7 easy steps to make your own photobook!

Follow these 7 easy steps to make your own photobook!

I’ve been making a family photobook every year since 2014 and so I’ve refined the process down to a few steps. As a family photographer, documenting my family is really important to me and I love sitting with my kids and poring over the memories from each year. Here’s some tips to help you get your memories printed.

 

photobook tips

1. Choose your subject

Choosing to create a photobook with images of the whole year is a big undertaking. Creating a photobook doesn’t have to be a mammoth task though. If the thought of organising a whole year’s worth of photos is enough to make you run screaming from the computer, then why not start with a smaller task?

How about creating a book to cover the Summer holidays – your two week trip to Spain, or the whole 6 weeks of the school holiday? Or, create a book for a season – Winter walks and Christmas fun? Or, perhaps an event – a special birthday party, wedding or anniversary?

Have a think about what you’d like to include in your book before you start the project. Make sure your objective is clear before you face the hundreds of images on your phone!

creating your own photobook

2. Find a printer

There are many printing options online. For my personal creations I use Photobox but there are lots and lots of other suppliers. I can’t comment on other services, as I’ve only ever used Photobox, for my books, but you could look at Optimal Print, Vista Print or Snapfish. Most printers will have offers on, so it’s worth researching around and looking for the best price.

{Note: I use professional printing labs for my client work and the quality of the paper and colours etc are infinitely superior but for printing iphone family images, I’m happy to use Photobox}.

family photobook

3. Choose your photobook style

There are lots of different sizes and designs to choose from. It can feel a bit overwhelming scrolling through all the options. There are small books, large books, square books, hardback books, the list is endless. My advice would be to keep it simple. I choose a A4 personalised photobook from Photobox. This is hardback book with a personalised front and back cover. I choose plain white pages and use the available layout templates. I do the same thing every year so that my books are all matching and sit together on my bookcase.

cardiff family photographer photobook

4. Organise

Once you’ve chosen the subject of your book – a whole year, or Summer holiday etc, it’s time to get organised.

I would advise creating the photobook on a PC or laptop computer instead of a phone. I find it much easier to work this way.

Choose the images that you’d like to include in the book. The best advice I can give at this stage of the process is CULL CULL CULL. It’s much easier to cull out the duff images at this time than it is later on. You don’t want to be wading through 300 versions of the same image, or looking at stuff that is out of focus, or uninteresting when you are designing your book (I’ve got hundreds of images on my phone that I don’t want in my book – accidental images of my feet, screen shots of recipes, photos taken as jokes etc).

Before you upload anything, make sure you have chosen the images that you’d like to include. Do not add all of your images from your phone at this stage as it will make the process long and painful. Trust me.

It might be easiest to download all the images from your phone onto your computer and then have an evening (in front of the TV) and just go through each image. Delete the ones you don’t want to include and then you’re left with your final selection. Then it’s time to…

 

photobook design

5. Upload

If you are just using images from your phone, then it’s more straightforward. Simply choose the images that you want to include and upload them to your chosen printers website (don’t forget to cull first!).

Once you’ve joined / logged in – create a folder and call it the name of your project – Griffiths Family Yearbook 2019 – then upload all the images into the folder.

I use images from my phone, images from my computer and images from my husbands phone – which adds an extra level of complication to the process as I have to collate images from 3 different places. If you are using multiple sources (like I do), then you can either upload the images from the different devices directly to your folder on Photobox, for example, or collate the images all into one place and then upload at the same time. I put all the images together onto my computer first, cull them and then add them all together into Photobox.

If you’re just using images from your phone – they should arrive in your folder in date order – which makes it easy to add them to your design. If you’re using multiple sources then you need your wits about you, as they won’t all be in date order. Of course, there’s the option of renaming all the images before you upload them but who has got time for that? Not me!

Once your images are uploaded, you can relax a bit. It’s time to…

photobook layouts

6. Design your photobook

The worst is over! Honestly this is the fun bit. If you’ve culled and uploaded everything into one place, then the next bit is a walk in the park. Your mantra for this part is to keep things simple.

If you’re using Photobox then you’ll have two options at the start of the design process. Use ‘Easy Create’ or ‘start from blank’.

Easy Create

Photobox offer an automated design service called ‘Easy Create’. If you choose ‘Easy Create’, they will ask you a few questions and then automatically fill the book with the images from your chosen folder (in date order). It takes about a minute. Once it’s done, you can go in a start tweaking the design (if you want to). If you’re happy with the design, Bob’s your Uncle, and the job is done!

Start from blank

With this option, you choose to start the design from scratch and build the book as you go. Choose a layout for each page and then drag the images into the template.

My photobooks have around 100 pages. This is quite big, but I have thousands of images that I want to include and I cram them in as much as I can. You can add pages to your design if you run out of space. A really handy feature in Photobox is the ability to take a birds eye view of the design. If you click on ‘All pages’ in the bottom corner, you can see all the pages. I find this really helpful if I need to add something I’ve missed out – I can jump back to the page I need, without flicking back and forth.

I try and keep a day or outing or event as a single page or double page spread. For example, we go to the Summertime Ball every year in London and take loads of photos. I love the simple 8 or 9 image layout options on Photobox because it means that I can have a lovely double page spread for an event where I’ve got a lot of images. I’ll choose the 8/9 image layout for both pages and then drag the images into place. See above for an example of an 8 image spread – I had lots of portrait images from our trip to Dorset and they fitted perfectly into the template.

Each year I’ll do a proper shoot with my kids and so I’ll want to show these images off a bit more than my iphone pictures. For the images that I really like, I’ll choose a 4 image or 3 image layout, so they are bigger and have more impact. You can see examples of this elsewhere in the blog post – my daughter in the rapeseed field or my son’s ballet shoot.

There’s loads of layout options to choose from. Don’t panic. Just look at the images that you have (How many are there? Are they landscape or portrait orientation?) and then choose the layout that looks like it might fit best. If your chosen layout isn’t working – you can change it and the images will automatically jump into the new layout. You can also use the ‘Swap’ tool, that will swap images around the grid if you want to change the design.

Once you’ve added your image to the layout template, you can zoom, flip or rotate the image if you want to tweak the design.

7. Check and order your photobook

Once you’ve finished designing the book, take a break. Leave it overnight, or at least go and have a cup of tea. The next part is important, so don’t rush. With a clear mind, go through the book one last time. Make sure that your images are placed correctly. You can grab them and move them around within their layout aperture, so make sure you haven’t chopped off someones head or hand by accident. Check you haven’t made any mistakes – like adding a random Christmas image to your Summer holiday page.

If you like, think about adding text to some of the pages. I used to add dates and months and write a few captions but didn’t have the patience to do it this year. It’s obvious it’s Christmas, I don’t need a caption saying ‘Christmas!’. That’s my excuse anyway.

If you have any alerts or warnings, then your images might not be good enough quality for the size you’ve chosen.  I’m perfectly happy to print some rubbish iphone pictures if they are the only ones I have of a certain time (blurry images of my kids getting a present from Santa etc). However, you don’t want a massive image that looks bad, so just make the less than perfect images smaller and group them together.

Don’t forget to add your front and back cover images!

Once you’re happy with the design, that’s it! Click on order and celebrate!

Sneaky extra tip!

Make sure that you include images of yourself in your creations. It’s just as important for your kids to look back and remember you, as it is for you to remember them! You don’t need to squeeze yourself into a child’s Christmas hat and jumper (but you can if you want to).

photobook design

I’d love to see the results of any books made after you’ve read this post – send me a message on Facebook or Instagram so I can see your creations!

Want to get some family photos for your photobook? Why not book one of my Mini Beach Shoots this year?

If you have any questions, let me know!

Gem x

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