book options: stuff for weddings, stuff for babies, stuff for everyday. And the process of sorting through all these offerings to figure out what I want to make is a headache. Beyond that, the selection process added an additional frustration. Every time I went to look at a particular option and decided against it, I was dumped back at the beginning of the process, selecting book size. As it turns out, lots and lots of options is not what makes designing a photo book easy: a few well designed options is.
If you’re going to make a wedding album with Mixbook and you want something closer to the modern, minimal layouts you’ll find at other companies, your best bet is to choose the “start a blank book” option. From there you can choose the number of photos you want on each page and a more simple layout without any of the extra accouterments. (Pro-tip: They also have an autofill button that will place your photos chronologically for you in your album design, which can be super helpful for something like a wedding album.)
Photo Upload: A
Photo uploads with Mixbook are fast and easy. They don’t let you upload directly from Dropbox, which I prefer, but they do allow uploads from Google Photos, Instagram, Facebook, and SmugMug. Since many wedding photographers use SmugMug, this is an extra convenient option, and one most album companies don’t offer.
Quality of design: B-
If I were basing my review on sheer number of layouts and designs, Mixbook would be head of the pack. But as noted above, what I learned from this process is that I don’t want a welter of design options: I want a handful of great options.
That said, if you’re looking for a more graphically designed album—as opposed to something more minimal—Mixbook might be exactly what you’re looking for. Their designs include a lot of style elements: stickers, backgrounds, and the like, which most album companies do not. They also have a full set of wedding themes. Many of their styles and layouts feel a bit more in line with scrapbooking style, not art book style, but you can opt to take things in a more minimal direction if you so choose.
When it comes to the photo layouts themselves, I would say they were middle of the pack. They don’t feel particularly modern or fresh. There also isn’t a two-page bleed option—where one photo is spread across two pages—which I really love. That said, they had all the basic layouts I needed, which was (weirdly) not universal.
Cover quality & Options: C-
The place Mixbook really can’t compete is cover quality. There are no options for covers that give the sense of something being a high quality album versus a photo book. You can’t get fabric covers (or anything anywhere near gold foil). Your only options are photos printed on the cover. Five or six years ago, that was the best option going if you didn’t have zillions of dollars. But now there are so many great options for high quality album covers that a printed photo felt disappointing. And while the interior photos felt like they had good color accuracy, the cover photos felt like they fell below that mark.
Quality of Photos Printed In Album: B+
The photos were nicely reproduced in the album, though the paper and printing style itself didn’t feel particularly expensive.
Overall color accuracy: A
The color reproduction was great and felt accurate.
Overall MIXBOOK WEDDING ALBUM SCORE: B-
Mixbook is, well, a mix. (#sorrynotsorry.) The software is good, the layouts are not the best (and unless you’re creating a blank book from scratch, are probably more design-y than you want in your wedding album). The book quality is obviously not album-level good, but the price is amazing.
In short, I’d rate Mixbook as an excellent budget option. If you want a wedding album but don’t have a ton of money to spend at the moment? This is a great way to go. It’s also ideal for making things like parent albums or guest books, where you want something nice… but not super expensive. Mixbook isn’t the best in the entire game right now, but they may be the best for the price.
This post is part of our wedding album review series. To see more of our wedding album review posts, click here.
This post is not sponsored, however we did receive a free album from Mixbook, mostly because we’re not made of money and can’t afford to buy a dozen $300 wedding albums. As always, we monetize some of the links on our site, so if you choose to make a purchase from any of our album reviews, APW may receive a commission. APW only links to products and services that will add value to our audience. All opinions are our own. To take a look at all of our album reviews you can click here or search Wedding Album Reviews.