How To Start A Photo Album In A Simple Way

Written by: Murad Huseynov



Time to read 10 min

Photo albums are a fantastic way to cherish your memories and relive your favorite moments. Making your own is an incredibly rewarding process, so let’s learn how to start a photo album in a simple way. 


Key Takeaways

  • Photo albums offer a chance to look back on your fondest memories.
  • Making your own is great fun and can be really simple with the right preparation.
  • Choose the right design and layout for your favorite photographs.
  • You can be as creative as you like when designing your own photo album.
  • Remember to keep your photo album in good condition with the right maintenance.

Murad Huseynov

Murad is the founder of Mosaic Journal, based in London, United Kingdom. He is an expert on photo gifting, photo printing and photo journaling.

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How To Start A Photo Album From Scratch

Photo albums help to immortalize moments in your life, allowing you to travel back in time through the power of pictures. Although they’ve fallen out of favor in recent years due to digital photographs, a photo album is a cherished memento and something that everyone should own. So let’s go over how to make a nice photo album from scratch so that you can hold onto those incredible memories for years to come: 

Planning Your Picture Album

The best way to make photo albums is by planning them out. You can create a photo album in a few different ways, such as a chronological account or through themes like holiday trips or anniversaries. By taking the time to plan your picture album out, you’ll end up with a more cohesive keepsake that will store your pictures in a sensible way. What’s more, by planning things out you won’t get overwhelmed by the process of creating your album. Below are a few tips to help you through the planning stage: 

old photo album with boxes of photographs

Selecting The Theme And Purpose

Decide on the overall theme and purpose of your picture album at the start. This will give you direction when it comes time to design the album and select the right pictures. You can use a chronological structure that starts with your oldest snaps first, or create a theme for things like holiday trips or big life events like weddings.

Determining The Size And Style Of The Album

A picture album can be an incredibly personal and creative pursuit, coming in many different styles and sizes. So think about the overall aesthetic and how it might tie into the theme of your album. Do you fancy a smaller album to cherish, or a bigger one to showcase your best snaps? You’ll also want to think about the design - will you go for an elegant look or something more hand-made with a rustic charm?

One thing to consider when deciding on the size of your photo album is the size of the photographs you’ll be inserting. If you have larger pictures or portraits, make sure you choose an album size that can accommodate the size. Similarly, if you have smaller photographs you might want to scale down the overall size of your album.

Planning Your Album Design

Now that you’ve decided on the general theme, aesthetic and size of your photo album, it’s time to nail the design. Think about things like color schemes, the background for the photographs and other elements you might want to include. You have plenty of options here, from creating captions for each page to adding in a contents section or embellishments to make the pages pop.

Choosing The Pictures

With your album planned out, your next step is choosing the pictures. If you’ve followed along so far, this part should be quite straightforward. The pictures you choose should align with your chosen theme to work cohesively in your album. With that said, there are a few things that you can do when choosing the pictures to make sure they shine in your album. Let’s go over these below: 

Tips For Selecting Quality Photos

Only choose quality photographs for your album. That means avoiding ones that don’t fit with your theme, are blurry or too damaged. If you have a picture that’s not the best quality but you really want to use it, consider software. There are plenty of tools to help with things like colorizing, retouching and enhancing older photographs. 

Organizing Photos By Date, Event, Or Theme

Once you have your selection of photographs for your album, you’ll next want to organize them. This will make it easier for you to place them in a sensible way and can help with things like telling a narrative. So stick with your original themes and categorize the photographs based on their significance, date or the event they document. 

Creating The Photo Album

With all of the preparation done, it’s time to bring it all together. Creating your photo album is quite a straightforward process, but there are a few things to consider. So, let’s go over the steps required to create your new photo album:

polaroid pictures on top of yellow book

Step-By-Step Guide To Arranging Photos

You can follow the steps below to help with arranging your photos for album placement:

  • Gather materials: Get all of the materials you need to create your photo album. This will include the book itself, the photographs, accentuations or decorations and a way to insert the photographs like photo corners.
  • Place your photographs: Go through each page starting the beginning and begin inserting your photographs in order of theme or age. Remember to stick with your planned layout to keep things cohesive.
  • Stick them in place: Once you’re happy with the placement of your photographs, you can stick them in place using your preferred method. It’s best to avoid any sort of glue or adhesive as it will be hard to remove the pictures if you ever want to.
  • Add details: With the photographs in place, you can now add extra details. This might include annotations, blurbs, dates or locations to add context to the photos.
  • Final review: Once all of the work has been done, look through the photo album and review it. Make sure there are no issues or mistakes made.

Putting Photos In The Album

There are a few different options for putting the photos in the album. As mentioned, you don’t want to use any glue or adhesive to stick them in. This is because the glue could damage the photograph and it will be harder to remove if you ever want to. Instead of glue, consider the following options:

  • Photo corners: Photo corners are paper corners used to secure photographs in a photo album. The corners themselves use an adhesive so you can remove the photographs easily.
  • Glue dots: Similar to photo corners, glue dots are double-sided adhesive stickers. You can affix them to the back of a photograph without damaging it. Unlike photo corners, you can’t see glue dots so you can see all of the photograph with this method.

Design Ideas For Your Picture Album

One of the best parts about creating your own picture album is that you can get as creative as you’d like. In terms of design, a picture album can be as unique as you are, so don’t be afraid to try out your own ideas. There are also plenty of great design ideas that you can utilize for your own album. So, let’s go over a few different concepts for you to consider:

  • DIY: If you’re artistically inclined, you can really go wild with the design of your photo album. You can include hand-drawn sketches to complement each picture, include mementos like dried flowers or ticket stubs or include hand-written annotations.
  • Use color: Bring your photo album to life with intelligent use of color schemes. You can focus on different colors for each page or theme found in the album and use complementary colors to accentuate each style.
  • Frames and borders: Another great design element to include in your photo album is frames and borders. These can be an elegant and aesthetic way to invite a little more style to each page. From floral designs to sleek black lines, you can do a lot with borders.
  • Varied layouts: Consider using different photo layouts for each page of your album. You might want to dedicate a whole page to a really good photograph or create a collage for smaller, less impactful shots. You can even mess around with pairing vertical and horizontal photographs together.
  • Add text: One of the best ways to add some extra detail to your photo album is through text. Add blurbs to describe the photograph or include more context to it. You can also add more practical things like location names or dates when the photo was taken.

Reasons To Start A Photo Album

For most of us, taking a photograph on our phone and storing it digitally has become the norm. However, it’s definitely not the best way to retain pictures for years to come. They aren’t a physical object that you can share with friends or family. That’s why photo albums still hold inherent value - they’re a physical memento. There are plenty of reasons to start a photo album, so let’s go over them below:

  • A physical keepsake: As mentioned, a photo album is a physical memento that you can keep with you for life. It’s easy to show a photo album to friends and family and can even be passed down to the next generation.
  • Capturing your life: Many photo albums show a clear progression in your life. From growing up in your family home to moving out and exploring the world on your terms - a photo album documents it all.
  • Nostalgia: There’s a real sense of nostalgia to be had flicking through an old photo album. It’s an opportunity to revisit memories and relive the happiest moments of your life.
  • Your best shots: A photo album can be a collection of your favorite photographs through the years. You’re in charge of curating them and get to choose what photos will stay with you for life.
  • An endearing gift: Creating a photo album for a loved one can be an incredibly thoughtful gift. You can show them how much you care for them and how large a role they’ve played in your life by curating a photo album just for them.
loose polaroid pictures on folder

How Many Photos Should Be In An Album?

Generally speaking, a photo album will contain anywhere from 50 to 200 pictures. Photo albums are incredibly personal things though, so you can place as many photos as you want in them.

You don’t want an incomplete story, which can happen if you don’t include enough pictures. However, too many photographs in one album can get quite messy, making it harder to find exact photographs. So, consider the following aspects of your album to help you decide how many photos to include:

  • How big do you want it to be? Will this album cover your entire life or is it just for a specific event like a wedding? Smaller albums might hold around 50 photos which is ideal for single events. A larger album could hold hundreds though, which is more suited for comprehensive photo albums.
  • You want to focus on quality over quantity with your album. It might be hard to part with some pictures, but try to leave out ones that are duplicates, blurry, damaged or poor quality.

How To Maintain A Picture Album?

Keeping your picture album in good condition will ensure it stays with you for years to come. There are a few things you can do to maintain your photo album, so let’s go over them below:

  • Store it properly: Keep your photo album out of direct sunlight and away from moisture to prevent fading or water damage. Ideally, your album should be kept in a cool, dry place on a flat surface to stop the book bending.
  • Keep your hands clean: When you handle your picture album, make sure your hands are clean. Things like oil or grease can stain the book.
  • Check it occasionally: Be sure to take it out of storage from time-to-time. This will help you catch any problems before they damage the album, like pests or moisture.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Start A Photo Album

How To Make A Good Photo Album?

Making a good photo album is about more than just the photographs. Consider the layout and design of your album, use themes to create a narrative and add other details like captions or dates. Make sure you use good quality materials when designing your album and don’t be afraid to get creative. That way, you’ll make a unique photo album that looks great and tells a story.

How To Maintain A Picture Album?

Maintaining a picture album is quite simple, but it does require a little bit of consistency on your part. Make sure that you store it in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight. Take the album out occasionally to check it over for signs of damage or wear and tear. When you take out the photo album, be careful not to use dirty hands as this could damage the book.

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