When our designers are creating their own photo books, they set up a workflow to help them plan ahead. They think about each stage of the design process and how they’re going to tackle each step – kind of like a checklist. So that you can create your next bonusprint photo book from scratch, here’s an easy-to-follow workflow template on organising your photos, customising your design in our editors, and putting the finishing touches on your project.

First, get your photos in order

A couple flipping through a photo album with their young daughter.

Before you get to the creative part, make sure your photos are in order. If your photos are all jumbled and saved across loads of different devices, check out our guides on how to organise your photos.

Organising your photos can be fiddly, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. Here are some organisational steps, in a nutshell, that will help you prep for your photo book:

  • Manage your photos – upload your photos to one central device.
  • Back up your photos – save those snaps on cloud storage or an extra device to avoid losing them if anything goes wrong with your laptop.
  • Create a naming convention – think of a naming structure for your image files and follow that whenever you upload new photos.
  • Group your photos – this makes creating themed photo books easy because you can search for similar snaps. When you’re uploading photos, edit the file descriptions and include keywords and tags. These could be anything from the predominant colours in the image to the people in the photo.
  • Scan and save old prints and mementoes – you’ll need to keep these organised, just like your digital images, so you’ve got everything to hand when you’re ready to get started on your book.

Quick tip: when naming your image files, try a pattern like this YYYY-MM-DD-Location-Subject. It’ll make it so much easier to find the pics you’re looking for.

Choose your photo book format and size

four photo books in a mixture of sizes and formats, ranging from baby books to travel books.

Before you get started in our photo book editors, you need to select the size and format of your photo book. To do this, think about the purpose of your book; do you want a cute little baby book to gift to a grandparent, or have you got loads of amazing landscapes that would look great in a coffee table book?

We’ve got medium, large, and extra-large photo books that come in square, landscape, and portrait formats. But for a small photo book, you can pick between square and landscape.

At this stage, you need to think about the style too; do you want a lightweight softcover book or a sturdy hardcover photo book? And if you’d rather customise one of our pre-designed photo books, you can select which style you’d like to work with.

Quick tip: if you’re still not entirely sure which style to go for, this blog on photo book formats has lots of examples to help you narrow it down.

Add your photos to the editor

 A picture of an open laptop with Smart Assistant on the screen with a mixture of blurring and in-focus photos surrounding the laptop.

Once you’ve picked the style of your photo book, it’s time to get started in our editor. Click ‘upload photos’ to select all the images you want to use.

Quick tip: give Smart Assistant a try. Our smart technology makes creating photo books super simple. It’ll automatically pick your best photos, removing all the duplicates and blurry snaps you don’t want, then it’ll start suggesting layouts for all your pictures.

Create a rough layout for your photo book

A blank photo book open on a double-page with two grey blocks to be filled with pictures.

If you haven’t used Smart Assistant, try creating a rough layout for your book before adding your photos. When you start in the editor, we’ll give you suggested layouts on each page to fill with your pictures. But you can delete these if you’d rather create your own layouts or swap them with some of our pre-set ones.

When you’re happy, start to add your snaps. You can go back and tweak things at any point, so nothing’s set in stone. If something doesn’t look the way you want it to when you do add your pictures, it’s really easy to change along the way.

Quick tip: a mixture of single-photo layouts and multi-photo layouts will make your photo book look very professional. But try to stick to a similar style of multi-photo layouts and avoid putting too many mosaic layouts side-by-side as this could make your pages look cluttered.

Get creative with captions

A photo book open on a double-page. The left-hand side has a picture of a boy and his grandad playing basketball with a caption underneath.

When your pictures are in place, you can start creating your captions and adding page titles to fit around your images. If you’re a bit lost for words when it’s time to start typing your text, check out our guide on how to tell a story with your photo books for some tips from our copywriters.

Quick tip: to keep your photo book design consistent throughout, try not to use more than three fonts. Pick one for headers and a secondary font for captions. You could maybe use a third for smaller details, like dates, but it’s best to choose one that’s in-keeping with your other two fonts. 

Start to add some extras

A photo book open on a double-page. On the left, there’s a photo of a boy playing basketball with his grandad. The book has heart-shaped clip art and illustrations on the pages.

Assets, like our exclusive clip art designs, are a great way to bring your photo book to life. They make the perfect finishing touch to a page, and you can find a design to suit any style.

Add your design features like clip art, frames, and masks last because these are there to complement your photos. Then when you’re customising a photo cover, why not add one or two pieces of your favourite clip art from inside your photo book to help tie your whole theme together?

Quick tip: when you’re happy with your photo book, make sure you click ‘preview’ to flip through it before you add it to your basket. You can do this at any stage too, to see how your design’s coming along.

Think of these steps as a checklist to work through each time you create a photo book. It’ll make organising your photos so much easier and the creative bit a lot smoother.

Essential tip: always remember to keep saving your project as you go – you don’t want to lose any of your masterpiece.

Now you’re ready to get started on your next bonusprint photo book. But if you need a few extra tips and tricks on topics like how to tell a story or how to create a photo book for a special event, check out the rest of our handy guides here.