Nations Photo Lab Photobook Review

IMG_0166Whenever I go to a trade show there are dozens of companies all offering virtually identical photo books and consumer albums. With the vast majority of them all being the same, none have ever really stood out before so I have to admit I wasn’t exactly excited when my friends over at Nations Photo Lab told me that they had a new photobook coming to market. Since I have been impressed so far with their products I figured I should go ahead and take a look at one and see how it would turn out.

What is a Photo Book

Put simply, a photo book is a printed book of images bound together in some way. Nations Photo Lab offers sizes from 5”x7” to 11”x14 with a few unique features. First off, NPL actually sews their bindings instead of the more common “glue and press” technique. Along with the stitched bindings, NPL also uses acid-free covers and papers to maintain true archival quality. Along with the different sizes, there are also four different types of covers in a handful of colors. Along with the cover options, the following options are also available:

  • Custom photo covers
  • Imprinting
  • UV Coating
  • 6-Color printing
  • Color Corrections
  • Lay-Flat bindings

Putting Your Photobook Together

IMG_0169Nations Photo Lab has a tool called ROES to help you design your pages. With simple drag and drop controls and the ability to choose any of the available options, ROES is a complete design and ordering tool. While ROES may suffice for many users, if you want more complicated designs you can design them in a tool like Photoshop and then just import the finished graphic to place on the page.

ROES comes as a Java applet for your web browser which makes it a popular, cross-platform ordering solution for both amateur and professional photographers. Most printing companies have their own customized version of the software for you to install on your computer that allows you to design your layouts, add photos, and even address fulfillment.

What Is The Finished Book Like

I am quite pleased with the finished product and because I used a good selection of my sample images, I can use the finished book as a portfolio piece. For my photobook, I got the 11×14 book with linen paper and a canvas photo cover. This has a base price of $99 for 20 sides. I added for more sides at $2.20 per side so my total was $107.80. The canvas cover is very vibrant and really makes for a great first impression. The large size is quite impressive as well although its too tall to fit on most bookshelves. I suspect the most common sizes will be 10”x10”, 8”x8”,  or 8.5”x11”. I personally am a big fan of the square formats so my next book will likely be a 10”x10” book and I expect to sell these to customers pretty easily since its quite a bit cheaper than the much more expensive wedding albums I have typically been selling.

Are Photobooks For You?

IMG_0170It really depends on what you want to do with your images. While simple 5”x7” prints are the most common print sizes these days, there is something special about having them done up nicely into a book that will last for many, many years. For those extra special events such as graduations, weddings, special birthdays, etc., having those memories easily accessible and in a format that is simple to handle can really mean the difference between pictures that are stored in shoeboxes in the closet and ones that are actually viewed over and over again.

For more information on Nations Photo Lab’s Photobooks, go visit:


Kerry Garrison lives in Castle Rock, Colorado with his wife and two dogs. With 10 years of experience shooting products and 5 years of experience in the wedding industry, Kerry brings a good deal of technical know-how and can explain topics in easy-to-understand terms.

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2 Responses

  1. Ed R. says:

    100 bucks and no printing on the spine?

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