How Digital Photobooks Work

How to Create a Digital Photobook

Just imagine, soon you could have a personally created, professional-looking book to display on your coffee table. You won't have to become a professional photographer or editor. Nor will you require an agent or a publisher. All you'll need are the following: photographs (hard-copy images you can scan or digital photos imported from your camera), a computer and access to a photobook Web site or software.

Creating a photobook isn't difficult, but it does help to be organized. If you're going to use any old pictures, lay out the ones you want to use and scan them. If you're going to use images that you already have on your computer, separate them into their own folder.

Once you're ready to get started, find a photobook Web site or software that suits you. Many of the more popular companies demonstrate their services on their sites, showing you not only examples of photobooks created through their programs, but also screenshots of the various steps and options you'll have.

When choosing a publishing program, you'll want to look for options. Consider the following when you're shopping around:

  • Does the program offer themed books (travel, heritage, wedding or storybook, for example)?
  • Does it let you redesign existing layouts or create your own?
  • Does it have a variety of graphics and fonts you can use to enhance your photo layouts?
  • Are quality covers (such as leather, fabric or padded) available?
  • Can you add captions or journal passages to your photos?
  • Will you be able to easily rearrange pages as you're working on your layout?
  • Is there a function for sharing your photobook online or by e-mail?

Finally, you'll want to weigh costs. If you're adept at graphic design and you already have photo-editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, installed on your computer, you can create your photobook on your own. However, you'll still have to pay someone to print and bind it. This service will be your primary expense, since many of them offer the design software for free. So, regardless of your skill level, going with a specialty company -- like Picaboo, Shutterfly, Kodak, Snapfish or MyPublisher -- will probably be your best option.

On the next page, we'll discuss a special kind of photobook.