How to Design a Coffee Table Photo Book

Photo books are excellent coffee table additions for showcasing design samples, family photos, or snapshots from special occasions, holidays, and vacation trips. They make excellent conversation starters when you have friends and family over or reading materials for waiting guests. So whether you’re looking for coffee table display materials for an office, guest house, or your home, we have you covered. Check out our coffee table photo book ideas below to learn how to create your very own.

Not only are photo books great for displaying on a coffee table and show off your keen eye for design, but for gift giving as well. If you are in need of a gift for Mom on a special holiday like Father’s Day, for your best friends wedding, or your sisters birthday, creating a photo book for them is the perfect place to start. Help someone you love showcase their favorite memories they can look back on for a lifetime. They will appreciate your heartwarming gift and smile every time they flip through it’s pages.

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Why Create a Coffee Table Photo Book?

So why should you create a photo book? If you have a small office with a waiting room, coffee table books are an upgrade from traditional magazines. Or if you have a rental or guest home, these photo books can offer instructions and a showcasing of everything the home has to offer. Even creating a simple photo book of vacation or family photos for your home’s coffee table makes for an excellent conversation starter when you have guests. There’s a perfect photo book for every situation and they allow you the opportunity to tell your story.

coffee table photo books

Types of Personalized Coffee Table Photo Books

Not sure what type of photo book you should make? Don’t worry. Just think about where you want to display your photo book be it your living room or office, your audience of who will be looking at it, or if you are gifting it for someone else. From wedding albums, to mini photo books, and yearbooks, at Shutterfly, we’ll help you craft the perfect keepsake with explanations of book sizes, styles, and finishing options below.

1. Vacation Photos

travel quote in a custom photo book

Travel photo books make great conversation starters, making them one of the best options for a coffee table book. Upload photos from your latest vacation or choose your favorite pictures from trips over the last decade. Then, add  custom text to describe the trip on each of the pages. With a variety of pre-arranged travel layouts, it’s easier than ever to create a travel photo book.

2. Wedding Photos

wedding photo book

If you’ve recently had a wedding or you’re looking to breathe new life into your old wedding photos, a wedding photo book is a great way to showcase those special memories from your big day. Create a high-quality coffee table book to showcase in your home for a centerpiece guests are guaranteed to love.

3. Portfolios

Custom portfolio layflat photo book with a hardcover

If you own and operate a small business, you could benefit from a portfolio book showcasing your quality products and services. These are perfect for waiting rooms or bringing to meets with potential clients. These coffee table books are ideal for photographers, graphic designers, interior designers, and more!

4. Family Albums or Year-in-Review Books

Featured image of a custom photo book showcasing family snapshots displayed alongside a tea towel and ceramic mug

Showcase your family’s most (or least) photogenic moments over the last year as a heartwarming conversation starter for guests. Consider including baby photos, pictures from vacation, and your annual family holiday photos. Then pick a photo book design that best matches your family’s style. Design a family photo book for an overview of some favorite memories, or an annual photo book template that shows off your best pictures from the last year.

5. Guest Books

Travel photo book used as guest book featuring a NIkon camera and map

Fill your guest house coffee table photo books with instructions on how to use the facilities, property rules, and photo highlights showcasing the property’s best features. You can also include a guide for fun things to do and nice places to eat within the area to truly impress your guests.

6. Small Soft Cover Books

Small softcover mini photo books with high quality photos

These small, soft cover books are the perfect way to showcase a recent collection of photos. Quickly and easily create small 6×6 photo books to create a collection of albums that tell the story of every month and year in your family’s lives. You can level a stack of these picture books on your coffee table to casual browsing or keep them safely on a bookshelf.

7. Hard Cover Photo Books

Woman looking at a hardcover photo book with snapshots of her children

Hardcover books are great for preserving your favorite photos, and for that reason, they make great coffee table books. Showcase a family photo album, travel photography, or high-end family portraits with a hardcover photo book that’s guaranteed to last. Stand them up or keep them stacked on your coffee table for a fun trip down memory lane.

8. Layflat Photo Books

layflat photo book

These beautiful photo books are perfect for wedding albums or special events. The special lay-flat pages preserve and showcase your memories with high-quality photo paper. Choose a glossy or matte finish to make your photos stand out, and opt for a dust jacket if you expect this coffee table photo book to be handled often.

How to Create a Coffee Table Book

Ready to get started creating your coffee table photo book? Just follow the simple instructions below:

1. Upload your photos. Upload your favorite photos and memories to your Shutterfly account. Place the photos into specific folders for your project to help you stay on track and organized while creating your photo book.

2. Choose your photo book style and layout. Browse a variety of photo book templates to find the perfect match for your book. We offer a variety of photo book themes, as well as cover styles, binding options, and sizes. You can design the coffee table book yourself or use our free photo book designer service which will make you a photo book in just 24 hours.

3.  Add photos to your project. If you’ve chosen to design your book yourself, select the photos you want on each page. You can customize each page’s layout so it can feature as many photos as you like.

4. Edit photos, captions, and embellishments. Make sure to edit and crop any photos that need fine-tuning. You can also add captions and embellishments during this stage. Try to use the photos, captions, and embellishments to tell a story through the book’s progression. Also, do your best not to leave any pages overcrowded or empty.

5. Review your order. Once you’re satisfied with your photo book, it’s time to review. Reviewing gives you the chance to check for any misspellings, photo mistakes, or duplicate images. You can also ask a friend or family member to review your book as an extra set of eyes. Once you’re confident there aren’t any errors, add the book to your cart and order away!

four custom photo books

Resources Related to Coffee Table Photo Books

If you liked this resource on coffee table photo books and you’re looking for more inspiration, make sure to visit our related photo book resources: