How to create a photo book with your favourite holiday pictures
A montage of two images showing photo books created by Blurb one featured is a book on Antigua

After almost 3 months in lockdown, you have probably like me, eaten too much, sorted the wardrobes and cupboards at least 3 or 4 times – and yes I did find some baking powder with an expiry date of 2006!  I am sure there has been a long “to do” list of what you wanted to achieve to make sure that this unprecedented time hasn’t been wasted.

One of the things on my list is to make photobooks of the last 3 holidays I had with my family and also a photography trip to New York City.  As a photographer I am use to designing beautiful hand crafted fine art paper books with leather covers and the family name debossed on the front cover.  These are incredibly special books for my clients but for my personal summer holiday photobooks I usually design within Bookwrite which is the software connected to Blurb Books.

I have been using Blurb for a number of years now for my personal holiday memories and I find that the quality is certainly good enough for my holiday snaps.

How to design a book

Just the thought of having to design your own book maybe daunting but the best way to tackle the whole process is to break each element into manageable chunks.

How to choose the images

How many pages you will finally have will depend on how many images you use and also how many you put on a spread.  A spread is two pages – ie when you open a book you see two open pages. eg for my book celebrating my 50th Birthday in Rome I had 30 spreads with 100 images  – many of which were details.

I usually have a story to tell in the book so there are landscapes or cityscapes, portraits of my family, family grouping, touristy images of places. Detail images of eg flowers, food, architecture.

As a professional photographer I use Adobe Lightroom to sort my images out and cull them to the number I feel tells the whole story whether it is a branding, family or nursery photography session.  However, Adobe Lightroom is usually used by professionals and people who have a keen interest in photography.  My suggestions for sorting through the images and choosing your favourites is to use either Photos if you have a iMac, MacBook etc or if you have a PC then Google photos would be a good option too.  Photos has a heart icon and Google photos has a star which enables you to click on it to choose your favourite images and get down to the final selection.  I also suggest this is done on either a desktop or laptop – not a mobile device.  When editing I use to focus on just taking out the images I didn’t like but now I edit with a positive view with only choosing the ones that I like. It may take a couple of rounds to get down to the final selection but it is worth taking the time to do so.

What about the quality of the images?

The images need to be a high enough resolution for print.  You may have heard of DPI (dots per inch) and an image which has a DPI of 240 or 300 will print to a high quality.  Sometimes however, you seem to have an image which is large in size but the image only has a DPI of 72 – don’t worry as the size of the image can be reduced in exchange for making the DPI larger.  Please contact me if you need to ask for help with this.

To reduce the need to have to do anything at all to the image ie not fiddling with exposure or filters, just choose the best images – it will make life so much easier and you are less likely to procrastinate if there are less things to do

I use my small mirrorless Fuji camera on holidays but for these books I have also exported images from my iPhone which was a 6s at the time and incorporated panoramic images and detail shots.

Blurb Books

Just to clarify, I am not being paid to promote them!  I find the brand is very slick and professional and the books are well made and the whole process of ordering is as easy as it can be.

It is really worth getting on their mailing list as they do send special offers out on a regular basis ranging from 20% to 40% off within a particular time frame – you can sign up HERE

Once you have chosen your images for the book put them into a separate folder from the main gallery of images. It will mean when you do upload them you won’t include others that hadn’t made the final cut.

To start to design a book you will need to download BookWrite which is Blurb’s software to create the books.  Instructions on Blurb are very straightforward.  Here is YouTube video to help you install BookWright and how to start to design a book.

For my books I always keep the same format ie they are Large Format Landscape 13×11, premium lustre paper.  The cover is black linen but  this option comes with a glossy full colour dust jacket. I don’t like to cram too many images on a spread – at the most I would have 4 on each page usually I would have at the most 3 per spread.  The templates on Blurb are very intuitive and it is very straightforward to drag and drop the images from the library into the design.

If after all the above you are thinking, “I don’t have the time to put a photobook together!”.  Then let me help you!

All I need from you is between 50-80 images that you have personally selected.that you wanted to put in a book.*  From there I can do the following for you:-

  • Set up a Blurb account with your email address
  • Check exposure and shadows.
  • Design a book with the following information from you
    • Size of book and quality of paper that you require
    • Guidance from yourself about key points in the holiday and particular events/locations.

Once the design is finished you can access your Blurb account and check what I have done and then purchase the book with your card details.

For this service I am charge £195 (not including the book).

Extra services

*If you want to use my online gallery facility with the ability to choose favourite images easily by clicking the Heart icon to create the final list of images then the charge to set up the gallery for you and upload the images will be £35 with your own personal password.

Retouching i.e. removing spots and blemishes per image – £10

Contact me to get started to create your fabulous book of wonderful memories. 




  1. Julia Sondack

    What a great use of our time at the moment. Reliving wonderful memories. Love it!

    • annie

      Yes – it was always at the bottom of the list to do!

  2. Emma Mitchell

    Really helpful thanks Annie ! It’s been on my To Do List too….now need to action it ! Some great tips as ever thanks so much for sharing, Emma x

    • annie

      Once you start doing them they become easy as you then have a template from the first one you create!


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