How to create a travel photo book

Went back home after a travel with over 10.000 photos on your SD card? And now your Hard Drive is about to explode from all the photos you’ve accumulated from your travels. Let’s take care of that and create some unique travel photo books for your library following my steps.

I have created dozens of travel projects during my college and photography school years. From light travel books, guides, novels, and of course, travel photo books. Don’t let your photos die in your computer or Hard Drive after your trips. With the following method you will also be able to create stunning travel photo books to share and make your own library collection.

Step 1: First draft

Let’s say you came back from a trip with 1.000 pictures. Make a coffee or get your favorite drink because this is gonna take some time. Sit in front of your computer, and import the photos to the photo software you use (in my case, Lightroom) to help you categorize and have your photos organized. Once imported, make a quick check and delete all blurry, overexposed or extremely underexposed photos. This way you’re also checking your photos and somehow importing those images to your brain. On Lightroom, for the first draft, start by creating a collection, name it, and import the travel photos you want to create a photo book there . Go on full screen mode to see better the photos you imported one by one, and Flag (*P* on your keyboard) those photos that you like or consider are important for your travel photo book. After this first draft, you should have cut from 1.000 photos to around 300-400 photos.

Step 2: Print draft

Once you have your collection ready, is time to print. Do it in small sized paper, like the L size (89x127mm), or divide an A4 size paper in 4 pictures. Optional: You can do all on a computer, but have it printed is the most comfortable way to see the results, and you can use those prints later as a gift or Christmas cards!

Step 3: Deck Building

With all your deck of prints on the table, ignore any possible order at first, your prints will start mixing anyways (if you’re creating a chronological album this is not the method I would recommend). Start by placing one of your photos on the left side of the table (Main photo), and then place one by one the rest of the photos on the right side (Candidate photo). keep on piling the photos you like on the Candidate side, and discard the rest for the next photo. Once you have between 1 and 5 Candidate photos, switch them with the Main photo to see what is the best combination. Once you have your selection, cut a little piece of tape and stick both photos together from the back side (later you might change your mind and separate those photos). Now you have 2 pages of your new book ready. Get another coffee, because now you have to do it another 150 times (if you had a deck of 300 photos). At the end of this deck building step, probably you’ll have some photos that don’t fit with the book you’re creating, or are not as important photos as you thought. Don’t be afraid to discard those photos, or reuse them for the end of the book as small thumbnails or some free creation pages like a scrap book.

Step 4: Book Building

This is your book, you decide what style is gonna follow. Now that you’ve looked at your photos many times your brain has already an idea of how it wants to see them. My way, is to select the 20 pages that have more visual impact, and separate them in 2 blocks. One block will be the first 10 pages of the book, and the second block will be the last 10 pages of the book. The rest of the pages, I try to see a rythm, and divide by blocks. For example, color patterns, day-night photos, food, architecture, people… the list goes on. Make sections for your book, and try to avoid putting similar photos or patterns together for many pages (your brain gets bored thinking “oh, already seen this”). At the end of this process your first 1000 photos will be converted into a 150 photos for your travel photo book.

Step 5: Final edit

Back to the computer. Choose a book editing software (Lightroom has on already installed) or search on internet for book editing softwares. Usually the software is connected to a printing company so the same software will be useful to fit and edit the contents of your book, and easy for them to print. Some printing companies I know and have used are My book, VistaPrint, and my dad uses Hoffman. You can choose how many pages (there’s a limit of 120 for book) depending on what kind of paper, cover and size you want. For example, my shortest book cost me to print around 15€ and the biggest 180€ for one copy. Also, you can check on your local area for photography or print shops, that probably they have book printing services, and check with them your best option based on your photos. Send it, and now just have to wait until your travel photo book gets home.

Watch it on Youtube

Remember you have also the video of How to create a travel photo book on my Youtube channel. I would like to know if some of you have created any photo books, have any comments or recommendations of how to create a photo book, please leave a comment with your thoughts, and share with us.

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