Hello out there in Photobookland!
Every day, I receive messages from our readers asking for tips or help on various aspects of making photo books. Not long ago I received an email from LMH from Chesapeake, VA. Here’s her question:
Hi Photo Book Girl,
My issue is I NEED a photo book all tricked out about San Francisco where all I do is upload my own photos and ephemera. NO COMPANY I found has any San Fran templates! Do you know of any??
If I were really serious, could I hire you to create me a template of San Fran?
Oh I wish I were talented enough to make such a themed template! While I’m pretty confident in my layout skills, I don’t have the graphic skills to create the cool kinds of artistic enhancements I bet LMH is looking for. My suggestion to her was to start off with a general travel theme – of which there are many that I’ve seen on several photo book company’s sites. Here are a few of my favorites.
READY MADE TRAVEL THEMES
National Parks by Shutterfly
Travel Memories by Photobook America
Anchors Away by Shutterfly
Kraft Travel from Mixbook
Big City by Mixbook
You may get lucky and find exactly what you need within a particular photo book company – then just add your own photos and a few captions here or there and you’re all set! Travel photo books are one of the most fun photo books and they’re easier in many ways. You have a specific set of photos to cull (versus a broader “year in review” type book) and there’s a built in theme.
DIGITAL SCRAPBOOKING KITS
To address the city specific part our reader’s travel photo book on San Francisco, I did a Google search on “San Francisco digital scrapbooking kit” (I google everything b/t/w!), click on the “image” results and did a quick visual scan. I found a kit that looked promising and clicked over to find a site that offers a myriad of scrapbooking graphics. For example, here’s a really fun looking set of San Francisco themed graphics from Sweet Shoppe Designs by Jady Day Studio and Amanda Yi designs. Just add a few (or a lot depending on your personal taste) to accent your travel photos and you’re on our way to making an awesome travel journal that you can share with friends and family. It’s just not the same as posting a few pics on Facebook or worse yet, trying to show your friends 300 vacation photos on your phone!
There are lots of digital scrapbooking sites like this where you can find a set of creative graphics on practically every topic under the sun. Once you purchase the kit, you can download it immediately. You can then upload the graphics to the photo book company of your choice. The digital scrapbook friendly companies in particular that allow you to upload your own clip art and embellishments are Mixbook and Photobook America. Alternatively if you have your own layout software, you can make your own complete layouts and then upload the completed pages to any company of your choice.
I’ve often perused digiscrap sites like these to find the cute extras for not only my photo book projects but also when I’m coming up with a theme for my kids’ birthday parties. My little guy who just turned one this past summer had a circus/carnival themed party. I found a couple of digital kits with tons of fun circus themed clip art which I used to make party invitations, decorations, and a guest sign-in canvas. When I get around to making the photo book of the party I’ll be able to reuse the circus kit that I used earlier to create the theme of the party. I love being able to reutilize things – it satisfies the scavenger in me!
Oops, went on a bit of a tangent, but just wanted to show you how you can repurpose tools you use for your photo book projects to many other crafts or custom projects such as invitations, party signs etc.!
Back on the topic of photo books, I like using digital scrapbooking kits to enhance my Disney themed photo books (which reminds me I’m kinda behind on two of them – but my motto is: “It’s never too late to make a photo book!”) These books below were printed with MyPublisher.
In Part 2 of this post, I’ll tell you about where to find license-free images for free that you can use in your photo book and other creative projects! Stay tuned and Happy Photobooking!
*Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a referral fee. Regardless, my opinions are my own and I always give my honest opinion, good or bad.