This year for a combined Mother’s and Father’s Day present for my folks, I put together this photo book for a big trip they took with my aunt and brother in 2012 to Australia and New Zealand. Yes, it’s a few years later, but like I always say, “It’s never too late to make a photo book!” I intended it to be a Mother’s and Father’s Day gift so I gave it to them in the middle of the two holidays. Being late for one and early for the other makes it even out – right?
It’s always a little harder for me to make photo books for occasions or trips for which I’m not present, but my brother has a good artistic eye and he gave me a lot of good photos to work with. I did ask him to narrow down the photos to his favorites which amounted to 485 photos. Of that, I used approximately 375 photos. In this post, I’d like to share some shots of my favorite spreads and my best tips for making your own vacation photo books.
1) 100 Pages is Not Enough
I frequently get e-mails or Facebook messages asking me about photo book companies that allow for more than one hundred pages. There are companies that have higher page maximums, (check out my photo book wizard to find out which ones and other helpful product specs) but don’t let page count deter you from using a photo book company you like. I often suggest doing a multi-volume set as you see here. Each book contains approximately 100 pages each and by doing that, each book is a manageable size. These books are printed with MyPublisher. I created the layouts in Lumapix Fotofusion, exported the pages as jpegs and placed them into MyPublisher’s software as full bleed layouts. You can do most of what you see here within MyPublisher’s free software as well. If you’d like to see more of my reviews of MyPublisher photo books, check out the link.
2) I Love Maps
What better way to start off a photo book than with a map of your travels? It’s a great way to highlight your itinerary. I’ve written several posts about maps because I love them so much. Check out my post on creative map ideas for your photo books.
3) Get Out of the Shot
Of course photos of the people on the trip are important, but I always make sure to also capture photos of the scenery, landmarks, streetscapes, things we ate, local signage, people on the street – anything that will give me and my viewer a sense of place. You want your photo books to tell a story, to make the person looking at your photo book really get a feeling of being there. In my layouts I like to have a mix of posed photos with people in them and photos that are just scenery, or no people in them where possible. Don’t get me wrong – I like people – but too many photos of just people in them gets a bit visually cluttered.
4) To Caption or Not to Caption
I like my layouts to look pretty streamlined and clean so, I don’t like captioning each photo. I usually opt for giving a title to the first photo that begins a series of photos from that location. As you see in the layout above, the first stop was Sydney so I simply titled it that way. Below is the fourth stop, Port Douglas.
Here’s another title page.
I like creating a title page for each main section of my books. It adds some structure and continuity to the design. How each section is defined is up to you. Since most of my vacation photo books are chronological, I usually break them up into days or stops and I’ll write a short narrative about all the things we did and places we visited in that day. Then I follow up with the layouts of the photos from that day. Because I wasn’t actually on the trip, I wasn’t in a position to write a narrative. Instead, for some of the layouts in this book, I looked up some fun facts on some of the highlights of the trip such as the Sydney Opera House and Milford Sound. It was easy to find information on these landmarks using Google and it’s nice to give background information for those viewing your book.
5) Let Your Photos Breathe
For a book this size 8.75″ x 11.25″ (essentially the popular landscape photo book), I rarely put more than 6 photos on a spread (a spread is two facing pages like you see below). If you try to put too much more than that on a spread, each photo becomes pretty small. For the photos I want to highlight I may give it a full two-page spread (although that depends on whether doing so cuts out any part of the top or bottom of the image I’d rather keep), or at least one-half of the spread or in other words, one full page. I will also partially cross the center of the spread if the photo looks better that way.
Having said that, there are times when you may want to do a collage with a lot of photos, or purposely put a lot of photos on a spread for a highlight page for example, but for a photo you want your viewer to focus on because it’s one of your favorites – go big and let it speak for itself.
6) Don’t Go Crazy With Too Many Fonts
I usually use two fonts per project. Keep it simple. For more tips on fonts including ideal font size for readability and my favorite free fonts, check out my font posts here.
I hope you’ve found these tips useful!
Please note, this is not a sponsored post and I was not asked by the company to write this article, but this post does contain affiliate links. If you click on a link or banner and place an order with any of the companies, I may receive a referral fee. Regardless, my views are entirely my own and an honest review is always given.