© 2011 photobookgirl

Q & A: Photo Book Layouts Using Your Image as a Background



Hi Folks,

Are you gearing up to watch the Super Bowl? I would have much preferred to see my hometown Bears, but alas they lost to the Packers in the championship game… Regardless, the hubs and I are going to a friend’s home today to hang out and eat!

Just sharing a good question from a bride and Photobookgirl reader Kim D. today and Kim was fine with sharing my response with you – thought it may be helpful if you happen to be wondering the same thing.

Kim D. asks:

One of my biggest concerns is the ease of creating custom layouts without having to do photo shop (i.e. using a picture of my wedding flowers as a background for pictures of me getting ready for my wedding). I know that your review shows that adoramapix allows for that but then that company doesn’t do large books. Can you tell me what other companies do allow for the customer layouts without having to use photoshop or some outside source (I’m not very good with photoshop and having to worry about the page measurements and whether pictures will be cut off in the gutters is a big concern).

All info would be greatly appreciated! You’re site has been an amazing resource….I can’t tell you how happy I was to have come across it!!!!!

Thanks in advance.



Hi Kim,

How big of a book were you looking for?  AdoramaPix goes all the way up to 12×12 – which when you open the book will give you a length of 24 inches across which is pretty big 🙂 (Click here for a view of all the sizes AdoramaPix makes.)

The biggest book I’ve personally made is with MyPublisher (Deluxe size) which is huge in my opinion. (15 x 11.5)

You don’t need Photoshop at all to make photo books – many of the companies have very sophisticated software with full features and it’s free.  Although I talk about using Photoshop a lot, that’s mostly to tweak my photos themselves (to fix contrast or brighten a photo) rather than creating layouts.  I like to see the actual features offered by the company when I do my reviews, as I think it’s important to show users what you can do with the free software that’s offered by the company.

I think what you’re saying you’d like to do is to have a large image in the background and have smaller photos on top of that.  So, if you look at AdoramaPix’s specs for example (I have general specs on all the photo book companies in my database under Photo Book Reviews off the Home page of my site), you’ll see a table with a list of features. (You can click on the chart below to go to the full page.)

Based on your question I would suggest looking at two features when deciding which company to use:

1) “Image as Background” (putting your own photo as a background and overlaying smaller photos on top)
2) “Fully Customizable Layouts” (companies that allow you to make custom layouts – placing photo boxes and captions to your liking)

These two features will pretty much ensure you that you’ll be able to do the type of layout you’re looking for.

Other companies that may work for you are Photobook America, Mixbook, Blurb, Picaboo and MyPhotoCreations.  If you have a price range and actual size that you’re looking for, I may be able to narrow down your options.  Also be sure to check out the “Deals” page for savings…


  • Pretty much any company that allows for “Fully Customizable Layouts” will let you overlay your images (but seeing “Yes” in the “Image as Background” category is more definitive)
  • Have you tried my Photo Book Software Wizard? You’ll be able to see which companies offer customizable layouts instantly!
  • The layout shown above and in my AdoramaPix wedding photo book review post were created entirely with AdoramaPix’s software (“Look ma – no Photoshop necessary!”)

Best of luck on your book Kim and congrats on your wedding!




Be sure to check out my CANVAS DEALS!

One Comment

  1. Melanie
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 10:35 am | #

    The first photo book I made, I didn’t use the background image option (since I was making a photo guest book for my wedding, I didn’t want people writing on our faces!), but this is good information. I do page layout for a living at newspaper, and I was surprised at the ease of use of creating with these sites.

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