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Written By
Updated Mar 9, 2023 11:08 AM

Photographs hold a storied past, and preserving them well in dedicated photo albums can keep those memories intact for decades to come. While people mostly take and store photos on their phones or computers nowadays, there’s still something to be said for printing out physical copies. Or, perhaps you have a family archive of old photos sitting in shoe boxes needing a proper home. No matter what, storing your photos in an organized way can help you enjoy them more frequently and keep them safe over the years. Keep reading to learn more about our top picks for the best photo albums.

How we picked the best photo albums

In selecting the best photo albums, we read reviews and reports from photo archivists. We utilized that information, as well as our own experience as photographers, to determine some of the criteria for the best photo albums. Additionally, we based the selections on extensive research and multiple years of experience testing and reviewing products.

The best photo albums: Reviews & recommendations

Best overall: Pioneer Photo Albums Fabric Frame Cover Photo Album

Pioneer

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Why it made the cut: The Fabric Frame Cover Photo Album hits all the marks with its durable and photo-safe materials, memo pad feature, and high-value storage.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 2 x 9.25 x 9.5 inches
  • Cover material: Fabric
  • Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Capacity: 100 pages display up to 200 4×6 inch photos

Pros

  • Memo writing area
  • Simple but stylish
  • Photo-safe materials
  • Comes in 23 colors

Cons

  • Fits only 4×6-inch photos

The best photo albums include high-quality materials, an attractive exterior, and a convenient interior. Customers and experts love Pioneer’s photo albums because they’re affordable, archival, and appealing to the eye. This particular photo album from Pioneer combines everything we love about photo albums: a classic look, high-quality construction, easy storage, and personalized flair. 

A photo album shouldn’t only hold your photos, it should capture your style and personality too. The durable fabric cover comes in more than 20 colors, so you can choose the right hue to display in your home. For storage, the interior features patented bidirectional pockets that can hold both horizontal and vertical images. You can store up to 200 4-by-6-inch photos safely because—like all of Pioneer’s albums—the Fabric Frame Cover Photo Album is acid-, lignin-, and PVC-free. 

The best part about this album is that it includes a memo area next to each photo so you can jot down names, dates, places, and more. And you can slip a photo into the fabric cover to highlight your favorite image and set the tone for the curated album—perfect for displaying on your coffee table.

Best value: GPIRAL Small Photo Album 4×6 2 Pack

GPIRAL

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Why it made the cut: This two-pack set checks every quality we looked for in a photo album, all at a low price, making it our pick for the best value.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 7.68 x 6.1 x 2.36 inches
  • Cover material: Linen
  • Weight: ‎10.5 ounces
  • Capacity: 52 pages in each album hold 52 4×6-inch photos

Pros

  • Simple but stylish
  • Photo safe
  • Comes in six colors
  • Pack of two

Cons

  • Fits only 4×6-inch photos

GPIRAL’s Small Photo Album is a fun-size version of Pioneer Photo Albums’ Fabric Cover Album without the personalized frills. Simply slip your 4-by-6-inch photo into a page’s top-slit clear acid- and PVC-free pocket. The archival-quality pocket sheets won’t stick to your photos, preventing unnecessary photo damage. This album is perfect for storing a smaller collection of images, postcards, flashcards, and more. And you can title your collection by using the album’s front window.

You can even take this album on the go! Similar to a compact journal, this photo album closes with an elastic strap and can easily fit into a backpack or tote. The best part about this set is that you get two high-quality albums for the price of one.

Best scrapbook: Vienrose Photo Album/Scrapbook

Vienrose

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Why it made the cut: Vienrose is the only company that offers an archival-safe scrapbook photo album at this price point.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 11 x 10.6 x 1.8 inches
  • Cover material: Linen
  • Weight: 2.38 pounds
  • Capacity: 40 pages hold up to 120 4×6-inch or 40 8×10-inch photos

Pros

  • Accommodates most standard photo sizes
  • Acid-free pages
  • Linen cover
  • Comes in 14 colors, two volumes, and two sizes

Cons

  • The adhesive can damage photos

Not all scrapbooks look kitschy. Vienrose’s sophisticated scrapbook can easily blend into your bookshelf. The photo album comes in 12 colors and two sizes. That means you can choose the best option to fit your photo collection and decor. Even better, each page can accommodate standard photo sizes up to 8-by-10 inches. That’s larger than our other picks, so if you have photos bigger than 4-by-6 inches, this is the way to go.

To start scrapbooking, all you need to do is peel off the film, arrange your pictures on the semi-adhesive page, and then place the protective film on top. Some users mentioned that putting on the protective layer without air bubbles was challenging. We suggest taking your time when covering your pages. You’ll also want to use your thumb or a squeegee to smooth out any air bubbles.

Vienrose’s product is the only self-adhesive photo album on this list. We generally advise against purchasing this type of album for cherished photographs, such as older images you’re hoping to preserve because the adhesive yellows over time. If you want to create a scrapbook featuring older images, we suggest scanning, printing, and using copies of those images. You can best protect your cherished photographs in an archival photo album or a photo storage box.

Best archival: Pioneer Photo Albums 3-Ring Photo Album

Pioneer

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Why it made the cut: This classic photo album allows users to safely store hundreds of precious photos that can easily be rearranged.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 2.75 x 8.5 x 13.5 inches
  • Cover material: Leatherette
  • Weight: 1.85 pounds
  • Capacity: 168 pages hold 504 4×6-inch photos

Pros

  • High capacity
  • High-quality construction
  • Classic appearance
  • Three-ring binder style

Cons

  • Fits only 4×6-inch landscape photos

Pioneer Photo Albums makes the list once again with this antique-style photo album. The elegant and simple design includes a leatherette cover with gold stamping. Inside you’ll find clear interior pockets with a white paper background. Unlike other photo albums on the list, this album is a three-ring binder. That means you can add and rearrange pages as you please. 

Additionally, this archival photo album holds the most photos—upward of 504 images if you purchase refill pages separately. Each page stores three 4-by-6-inch landscape photos. Unfortunately, it doesn’t allow images to be stored vertically, so you’ll have to have them turned on their side.

This product offers the best possible value for an archival photo album because it’s affordable, constructed with high-quality materials, and appealing to the eye. Like other products from Pioneer Photo Albums, you can safely store hundreds of photos for centuries to come because this photo album is acid-, lignin-, and PVC-free. 

Best for instant camera photos: Hapeper 256 Pockets Mini Photo Album

Hapeper

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Why it made the cut: Compared to other instant photo albums, Hapeper offers a high-capacity, contemporary product at a low price.

Specs

  • Dimensions: ‎8.3 x 7.4 x 1 inches
  • Cover material:
  • Weight: ‎9.1 ounces
  • Capacity: 32 pages hold 256 photos

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Classic and simple style
  • Practical design
  • Holds lots of photos

Cons

  • PVC inner pockets
  • Pockets only accommodate 3.54 x 2.36-inch photos

If you’re looking to purchase an easy-to-use and stylish photo album for your instant photos, the Hapeper 256 Pockets Mini Photo Album is an affordable entry-level product. The album can accommodate film taken by most Fujifilm Instax Mini cameras, the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link printer, or any other device that produces 2-by-3-inch photos. In addition, it can hold up to 256 photos, so it should last you quite a while.

Each page includes four PVC inner pockets for holding photographs. We mainly prioritized choosing PVC-free albums because PVC is an unstable plastic that may corrode your photos over time. That said, archivists say they don’t yet know how plastic interacts with photographs over a long period. But if you are concerned about the longevity of your instant photos, this album may be best used as a temporary solution. 

Things to consider before buying a photo album

While photo albums are simple things without any real technology behind them, there are still some important considerations when selecting one for your photos. The items below are some of the most important things to look out for as you make your decision.

Number of pages

When it comes to choosing a photo album, you want to choose one that will accommodate all of your desired photos. Make sure to pay attention to the provided product description because it will detail how many photos the album can store and how the images will be organized. For example, an album with 40 pages consists of 20 double-sided sheets. Some will even specify how many images fit on each page and what orientation they need to be.

Photo and album size

A lot of photo albums will hold the standard photo sizes, especially 4-by-6-inch photos. If you’re hoping to store several photo sizes, we suggest choosing a scrapbook photo album. Additionally, you should consider the size of the actual photo album. Do you want to store the photo album on your bookshelf? Are you hoping to showcase it on your nightstand or coffee table? These are questions to ask yourself before buying a photo album.

Style

You should choose a photo album that reflects your personal style. Photo albums come in a wide range of colors, designs, and materials, so you can find the best product for you and your photo collection.

Material

As stressed throughout this guide, a photo album’s construction can directly impact the longevity of your photos. We recommend choosing photo albums that are acid-free, lignin-free, and PVC-free–some of the components of being archival–to prevent unnecessary damage to your physical images. Fabric-bound and leather-bound photo album covers are the most common and durable.

FAQs

Q: Which photo album is best?

It depends on your priorities, needs, and style preferences. Are you looking for a photo album with high capacity? Do you want a photo album that will blend in with the rest of the books on your shelf? Outside of those considerations, a photo album of archival quality is best. 

Q: How much does a photo album cost? 

A photo album can cost from $5 to $100. We recommend choosing mid-level photo albums because they can offer high value if constructed from high-quality materials and are more likely to keep your photos safe in the long run. 

Q: Are photo albums still popular?

Photo albums aren’t as popular as they used to be, but the rise in popularity of instant photos has contributed to a greater need and desire for the product again. Plus, many of us find ourselves needing to organize and protect a family archive of photos, making photo albums important and worthwhile.

Final thoughts on the best photo albums

The best photo albums can preserve your cherished photographs for years to come. An album keeps your collection well-organized too. Overall, the Pioneer Photo Albums Fabric Frame Cover Photo Album was our choice for the best photo album for its simple, modern design and high-quality construction. 

Why trust us

PopPhoto has a long history of delivering the opinions of some of the sharpest and most prolific camera dorks the world has to offer. Since 1937, we’ve been reviewing cameras, providing wisdom from well-known photographers, and generally just nerding out about all that goes into making great pictures. Our current crop of writers and editors have decades of professional photography and camera writing experience among them. Collectively, we’ve probably shot with just about every camera and lens combo you can imagine—as well as some obscure stuff you may not even know about. Remember the Casio Tryx folding camera? PopPhoto does.

We also get that buying a camera is a big decision, which is why we’re dedicated to helping folks choose the right one (or, in our case “ones”) for their needs. Case in point: Handing over top dollar for an expensive rig may leave you unsatisfied if it doesn’t fit your preferred shooting style. Sure, a $6,000 sports-oriented DSLR can capture landscapes, but do you really need to do it at 30 frames-per-second? No, you don’t.