Photo Book Gift Ideas and Design Tips

There’s no question that photo books make beautiful presents—to hold your favorite moments in your hand, beautifully printed and carefully curated, makes a gift you can enjoy not only year-round but for years on end. If you’re looking to create a spectacular photo book gift for the holidays or any occasion, don’t worry. Use one of these ideas to spark your project, and then try some of the design tips to make it something you love.

Gift Photo Book Themes & Ideas

Idea #1
Milestones Book

Wherever there’s a milestone, personal or professional, there’s a camera. From First Communions to big promotions, from drivers’ licenses to graduations, from the first 5k to the full 26.2 miles, life is full of big moments. A photo book of those memorable times growing up, in a relationship, or in a career makes a monumental gift.

Idea #2
Travel Adventure Album

Did you take a trip with someone? Whether the adventure was recent or in years past, retelling the tale of a favorite journey through your collected photos is a gift that’s twofold—a beautiful travel photo book AND the chance to travel back.

Make a Travel Album

Idea #3
Pet Photo Book

While your pet may prefer a bone or a ball, his or her fellow owners will be delighted to flip through page after page of their beloved furry friend. Try downloading all those photos originally posted to social media and putting them in a small square pet photo book, which can accommodate those smaller-sized photo files.

Idea #4
Wedding Album

Creating a wedding keepsake is a beautiful tradition—and it makes an especially meaningful gift, whether you’re part of the happy couple or a friend or family member who attended the celebration. Collect special memories from the ceremony to the dance floor and turn them into a one-of-a-kind photo album or Layflat photo book that will be treasured for years to come.

Idea #5
Inspiration and Motivation

Collect the sayings and quotes that spur you on to greatness. Pick your favorite Instagram posts, poems, verses, family sayings, and go-to expressions, and flip through any time you need a pickup. You’ll be surprised how much your little book of inspiration inspires others, too! Share the photo book with a coworker, sister, brother, or friend—any kind of kindred spirit.

Idea #6
Holiday Photo Book

The holiday season is filled with great photo ops of all kinds. There are family visits and celebrations, festive decorations, snowy adventures, mouthwatering meals, and delicious treats. Every day seems to bring new joys and surprises. What are the memories that stand out to you? Gather the images that make you smile and print a joyous photo album to share.

Idea #7
Favorite Things Book

This is a creative exercise and a great photo book gift. Do a photo shoot of favorite objects, albums, books, maps, clothing, places. Then create a book of these favorite things for a friend or loved one. Not only do you get the creative challenge of making good images of ordinary objects, but they get the pleasure of seeing what they love through your creative eyes!

A Week in the Life

Idea #8
A Week in the Life

Enjoy the ordinary, little moments. This is a gift for friends and family who may live too far away to be part of daily life—give them an inside peek. Spend one week documenting the routines, funny moments, major events, and meals of a week. Notice the little things. Create captions that give context and insight. Not only might you come away with a new perspective on the mundane, but you’ll be able to create a connection with those who can’t be with you every day.

Idea #9
Love Book

Your boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse will be delighted to receive a personalized love story photo book documenting all those delightful dates and shared milestones. What does your love story look like? Gather up your favorite selfies and mementos to create a sweet album for that special someone on a birthday, holiday, or anniversary.

Idea #10
Children’s Art Portfolio Book

The pictures, drawings, and colorful art that your child creates can make a truly special gift that not only celebrates creativity but looks great on display. Photograph or scan their creations and print a kid’s art portfolio book to share with family members near and far.

Idea #11
Family Book

There’s no right or wrong way to create a family album for gifting. You can choose any theme under the sun—celebrations, funny moments, holidays, or road trips—and gather up photos you love that tell a particular story. Or, mix it up with highlights from the whole year, plus candid snapshots that hold a special place in your heart.

Idea #12
Baby Book

With a little one around, there are countless moments you want to hold onto. First bath, first toy, first birthday, first steps, first visit with grandparents. Document all those sweet discoveries and new adventures in a precious keepsake album you can gift to the special people in your child’s life. Find more baby book tips and inspiration on the blog.

Idea #13
Graduation Book

A graduation photo book is the perfect gift scrapbook to present the new graduate on their big day. Make it a celebratory collection of photos with friends, family, and teachers, plus fun mementos, certificates of achievement, or highlights from sporting events, school concerts, clubs and activities.

Idea #14
Alphabet Photo Book

Personalized ABCsThis works as a holiday gift for young and old alike. Use the letters of the alphabet as a guide for favorite objects, songs, movies, quotes, places, and spaces. From pairs of shoes to pets to travel destinations, an alphabet book is a great way for someone to feel loved and celebrated from A to Z.

Idea #15
Family History Book

Preserve your family history, photos, and memorabilia in a beautiful keepsake album, and you’ve got the perfect gift to share with relatives at reunions, birthdays, or holidays. You may decide to include genealogical research and historical documents along with a family tree, or just keep it simple with photos from each side of the family and personal captions. Need more ideas? Follow our handy guide to creating a family history book.

Idea #16
Favorite Quotes & Lyrics

Pair your classic photos with favorite lines and quotes. Can’t think of a caption for your friend or family photo book? Try completing the whole album by pairing photos with movie quotes, song titles, or top-ten albums. Or the songs that were on the radio during that summer when the photos were taken. The possibilities are endless!

Idea #17
Color Book

Create and collect images as a celebration of a color or color scheme, like Matt Crump’s PINK, from his Candy Minimal feed. You’ll get the chance to work your creativity, and you’ll also get a beautiful homage to a favorite hue that’ll surprise and delight friends, family, or anyone else who calls that color a favorite.

Idea #18
Gallery Book

This works for parents, grandparents, or anyone else who adores your budding child artist. Create a “museum exhibition” catalog of all those school projects and artworks that live on the fridge as a gift for the holidays. There may only be one original work, but when you photograph the project and catalog it, family from all over can have a copy to enjoy—and you get to make space for new creations as they come home!

Idea #19
Hometown Travel Book

Photograph your hometown and its attractions through the eyes of a visitor. Visit the monuments and parks, best restaurants, and personal haunts and document it in a guidebook. You can have this gift for visitors as they come to stay, and gift it to visitors who’ve seen it themselves. If there’s something in your hometown travel book they haven’t seen, then they have a list of reasons to come back!

Photo Book Gift Design Tips

Once you’ve gotten your photos in order and chosen a concept, you may still have some questions about creating your book: What is the best paper for photo books? What should I write in a photo book? We like the way you think—and we have answers.

Use these design tips to add professional polish or personal touches to your gift book.

Tip #1
Choose a premium Mohawk photo paper (think Layflat)

Your treasured photos deserve the ultimate showcase. If you want your panoramas and group photos to stand out, choose the best possible photo paper for your Layflat photo book gift. Our new ultra-premium, archival-quality Mohawk Layflat papers will preserve your memories in a beautiful way for years come.

Mohawk proPhoto Pearl is the finest printing paper available with brilliant vibrancy, a soft pearlescent texture, and high age resistance (200+ years). It’s a heavy paper designed for high-end Layflat photo books, so you’ll see great contrast, exceptional 4-color reproduction, and a delicate softness for portraits.

Mohawk Superfine Eggshell is an uncoated paper with a luxurious eggshell texture and ultra-premium matte finish. This beautifully weighted paper is the ideal choice for natural-looking, rich color reproductions in color and black and white that call for an artistic look and feel.

Tip #2
Use a pre-built photo book template

You want to make it easy for readers to navigate your gift book and enjoy your photos. The simplest way to do that is with our free designer templates in BookWright. Whether you’re making a travel book, memory book, cookbook, wedding album, or baby keepsake, we’ve done all the heavy lifting to design balanced photo layouts for you, so you can create a fabulous gift in less time. You get the perfect mix of portrait and landscape shots on every page spread, without all the guesswork. Want more creative control? It’s easy to customize the layouts as you go.

Tip #3
Write meaningful captions

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but that’s no reason to neglect your captions. No matter your photo book theme, the image titles and dates will make your photos that much more meaningful. Also, consider including inside jokes, anecdotes, quotes, and other bits of text to jog a memory. Try layouts that have text blocks that are equally weighted with the photos for more impact. Whatever you choose to do, keep your formatting—font, case, size, weight—uniform across all your captions to give it that pro look.

Tip #4
Add a handwritten letter or notes

Don’t just personalize your book with images. Write a thoughtful introduction for your photos to say a bit about why you chose which ones you did or to communicate how you feel—all those things which you may not say every day. You can even annotate by hand, write notes on the pages, or sign your introductory letter. You’re not damaging a library book, you’re making something extra personal.

Handwrite in the Book

Tip #5
Add texture after printing

Your book is a work of art, and it’s not bound by printing conventions. Consider pasting in ticket stubs, postcards, letters, and memorabilia to accompany your photos, or use ink, drawings, and artwork to add more texture to your pages.

There you have it! Time to get that creative energy flowing, and picture the personalized photo book gift you’d like to make. Whether you create an album or something that tells a more complete story, you can rest assured that your project will be a gift that’s cherished for years to come.

Ready to make your holiday Photo Book? Get started today.

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