How to Make A Photo Book Using InDesign (Part 1)

How to Make a Photo Book Using Indesign (Part 1). WONDERMENTARY - travel & photo blog

Recently, I’ve been making it a point to print out more pictures. I have tens of thousands of photos on my storage drive that have never seen the light of day. Additionally, the colorful photo books over at A Beautiful Mess definitely made me want to turn my photos into something tangible! While there’s no way for me to print out tens of thousands of pictures from the past years, printing out pictures from my travels seemed much more manageable. But I still had 1000+ pictures from my Europe trip, so I had to come up with a solution that would allow me to:

  • print as many photos as possible
  • on the lowest budget

I definitely did not have the time or budget to make scrapbooks, so I resorted to the next best thing: digital photo books. If you’re curious how I printed more than 1000 pictures on 157 full-color pages for less than 40 bucks, read on!

Wondermentary Photo Book DIY
Shop: sheet protectors, binder

For this project, I used Adobe InDesign. It’s a program fabulously made for print publications, so naturally, it was the easiest and best choice for making photo-heavy pages. If you don’t have InDesign, you can still use the same principles below to create on similar programs. And if you’ve never used InDesign before, don’t worry. I learned through Youtube using only 2 videos!

Here’s additional info/details that I used which you may find helpful:

  • To start: File > New > Document. I use this setting since the “pages” panel shows me thumbnails of all my pages and I can easily add new pages. There’s also an option for New > Book, but I don’t know much about that setting/how to use it. If you do, please share your knowledge!
  • Use the “w” key (on Mac, dunno about Windows) to toggle displaying margin guides/preview.
  • Shift + “w” for presentation mode – show in full screen
  • All my margins were 1p0.

My page template layouts were created using the tips from the Flexible Image Grids video. Those were all the full-page photo layouts that I could think of at the time, so if you have more layout ideas/solutions, please do share!

Wondermentary Europe Photo Book

Once the templates are made, proceed with the most fun part – laying down the photos! Either use File > Place or drag-and-drop your photos onto the workspace. Simply click to set them in place!

My finishing touches:

  • Fill frame proportionally (Cmd-Opt-Shift-C). This resizes content to fill the entire frame while preserving the content’s proportions. The frame’s dimensions are not changed. If the content and the frame have different proportions, some of the content will be cropped by the bounding box of the frame.
  • Highlight all > add stroke (white). This adds a thin, white “stroke” around all pictures to give the illusion of separation without a full-on border.

Those are the basics! Tune in next week for more info and ideas on how to fill white space, what supplies I used, how I printed, etc. UPDATE: Here’s Part 2 of How to Make a Photo Book Using Indesign.

Wondermentary Europe Photo Book

If you don’t have Adobe InDesign yet, you can purchase it from Adobe’s website.

I truly appreciate and enjoy reading all your comments! Please leave feedback so that I can write more helpful tutorials in the future! Questions? Have other topics you’d like to learn about? Share ’em below!

Thanks for reading!

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  • Hurray! I love it when people actually print out their pictures. It’s true – we all have way too many pics on our hard drives – we need to share them more!! Travels are meant to be shared with the ones we love-and photo books are great for this. I did my Italy pics from July using the Project Life app. It was quick and creative and the finished pages printed our beautifully. Looking forward to hearing more details about this process of photo printing.

    • Thanks, that’s encouraging to hear! How did your finished pages look? I’ll be posting Part 2 next Monday 🙂

  • Justine

    So cool! Thanks for the tips. Btw, what other photo editing programs do you use? Thanks!

  • I’ve stopped printing out pictures too because I have too many and they’re so expensive! I’ve started to do photobooks through Blurb, but InDesign seems like another great and economical option.

    • How did you like the blurb books? I chose to make my own because everything was comparatively expensive – there’s no way I could’ve made a 150+ page photobook for less than $40 anywhere!

      • I love Blurb so much because it was really easy to design the layouts to however you wanted, and you have a software on your computer so you don’t have to be connected to the internet in order to create your book. The only downside is the expense. Usually I create a book and then wait to order it when they have a promotion going on. But it’s nowhere near the $40 that you’re paying!

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