How to Make a Photo Book + 8 Ideas and Themes

Whether you captured a family vacation full of adventures or you’ve been documenting the progress of your pregnancy, don’t let your photos stay in digital folders forever. Instead, turn them into photo books that you can cherish. If you want to create photo books with minimal effort, try our instant books option. Not sure how to make a photo book? Don’t worry, we’ve included our top photo book ideas along with a step-by-step guide. To get started simply skip to a specific section or use the ideas to inspire a book all your own.

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How To Make A Photo Book

Once you have a concept in mind, it’s time to create a photo book of your own. If you’d like more assistance, you can have one of our designers make the photo book for you with the “make my book” option. Alternatively, use our simple path where photos are instantly arranged in your book or customize your photo book the way you want. For an even simpler option, make quick photo books with Shutterfly Instant Books.

make your own photo book with softcover design

For more customization and to learn how to make the best photo books, use our custom path and follow this step-by-step guide:

1. Choose your photo book size

Consider the volume of photos you have as well as photo book storage before selecting a photo book size. If it will be a coffee table staple, opt for a larger photo book, but if it needs to fit in a bookshelf, consider the size constraints you may have.

2. Select a style

Your photo book should tell your story, so choose a style that reflects the memories you made. From modern white to whimsy chalkboard, there are over 240 styles that you can choose from.

3. Upload your photos

Sort through your photos to nail down the ones that you want to include in your photo book. Narrowing down your options can sometimes be the hardest part, but a good rule of thumb is to stick with a common theme and include everyone who you shared the memories with.

4. Customize

Choose from various layouts, backgrounds and embellishments to create a spread that you’re proud to show off! It’s easy to drag and drop your photos and add-ons, so don’t be afraid to play around with it. Take your photo book to the next level by upgrading to a premium cover in crushed silk, leather or more.

5. Preview and purchase

Once you’ve completed your photo book, preview the book from cover to cover to confirm that it’s exactly how you want it. Then add it to your cart, add your shipping and payment information and get ready to receive the final version in your mailbox.

Photo Book Ideas

Check out the photo book ideas below for inspiration before you begin crafting your own photo book. From our favorite family photo album ideas to our best travel photo book designs, there’s something for everyone in the selections below.

Family Vacation

Photo book with vacation photos
Create spreads with your vacation photos. When stylizing each page, consider photos that are both posed and candid. These photos should bring a sense of place and fun to take you back to your vacation spots any time you wish.

Sweet Summertime Weekends

Photo book with summer lake house photos
Create a photo book that your children can use to reminisce on all the times you spent together. To truly tell the story of your summer, mix up the layout on every page. From a photo that spans two full pages to mixing six to eight pictures per page, utilize the templates to easily display your photos in a concise layout.

Family Traditions

Photo book of winter vacation
Whether you’re continuing family traditions that have lasted generations or starting your own, it’s important to record the fun times you spent together. Create a photo book every year and bring all of them to annual gatherings. It’s a great way of recollecting stories from years past and seeing how much everyone has grown.

Year of Adventures

Photo book of weekend getaway
Recap your year with a photo book full of memories you made with your family and friends. Whether you explored the area close to home or travelled the globe, you’ll love to create a personalized souvenir to showcase all of your favorite memories. If you have any funny quotes or stories, include them alongside the photos for a good laugh in years to come.

Senior Year

Photo book of senior class
Senior year of high school wraps up a major chapter in one’s life. From prom and senior night to graduation, there are many memories made with lifelong friends before embarking on their next adventure. For a unique graduation present, create a personal yearbook for your graduate. They’ll love having a tangible collection of their photos outside of their Facebook and Instagram feed.

Newlywed Moments

Photo book of honeymoon
From enjoying a honeymoon escape to purchasing a home, the first year as a married couple will feel like it goes by in the blink of an eye. That’s why it’s important to build a photo book dedicated to your many firsts. You can allot a few pages to your honeymoon and fill the remainder of the book with meaningful moments together.

Maternity Journal

Photo book with bump updates
Capture the nine months of anticipation by creating a photo book of pregnancy milestones. Include month-by-month updates of your bump, celebrations such as the gender reveal and baby shower and make sure to leave space to document your feelings throughout the experience leading up to parenthood. You can either make this for yourself or as a surprise gift for your significant other’s first Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

Family Yearbook by Season

Photo book of family at pumpkin patch
Dedicate an entire photo book to every season spent with your family. Capture some major traditions such as picking pumpkins or celebrating July 4th. Create a spread of three to four pages per season and create a new photo book following the same theme every year.

Resources Related To How To Make Photo Book

With our step-by-step and theme ideas in mind, create your own photo book to keep or give as a gift. And if you’re looking for additional related resources to help you build the perfect book, make sure to visit our guides on the best photo book styles and how to make the perfect photo book.