Designing Albums

Introduction to Album Design –

Photojunction will help you save time designing albums.

Tips from our team

We caught up with two of the design team,  Simon and Rachel, to talk all things album design. Here are their top four tips for creating beautiful, clean layouts.

Less is more

If the design is loaded with images the hero shots can be lost among a forest of images. It’s simple, unclutter your design. Let the key images and high quality materials of an album speak for themselves. If you notice the design, it’s taking precedence over the images – good design is effortless. By keeping the image selection minimal, you’ll free up space and make the rest of the design sing.

Continuity is important

An album is meant to tell a story, and images that look out of place throw the viewer off. When designing an album, always think about the order of events, the scaling of the objects within the imagery, and the general feeling of images featured together. An album layout should always feel cohesive. Create flow between the images that is effortless from one setting to the next.

Be wary when cropping

Cropping an image should always leave its integrity intact. It can be good to remove distracting elements, or emphasize a point of interest, but you can’t use cropping to try and change an image. You may be tempted to crop in on an image to feature the subject matter larger, but be mindful that you aren’t losing the quality and integrity of the original composition. Also, if you crop tightly you run the risk of critical areas of the image being hidden behind a mat, or trimmed away when the book block is guillotined in production. And important details often look awkward when they’re jammed up close to the image edge.

Watch out for Aunty Sue

Always take in account the page margin and spine. Whether you offer Duo albums or Panorama Flushmounts, there will always be either a split or a crease in the page. Get to know the album you offer and take into account the margin width to avoid splitting Aunty Sue’s face in two.

Let them breathe…

Sure photo-bombing is fun, but generally we like the core elements of an image to have a nice amount of breathing space to the edge of the page, or image "frame". In fact think of it exactly like framing a picture: it gives the subject a sense of intent and importance. Jamming things up against the image edge often looks awkward.

But "breathing room" is also important for practical reasons. Our book blocks are trimmed on the guillotine in production, meaning you always lose 1-2mm from around the block. And if you’re ordering a digital copy, the print will be scaled down dramatically, meaning that that 1-2mm trims away much more of the image.

Then, suppose your camera shoots a 3:2 aspect ratio image. A 12x8 won't need cropping, but if the design calls for a 10x8 you'll be pleased you have some breathing room around the subject that you can cut away!

Finally if you're using our free design service, the team will tell you that tightly cropped images give them problems for all the above reasons.

Create a grid

By using standard aperture sizes you can create a block of images that line up in nice grid-like structures, giving clean lines, consistent spacing, and simplified style. Templates make this very easy. And once again, be sure to give the images a nice amount of breathing space from the edge of the page:  like framing a picture, this gives the subject a sense of importance and also gives us some allowance when we guillotine the page edge!

Consistency counts

Photographers have access to creative editing tools that didn’t exist a generation ago … but sometimes those “special effects” look out of place in an album. Bear in mind that the images in an album don’t stand alone, but alongside each other on the same page, or in the same book. Consistent colour and style help an album come together.

Why not outsource? Some photographers like to do their own design. Maybe they use design as a sales tool, or their design skills and sense of style add value to their work. Or maybe they just enjoy it! But otherwise, let us do it for you! Our team of trained designers do a great job and will make your life simpler, and there’s no extra charge for their services.