Scrapbook vs Photo Album – Check Out the Differences?

The traditional way of storing photos has always been photo albums. But with the recent availability of good quality printing options, there’s an option of choosing between two things – an old photo album or a modern scrapbook.

In this guide, we’ll talk about both of these and how to work your way around the choice of scrapbook vs photo album. We’ll see which one suits you better than the other.

What’s a Scrapbook and a Photo Album?

Photo albums and Scrapbooks both have their specific places and goals to fulfill. Before talking about their differences, knowing some ideas on each of them would be a good idea.

What is a Scrapbook

What is a Scrapbook

A Scrapbook or Photobook, as commonly known, is quite a modern invention. It’s newer than the photo album and a trend nowadays. With the help of newer printers, a scrapbook can quite be a fancy item with lots of image designs and effects.

Unlike simple photo albums, scrapbooks can have a range of options to choose from in terms of design and visual effects. The photos can be computer-generated, edited, and added visual effects before printing on the book. None of these are possible with regular photo albums.

Some Major Variations of a Scrapbook 

scrapbook styles
  • Flat Paper 

Regular scrapbooks are bound using a soft cover along with flat paper. The flat paper lays inside as a way to protect the binding paper from frills. 

  • Leather Cover

Some brands sell their scrapbook covers as genuine covers. But with the availability of so many fake and synthetic leathers, it’s gotten harder to know which leather is genuine and which is not. 

Although there are some trusted brands that sell truly genuine leather that can charge very high, knowing which leather is fake is possible with some time if you know the leather testing methods or know of someone expert with it.

  • Photo Cover

This is similar to regular paper covers, except the paper has a printed photo on it. The cover needs to be photo printable and uses cardboard inside to protect the paper from the frills.

  • Leatherette Cover

Even though the name sounds like leathers, it’s not leather in any way. The material is made with regular papers and glued to the base in a way that looks and feels like a leather-like texture. 

  • Softcover

This is the simplest book cover. A regular paper is stapled with the pages to work as the covers — thus the name softcover. The cover paper can be printed to create photo cover like impressions, but nonetheless, this is not so durable.

What is a Photo Album

What is a Photo Album

You may not have known about scrapbooks previously, but it’s impossible that you didn’t see a photo album. This is the oldest and most traditional way of keeping memories framed in albums, as photographs.

Photo albums can be of several different types — 

  • Regular Albums

These have pre-designed frames with plastic covering. Photos are slid into the frames, and the plastic covering works as the see-through part of that. 

These albums can come in two sub-varieties. One of these has one frame per page and as the pages are not flexible, you have to get the one that fits your printed photos perfectly. Another variation has several frames per page like a magazine.

  • Wedding Photo Albums

Wedding albums can contain one photo per page. The photos are glued and are of equal size to the album. This is a popular choice for marriage photographers.

  • Flexible Photo Album

This variation of the photo album doesn’t have a fixed frame. The pages are covered with plastic wrap and have glued/unglued texture on the surface. You can unwrap the plastic cover and stick a photo on it with removable glue.

Scrapbook vs Photo Album: Major Differences

Scrapbook vs Photo Album

Now that we have some basics on each of these let’s now see how they can be different.


Commercially made photo albums and scrapbooks can sometimes be quite expensive. Companies use marketing strategy to get you thinking that you’re getting much more value in their products than if you’d do manual album setup.

It’s a good idea to do some study on your own—research on which photo paper you’re using and what type of cover and page quality you need. A scrapbook can be cheap, but you have yet to spend money on printing photos on it.

On the other hand, a photo album can cost much higher than a scrapbook, and it might mislead you into thinking photo albums are a waste of money. But think about the value you get as you purchase a high-end album.

Research the different build materials and see how they compare with each other. There’s no rule of thumb, like one thing should be expensive, and another should be cheap. It all depends on the build, quality, and materials used inside.

Paper Types

Photo albums have always used a UV-coated Lustre paper. There are still some varieties available, but the varying factors aren’t many. Photo Paper for large photos is generally thicker and has some level of sheen while others are not. 

Scrapbooks have more paper options. Computer papers are most commonly used with this, but print press papers can look the same while still being longer lasting and more durable than the former. 


Scrapbooks are more prone to frailing and damage for the low quality, the thinner paper used. Photo albums, on the other hand, are made with thick paper and use a thicker covering to ensure a lifelong lasting guarantee. 

However, since scrapbooks can have a multitude of paper options, it’s possible to create a scrapbook of the same durability and build a structure like a photo album. There are differences between these two, but similarities are also achievable.

Final Words

Hopefully, now you have some ideas on which option to choose in storing your photos. There are no hard and fast rules for this, and you should talk to your photographer before deciding on your preferred storage item.

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