Design your own photo album

As I’ve been reading Ali Edward’s blog I feel inspired to make something with all of my digital photographs. Not because I feel I have to, but because I want to view them in a easy and convenient way. I want to bring them out from the computer so that I can look at them with friends and family. But I don’t feel like printing one thousand copies and gluing them into albums, decorating pages etc. This I have done and I’ve ended up with heavy huge binders of paper.

Scrapbooking is something I have mixed feelings about.

Vintage Photo Album with slots

I’ve been thinking about the difference between what I see as scrap booking and what it also can be. It can be layout and design, as when Ali makes her albums digitally (though digital scrapbooking many times is not design). I don’t want flowery backgrounds, paper clips or brads in my photos but I like to use fonts, different sizes of my photos and design elements like thin lines, Polaroid frames or tinted photos.

The design approach is so much more appealing to me than die cut flowers and ribbons over my photographs! Look at her Shutterfly album AE Everyday Life for example – I would love to paste my photos into this design if only the titles were different. This book is 8×8 inches big (20×20 cm) and with 20 pages (!) the price is starting at $ 40 which I think is rather expensive.

If I could do the design myself (yes, it is a lot of work) I could publish a photo book at size 8.5 x 11 (20×27) for $25.95 for 20 pages. Lulu also has some nice layouts to choose from but they are not as designed and cool as Ali’s of course.

I’m looking around in InDesign at the moment, trying to make a zine while learning the program. I think the most difficult thing when doing layout on the computer is that it’s difficult and expensive to print your pages at home to test how it looks. You always see things differently on paper, hence one should test print everything before ordering the real deal. When we did layout back in school we could print a spread from five to fifteen times before it was finished.

I’m playing with several photobook projects in my mind. If time was no problem (and I wasn’t the procrastinating type of gal) I would start right now and just play with my photos.

I really want to create My Favorite Photos – from 2008 or any previous year. A album that could be reproduced each year for several year ahead, done in the same format! I can already see the volumes standing in my bookcase! Though just looking through all my photos and choosing favorites would be a huge job that I won’t start while summer lasts, it could be a fun Rainy Autumn Project?

Photos of Smilla – I have so many photos of my cat that she could have a whole album of her own with some stories in it too.
Dad’s Garden Photos and a book for my brother with photos from 0 to 16 yrs old, scans from my Grandmothers Albums and A Wedding Book for friends that are getting married… etc.

What would you wish for in your photo album design? What would be your first project when you look through your folders of photos to get starting with. I find that thinking about this really really has made me take more photos during the past days. I feel inspired by the thought of arranging them together, writing titles and cropping, editing and playing with photos! Don’t you?

9 Responses

  1. I’ve been wanting to do a photo book of my most recent trip to Big Sur……posting the different outings we did on my blog helped me sort through….although I have sort of lagged behind, and have a few more excursions to share.

  2. I would like to make a photo book of my cahiers (books, notebooks, drawing books, i can’t seem to find a name for them, but they are something like the work of danny gregory with more collages), another one for my paintings with some pictures of how i work, my environment, and maybe one of pictures of my dog.. i have so much of them.

  3. WW:
    Yes, trips are great to do as album books I think, combining journaling and photos, maps and ephemera from the trip too!

    maybe a good word for your cahiers would be Art Journals? That’s what I call mine that are filled with collage, acrylic paint and writing too! I hope you do make books of them with pictures of your work and work space – it sound lovely! Let me know if you publish it!

  4. I want to make a book of photos of my bears and my other plushies. I looked into BLURB but couldn’t get the software to work. THey just updated it so maybe it will work for me now. No ribbons and flowers on that one!

  5. theresa: I bet it will be great. if you don’t want to download software but work online or in a desktop publishing program and then just upload a pdf, try

    I will have to buy that one when you’re finished!

  6. Wow. You must’ve been reading my mind. I was thinking about coming up with a different kind of photo album. Something that’s like scrapbooking, but not necessarily too ornate or fiddly. Where I can easily just slot things in & choose to doodle, colour, paste or paint.

    At the moment, I’m really just enjoy making mini books whenever I get the chance. I haven’t made one in a while, though.

    Anyway… looking forward to find out what you come up with! :-)

  7. I know just what you mean about having all of the scrapbooking albums. I started making tons of them when my little one was born, and now, 6 years later, I have run out of room for all those albums. Also, a lot of times the scrapbooking act felt less like making art for myself and much more like making something because I’m supposed to, for the family. Doesn’t do a lot to make me feel creative.

    So now, I have photo albums with just photos, and I keep a school album with a few pages devoted to each school year. I think it would be good to have some more theme albums (I have one for Halloween that I love), but I have so many creative projects to do, who know when that will happen.

  8. I see digital picture albums the same way that you do – and as some of the examples on BLURB. I want the albums to tell stories, put pictures in context, give the background of why I even took the picture in the first place, in kind of a simple way. I use s/w (ms Picture IT 10! and Photoshop) to lay out pictures, text and “stuff” I scanned (Cannon 8700 flatbed) and make 8 1/2 x 11 layouts. I first print the picture in draft form on HP Photosmart 7960 to make sure the placement is good, spelling/punctuation is correct, then print on HP Premium Plus photo paper. After 24 hours of air drying then I place the album sheets into archieval photo protection sheets (from and into 3-ring albums. Everyone thinks the albums are just great, from young ones who love to see their pictures in context and to older ones who appreciate the text, which tells the story. I never put anything on the web since I thought I was the only person who thought about digital picture albums this way, a lot of people use typical scrapbooking techniques – and they are interesting and fun – it is just that is not the direction I want to go. I would really, really like to see the work of others who are going in the same direction!