Layflat Vs. Perfect Binding: Which To Consider

by Alex Melen on January 23, 2023

When creating a photo book, choosing the right binding style is important to ensure your photos are displayed in the best way possible. Layflat and perfect binding are two of the most popular options for photographers when making photo books. Both offer advantages and disadvantages that should be considered before making a decision. Here are five things to consider when deciding between layflat vs perfect binding for your photo book.


When it comes to durability, layflat binding is the clear winner. Layflat binding allows pages to lay completely flat when opened and prevents them from warping due to wear and tear over time. On the other hand, perfect binding uses adhesive glue, which can cause pages to come apart over time if exposed to moisture or other environmental elements. Additionally, since perfect-bound books have edges that curl up naturally, they require careful handling than their layflat counterparts.


Cost is important when selecting the right binding type for a photo book. Layflat binding provides superior quality by allowing pages to lay flat without breaking or warping, but this comes at a higher cost, due to the extra work involved in preparing each page.

On the other hand, perfect binding is more affordable because of its simple construction process. However, since pages can easily be folded or broken away from the spine, it may not provide enough durability if you want your photo book to last longer.

Design Flexibility

Layflat books have seamless spreads with no gutter loss across double-page spreads due to their unique design that allows the book to stay open flat on any surface. This makes them ideal for displaying large-scale images hindered by a spine. Layflat photobooks allow you to create panoramic images spread over two pages, without distortion or interruption from the book's spine. Additionally, they offer more page count options than perfect bindings and can go up to as many as 200 pages if desired.

Printing Quality

Print quality is important when selecting between layflat or perfect binding for a photo book. Layflat binding ensures that photos are printed on both sides of each page which helps maintain the original quality of the photos, in terms of sharpness and color accuracy. This makes it ideal for high-quality, professional photobooks and personal photo albums. On the other hand, perfect binding relies on glue to bind pages together, which can reduce image quality due to its thickness, making this method better suited for books with text over photo-heavy books.

Production Time

When deciding between layflat vs perfect binding for a photobook, production time is an important factor. Layflat photobooks take longer to produce than perfect binding because more steps are involved in the binding process. The book's pages need to be printed on special paper that can easily bend, cut with a knife, lined up on a blade, glued together, and finally bound by hand.

Perfect binding is much simpler as it involves gluing the spine edge of all the pages together in one step and then trimming them into shape. Layflat books are preferred when high-quality printing and presentation need to be achieved quickly, as they offer uninterrupted double-page spreads without obstructing the spine or edges of the page. Perfect bindings often have visible spine creasing, which can distort images if not done properly.