“Once Upon” Photo book Review 2024 {Our Thoughts & Experience}

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Our family tradition since starting a family is to do one family photo book a year to hold our treasured family memories.

We have tried many photo book companies in the past 3 years, which most recently included the “Once Upon” App and photo book.

After a very pleasant experience I wanted to share what it was like using Once Upon to make an annual family photo album in case it inspired anyone else to do the same.

Once Upon Photo Book Review 2024
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Our Review of Once Upon App & Photobook

In the past years we’ve had some pretty average experiences with the photo books we’ve had printed.

With our tradition of having an annual family photo book we wanted to find a design we would like for many years to come, a company that would have a good chance at lasting for 10 + years so we could keep using them, and we wanted the quality to match the cost we were investing into these treasured keepsakes.

Once Upon Photobooks on shelf with 2023,2022,2021 next to a plant.
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I happened to come across “Once Upon” somehow after searching for a different company that we hadn’t already used. There were a few positive reviews from a couple years prior, but nothing recent. I quickly realized I hadn’t come across them easily before because they are a Swedish company.

After a bit of digging and seeing some examples of their books I knew I wanted to use them, as the simplicity was unmatched for their more affordable price and the quality seemed great.

So I decided to use the Once Upon app in 2021 and we printed our first photo book with them in January 2022

OH MY GOODNESS! When the book was delivered I knew we made the right decision. From the packaging to the finished product inside we were so HAPPY with our family photo book.

2024 UPDATE: Just received our 3rd one this Jan and are still very happy with their service!

Review of Once Upon App

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I’ll dive into more details of our experience beginning with using the Once Upon app, further down I will break down our thoughts on how the actual photo book turned out when it arrived in January 2022.

once upon app image of homescreen
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In general, my review of the Once Upon App is that it matches their theme of “Simplicity & Ease” and creating a photo book is nearly effortless. The hardest part is going down memory lane while selecting which photos to use, oh motherhood nostalgia!

All your phone photos are instantly organized in the app by month and once you select the book style you wish to use (which you can change later if you change your mind).

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This made making a yearly photo book so simple as the photos were instantly arranged in chronological order.

We decided to do one spread per month, which is 2 pages. This meant 6 photos for each month, which was hard on the decision making side of things but so simple in just selecting and quickly uploading.

Once Upon App only allows 6 images per spread, but when you click “shuffle layout” button it shifts them around in different arrangements for you to see what suits.

once upon app photo spread screenshot
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This comes to the first “con”, there is a less customization options in Once Upon app than other companies. What may seem like a “con” initially, is really a positive in disguise.

Less options means it’s quicker to just select from what is available, and then move on and keep going.

The minimalist customization actually makes it SO MUCH EASIER as a busy parent to just make it and keep going.

No decision paralysis from too many cute/pretty/fun options.

So it’s something to keep in mind, but don’t let it turn you away too quickly as it can make it easier to complete you family photo album instead of being a half done project that never gets finished.

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different spread example

In the past I have really struggled with upload time with other companies as it seemed to take forever to get a few pages completed. This was not the case with Once Upon, it was instant and so quick compared to past experiences.

Why only 6 photos per month? Well, as it was our first time using them I wanted to use their most basic book package and see the quality before paying for additional pages. Next time I will be doing more now that I know the quality is worth the price.

Thought’s on the pro’s & con’s of using Once Upon App:


  • Simplicity of Use
  • Organizes by Month Instantly
  • Makes it Faster To Use
  • App Loads Quickly Every Time
  • Allows text under photos now
  • Customer Support is Lovely


  • Only 6 photos per spread
  • Minimal customization options
  • Title Text with text takes whole page

After playing around a bit with text and photo spread options, I discovered a few things about using the Once Upon App.

When you use the title text it will take up the whole page and you can not add photos to the page with title text.

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example of title page

This quickly changed my mind about using the “months” as individual title pages, and instead did “seasons” for my 30 pages. This allowed me to have more space for the 6 photos. (i.e. If I put “January” as title on left page, then all 6 photos for that spread had to be on the right). Next year I will do months as I am more willing to add pages now that I am confident in their quality, though others might prefer to keep title pages to minimum to maximize space for photos to be displayed.

Ordering with App

Ordering through the app was very smooth and simple. I had no troubles and it shipped straight away.

Then it was just the waiting game to see how the quality actually turned out.

Review of Once Upon Photo book Quality

When our Once Upon photo book parcel arrived I was so happy by even just looking at the parcel packaging.

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(excuse address label removal mark)

After opening we enjoyed the lovely note on top and then flipped through the pages to see what it looked like. Below you can see us go through the initial pages right after opening.

We ordered the Classic 27 x 27 cm hardcover photo book. I wanted a keepsake that was going to last us many many years, and withstand many hands turning through the pages.

Video of our Once Upon photo book

Page Quality

The page quality was beautiful and sturdy. It is a semi-gloss page and 200gsm.

I enjoyed turning the pages and felt it was a solid book that was exactly what we were looking for in a family keepsake that will last.

Image Quality

Image quality in the Once Upon photo book was exactly up to the standards they say. The photos were clear and the colors were true to what it looked like on my mobile phone.

No photos were grainy despite they were mostly all taken from my phone. This has not been the case with other companies and was the biggest reason for choosing someone different again and again.

Once Upon App Review 2022 with 27x27cm photo book on wooden table next to lavender flowers in grey vase.
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The Cover

The cover of the Once Upon photo book exceeded my expectations. It was thicker than I anticipated and was extremely durable to little hands helping me take it to the couch to look through.

Despite the thickness and textured front, the front image and font is extremely clear with no graininess to them at all. This is what really surprised me.

How Much is Once Upon Photobook?

So how much are the Once Upon Photo books?

There a 3 formats to choose from for designing a photo book which make the cost of a Once Upon photo book range from $40 for a 30 page softcover 20×20 photo book to $65 for a 30 page classic hardcover photo book. This allows for 180 photos to be included in their basic photo book packages, if you decide to add extra pages they can be added for just over $1 a page.

This is a middle of the range price for a photo book, and after purchasing from cheaper companies previously this is a fair price for the quality of photo book you will receive.

The next step up in photo book quality quickly begins to be in the hundreds, which was beyond our family budget.

My Tip: Wait for Coupon Codes!

Once Upon has coupon codes through the year, so jump onto their newsletter and wait til they have a code. I did and saved 20%, so don’t forget to look!

Is Once Upon App Free?

Yes, the Once Upon App is free to use while designing your photo book and there will only be costs involved when your are ready to order and purchase your designed photo book.

What is the best photo book company in Australia?

What is the best photobook company in Australia, I can easily say Once Upon is the best photo book company I have experienced that ships to Australia. The quality of book, paper, and image quality paired with the easy of uploading the photos within their app has provided the best experience for our family photos.

After trialing a few different photo book companies including Chatbooks, Photobook Australia, Snapfish, Shutterfly, and now Once Upon….Once Upon comes out on top for the options we have in Australia that keeps to a budget of under $100 and still provides excellent quality.

Recap of Once Upon App & Photobook

So in summary Once Upon app and photo book are a great option for anyone looking for a quality photo book that will make a lovely keepsake for many year.

The Once Upon app is very minimalist and makes it SO EASY to create your book in a few minutes a month if you are doing an annual family photo album like us. It loads quickly and is very intuitive.

Once Upon photo books are great quality with images that come out clear and true to color. The minimalist design and font makes the images pop and take the stage when flipping through the pages.

Shipping was fast and customer service was wonderful to work with when we checked with them about shipping to Australia.

The Classic style is our favorite, as it is sturdy and will easily last many years on our family bookshelf for kids to look through as they grow up.

Would easily recommend to anyone who wants a keepsake to hold their visual memories, because the “cloud” and phone photos just doesn’t give you the same warm, nostalgia feeling as flipping through the pages of a photo album.

Review of Once Upon App & Photobook

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7 thoughts on ““Once Upon” Photo book Review 2024 {Our Thoughts & Experience}”

  1. Thank you for this detailed review, I’ve pondered on whether to use it now that we’ve had our first baby. Printing photos individually and going to collect them from the shop to collect them becomes too big of job over time I feel. So a photobook company I can trust for years to come is so.ething I am interested in. Think we’ll be giving Once Upon a try 🙂

    • Glad our experience could help you decide! Making a family heirloom decision is so hard when you aren’t sure what it will look like when it’s finished. I was so glad with how it turned out when we opened the package. Hope you have fun making your own yearly photo album!

        • Hello Delores! At the moment on the app, there is a black button at the bottom of the screen that says “New spread”. This essentially mean “add page”, but two at a time. Hope that helps! They could make it a bit more clear, I agree.

  2. What a thoroughly excellent review.. I’m sold!
    I too, have tried nearly every photo book option on the market over the years ..& a few years ago the exhaustion & complexity of it the entire process got the better of me.
    This app looks like the Way Back.

    Perfect way to end 2022..& kick off the new year.
    Thank you

    • The cover stays clean easily, it’s not a true “matte” like fabric. It is a hardcover that you could easily wipe with a wet wipe if grubby fingers touched it. Hope that helps, ours have help up fine for over a year now.
      Ordering my next one soon! Will probably redo my baby year ones which I did the Chatbooks monthlys into a Once Upon book. The chatbook ones are more paper like and too thick to keep storing.


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