How to: Make a Photo Book – Selecting Images

Okay. So you want to make a photo book and have worked out the size and dimensions that you want. Now comes the fun part — choosing which pictures to include. You open up the folders on your computer with all your images and realise that you’ve got hundreds, if not thousands to choose from. Still worse, there are all the photos you’ve got in albums and shoeboxes in that cupboard under the stairs from the time when camera phones were not as mainstream as they are today. Before you know it, you’re buried under boxes of history, cooing over old baby pictures of your second cousin and feeling slightly overwhelmed by trying to whittle down this mass of images to the handful you need to make your book.

Before you even begin to open the door to nostalgia, it’s useful to have a clear criteria for the kind of images you’re looking for. Here’s what we’d suggest:

Stay close to your theme

Don’t be tempted to wander off your topic with a picture you’re fond of. For example, if it’s a wedding anniversary photobook, it would be a nice idea to have the happy couple in the majority of the pictures, after all they are the centre of attention. However, including that hilarious picture of Aunty Brenda might contribute to the visual grammar of the book and prevent it from being repetitive and tedious by documenting the event in its full scope.

Pick one image from an event

We’ve all got several photographs for every major life event, and since going digital, we’ve probably got hundreds, mostly of the same thing. Limit yourself to one (or two, if you must) of each and make sure you’ve got the one that really captures the event rather than padding, which is, in a nutshell, including photographs that don’t contribute to the overall project, but are added for the sake of having something.

Choose the best image

Here’s what doesn’t make a good photograph — one that’s out of focus; one where someone’s head or feet are chopped off; one where everyone is standing on one side of the image. Ditch these straight away! Go for pictures that are in focus, with everyone’s eyes open, and that are roughly composed using the rule of thirds.

Once you’ve selected your old photos, we can help you digitise them, so you can upload them all to make a photobook without any hassle.