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 beautiful photo books that you can cherish for a lifetime. With Shutterfly’s New Photo Book Experience, making a photo book is faster and easier than ever. Our new stress-free experience lets you upload your most cherished photos seamlessly so you can have a completely customized photo book built in minutes, right at your fingertips. Follow our step-by-step guide and to design your own photo books that you can treasure as a special keepsake for years to come.

Creating a photo book is an excellent way to showcase the memories you’ve made with family and friends throughout the years. They also make great gifts for special holidays and occasions like birthdays, graduations, and even weddings. Photo books also look great displayed on coffee tables in an office, waiting room, or living room. No matter how you choose to use your photo book, you can create one or more with some of the best ideas and themes to wow those that look through its pages.

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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. The New Photo Book Experience allows you to make a photo book completely customized to you and your needs or for someone else in just minutes. For more customization tips and to learn how to make a photo book, follow this step-by-step guide:

A man looking at a custom photo book made with snapshots of his dog

1. Select a style

Your photo book should tell your story, so choose a style that reflects the memories you made. Browse our one-of-a-kind styles to make a custom photo book that is perfect for showcasing your favorite pictures. From sleek and modern styles to books for weddings, travel, kids, everyday occasions, and more  — you can find the best photo book styles for you and your photos.

2. 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. Shutterfly offers custom photo books in sizes 8×8, 8×11, 10×10, 11×14, and 12×12.

3. Pick your photo book style and start creating

Your photos deserve the best presentation. When making a photo book, you’ll have the option to choose the cover styles and bindings to beautifully showcase your images. Choose from softcover and hardcover photo books as well as luxurious leather-bound albums. We offer standard pages as well as standard and deluxe layflat photo books that seamlessly display your favorite photos across each spread. With so many cover and binding options, you can easily customize a photo album that will capture your favorite memories in a way that suits your style.

4. Upload your photos from anywhere

With Shutterfly’s new photo book creation experience, it’s easier than ever to choose the images for your custom photo books. You can upload photos from anywhere — your desktop computer, mobile device, Shutterfly photos, Google Photos, Instagram Facebook, and the Shutterfly Art Library. You can even use our suggestions based on your photos such as “Year in Review” or “Best of Spring.”  Plus, we’ll sort out your images for you so adding photos to your book will be a seamless process.

5. Easily customize your photo book pages

We will instantly lay out your book for you —  it will place your photos and choose layouts for you to make your photo book creation experience quick and easy. You can then review your book with our easy-to-see spreads, drag spreads to rearrange them, or edit individual spreads. You can also use the Clear book button to start from scratch.

Click Edit Book to add text, embellishments, and backgrounds to each page. You can also customize each page layout to your liking and feature more or less photos per page. Embellishments include frames, stickers, quotes for your specific book style as well as several other styles like baby, kids, animals, travel, and more. You have 100% control to edit and customize to your heart’s desire. We’ve made it easier to edit and customize with simple to use tools and features, but don’t have to accept our suggestions and can make your photo book, your way.

6. Add upgrades to your personalized photo book

Take your photo book to the next level by upgrading with premium covers, glossy pages, metallic accents, die-cut cover, or a dust jacket to enhance your photo book’s look and feel. Store small keepsakes in a memorabilia pocket you can add on.

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 with the New Photo Book Experience. From our favorite family photo album ideas to our best travel photo book designs, there’s something for everyone in the selections below.

Family Vacations

A person flipping through a photo book displayed alongside a phone case and travel mug with handle
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

A custom travel photo book that says "Road Trip" alongside two potted plants
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 styles to easily display your photos in a concise layout.

Document Family Traditions

A family recipe photo book displayed alongside wood utensils
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

A custom photo book that says "adventure awaits" on a table next to a vase of flowers
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 traveled 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.

Wedding Photo Books & Newlywed Moments

A wedding photo album with snapshots from the bride and grooms wedding day
From walking down the aisle to 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 wedding photo book dedicated to your wedding day and the many firsts that follow. You can allot a few pages to your big day, the honeymoon, and fill the remainder of the book with meaningful moments together.

Baby Photo Books and Kid Year in Reviews

A baby photo book displayed alongside a ceramic mug
Highlight all of your child’s most incredible memories in a kid year in review photo book. From sports games and dance recitals to school science fairs and slumber parties, you can document these special moments in a photo album they’ll love to look back on when they’re older. Or, you can put together a personalized baby photo book keepsake of your new baby’s first year and their most adorable milestones. You can either make this for yourself or as a surprise for your significant other’s first Mother’s Day gift or Father’s Day gift.

Document Senior Year With a Graduation Photo Book

A custom photo book for graduation that says "Adventure Awaits."
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 year in review photo book for your graduate. They’ll love having a tangible collection of their photos outside of their Facebook and Instagram feed.

Family Year in Review

A father and daughter looking at a custom photo book together

Dedicate an entire photo book to every season or the entire last year spent with your family. Capture some major traditions such as picking pumpkins, Thanksgiving dinners, or celebrating July 4th. Create a spread of three to four pages per season and create a new year in review photo book or a seasonal 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.