10 Creative Ways to Use Text in Your Photo Book

Marianne Stenger
6th September 2021

Although your photos or illustrations should undoubtedly be the main focus of any photo book you create, adding the right text to your book can be a great way to add some context, provide a backstory or even include a bit of humour. Certain types of photo books, such as cookbooks, yearbooks, or poetry books would even seem incomplete without at least some text. 

So with this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the creative ways you can combine photos with text in your photobooks to inform, entertain or express yourself.

1. Teach something 

If you’re looking to inform or teach, text is likely going to play an important role in your photobook project. For example, if you’re creating a cookbook to pass on time-honoured family recipes, you’ll need some text to describe the recipes and add in any serving suggestions, table of contents or personal anecdotes describing the story behind your recipes.

2. Make a storybook 

Photo books are great for storytelling. Putting together a personalised children’s storybook or ABC book is a fun way to combine illustrations or family photos with text, and also spend quality time with your kids. For example, you could photograph some of your child’s favourite toys, pets, and family members to tell a simple story or represent each letter of the alphabet. You could even team up with your child and create a story together using photos of their choosing.

3. Inform your audience

Photographers frequently use photobooks to share long term photo series or photographic research projects. Although these types of photo books don’t necessarily require text, there are times when it can be useful to include captions or longer descriptions about an overarching theme. If you’d like to learn more about using photo books professionally, check out our photo book guide for tips from a range of professional photographers who know what it takes to publish a successful photobook.

4. Preserve your memories 

Even family photobooks can be brought to life with a bit of text, especially because some details, such as locations and dates, are easily forgotten down the line. In the case of milestone photo books, captions will be important for detailing all the important ‘firsts’ in your child’s life, from their first word to their first trip abroad to their first day of school. If you need a few pointers for putting together a memorable keepsake, read our tips for creating your first baby photo book. 

5. Promote your art  

Photobooks can also complement photography and art exhibitions. Event organisers and artists often create art catalogues or even hardcover coffee table books to share imagery as well as more information about an exhibition, such as an introductory essay, captions, footnotes or bibliographies. We've got this example in our bookshop.

6. Share your poetry 

Photobooks can also make wonderful poetry books, so if you’re looking for a way to share your work with a wider audience, curating and self-publishing a collection of your poems is a great place to start. Start by choosing a theme, idea or style that ties the collection together, whether it’s love and loss or courage and perseverance. You can then narrow down poems and images that fit with your chosen theme.

7. Add context 

Stand alone images can often tell a story on their own, but there are times when an image can be more powerful when a bit of context is provided. For instance, if your photo book is focused on a particular group of people, activity or scene, you may want to provide your audience with the background story or other information and facts to ensure the topic won’t be misunderstood.

8. Raise awareness

Charities often use photo books as a way of raising awareness about a specific issue, informing people about their cause or sharing a specific story. In some cases, a photo book can also be used to raise funds for an organisation or event. For example, renowned wildlife photographer and environmental activist Margot Raggett created her series Remembering Wildlife to highlight the plight of vulnerable and endangered species, while also raising money for conservation projects. 

9. Share your family history

If you’re putting together a family tree or memory book, you’ll also want to add some text detailing dates and facts about your family history, as well as interviews or stories from specific family members. If you’re interested in putting together a memory book, check out our guide to scanning old photos, as well as some apps you can use to do this.

10. Get creative 

Photo books can be a great way to express yourself creatively, and the sky's the limit when it comes to what you choose to include in your own books. For instance, you could personalise your nature or travel photo books with quotes or poems that set the mood or just get your audience thinking more deeply about the scene being depicted in each photo. Looking for more ideas? We’ve lined up these 50 creative ideas for your next photobook.

Adding text with the Bob Designer Software

It's easy to add text to your cover and the pages throughout your photo book with our bob designer software. Simply open your desired photo book and select the option to create your own text box. You can then drag the text box onto your page or cover, start typing and make edits to the text afterwards. If you already have a photograph placeholder on your desired page, you can find the deletion tool at the top banner, which will allow you to remove this template and add text instead.

Our text options allow you to change the font, size and alignment. You can even add your own cover highlights to the title of your book. 

Ready to make your own photo book? The useful tips from our beginner’s guide to photo books will help you get started. You can then begin the process of choosing your preferred photo book size, paper type, cover and binding style.