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Photo book review - PhotoGo (Romania) vs AdoramaPix (USA)

Hi folks! I got a photo book done with a few pics done this year, encouraged by a Black Friday offer, that turned out not to be that urgent..but more on that later. Had another book done some time ago, got a good offer from AdoramaPix and thought I gave it a shot. Now that AdoramaPix is not shipping to EU anymore (coz politics), had to look for something similar in this little Eastern Europe country. Now that it's finally here and seeing the quality difference between them, thought I might do a comparison/review... they asked for it too in a mail after the delivery. Hopping I was getting something similar to the first book, but it wasn't so. 

...trying to keep it objective and not ranty, here we go:

AdoramaPix on the left, PhotoGo on the right.

AdoramaPix on the left, PhotoGo on the right.

First let's get to know the companies better. I found out of AdoramaPix from Jared Polin (photographer and you tube "host" at Fro Knows Photo). Liked how the website looked, the vast variety of products and the typographical style editor on the website, witch helps you edit and perfect your layout to the millimeter or whatever people use over the Atlantic :P . All good and well until politics got in the way and made the company to stop shipping to EU millimeters people. Here is where PhotoGo comes in, found about it on Facebook after digging in lots of really really bad websites of other printing companies with really kitchy products. After researching more on PhotoGo, I found the editing part of the album and layouts witch was customizable similar to AdoramaPix but more basic. So i gave it a go, now you know.

Side by side comparison:

AdoramaPix - Since 1999; business figure: ~35 mil $, between 51-200 employees, located in NY USA


PhotoGO - Since 2014; business figure: ~20.000$, small number of employees, located in Cluj - Romania.

Some differences from the get go, not judging, PhotoGo having a company on AdoramaPix's paperclips budget :P. Having all this in consideration the prices for the books were as follow:


AdoramaPix: 40$ plus 30$ shipping - 8x12 - 16 pages of luster - Layflat - Hardcover

PhotoGO:  45$ free shipping - 8x11 - 32 pages of "Photopaper" - Layflat - Hardcover

Guess you get more of less, for approximately the same value.


As you can see, there is not much you can do with the PhotoGo editor, being design to be used by people who just want some vacation shots in a book, fast and easy. But what about the other people, trying to make something more and the application not having rulers, copy paste features on the elements and multiple bugs that got some of my deleted text boxes back under the final text and into print, but anyway. It's slow, lagy, not having the ability to get your pictures from border to border without glitching or jumping all over the place, not being able to print on the spine and not being able to set one spread picture for the covers ( the last two could be fixed together). I was informed on the spine problem that the size depends on the number of pages, but i guess that could be fixed with programming, resulting some variable guides in witch you may or may not fit something but let's you the possibility to do so. I mean, AdoramaPix has different numbers of pages too and you can still do it. I didn't find something I couldn't do in the AdoramaPix editor (for a browser editor that is), so I have nothing to say or add other then, you should try it.

For this review/comparison, I tried to keep the light quality and the environment in a controlled fashion as much as possible. All the pictures are shoot with the same white balance, native for the studio flash, same camera settings, same light modifiers. 

Hope this will not get too long, just trying to make it thorough.

After the spine printing frustration, I noticed the difference in attention for binding alignment. I know it's a small thing but details like this make you feel good or bad after you spend money on something.

After the spine printing frustration, I noticed the difference in attention for binding alignment. I know it's a small thing but details like this make you feel good or bad after you spend money on something.

Small differences between the whiteness and quality of paper. AdoramaPix on top PhotoGO on the bottom.

Small differences between the whiteness and quality of paper. AdoramaPix on top PhotoGO on the bottom.

Don't mind the AdoramaPix cover bends and wrinkles, the book is a bit old now. You can see the texture of the so called PhotoGo Photo paper. The grain is a little bit too much, and for digital, it only makes the detail of the pictures get lost in the texture of the paper. Where AdoramaPix has 6 types of paper (luster, high gloss, deep matte, etc.) with a description and a use recommendation for each one. PhotoGo has "superior quality" paper and "Photo" paper, the last one being the only one that can be produced with layflat.

Don't mind the AdoramaPix cover bends and wrinkles, the book is a bit old now. You can see the texture of the so called PhotoGo Photo paper. The grain is a little bit too much, and for digital, it only makes the detail of the pictures get lost in the texture of the paper. Where AdoramaPix has 6 types of paper (luster, high gloss, deep matte, etc.) with a description and a use recommendation for each one. PhotoGo has "superior quality" paper and "Photo" paper, the last one being the only one that can be produced with layflat.

The paper textures can be seen better here. On top, AdoramaPix has that noise from the luster different gloss particles, the surface being perfectly smooth. On the other hand, PhotoGo is not so shiny but the texture roughness can be seen and felt really easy.

The paper textures can be seen better here. On top, AdoramaPix has that noise from the luster different gloss particles, the surface being perfectly smooth. On the other hand, PhotoGo is not so shiny but the texture roughness can be seen and felt really easy.

It's interesting to see the different layflat solutions, the PhotoGo layflat looks and feels more flat then the AdoramaPix, but the folding process damages the print. I guess its not an issue on white backgrounds.

It's interesting to see the different layflat solutions, the PhotoGo layflat looks and feels more flat then the AdoramaPix, but the folding process damages the print. I guess its not an issue on white backgrounds.

Sorry for the finger prints on the AdoramaPix. A clear difference can be seen here in contrast, or lack of it for the PhotoGo print. Another issue is the background black witch is not quite black. These pictures were meant to blend with the background of the page, didn't quite got it this time.

Sorry for the finger prints on the AdoramaPix. A clear difference can be seen here in contrast, or lack of it for the PhotoGo print. Another issue is the background black witch is not quite black. These pictures were meant to blend with the background of the page, didn't quite got it this time.

This really described my disappointment when I opened the package. In the left you can see the BMW picture from just above, where the black of the paper should have be like the insides of the ocean's abyss, and the green fence should have had the crisp contrast of it's wood texture. A little hard to do when the paper's texture is rougher then the one in the picture. From left to right, let's fade it to AdoramaPix black.

This really described my disappointment when I opened the package. In the left you can see the BMW picture from just above, where the black of the paper should have be like the insides of the ocean's abyss, and the green fence should have had the crisp contrast of it's wood texture. A little hard to do when the paper's texture is rougher then the one in the picture. From left to right, let's fade it to AdoramaPix black.

I guess this is harder to tell but you can see the Honda photo shoot in older blog posts. The color rendition misses the same contrast, maybe due to ink, color profile, but surly from that faded black in the ink mixture.

I guess this is harder to tell but you can see the Honda photo shoot in older blog posts. The color rendition misses the same contrast, maybe due to ink, color profile, but surly from that faded black in the ink mixture.

Leaving the colors for a bit...well, I wish I could but the PhotoGo black and white is a little brown and white. Again the pictures can all be seen on my Flickr page.

Leaving the colors for a bit...well, I wish I could but the PhotoGo black and white is a little brown and white. Again the pictures can all be seen on my Flickr page.

As I said before, it's all in the details, the attention to every process. If you do something, at least try to do it as best as you can, if not as best as it can be done, even if it's just cutting a paper.

As I said before, it's all in the details, the attention to every process. If you do something, at least try to do it as best as you can, if not as best as it can be done, even if it's just cutting a paper.

It is more a David and Goliath showdown then a head to head comparison. It's hard, nearly impossible to fight such a giant, with an early start and the best place for an open market to feed it's evolution. But at the end of the day is just printing a picture on a paper, not rocket science, and it get's frustrating really fast when you can gen better results at home with a mid-level desktop printer.

It is more a David and Goliath showdown then a head to head comparison. It's hard, nearly impossible to fight such a giant, with an early start and the best place for an open market to feed it's evolution. But at the end of the day is just printing a picture on a paper, not rocket science, and it get's frustrating really fast when you can gen better results at home with a mid-level desktop printer.

To stop this from turning from blog to book about books, let's wrap it up quickly, First, if you read till here and didn't lose interest, I thank you and please, feel free to share your opinion about this. 

 With time, attention to detail and persevering, PhotoGo can be one of the best in the country, it's on that road, they saw what it needs to be done, but at the moment they are in the parking lot, getting ready for an opening to get on that highway. I know most of the clients are people who want pink hearted, powerpoint like, clip art stickers, covers with their children or whatever with white vignettes. They are many but buy few, don't lose the few that maybe some day will buy many, wanting quality first.

Best of luck and until next time,

CheeRS, keep them shooting and printing!