Create Your Own Custom Photo Book With Text

Photo books are a great way to highlight and preserve important memories. You can create a “year in review,” or commemorate a family reunion, or even celebrate a birth with a new baby photo album. Photo books make great gifts for loved ones or life long mementos to keep in your bookshelf. So if you’re ready to get started creating your custom photo book, jump to a section below.

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What Is A Photo Book?

A photo book is an album-like book with printed images, text, and designs. The images can include anything from family photos, vacation pictures, portfolio art, and more. The difference between a photo book and photo album is that the photo book has images preprinted onto the paper. Photo albums are usually composed of thick pieces of paper with plastic sheets where you can place photographs.  Because of the thicker pages, there are typically fewer images in a photo album than a photo book.

photo book with pictures of vacations

When Should You Create A Keepsake Photo Book?

Some of the best photos to showcase in a photo book come from special events and milestones. During these times you’ll want to take special care to capture the event with plenty of photos. And then, instead of letting the photos collect dust in a desk or in digital archives, you can transform them into a photo book to look back on in years to come. Special occasions that might merit a new photo book include:

  • Weddings
  • Births or birthdays
  • Vacations
  • New year
  • Family reunion
  • Graduation
  • End of the school year
  • Adoption
  • New pet
  • Memorial
  • And plenty more!

Types of Photo Books

Trying to decide what kind of quality photo book to create? It’s important to pick your paper type, book material, and theme before you start creating. To help, we’ve made a list of the different options available for our photo book selection. Types of personalized photo books include:

best dads photo book design.

  • Wedding Photo Books: Choose from a selection of carefully curated flush mount albums, premium photo books, and standard hardcover books to make your wedding photos come to life.
  • Premium Layflat Photo Books: These premium photo books feature a layflat cover design, thick pages, and high-quality matte or glossy finishing options. These layflat books are most popular for wedding albums, engagement photoshoots, and guest books, but they’re easily adapted for other themes.
  • Soft Cover Photo Books: Soft cover photo books make for great economical keepsakes featuring vacation photos, photos of your pets, and anything else that brings a smile to your face. Choose from a variety of layouts, sizes, and page totals to make your project come to life.
  • Hardcover Books: Hardcover upgrades help bring your photo book to the next level. You can also choose from a variety of sizes, layouts, and page totals, along with either a glossy or matte finish. These also make great photo gifts!
  • Free Photo Book a Month: These monthly soft-cover 6X6 inch photo books are the perfect way to keep a record of the special events that happen throughout the year. Download your favorite photos on your Shutterfly app to easily create these mini photo books in no time.
  • Additional Photo Book Sizes: Looking for a specific photo book size? Our sizes include 7X9, 8X8, 8X11, 11X8, 10X10, 12X12, and 11X14 inches. You can then choose from a selection of upgrades and add-ons to make your book your own.

How to Create A Custom Photo Book

Ready to get started on your custom photo book? Make sure you’re picking the right service options, customizations, and layouts for your needs. Follow the simple steps below on how to make the perfect photo book.

Three small paper photo books.

1. Upload Your Photos

The first step in creating a photo book is to upload your photos. Upload them to your Shutterfly account in a new folder named after your new photo book. Once uploaded, review your photos and make sure to delete or edit any that aren’t high quality or have other issues.

2. Pick A Path

After uploading and organizing your photos, you’ll need to choose a photo book-making service. Your three options for photo book creation on Shutterfly include:

Make My Book: With this service, all you have to do is select up to 500 photos that you want to be featured in your photo book. After that, our team of talented designers will create a book for you. You can then make finishing touches, order the book as is, or decide not to purchase it if you decide to go in a different creative direction.

Custom Path: If you want complete control over your photo book process, this is the option for you. Customize everything from the layout, to photo organization, to captions. It’s all up to you.

Simple Path: If you want some control over your photo book creation, but would prefer to have the photos arranged for you, you may prefer the simple photo book path. While you can still make minimal edits to make your book your own, the bulk work is done for you.

layflat wedding photo book on table

3. Pick Your Book Size and Material

Once you’ve chosen your creation path, it’s time to choose your photo book size. Our sizes include 7X9, 8X8, 8X11, 11X8, 10X10, 12X12, and 11X14 inches. You can also choose your cover type and material once you’ve selected a book theme during this step.

4. Choose a Layout

The next step in creating a photo book is to select your layouts. Note that this only applies to the simple and custom creation paths. You’ll want to choose layouts that have enough space for the photos you want to include that also match your theme or overall style.

5. Begin Your Project

It’s finally time to start your project. Upload your photos into your project workspace. If you’re using the simple path, your photos will be prearranged for you. If using the custom path option, you’ll need to drag and drop your photos into the intended photo boxes. Take care not to use duplicate or low-quality images. During this step, you can also add embellishments, captions, and other designs that are found in the options menu on the left hand of your workspace. For additional help make sure to visit our resource on tips for creating a custom print photo book.

Photo book open on table with toddler pictures.

6. Review Your Book

It’s important to review your photobook when you’re done placing images and captions. This is your chance to catch typos, duplicate images, and other issues. It may also help to have a friend or family member review with you to catch any mistakes you might have missed. You should also use this time to double-check that you’ve selected the correct cover type, size, and any finishing materials.

7. Order Away!

Once you’re happy with your completed project and sure there aren’t any mistakes, it’s time to order. Add your completed photo book to your cart and head to check out! Note: While reviewing your cart you can add additional copies of the same book; perfect for when you’re gifting to multiple people.

Resources Related to Custom Photo Books

If you liked this resource on custom photo books and you’re looking for more, make sure to check out our additional resources on how to make the perfect photo book and photo book ideas.