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

JUNO Magazine front cover

JUNO Magazine Feature - Stop criticising yourself!

JUNO Magazine Feature Article

I've been a family photographer for over 14 years. I understand that it can sometimes be uncomfortable to put yourself in front of the camera. But, clients book shoots with me because they understand the importance of capturing a moment in time. Of freezing the fleeting moments of childhood, so that when life becomes less frantic, they can look back and remember. I want to capture the love in each family that I work with.  Read my JUNO Magazine feature  in the latest edition (out now!), to hear what I have to say to my hesitant or self critical clients...

"...freezing the fleeting moments of childhood, so that when life becomes less frantic, they can look back and remember."

You can buy copies of JUNO Magazine from WHSmiths, independent retailers and in their online shop.     

Read my 'You are loved' feature on page 35!

"JUNO is a print and digital bi-monthly magazine which promotes a natural approach to family life and inspires and supports parents as they journey through the challenges of parenting. We have an ethos based on conscious parenting, sustainability, social justice, non-violence and a commitment to personal growth and spiritual awareness and share fresh perspectives in this fast-paced technological world, creating a non-judgemental community for those who are keen to follow “a natural approach to family life”."

If you'd like to see more of my work, you can visit my portfolio pages and follow me on Instagram.


JUNO Magazine front coverGemma Griffiths featured in JUNO MagazineCardiff family photographer featured in JUNO MagazineCardiff family photographer featured in JUNO MagazineDouble page spread in JUNO Magazine

Cardiff family photographer featured in JUNO MagazineCardiff family photographer featured in JUNO MagazineCardiff family photographer featured in JUNO MagazineMagazine feature

Wouldn't Change a Thing Charity Shoot

Wouldn't Change a Thing Charity Shoot

I was honoured to be asked by Kate to be her family photographer for a Wouldn't Change a Thing charity shoot. After it's successful book launch in Australia, Celebrate T21, wanted to create a charity book in the UK, to spread their positive message about Down Syndrome.

The Wouldn't Change a Thing charity are:

"trying to achieve a world where negative outdated perceptions of Down syndrome are a thing of the past."

 "Our projects are designed to be uplifting, emotive and positive; offering insights into how enjoyable life for all those associated with the condition can be. Our intent is to leave those who view our work feeling challenged and changed making them more willing to accept those with Down syndrome and to consider them as valid members of society, as schoolmates, as work colleagues or as employees."

Celebrate T21's aim for the book is to:

"portray the true stories of positive, lived experience typical of the majority of real people with Down syndrome and their families."

You can buy the book on the Wouldn't Change a Thing website.

James was star of the shoot but it was important to show James as part of his family unit and for him not to just be photographed alone. Kate and Mark wanted to show how James fits perfectly into their family. You can read their beautiful words below on their double page spread of the book.

The shoot took place just before sunset on a beautiful evening in South Wales. We spent some time together exploring the gardens. James was brilliant at encouraging his brother and sister to relax. It was wonderful to spend time with such a loving family!

See more of my family work in my family portfolio and blog.

Get in touch to book your shoot.

Gem x


Mini Beach Shoots 2020


After the success of my mini beach shoots 2019, they are back in 2020 but with a few tweaks! The perfect gift for Mother's Day!

I very quickly realised that I can't do a shoot at the beach in 30 mins, so I've extended the time to an hour. I also discovered that to get the best combination of tide, weather and sunset times I can only do one shoot per day. This is all good news for my clients as sessions are now longer and more flexible. Hooray!

So, what's included in the Mini Beach Shoot package? Well, you have an hour long photo shoot at the beach, plus 5 prints and matching digital images for only £199! If you fall in love with the rest of the images (I will warn you that EVERYONE that had a shoot last year bought extra images, with most clients upgrading to the full digital package), there are upgrade packages available.

I'm only offering 10 slots (I ended up doing many more last year), as I need to make sure I've got time and weekend availability for all my family shoots too.

So, if you want one, be quick! You can book directly through the website.

See below for a small snippet of my beach fun from 2019. There's a real mixture of shoots, from a baking hot day to a crisp windy day. There was also a grandparents session, a maternity session and loads of gorgeous sunsets. If you want to see more, visit the blog, or check out my Instagram account.


Gem x

Cardiff photographer portfolios


Cardiff Family Photography - Telling your story

As a Cardiff family photographer, I want to tell the story of your family.

A family is more than the sum of it's parts.  I don't just want to take a photo of you all together and then dust my hands off and go home. Oh no. I want to spend some time with you. Take a walk. Have a chat. I want to try and capture the unique bonds and relationships that make up your family. How do the kids interact? Are they adventurous or playful? Are they shy and thoughtful? Do they talk non-stop or take time to get to know people? How do you hold them and snuggle them? Do you play with them in the sea or give them shoulder rides? Each family is totally unique and that is why I like to spend time getting to know you and planning the perfect session.

"I want to try and capture the unique bonds and relationships that make up your family."

Before the session, we'll have a chat and decide on a location together. It might be the gorgeous Welsh coastline, or a park, or forest. Wherever you feel happy. Next, is planning outfits. I always suggest something comfortable and in keeping with the chosen location.

The shoot itself can take anywhere between 1-2 hours (sometimes longer!). I'm not in any hurry and there's no strict time limit. Usually little ones let you know when the have had enough! During the shoot, I'll aim to capture a mixture of posed and unposed images. It's great to a variety of images to choose from, including ones looking at the camera and a more documentary style.

"I want it to display the essence of your family love."

After the shoot, you'll come to my home office for a viewing session. You will see all your images in a slideshow. I create a nine image collage after every shoot, so that you can see your story, through my eyes. I try to include a real variety of images in the collage - I want it to display the essence of your family love. Seeing the images in the collage also really helps you to see what they will look like when they are displayed together at home. You can choose to order a collage print or a multi-aperture frame with a selection of your favourite images.

Have a look below and see a small selection of family stories from lots of different locations around South Wales. If you're looking for a Cardiff family photographer - then get in touch to find out more about booking your family photo shoot.

See more of my work on my blog and Instagram account. If you don't like having your photo taken then have a read of my article - featured in the latest edition of JUNO Magazine!

This little one was a pocket rocket. She thoroughly enjoyed her forest adventure and playing amongst the gorgeous Autumn leaves.

Cardiff family photography

This shoot took place on one of the hottest days last year. We were all roasting! The kids absolutely loved playing in the water at the end of the session. In fact, Mum and Dad couldn't get them to leave. I would have stayed there too if it wasn't for my two cameras and massive (unnecessary) coat.

Family photo shoot on Southerndown Beach.

Cardiff Family Photography

A walk in the forest at the end of Summer for this family maternity session. This little guy was making the most of having the full attention of both parents before little brother arrived on the scene.

maternity family shoot. Bryngarw Park

These two have a strong connection with the ocean and so a maternity beach shoot was the best choice for them. The sunset was a spectacular pink colour. It matched her dress perfectly! It's such a special time to spend as couple - waiting for the birth of your first child together.

maternity beach shoot south wales

This family looked awesome on their Autumn family shoot. They chose a blue and pink palette which worked really well with the green backgrounds. I love it when siblings are so close and love hugging each other and playing together.

cardiff family photography

Lots of adventure on this shoot! There was tree climbing, a walk along the cliffs and exploring the secret gardens too.

cardiff family photographer. photo shoot at Dunraven Gardens

Big brother was off to University and so it was time to get some family photos taken to remember him by! It was so much fun hanging out with this lot.

cardiff family photography

Love the shades of burgundy and navy in this shoot. Another fabulous sunset on my favourite beach! We had a gorgeous hazy pink sunset and the beach to ourselves, which meant lots of running and jumping around. Making the most of the wide open space.

Cardiff Family Photography

You can't tell from the pictures but this was a super gloomy day with plenty of rain. We managed to dodge the showers and play among the flowers before the rain set in. It was really lovely to have Grandparents and the pet dog on this shoot too!

cardiff family photography

Summer at the beach. There's no more perfect setting for a family shoot! This family love the beach and love exploring so I wanted to capture their adventurous spirit.

cardiff family photography

Sunset is the perfect time to take a silhouette picture! We had great fun playing in the waves at the end of this shoot. There was a gorgeous sunset too, which provided the stunning golden light.

cardiff family photography

Another shoot with the Grandparents and this time, they'd come all the way from Africa! The big sister and little brother relationship was soooo sweet too. They didn't stop smiling!

cardiff family photographer

This was a really special shoot with James and his family for the Wouldn't Change a Thing charity book (blog post coming soon!).

cardiff family photography

Who knew a beach shoot in April could be so much fun (and so wet!)? Three sisters with three totally different personalities. They all loved the water though!

cardiff family photographer

This shoot was a surprise for Dad's birthday. He loved his birthday canvas!

cardiff family photographer

Gemma Griffiths Photography. Cardiff family photography based in South Wales. Available for outdoor family photo shoots.

View family portfolio and pricing page for further information.