Custom Photo Books To Inspire You

Traditional photo albums and DIY scrapbooks join together to become a popular way of displaying images: the custom photo book. With programs like Shutterfly’s custom photo book platform, you can personalize every inch, from the layout and colors to the theme and captions. You can commemorate a milestone, tell a story of a recent trip, or surprise a loved one with a high-quality, personalized gift.

In this guide, we’ll go through all the ways you can make the best photo books for all of life’s occasions. You can make custom coffee table photo books for your home, switching them out with each season based on a hand-designed theme. No matter how you design your photo books, show off your unique creativity on each page with the ideas below.
Jump to:

Family Photo Book

Mom and dad always ask to see all your new photos, especially if you’ve just had a little one of your own or took some amazing images on your semester abroad. Personalized photo albums are the best way to arrange your images to gift to your loved ones or keep for your own collection.

make photo books with family photos and layflat design

When making a family photo album, consider unique ways to work in all the details that will touch the hearts of those you love. Can you include important details about the moment you took the picture? What about quotes said by people in the photo? Not only will your current family members adore your personalized photo album, but you can also pass them down to the generations to come.

  • Family Reunion: Did all the generations of your family just come together for a large celebration? Share the best images of the event in a personalized photo album as a family-focused thank you gift after a reunion.
  • Mother’s and Father’s Day: Surprise mom or dad with a collection of images from your childhood until now by making a custom photo book. Include notes and special stories on each page.
  • Joining of Two Families: A wedding day celebrates two families coming together for the first time. Include images from everyone at your celebration and give the whole group family photo books after the wedding.
  • Seasons of Joy: Looking for a great way to show off all your kid’s summer camp photos or Christmas images? Display them in a premium book to give to grandma and grandpa.
  • Annual Tradition: Start the ritual of creating custom photo books over the holidays to mark all the special moments from the past year. Keep these on your coffee table with the past years in a case nearby.

Maternity Photo Book

A baby’s personalized photo album begins way before they’re born. Looking for the best way to display all your maternity photos in one stylish spot? The best photo books allow you to map the journey from the first time you broke the news to your family to the day you bring your baby home.

best custom photo books with personalized photos

Consider separating your photo book by weeks or months of the pregnancy. Include interesting stats like the size of your little one, photos of your growing belly, or any fun milestones like the shower or buying important baby items. Create a special area toward the end of the book with all the images of the big day. Here are a few ideas for designing a maternity photo book:

  • Announcement Day: How did you announce your pregnancy to the world? Did you send out cards? Post it online? Include the family photos of your big announcement or a copy of your card on a photo book page.
  • Designing the Nursery: Did you have a blast picking out colors and designs for the baby’s nursery? Show off your design process by choosing page backgrounds that match your style.
  • Sonograms: Show off baby’s growth with the progression of sonogram photos during your pregnancy. Include fun facts about their growth as you go from month to month.
  • Baby Shower: Be sure to include photos from the day you were showered with love. Arrange a photo collage of small images of each gift on the opposite page.

Baby Photo Book

Once your little one arrives, everyone in the family will be asking for photos. On the first holiday after a new arrival, consider designing and ordering bulk photo books for everyone in your circle—grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and your close friends will love having copies.

make your own baby photo book with hardcover

Arrange images of your baby’s first year chronologically, jumping from the first few days in the hospital to baby’s first Christmas. You can also separate your book by different themes like “baby’s favorite foods,” “learning new things,” or pictures from different family events with your baby throughout the year.

  • Introductory Page: Make your custom photo book with a page all about your baby when they were born. Beneath a newborn snapshot, include a short paragraph about when and where they were born along with any stories from delivery day.
  • Baby Firsts: Grandma and grandpa may not be able to be there for all the special firsts babies go through. Arrange all the photos of baby’s firsts on a special page layout with fun stories. This will surely be one of the best photo books you’ll get to cherish.
  • Organize by Seasons: After the first full year or two, you’ll have oodles of photos of your little one exploring the beauty of each season. Create seasonal chapters in your photo book with winter, spring, summer, and fall.
  • Professional Photoshoot: Did you have a photographer take beautiful images right after your baby was born or on their first birthday? Weave the images throughout your pages as you make your custom photo book.
  • Sibling Time: If you have more than one little one in the house, devote a page to your older child meeting your new baby for the first time. As the book goes on, include sweet ways they learn to bond.

Wedding Photo Book

After months of creative planning, the best photo books help you capture every detail in one place. Your photographer’s coverage of the day means you have the perfect set of photos that document the special occasion. Create a wedding photo book by including a storyline of your best images from the day.

create your own custom high quality wedding photo book

Wedding albums are an ideal time to take advantage of special photo book options, like lay-flat pages. This feature eliminates the traditional binding that interrupts to two sides of a page, allowing you to bridge one photo across both sides.

Custom colors and page backgrounds can also mirror your wedding theme. Match colors, fabric patterns, or design that shows off the style of your big day throughout your wedding album.

  • Classic Elegance: Choose a black photo book cover with a gold inscription to tie in your theme to your wedding album. Keep your pages sleek and simple by balancing both color and black-and-white photos.
  • Include Your Timeline: Take your reader on the journey of your wedding day by arranging photos chronologically. Begin with images of wedding party preparations and end with your departure from the reception.
  • Design Multiple Albums: Are you gifting your wedding albums to family and friends? Design two wedding photo books, one geared toward close family and the other toward your friends with varying photos and layout styles.
  • Catch the Details: Dedicate a few pages to all the small details of your wedding day, such as your bouquet, the groom’s cufflinks, and your invitation suite.
  • Keep it Simple: Your professional wedding photos stand on their own with little fanfare. Consider lay-flat pages or a wide book to expand photos to their proper size.

Travel Photo Book

Whether you’ve just taken your first big trip or have a passport full of stamps, honor your travel memories with a custom photo album. The best photo books allow family and friends to go along with you on your travels.

best travel photo book for professional photographers

Play with personalized page layouts by including helpful text to tell your story. Include the history of a location you visited, an interesting story from your experience, or even notes you took in your travel journal while exploring.

  • Play with Layout: With so many photos to choose from, switch up your travel photo book pages between large images and a collage of small photos.
  • Create Chapter Pages: Did you visit a few cities in one trip or throughout the year? Add text to a page-sized image to introduce the next city on your journey.
  • Add Embellishments: Our custom photo book designer allows you to add fun accents to each page to make the style of your book. Include text within or around your embellishments as well.
  • Gift for the Holidays: Looking for an easy gift this Christmas? Lay all your photos within a small bulk photo book and send it out with your holiday photo cards.
  • Theme Your Pages: Focus on specific elements of your trip from page to page. These may include images of food, unique transportation, or fun people you met on your trip.

Pet Photo Book

Your beloved pets deserve a photo book just as much as the kids do. Showcase all your furry, feathered, and scaled housemates with an album of their best photos. You can also give pet photo albums as gifts either as an annual tradition or when you’re comforting a loved one over the loss of a pet.

best photo book to display photos of kids and dogs

Did you just welcome a new pet to the family? Showcase their first year in your house with images of them settling in, exploring your neighborhood on walks, or playing with their favorite toys.

  • One Book Per Pet: Do you have multiple animal friends in your home? Dedicate a photo book for each animal as excellent gift ideas for kids in your family.
  • Include Stories: Incorporate text into each page of your book, telling fun pet stories, noting their age, or mentioning their favorite things to do.
  • Pair with Prints: If you’re gifting your pet photo book, pair with a framed image or canvas print of a high-quality image to create a pet-themed gift set.
  • Arrange by Season: Does your dog love to leap in the leaves or play in the snow? Organize your pet images by the seasons of the year.

School Photo Book

The rise in popularity of the photo book means there are new ways to showcase milestones from your child’s school years. Make a new photo album to mark the end of the year or put together your favorite photos from the past 15 years as a graduation gift. You can even create a custom yearbook.

make school photo books with high quality photos

Personalized photo albums are also an excellent way to preserve a child’s artwork, their writing, or an exciting grade on a test. Mix and match images of them enjoying their school days and projects that show off how they grew.

  • First Day Collage: Do you have an image of them heading off for the bus from Kindergarten to high school? Create a collage page to look back over the years.
  • Graduation Book: If college graduation is on the horizon, create a photo book made up of all their graduation and milestone photos over the years.
  • On the Stage: Capture every choir concert, dance recital, and debate competition by making a book of their best performances in school.
  • Play with Design: As your child grows up through the years, alter the design of each photo page to match their school year. Use primary colors and fun patterns for the early days and a more classic, mature look as they get older.

Other Custom Photo Book Ideas

Life provides plenty of additional opportunities to snap exciting photos. As you move through all of life’s big events, organize your images by laying them out in separate albums. You can even designate a special bookshelf in your home to house your collection or display them next to your favorite framed prints. Switch out coffee table books from month to month to showcase each album throughout the year. Additional photo book themes include:

  • Moving into a new home
  • Home design through the seasons
  • Trips to the beach
  • Religious milestones and ceremonies
  • Birthday parties
  • Cooking and baking at home
  • Showcase a hobby
  • Marching in or viewing a parade
  • Athletic achievements
  • Anniversary celebrations

From coffee table books to high school graduation gifts, custom photo albums provide countless opportunities to create personalized presents. Show off your creative skills by moving step-by-step through our guide on how to make the perfect photo book. The finished photo book will live on for years to come as a cherished family keepsake.