Reviewing the Competition, Or, 4 Reasons Photo Books Are Better

collage overview
Note the easy-to-rearrange aerial view?

There are a lot of companies that make photo books out there. And let’s be real: a lot of those photo books are pretty great. It’s just that, in our humble opinion, is…well, better. Are be biased? Maybe a little. But facts are facts, and the fact is, we’ve got the quickest, easiest, and most customizable photobooks around.

What can do that the competition can’t? Let’s take a look.

Get Started — Without A User Account

Requisite login at Mixbook.

Say you’re making a photo book of dog pics (and why wouldn’t you be?). What’s your first step?

At Mixbook, you’re going to have to start by creating a user account. Not sure you’re ready to commit? Want to peruse your options? Too bad — you have to create a user account anyway. You can’t do anything until you’ve created a user account. At Picaboo, you can get a little farther, but as soon as you start arranging your photos,  you’re faced with the dreaded login screen. Shutterfly, to their credit, lets you get all the way to the ordering phase before creating an account. But only allows you to go all the way — from uploading to purchasing — without creating a user ID. (At the very end, we’ll ask you for your email so we can send you your receipt — but that’s it.)


Fewer Unwanted Embellishments Mean Better Results

shutterfly styles
A small sampling of Shutterfly templates.

What do you want your book to look like? Mixbook gives you choices. So, so many choices. And each choice will have templates. So, so many templates. Which template do you want? Because there are really a lot of templates. Not enough templates for you? Try Shutterfly, which has even more templates.

At, though, we don’t believe in templates —  you tell your story your way. Instead of focusing on clip art and stock backgrounds, we put the focus on YOU. Every photo book is unique — and rather than try to make your pictures fit into some pre-ordained framework, we’re about helping you build the book that makes sense for your vision.

How do we do it? Thank our engineers. They’ve built innovative software that automatically fits your photos perfectly the page, regardless of their size and aspect ratio — no templates necessary.

Verdict: (unless you’re really into seasonal templates).

In-Depth Editing Tools Increase Your Options

picaboo photo editing
There’s nothing WRONG with Picaboo’s editing options, exactly…

Want to tweak some of your pictures before sending your photo book to press?  We hear that. And while Shutterfly, Mixbook, and Picaboo all let you make basic edits, only lets you get down in the (digital) dirt. Does it matter? You decide.

With Shutterfly, you can crop your picture. You can rotate it 90 degrees. You can correct redeye. You can add one of seven filters. And…nope, that’s it. Picaboo lets you zoom, crop into shapes, adjust opacity, saturation, brightness, and contrast, and add stickers. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can go black and white or sepia. Same for Mixbook, which also allows you to flip your picture and add borders.

But does all that — and a whole lot more. Our full set of Aviary photo editing tools gives you more filters, more features (blemish correction, anyone?), and more control. And the best part is? It’s easy to use. Who said customizability had to be complicated?


We’re Faster. Period.

Features aside — how long does it take to make a photo book?  We were curious, so we did a little experiment. And the results — well, the results were more than we bargained for. A Mixbook takes 3 minutes and 27 seconds. Shutterfly is 4 minutes and 19 seconds. And Picaboo, based on our calculations, takes a full 6 minutes and 7 seconds., meanwhile? 32 seconds flat.

Don’t believe us? Watch the video.


So what are you waiting for? Give it a try. Here are a few tips to help get you started.



Collage Couture: How Eckhaus Latta Brought to New York Fashion Week


Zoe Latta and Mike Eckhaus — the creative force behind innovative New York-based fashion label Eckhaus Latta — are no strangers to working with unusual materials. In fact, it’s become a part of their signature.

The latest material they’ve addition to their repertoire? photo towels. For their show at this season’s New York Fashion Week, Latta and Eckhaus knew they wanted to collaborate with artist Alex Da Corte on the set — what they didn’t know, Latta recalls, was what material they wanted to work with together. “Because we were using a lot of terry cloth and towels for the collection, we decided to make the set out of towels using Alex’s art work and we knew we wanted it to be printed,” she says.  Enter — “the perfect partner.”


To get the look they were after — an Eckhaus Latta  photo towel is no ordinary photo towel — they began on paper. “Alex initially printed one of his drawings on a couple of different towels,” Latta explains. From there, he “distorted them more, by drawing directly on the towels with chalk, spray paint, etc.” The team then settled on a favorite, photographed it,  printed it on several towels, and then stitched those towels together. “So the runway was a towel,” she says, recapping, “with an image of a towel on it.”

(Unsurprisingly, the results were gorgeous.)

And the invitations? Also towels. Or rather, pieces of towels. They idea, Latta says, was to “give [invitees] a taste of what was to come.” Showcasing the medium was a priority: they wanted to highlight the fact that the towels had been digitally printed.


For Eckhaus Latta, the show was a success. And for the rest of us? Whether or not you’re in the market for a hand-painted towel runway yourself, the Eckhaus Latta show is proof that can go anywhere — including New York Fashion Week.

Start the Season Right (with a Calendar)



Fall: it is the season of fresh starts, of new school years (and new sweaters), of crisp apples, of maple syrup. Also, the season to make your own, super-easy, super-customizable calendar — the latest release from

Spend the next 12 months (or 18 — we’ve got options) reliving your best memories. A vacation calendar? A dog calendar? A family calendar? An art photography calendar? A selfie calendar? A romantic calendar? A calendar featuring vintage family portraits? A calendar featuring your cat in 18 different, seasonally-appropriate costumes? YES. Yes to all that.

Just upload your pics — each calendar page can handle between one and 500 images — and start arranging. Want each page to feature a single image? Easy. Want to arrange 30 photos into an artful collage? Perfect — we’ve got 200+ shapes to choose from (including Valentine’s hearts and Halloween pumpkins, because obviously, these are basic human needs we’re talking about).

And since you can begin your calendar in any month, there’s no reason to wait. Fight the tyranny of January! Start your calendar year today.

Photo Calendars at a glance

  • 12 or 18 month
  • Metal spiral binding
  • Add or remove calendar grid
  • Changeable fonts
  • Custom starting date
  • 12-500 photos



Power Couples of #SelfieTowels?


The Gray Lady made a list of the most powerful couples on social media. Bill and Melinda Gates are on the list. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are on the list. John Legend and Chrissy Teigen are on the list.  Are you on the list?

Okay, cool. Despite our many similarities to Kimye, we are also not on the list. But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate our #love and our #selfies. And what better way to celebrate the power of couplehood in the age of Instagram than with a pair of Selfie Towels? Romantic! Practical! Kardashian-approved! (Not technically true but it could be. — Eds.)

Ready for your (remarkably absorbent) close-up? Get started here.


Collaging Just Got A Whole Lot Better: Introducing New Photo Editing Tools

vacay array

So you’ve uploaded your photos. You’ve arranged your collage. Your project is this close to done — but it would be great if the water could just…be a little bluer? And that one shot could be a little less saturated? And that family portrait front and center — it really needs a caption…

We hear you. That’s why we’re thrilled to roll out our new photo editing feature. For the first time, you can edit your Collage pics individually — one photo at a time. A full suite of easy-to-use tools from Aviary gives you total creative control. And the best part is, you don’t have to leave your project to do it. Because really, how can you know that picture of your dog would be way better in sepia until you see it in context? (You can’t.)


Continue reading

selfies, now edible

An example of a selfie toaster

An example of a selfie toaster

Did you know there’s a thing called selfie toast? It sounds absurd, but the Internet was in uproar last week over the possibility of getting bread toasted with the eater’s own image. The amusing gimmick comes from Vermont Novelty Toaster Corp., a company that earlier had success marketing toasters that allowed users to brand their bread with images of Jesus.

Basically, you send the company a high-res image of your face, they perform some modifications, and then use a fancy machine called a CNC Plasma Cutter, a computer-guided metal cutting machine that makes special plates that get inserted into a toaster. “It’s a lot like silk screen, but you’re using heat for the ink and bread as the t-shirt,” CEO Galen Dively told Mashable. The novelty toasters cost $75.

Selfie toast is interesting. All things considered, though, we prefer selfie towels and selfie blankets.