5 top tips for making the perfect photo book

photo book
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A photo book is a great way to take your captured images and transform them into a narrative to be shared with others. Treasured memories get preserved, by converting your digital images into a tangible, physical book.

While a related process years ago was scrapbooking, you can now put away that glue stick back in the drawer as making your own photo book online is much easier and also gets a far more professional result.

But there's a world of difference between a bunch of random snaps collected together in ramshackle fashion, and an immaculate memento that you or a loved one will treasure for years to come.

So before heading off on your photo book journey, here are five tips to get you started...

1. Choose your dream theme

Just as if you were writing a book, the first step is for the author to decide the theme. In other other words...what will this book be about?

There truly is no limit here, other than your imagination. Need some help deciding? Popular themes include your wedding, a recent birth, other family events like graduation or a reunion picnic, and vacations.

Of course though, don’t be limited to only these options and feel free to get inspired. Branch out to create a cookbook of family recipes, a custom ABC book for your child, a portfolio of artwork, those favorite pet shots, or a collection of daily selfie photos, to name just a few. As we say, the possibilities are endless.

2. Find those photos

The entire point of creating a photo book is to showcase your images. And that includes just about any images you can think of. Whether that's quick snaps on your smartphone, images on social media, or carefully crafted images taken with a dedicated digital camera and processed in your favorite photo editor program.

However, other images can add further interest, and set your photo book apart. For example, consider digitizing old film shots, such as if you vacationed in the same area as a child. Also, put your scanner to work, and digitize a map of the area of the vacation destination, the shells you found on the beach that you swam at, or the wedding invitation sent out for the big day. Basically, think outside the box and you can transform your book from a standard photo album into something utterly unique.

3. Start at the beginning

Carefully think about the title of the book. This can be as descriptive as you want, especially if you want it to invite your guests to want to pick up and delve into an album that sits idly on your coffee table. While simple titles can certainly work, such as “Utah Vacation 2017” also consider something descriptive, catchy, and enticing, such as “A Week Exploring Zion National Park” to get your book the attention it so deserves.

After you get the title chosen, then decide on which of the images is worthy of the front cover. And pay attention to the layout, such as if you want the image to encompass the entire front cover with the title placed on top, or the image smaller and below the title. All the best photo book services have tonnes of examples of how this can look (like in the below image), so don't be averse to taking inspiration from their sites.


(Image credit: Mixbook)

4. Try out templates and themes

Choosing a theme is a fun part. Unlike with scrap books, where you start with a blank page, with a photo book there are plenty of pre-made templates to give you a quick and easy head-start.

By way of example, Mixbook (or number #1 rated photo book provider) has templates available on a variety of topics including family, kids, romance, seasonal, travel, and weddings, among many others to get the process started.

5. It's all about the narrative

While photo books are meant to showcase the images, front and center, don’t forget the narrative text to support the image. This can range from descriptive, to provide further information about where the picture was taken, or be humorous, giving you an additional opportunity to let your creativity come through.

Don't want to daub your artistic artefact with text? Then let the images do the talking - guide your reader through the photo book with a linear story arc of snaps!

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Jonas P. DeMuro

Jonas P. DeMuro is a freelance reviewer covering wireless networking hardware.