Travel Tips: How to Make a Photo Book with Travel Photos

I recently posted an Instagram story of a few photo books I’d made and I received so, so many responses from people who were interested in doing the same — so, today, I’m going to walk you through how to make a photo book with travel photos, who I used, and my tips for organizing way too many photos. 

I was first inspired to create a photo book of travel photos by my friend and fellow creative, Sadie. She does an album each year and for big trips. And, her organized and well-designed photo books made me realize that I was letting too many of my favorite memories sit in digital purgatory.

However, if you’ve ever pulled together an album of wedding or engagement photos, you may be suffering from photo book PTSD. It took me hours and hours over the course of a week to finalize our wedding album (that’s for another post!) and there was no way I was going to devote that time to a photo project again. Plus, I wasn’t eager to drop $100 on each book. So, I put it off for months, maybe years, and let the photos pile up.


Then, this past winter, I told myself that with some downtime over Christmas, I would finally tackle the daunting photo book project and release my photos from their digital prison. I would take a day to cull through all the pictures I’d taken, get the photos off my phone and computer, and organize them into albums.

At first, I assumed I’d go by year — and I may still do that at some point — but, for now, I’ve decided that I’m going to focus on creating travel books from each of our big trips. I started with a few of our favorite international trips and will slowly work my way through — hopefully getting to a point where I make the album as soon as we get back from a trip, while the memories and favorite photos are still fresh in my mind.


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I already mentioned that our wedding and engagement albums took HOURS. I wasn’t up for that kind of time commitment with this project. So, here are my tips for how to make a travel book with photos…without losing an entire day to organizing, designing, and rearranging:

  1. Choose the photo book company that you want to use and search for coupon codes. I used Artifact Uprising for these and I may continue to use them because I want to keep the size and look consistent. They have awesome quality, but they’re definitely not the only game in town. I used Blurb for our wedding album (again, that post is in the ed-cal and, a quick warning, that we did have to do one reprint with Blurb due to color balance issues — they were totally gracious in doing so). I know people who prefer Shutterfly.
  2. Decide on a consistent size and style. I mean, you don’t have to do this, but I like the idea of all of my photo books matching. Some are longer than others, but they’re all the 8×8 Softcover Photo Book from Artifact Uprising.
  3.  Gather your photos from all devices. For me, this meant saving photos from my phone, from Adam’s phone, and from my camera. I’m not trying to make an album full of photos I’ve taken for this blog, but that isn’t to say that occasionally one makes it in. I mean, I’m putting effort into those photos to capture the feeling of a destination and paired with a few selfies, it tells the full story.
  4. Organize your photos into album by destination, year, or whatever your photo book criteria is. I found it easier to batch work through my albums, so I uploaded ALL the photos for each of the 4 that I was tackling at this time (France, Iceland, Ireland, and Québec City). That way, I could shift from working through my phone and computer to then focusing solely on design, rather than going back and forth.
  5. Upload each album into the website’s photo designer in clearly labeled categories. I used Artifact Uprising, but I believe this is the case in almost all editors: you can upload photos into albums and label them accordingly. DO THIS. Do not let them get disorganized or you’ll regret it later.
  6. Select “Hide Used Photos” in Artifact Uprising. This is key. You probably don’t want to use the same photo twice, unless it’s for the cover, so this will help you stay on top of what’s left.
  7. Decide whether you want to lay out your photos chronologically or by category (landscapes, selfies, etc.). I tried to have my photos tell a story so, for the most part, they’re chronological at least by destinations visited during a trip.
  8. If you think you love a photo, include it. If it’s not in there, you’ll never look at it again.
  9. When it comes to layouts, I chose a handful I liked and stuck with those. I didn’t want to create visual clutter, so I opted for 4-5 layouts that I thought made for a clean look. Limiting layouts also makes the process go faster because you have fewer options. I do love including a few full-bleed photos for impact.
  10. I tried to have the pages make sense — I didn’t want to jump from one place to somewhere completely different on pages that faced each other. Does that make sense? I would add a 2nd Eiffel Tower pic just to have two full pages rather than one random page next to a macaron class.
  11. Lastly, don’t overthink it. I sped through these and I love them. Sure, I could have spent hours, but these are good enough and, now, I have the opportunity to enjoy these photos that otherwise would have sat for years until finally being lost to the digital black hole.


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So, as I mentioned, I’ve used several different photo book print options. Why did I choose to work with Artifact Uprising on these travel photo books? I think their quality is beautiful — they’re definitely the high end option when it comes to photo books. Plus, I haven’t had any issues with color balance being totally and completely off, which I have had with other companies.

They offer stylish options and refined layouts. It was super easy to create a professional looking product and I love the look of their matte, recycled pages. If you’re unable to choose between photos, it does look like the size I got maxes out at 380 pages…so you’ve got some room. Of course, they do run a bit more than some of the other options, but the quality makes it worth checking out. 

PS If you sign up for their email list, I’m *pretty* sure they send you a coupon off your first purchase (everyone knows this hint that works with almost any company, right?!).


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