Creative Projects: Make a Photo Book Using Your Layouts

Open Photo Book

One of the most treasured gifts you can create with your high-resolution, print-quality scrapbook pages made at CropMom is a photo book.

The basics of photo books

A photo book is professionally printed and bound, with a hard cover or soft cover, and can be purchased from most online photo services. These books are usually printed on archival paper so that they’ll preserve your layouts for years to come. Please refer to the links at the end of this tutorial for online photo services that offer photo books.

CropMom offers a package of 20 credits, good for downloading 20 print-quality layouts and ideal for making a photo book. CropMom’s print-quality scrapbook pages are JPEG files, with a resolution of 300 pixels per inch, making them crisp and clear when printed. The purchased, print-quality layouts do not contain the “made with CropMom” tag. CropMom’s free, screen-quality layouts are not suitable for printing.

Photo Book with Padded Cover

Here are some tips and suggestions for making a photo book using your CropMom layouts:

Most photo books require a minimum of 20 pages. A few soft-cover books need just 10. Check with the photo service to determine the minimum number of digital scrapbook pages you’ll need for your photo book.

The maximum number of pages allowed in a photo book will vary, depending upon the size of the book and the photo service you choose. Often, you can add many as 80 pages.

Getting the right scrapbook canvas size

You’ll want your scrapbook pages to fill an entire page in the photo book. So before you start making layouts, determine what size photo book you plan to purchase.

Soft Cover Photo Book

CropMom offers a variety of canvas sizes that will work with most photo book sizes. Our 8” by 8” and 12” by 12” canvas sizes are perfect for square photo books. Your square layouts will even fit in photo books that are smaller, such as 5” by 5” or 7” by 7”. Your 12” by 12” layouts will easily fit an 8” by 8” photo book because the photo service will automatically scale down the layout to fit the page.

In most cases, your 8” by 8” scrapbook pages will be high enough resolution that they can even be printed as 12” by 12” photo books.  Scrapbook pages made using CropMom’s 8” by 10” landscape canvas will generally fit photo books that are 8.5” tall by 11” wide, though the layout may be cropped by the photo service to fit the entire page. CropMom’s 5” by 7” landscape canvas size is perfect for soft-cover photo books that are 5” tall by 7” wide.

Making scrapbook pages for your photo book

When making layouts at CropMom for your photo book, keep in mind that it is likely that the outer ½” to ¾” on all edges of the page will be cut off during the printing process. That’s because you’ll probably have each layout printed using a “full bleed” on each page, meaning that the layout fills the entire page.

To fill the entire page, the printing service might have to cut off the edges of your layout.Vacation Photo Book Keep photos and text away from the edges of your pages. In addition, keep in mind where the “gutter," or inside bound part of your book, will fall on each page. Parts of your layout that fall in the gutter won't be visible. When you open your book, pages that are on the left side will have the gutter on the right; pages on the right side of the book will have the gutter on the left. Leave about 1” of room for the gutter.

Uploading your layouts to a printing service

Once you have created, purchased and downloaded your print-quality digital scrapbook pages from CropMom, you must upload them to the printing service of your choice to have them printed in a photo book. Remember where you’ve saved your layouts on your computer so that it’s easier to find them when you go to upload them to the printing service.

Some printing services automatically use a “quick upload” or “fast upload” service that reduces the resolution of your digital scrapbook pages. Others offer the choice of "standard" or "full resolution" uploads. Make sure that you disable the fast upload service or select the full resolution upload or else your layouts will be reduced in resolution, making them look fuzzy or blurred when printed. It will take longer to upload the layouts at full resolution, but it will help ensure that your layouts will look their best in print.

Assembling your layouts in book form

Most online photo services offer free online photo-book building tools for putting your layouts together in a book. Most of these books are geared toward using several 4” by 6” photos on a page. You’ll need to change the layout of the pages so that they use just one image on the entire page with no text.

Soft Cover Photo Book

In most cases, your images will be printed as “full bleed” so that they fill up the entire page with no border around the edges. Most photo books offer a title page. Depending upon what style book you’ve chosen, you can usually add a 5” by 7” landscape layout to the title page, along with a few lines of text that you add using the photo-book building tools.

Some photo books have a window cut out of the cover of the book so that your layout shows through when the book is closed.

Choosing a cover for your photo book

The cover of the photo book can vary, depending upon the photo service you’re using and the options you choose. Some photo books come with a linen or leather cover in the color of your choice. Some come with your own image printed on the cover. Some offer glossy dust jackets with your own image.

Vacation Photo Book with Glossy Dust Jacket

If you choose a photo book that uses your image on the cover or which uses your image on the glossy dust jacket, keep in mind that your CropMom layouts may not exactly fit the photo book cover. It depends upon the size of the book and the photo service you use.  You may have to adjust your cover layout by move the title and important elements to the center of the canvas so that it fits on the photo book cover.

If you opt for a dust jacket, most photo book services not only allow you to use your image on the dust jacket, but some allow you to add your own text and images to the inside flaps and to the back of the dust jacket.

Ordering your photo book

Photo Book with Dust Jacket

One advantage of digital scrapbooking is that you can order multiple copies of your photo book. Get one for each set of grandparents or for your friends. Some photo services offer a discount when you order additional copies of a photo book. Some photo services allow you to share your book by e-mail with friends and family, allowing them to order their own copies.

We run to the door when our photo books arrive. There’s nothing like seeing your digital scrapbook pages in print. Your photo book will give you years of pleasure.

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