So You went on vacation and took some photos.

Maybe you took the time to learn to take beautiful pictures while you were traveling, or maybe you just love your quick snaps that remind you of the moments with loved ones, the new experiences you had, and if we're being honest probably a few snaps of the food and drinks you enjoyed along the way.

But... now what? Will they sit on your phone? Computer? Maybe a social media gallery somewhere?

After years of throwing together quick (and usually cheap) photobooks from my travels, I finally decided to invest in some higher quality products to showcase the gorgeous images from my time abroad. I chose to make a photobook of my time living in Colombia using Saal Digital after they offered me a discount to test their product and give feedback. I could not be happier with the resulting photobook, and with my experience using Saal Digital's design platform.

Regardless of the company you use, though, here are some tips for designing an elegant book that will be sure to preserve your memories beautifully, and wow anyone who picks it up:


If you're anything like me, your initial urge might be to fit as many photos on the page as possible, to maximize the amount of photos you can fit in your project. I'm begging you - don't do this. Give your best photos the attention they deserve, and then allow them space to shine. This will give your book a simple, clean aesthetic that oozes sophistication.

be intentional with colors, patterns, and content

Choosing colors and tones that complement one another will go a long way to achieving a consistent, professional looking design. Additionally, choose a theme for each spread: that theme can be location, subject matter, or any other unifying concept. Colors and themes don't have to be identical across the spread, but think about having at least one unifying color or theme throughout the images that touch one another. This can be a beautiful way to transition colors as well.

Opt For flat lay pages

While you might be inclined to skip the extra cost, flat lay pages help reduce wear and tear on the album, prevent pages from sticking together, and without a doubt provide the best viewing experience by allowing the whole spread to be seen without that annoying bend at the center fold.

Other options for upgrades will include different page finishes (matte vs. glossy at a minimum), page thickness, and cover materials. In my opinion, these choices are much more about personal preference, with no clear winners.

Choose your photos before you start designing, and only include your best shots and/or most important moments

Sifting through your photos beforehand and choosing only the best and most important images will help with your design process immensely. Once you select your photos, put them all in one folder for easy access while designing. It will ensure you include your best images, but also it will help you avoid burnout during the process which can lead to speeding through or even giving up on the images toward the end of your full collection (anyone else guilty of that?).

Out of the thousands of photos that I captured during my four months living in Colombia, I chose only 88 to be in my photo book. I decided I wanted the book to feature primarily the places I visited, focusing on atmosphere rather than portraits of people (I have a separate book for my personal photos that include people). I also decided on an overall color scheme and aesthetic I wanted to achieve before looking through the photos. I then went through all photos from each location I visited during my time in the country, and chose only the best images from each place. I then set the project aside, and revisited the selected images with fresh eyes a couple days later. After the rest period, I was able to cut down the collection even more, picking only the best of the best. It can be exciting to put together an album after a trip or special event, but I cannot speak highly enough for giving yourself time between your initial selection process and your final cut - seeing the images with fresh eyes will almost always give you a clearer sense of the project as a whole.

Want to see what made the cut for my Colombia book? Check out my gallery below.

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Have a trip or event you'd love made into a photo book, but don't feel like designing it yourself?

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