How to Make A Hero Photo Book in Just 4 Steps

  Mother's Day Photo Book Inside Spread
  Mother's Day Photo Book Inside Spread

This photo book was the perfect mother's day and birthday present. When Mom unwrapped the book we could see she was confused. This was a real book with a dust jacket and beautifully bound. But how was it possible that she was on the front cover?

In an instant she was touched when she realized what she was holding. This was a photo book her daughters had made for her with favorite pictures and loving affirmations. She cried, we cried... you know what I'm talking about.    

If you'd like to make something extra special for your mom make a photo book. It'll be a treasure she'll keep always.

How to make a Hero Photo Book like ours in just 4 steps. 

STEP ONE: Gather Pictures and Affirmations

If you have siblings, call them now and ask them for pictures and affirmations. Tell them to email you today.

In our case we were celebrating mom's 65th birthday so we wanted to come up with 65 affirmations, things we love about her, things we remember most from our childhood. Each sibling contributed an equal number of heartfelt affirmations with one or two pictures. 

Everything was done digitally so, even though my siblings and I live far from each other, we could, through the internet, share pictures, affirmations, and ideas. 

Just remember to keep it simple and don't over think the project. You know your mom is going to love this!

Tips for Pictures:

  • When it came to the old pictures we just photographed the pictures with our digital cameras.
  • If you decide to do this instead of scanning make sure there's no glare or reflection in the pictures.
  • Avoid direct light source. I set up my pictures and camera in room with lots of diffused natural light. I took pictures at times when there was a lot of daylight but no direct sunlight.
  • You'll also want to keep your camera parallel to the photo. To limit distortion check your picture's corners in your frame.
  • There's a lot of good information available online. Search "photographing old pictures" to find out more.  

Tips for Affirmations:

  • Your affirmations can be everything from heartfelt to funny.
  • We wrote about the beautiful birthday cakes she made for us and how much we appreciated that she helped pay for our college tuition. We added priceless moments like when we ate too many cookies and learned how to iron clothes!  
  • My favorite affirmation...  "You gave us the words 'I love you'." Yup, pass the tissues...   

STEP TWO: Process Pictures and Affirmations

BEFORE you start your photo book make sure your content is ready to be placed in the book... color correction, cropping, red-eye correction, editing, spell-checking, date-checking... all of this needs to be done before you open your photo book software. 

For color correction and cropping I use Adobe Photoshop but there are a number of online services like that can help with this. 

Give yourself time to do this but again don't worry about every detail. Unless your picture is going to be printed in a large format it should turn out fine.

STEP THREE: Select Photo Book Printer and Format

My sisters and I decided to go with the small 7x7 format because it felt more intimate. I also knew that the older images would print better. Flaws, scratches, and dust wouldn't show up as much if we printed a smaller sized photo book.

I chose Blurb for design and printing because I liked the design flexibility of their online tool, the price/quality ratio, and their final product was a REAL book just like the ones you can find in a bookstore. Beautiful!

I still use Blurb today and even became an affiliate. I don't affiliate with many companies so you know that I'm a true fan. Click here for my affiliate disclosure.

The standard paper is very good but I have to admit that the premium paper makes a big difference and is worth the extra money. For more information you can check out Blurb's pricing calculator.

STEP FOUR: Build Your Book and Go to Print

This is the fun part, creating the pages for your photo book. Yes, this when you get to make it beautiful!

Design Tips: 

  • Number one rule is to think of who the photo book is for. In this case it's your mom. What would she like? Lots of pictures or just a few pictures? Lots of additional graphics and art or a simple layout where the pictures and the affirmations are the main focus.
  • For our book I used the simpler templates and graphic elements provided by Blurb. 


Set deadlines and stick to them! You need to get your photo book done if you want it delivered on time for the big day. And you'll want to be ready to take advantage of special offers. 

I usually count 3-4 weeks for someone who's not working on their photo book full time. You can probably turn your photo book around in a weekend but you won't be doing much of anything else! Just remember that you can't shorten printing time. Here's what my timeline would look like:

  • Days 1-7 - gather pictures and affirmations
  • Days 8-9 - process pictures and edit affirmations
  • Days 10-14 - create photo book and proof
  • Day 15-21-28 - at the printers and delivery

I hope you'll make a photo book for your hero. I can tell you in advance they'll love it!