50 Creative Ideas for Your Next Photo Book

Marianne Stenger
27th April 2020

Making your own photo book is the perfect way to celebrate your favourite memories, look back on your highlights at the end of each year, and tell the stories that are important to you. Whether you’re hoping to start making a family photo book each year or want to turn some of the photos you’ve taken on your holidays over the years into annual travel photo books, we’ve put together this list of creative ideas to inspire you.

1. Coffee table photobook

Coffee table photo books are the grownup version of picture books, and no sitting room is complete without one. Hardcover photo books are excellent for displaying everything from portraits to landscape images, and if you’re a photographer, personalised photo books can also be a good way to display your work. Bob Books’ lay-flat photographic paper books are perfect for this purpose and can be printed on lustre, gloss or matte photographic paper.

2. Year in review photo book

If you want to get into the habit of creating your own photo books on a more regular basis,  creating an annual year-in-review photobook is a great place to start. You can bring together photos from all your favourite moments, including family outings, birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, and have them turned into a professional-quality photo book that sums up your year. Need some guidance? Read some of our tips for putting together a photo yearbook.

3. Travel photo book

If you’ve been on some cool trips recently, why not find your favourite photos from each one and create your own series of travel photobooks? Creating a travel photo book is a great way to tell the story of your journey, give others a sense of what a place is like, and preserve the best memories from your travels. Before you know it, you’ll have a lovely collection of personalised travel books on your shelf.

4. Pets photo book

If you have a beloved family pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, bunny or bird, chances are your phone is already brimming with photos of all the adorable ways they make you smile every day. Creating a photo book helps you bring all these photos together and document your pet’s quirks, unique personality, and the joy they bring to your life. You can keep it simple and include only photos, or get creative with captions, quotes and poems.

5. Wedding photo book

If you still have a collection of photos from your wedding day that you haven’t done much with, turning them into a gorgeous wedding photo book is your chance to relive all those beautiful memories. At Bob Books you can choose from a range of hardback or paperback covers, including our most popular lustre photographic books with layflat binding. If you need some help getting started, check out our quick tips for putting together your own wedding photo book.

6. Honeymoon photobook

A honeymoon photo book can be a fun follow up on your wedding album. Whether you enjoyed a chilled out week on a tropical island or tackled something adventurous like an African safari, all those photos you took during your time away together will make a wonderful keepsake of your first getaway as a married couple. Start by choosing an eye-catching photo for the cover and customise it with your own title, quotes and captions.

7. Recreate the classics

In recent years, it’s become popular for siblings to recreate classic family photos years after they were taken and share the often hilarious results online. If you have the patience to tackle a longer term photo project, tracking down some of your favourite childhood photos and reshooting them with your grownup siblings, parents or children can make for a wonderfully funny photo book that the whole family will enjoy.

8. Professional portfolio

Whether you’re a photographer, graphic designer, or fine artist, putting together a professional portfolio is an excellent way to showcase your best work. Of course, you probably have a website and use social media for this as well, but if you often meet with prospective clients in person or have your own studio, nothing can beat a physical portfolio. If you need some advice before you get started, we’ve put together this piece on how to create a career portfolio.

9. Instagram moments

Our Instagram feeds are often wonderful collections of our happiest memories, from the big important events in our lives to the silly everyday things that made us laugh. Why not gather all these moments together and turn them into a physical photo book? By enabling Instagram’s “Save Original Photos” feature, your posts will automatically be saved to your Camera Roll. You can then customise your photobook with details such as dates, captions or funny comments. It might even become an ongoing series that you add to every year.

10. Graduation photobook

If you have a friend or family member who will be graduating soon, a photo book filled with memories from their time as a student can make a wonderful graduation gift. You can include everything from class and team sports photos to scans of school projects, relevant news clippings or report cards and certificates. If some time has already passed since their graduation, it can also be nice to include photos from the graduation ceremony itself.

11. Family recipe book

You probably have a few tried-and-proven recipes that have been passed on to you by your parents or grandparents. In addition to these, you probably have some of your own favourite go-to meals to prepare for family dinners. So why not bring all these recipes together as a family recipe book that you can eventually pass on to your own children? If you need some guidance on how to photograph the different dishes for your recipe book, check out our styling tips for food photographs or these important things to keep in mind when photographing food.

12. Love story photobook

A photo book that chronicles your love story can be a brilliant gift for an anniversary or valentine’s day. Depending on what you prefer, you could place the photos in chronological order and include dates of important events and milestones, or just turn it into a collection of fun and happy moments together. If you want to include text, you could look up some of your favourite quotes about love or even add a few song lyrics and inside jokes.

13. Personalised ABC book

If you have a child or even nephew or niece who is just starting to learn how to read, a personalised alphabet book can make a great gift and will remain a lovely keepsake even once they are grown. You can find photos of family members, friends, pets and even familiar objects from around the home to represent the different letters of the alphabet.  Of course, you may have to get a little bit creative for letters like Z and Q, but the only limit is your imagination.

14. Family history photobook

Printing your own hardbound family history photo book is a nice way to share your family’s roots with your children and other family members. Designing a book like this might seem like a huge undertaking, but remember that it can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. Start by thinking about the stories you want to tell, the key people and historical information you’d like to include, as well as what material you have to work with, such as photos, charts, newspaper clippings, and old letters.

15. Share your expertise

If you have a practical skill or a hobby you excel at, why not create your own “How-to guide” that breaks it down for beginners. It could be anything from how to bake bread, how to photograph a wedding or how to meditate. You can add your own text with simple instructions and photograph each step of the process to make it easy for others to follow along. Once your photobook has been created, you can choose to share it in the Bob Bookshop so others can find and order it.

16. Family traditions photo book

Each family is unique and tends to create their own fun and quirky traditions, so why not capture these on camera and immortalise them in a family photo book? You can include daily rituals like story time before bed, weekly occurrences such as family brunch on Sundays, and annual occasions like spring picnics, summer barbeques, or picking out a Christmas tree together.

17. Photo a day project

If you’re looking to enhance your photography skills, participating in a 365-day photo challenge can be a great way to improve your technical skills and also develop your creative eye. The resulting images can be turned into a photo book that allows you to see your progress throughout the year. Of course, some images will likely be more striking than others, so some pages might showcase multiple images side-by-side, whereas standout photographs can be given a full page spread.

18. Local wildlife photo book

Ever looked at wildlife photo books by the likes of Paul Nicklen or Frans Lanting and thought about creating your own? Even if an African Safari isn’t on the cards right now, designing and printing a photo book is easier than you might think, so why not document local species of wildlife? Start by researching the wildlife in your area as well as the best times of year and day to spot them. If you need some inspiration, our Ultimate Guide to Wildlife Photography is full of advice and insights gleaned from interviews with experienced wildlife photographers.

19. Art projects photo book

Rather than keeping stacks of your child’s drawings, paintings and art projects in a box somewhere, why not compile photos or scans of some of the best ones and turn them into a photo book? This allows you to simultaneously free up storage space and create a precious family keepsake. You can include captions with information that you’re likely to forget later on, such as the date and occasion for which each piece of art was created.

20. Mother’s Day photobook

A customised photo book is the ideal gift for mother’s day, and it can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. For instance, if you’re making it together with your child, it could follow a specific theme such as “Reasons My Mummy is the Best,” or it could simply serve as a collection of your favourite photographs depicting a mother’s love.

21. Father’s Day photo book

Dads deserve plenty of appreciation too, and a photo book can be a wonderful way to thank them for all they do while also celebrating the most significant moments in their parenting journey. You can put a fun spin on it by including some of his favourite “dad jokes” or think of all the reasons why he is quite simply the coolest dad ever.

22. School-leavers yearbook

Creating a school-leavers yearbook is a wonderful way to provide students with a memorable keepsake that’s representative of their school years. Try to start planning your yearbook at least a few months in advance, as collecting all the necessary photos and deciding on a suitable format and layout can take some time. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out our tips and advice for designing a memorable school-leavers end-of-year book.

23. Siblings photobook

Siblings may fight tooth and nail, but they’re also fiercely loyal and will share some of the best and most important moments of their lives together. One way to honour this special bond is with a dedicated sibling photo book that highlights some of these moments as they transition together from childhood into adolescence and eventually adulthood.

24. Baby’s first moments

The initial months and even year of your baby’s life will be filled with “firsts,” whether it’s their first time sitting up, their first haircut, or even their first time on an airplane. A baby photo book is the perfect way to document these important milestones, as you’ll be able to add details that you might otherwise forget, such as where and when the photo was taken, how old many months old your baby was, and anything else that stands out as important.

25. Friendship photobook

Photo books are not reserved for family members or romantic partners. Some of the most important relationships in our lives are our friendships, so it can be fun to create a photobook highlighting some of the memorable moments you’ve shared with your besties. Personalised friendship photo books also make great gifts for important occasions such birthdays, leaving dos or weddings.

26. A “Reasons why” photo book

Want to show your significant other how much they mean to you? Or maybe you want your mum or dad to know why they’re your all time hero? A “Reasons why” photo book can be a fun way to line up all the things you love and admire about someone. Start by picking a theme for your photo book and making a list of all the points you want to include. It could be anything from “Reasons I love you” to “Reasons I miss you,” or “Reasons you’re my best friend.”

27. Black and white photobook

Using solely black and white images can add a more journalistic feel to your photo book and help the viewer focus on certain elements such as composition, contrast and texture. Black and white tends to work particularly well for portraits, which is why many wedding photo books are printed in this style. Our matte photographic paper is an excellent option for black and white photobooks as it doesn’t reflect light and adds an artistic effect.

28. Poetry photo book

Whether you’re looking to self-publish your poetry or just want to bring some of your favourite poems and quotes together in one place, creating a poetry photobook can be a lot of fun. Choosing a specific theme, such as motivation, love and loss, or milestones and memories can help you narrow your focus. Tackling a project like this can also be a great way to use your own photographs. Nature and landscape images tend to be good options, but any photographs that are open to interpretation can work well.

29. Photo series

Another great way to use a photo book is to tell a story or get an important message across. You can focus on anything you feel passionately about, whether it’s the way climate change is impacting local wildlife, how a specific style of dance was developed and has evolved, or just about any other subject you find beautiful or inspiring. If you’re new to storytelling through photography, check out our guide to creating a powerful photo series.

30. Personalised bedtime storybook

If you’re in the habit of reading to your kids before bed, it can be fun to use some of your own photos to create a personalised bedtime storybook. For younger children, you can keep it super simple with a story relating to their day-to-day routine, whereas for older children you can get a bit more creative and add some humour or simple life lessons.

31. Pregnancy moments

Want to document the stages of your pregnancy as your baby grows? A photo book can be a beautiful way to celebrate your nine-month journey as well as the day your little one finally arrives. In addition to a planned maternity photoshoot, ultrasound photos, and baby shower photos, it can be nice to include spontaneous photos showing everyday moments. You might even want to capture bump progression photos that show how quickly your baby is growing.

32. Personalised sheet music book

If you’re musically inclined, Bob Books photo books can also make lovely personalised sheet music or song books. You can collect the music and lyrics to all your favourite songs, along with some inspiring imagery. A customised sheet music or song book can also make a lovely gift for a friend or family member who loves to sing or plays an instrument like guitar or piano.

33. Leaving gift

Is a long-time colleague moving on to a new place of work? Or a fellow student moving cities? Make them a photo book featuring some highlights from the time you spent together. Look for photos from events like holiday parties and outings, spontaneous snaps or class photos. You might even want to leave a few blank pages throughout the photo book where other friends, students or co-workers can leave a personal message and sign their name.

34. Wedding guestbook

Photo books make wonderful wedding guest books too, and creating one ensures that you’ll be left with a precious keepsake from your wedding filled with heartfelt messages from your friends and loved ones. If you had an engagement photoshoot, you can put those photos to good use when creating your guestbook, although of course you can use any photos you like. Just make sure you leave plenty of white space around the photos or a few blank pages where guests can write their well-wishes.

35. Everyday moments photo book

Although it’s easy to fall into the habit of only taking out our cameras for important events or planned photo shoots, there is something undeniably special about photographs that depict ordinary everyday moments. Years from now when the kids are grown, you’ve moved houses or have a completely different routine, those photos of routine moments will be among your favourites, and making a photo book that highlights these memories is a great way to keep them alive. If you’d like some advice on how to capture spontaneous photos of your day-to-day, have a look at our guide to capturing everyday moments in your family photography.

36. Blog photo book

Do you have your own cooking, parenting or travel blog? Why not turn some of your favourite or most popular blog posts into a physical photo book? It’s a great way to celebrate your best pieces of writing while also giving them more visibility. If you have a regular readership, some of your readers may also be interested in purchasing a copy of the photo book once you’ve self-published it in the Bob Bookshop.

37. Grandparents photo book

Physical photobooks make wonderful gifts for grandparents, especially if they aren’t very active on social media and don’t regularly see posts and updates about their grandchildren. Look for photos of recent outings, school plays, or sporting events your kids took part in, and of course any photos of your kids and their grandparents together are perfect to include as well. If you know you want to create a grandparents photo book, make sure you have your camera on hand to capture cute moments of your kids and their grandparents interacting, whether it’s a baking activity, storytime or a Sunday stroll.

38. ‘The Year You Were Born’ photo book

If you’re thinking of giving someone a photo book as a birthday present, it can be fun to include some interesting facts or historical events from the date or year they were born. For instance, you might mention styles, pop songs or movies and TV series that were popular at the time, famous people who have the same birthday, as well as newsworthy events that took place on the same day. You can personalise it even more by including some childhood photos as well as more recent ones.

39. ‘A week in the life of’ photo book

If you’re trying to get into the habit of snapping photos more regularly, why not commit to taking a couple of photos every day for one week? You can then turn your favourite ones into a photobook that chronicles some of your daily routines. For instance, you can snap a few photos while your kids get ready for school, while walking the dog, when sitting down for a meal as a family, or enjoying a lazy evening on the sofa. When brought together in a photo book, all these little rituals that seem so ordinary today will make a wonderful keepsake further down the line.

40. Celebrate your favourite hobby

If you have a favourite hobby, whether it’s cooking, dancing, football or embroidery, it can be fun to create a personalised photo book that celebrates it. If you’re a photographer, this might mean going out and shooting some creative images, but you can also include some of your own personal achievements. For instance, you could include photos of your team in competition, a musical theatre or film production you took part in, or some of your proudest creations in the kitchen.

41. Christmas memories photobook

Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year, and it’s often also the time of year when extended family members get together for the first time in many months. This makes it the perfect time to capture family photos as well as candid action shots as people prepare food, open presents, and chat animatedly around the table. Need more ideas or inspiration? Check out these creative ideas for photo books you can make over the holidays.

42. Panorama photo book

If you’re a nature or landscape photographer, you can select your favourite panoramic shots and turn them into a beautiful panorama photo book. Bob Books’ layflat photobooks are perfect for this, as they use a different book binding technique that allows open pages to remain completely flat, without damaging the spine or the binding. This allows photos to be printed seamlessly across two pages. You can find out more about our layflat photo books and the available paper types here.

43. Selfies photobook

Do you have hundreds of selfies on your phone that you can’t quite bring yourself to delete? Choose all the best silly selfies that you’ve taken with your partner, friends or children over the past year and turn them into a dedicated selfie photobook. It’s a great way to get your precious images off your device, and with our app’s two-minute book feature, you can create a memorable keepsake in just a couple of minutes.

45. Four seasons photo book

If you love nature or landscape photography and need a new project to sink your teeth into, a four-seasons photo book could be just the thing. To do this, visit the same environment at different times throughout the year and capture the changes it undergoes, from the fresh new buds in the springtime and vibrant greens in the summer to the fiery red colours of autumn and sparse minimalism during the winter. You could choose to photograph a nearby nature reserve, your local park, or even views of your own street.

46. Will you marry me photo book

Looking for an original way to propose to the love of your life? Why not make a short photo book with images and text leading up to the big question at the end? It’s both a fun way to propose and a great way to preserve the memory of a very important moment in your lives. You can start the photo book off with photos and memories from the early days of your relationship and then slowly work your way to the present day, and finally, the big question.

47. Airbnb guest book

If you have a property or room you’re renting out through a platform like Airbnb, a photo book can make an excellent guest book or even a ‘things to do’ book to leave for your guests. For a guest book, you can leave some blank pages throughout the book so other visitors can leave their comments and recommendations for the next visitors. A photo book can also be useful as a place to add essential information for your guests such as house rules, wifi passwords and instructions for checking out.

48. Student portfolio

Photo books make beautiful student portfolios. If you’re working on your end of year project or need to create a physical portfolio to show to potential clients and employers, having your work printed as a professional-quality photo book is an excellent option. Need some ideas and inspiration? Our Ultimate Guide to Student Portfolios will help you with everything from getting organised to presenting your work and choosing the best paper type and binding style.

49. Product catalogue

Having a printed catalogue remains an excellent way to make an impact, whether you’re a professional baker, carpenter or part-time jewellery maker. Bringing your products together in a photo book allows you to display your proudest creations and share them with potential customers. Make sure any photos you choose to include are professional-quality and think about what essential information you’ll need to include such as product descriptions, price ranges and turnaround time.

50. Themed photo book

If you want to create your first photo book but are finding it difficult to get started, it can help to narrow your focus a bit and decide on a specific theme. This will allow you to comb through your archives and select only the photos that match your chosen theme. For instance, your theme might be beach days, winter holidays, everyday moments, family gatherings, or baby and toddler memories. The more specific your theme, the easier it will be to put your photo book together.

Ready to create your own Bob Books photo book? Our photo books come in seven different sizes ranging from small to coffee table-sized and can be customised with different paper types and binding styles. Head over to our products page to start designing yours.