Capturing life’s best moments: how to make the ideal photo book

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

There’s something magical about holding a photo book and flipping through its pages. Whether it’s a collection of family selfies, a celebration of big milestones or just everyday fun, a personalised photo album is a heartwarming stroll down memory lane. Plus, it’s the perfect gift to treat your friends and family, bringing back memories and smiles for years to come.

Feeling inspired to create your own photo book? In this article, we’ll explain how you can design one that’s personalised to perfection and truly special.

How to make a photo book

Designing a photo book helps you get creative with your photos, all from the comfort of your computer, tablet or smartphone. At VistaPrint, we offer both online and offline editors to help you create your perfect albums. You can arrange the images in different layouts, add captions or quotes and even include special themes or backgrounds. 

Here’s our step-by-step guide:

1. Choose your theme

First, think about the story you want to tell with your photo book. Is it a fun holiday in a tropical paradise, a magical wedding or your baby’s first year? Deciding on the purpose of your photo book will help you to choose a theme that matches. Imagine a vibrant theme for your travel photo book, a chic and elegant one for your wedding photo album, or a heartwarming and playful theme to capture your baby’s milestones. The theme you choose will set the stage for a visually stunning journey through your favourite memories.

2. Choose the photo book type

Once you’ve chosen your theme, you can start thinking about the type of photo book  that will best suit your needs. There are two major categories: 

  • Hardcover photo books: A luxe option to store your memories. These sturdy albums  offer extra protection and feel super elegant – perfect for capturing your favourite moments from special occasions like weddings, baby showers and graduations.
  • Softcover photo books: A cool and modern option to store your memories. These lightweight albums are easy to carry and durable, and are perfect for photos from your holidays, of your pets and everyday moments. Plus, they’re incredibly versatile, so you can also use them to showcase your work portfolio, design publications and more. These albums generally come with lay flat binding – allowing your photos to spread seamlessly across pages for easy viewing.

3. Gather your photos

Now that you know the type of photo book you want, here’s how you can sort through and organise your photos so they shine in your album:

  • Collect photos from multiple sources: Look beyond your phone’s camera roll – check social media downloads, email attachments and external hard drives for hidden gems.
  • Focus on image resolution: Clarity is key. Choose clear, well-lit photos to ensure they print beautifully. Select images that are originally sized for printing or those downloaded from high-quality sources.
  • Check for duplicates: Scroll through your collection and remove any extra or redundant photos. 

4. Organise your photos

Create a folder on the device you’re using to build your photo book, whether it’s your computer, smartphone or tablet. Compile all your photos in that folder, or create sub-folders if that helps you to stay organised.

There are two common ways to arrange your photos:

  • By date: Organise your photos from the earliest to the most recent by renaming the files in your device. This will help you upload your photos in the correct order, allowing you to see your memories unfold in the printed album just as they happened in real life.
  • By event: Create different folders for different events like holidays, birthdays or any other special occasion. This makes finding photos easier and keeps each event organised in your photo collection.

5. Design your photo book layout

This is where the magic happens! Designing the layout of your photo memory book is an exciting part of the creative process where your vision truly comes to life. Get inspired by the various layout templates available in our template gallery. Choose a design you like, and then play around with different arrangements to find the perfect balance between your photos and text. You can spotlight special moments with larger images, and use smaller ones to create a collage of memories. The goal is to choose a layout that not only aligns with your theme but also complements the story you want to tell.   

VistaPrint Tip

Looking to create your photo book quickly and easily? Explore VistaPrint’s Smart Assistant feature that selects your best photos and designs page layouts for you, while still giving you full creative control.

6. Personalise your photo book

The process of personalising your photo book is exciting and lets you create a keepsake that’s truly unique. You can start by adding custom text to your photos. Captions, quotes, dates and heartfelt messages provide context to your images, making them even more meaningful. 

Choose colours and patterns that match the mood of your pictures, whether it’s vibrant and fun for a holiday album, elegant and chic for a bridal photo book, or soft and cute for a baby photo album. Deciding on a colour palette helps you to create a cohesive look and feel throughout.

Decorative elements like stickers, frames and borders can add an extra layer of creativity and flair. Use these to highlight special photos or to fill in blank spaces in a visually appealing way.  Mixing and matching these elements can also give your book a fun and playful look.

Finally, think about the cover of your photo book. Choose a cover photo that celebrates the theme of your book and add a title that captures the essence of your story. Whether it’s a simple date, a quote or a meaningful phrase, the cover sets the tone for the journey inside.

VistaPrint Tip

Including images of ticket stubs or handwritten notes in your photo book can create a feel-good connection to your experiences. These small details can turn your photo book into a treasured keepsake that captures not only memories, but also the emotions tied to them. 

7. Review and edit

Now that you’ve created your photo book, it’s time to give it a final review to make sure it’s just right. Start by checking for any typos or mistakes in your text, like captions or dates. Make sure everything reads smoothly and adds to the story you’re telling.

Next, take a look at how your photos are laid out. Make sure they’re all in the right order and that none of the important details are getting cut off. You might need to move some things around to ensure everything looks balanced and flows well.

Finally, take a step back and look at your photo book as a whole. Imagine flipping through the pages and think about how it makes you feel. If anything feels off, make some final tweaks before finalising your design.

8. Place your order (and wait for the magic to unfold)

Once you’re happy with your photo book design, select the paper quality that suits your style. For a sleek and shine-free finish, matte is the perfect option. For a slightly textured finish that enhances colours and creates contrasts, satin is a great choice.

With your choices made, it’s now time to place your order and await the arrival of your beautiful photo book. Get ready to hold your memories in your hands and share them with loved ones, knowing that each page tells a story that’s uniquely yours. Personalised photo book printing has never been so easy!

Frequently asked questions on personalised photo books

Creating your personalised photo book is an exciting and creative journey. Whether you’re a beginner or need a refresher, we’re here to support you at every step of the way. In this section, we have compiled the most frequently asked questions.

Can I add text to my photo book?

Certainly! There’s a variety of ways that you can personalise your photo books. You can add quotes, personal messages, dates or even fun captions and patterns to accompany your photos.

How many photos do I need to create a photo book online?

The number of photos you need depends on the size and design of the book you want, as well as your personal preferences. Generally, you can create a small photo book with as few as 20 to 30 photos. Large photo books may require 50 to 100 photos or more.  Ultimately, the choice is yours, and you can include as many or as few photos as you like.

How big is an 8 x 8 inches photo book?

An 8 x 8 inch photo book is a square-shaped, medium-sized album for displaying your photos. It’s roughly the size of a small pizza box, making it perfect for your shelf or coffee table.

With VistaPrint’s photo book creator, you can choose from multiple size and layout options. A variety of options make it easy to showcase wedding, holiday or family images – whether you’re creating your own personal library or sharing the love with friends and family.

What resolution should my photos be for a photo book?

For optimal printing quality, we recommend a resolution of at least 300 DPI (dots per inch) for your photos. This will help your photos to look crisp, clear and vibrant in your final printed album.

VistaPrint Tip

Have more photos to display? VistaPrint has a variety of other unique keepsakes to showcase your photos in style. Explore our range of personalised canvas prints, photo calendars, drinkware and more.