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Vacation Memories: How Many Photos to Take for a Photo Book

As a traveler and photography enthusiast, I understand how difficult it can be to narrow down photos from your vacation or special event to create a meaningful photo book.

Taking too many photos can be overwhelming, and taking too few might leave out important memories. So how many photos do you need for your perfect vacation photo book?

In this blog post, I will share my personal experience and provide you with actionable tips so that you can create a photo book that you’ll truly love and appreciate for years to come.

How Many Photos Do You Need for a Photo Book?

In the last couple of years, I’ve created 6 different photo books with photos from my trips.

On my last short trip to Spain (6 days), I took a total of 915 photos and ended up using only 60 photos in my photo book from that trip.

Screenshot from my Adobe Lightroom showing photos that I took during the trip to the Amalfi Cost in Italy.

My other five photo books have an average of 68 photos per photo book and the average number of photos that I took during every trip was 748 photos. This means that I normally use only 9% of the photos that I take during my trips.

An important note: I am quite picky when it comes to selecting photos for the photo book and I never put more than one photo per page. Also, when creating my photo books, I limit myself to two layout formats for a cohesive and visually appealing look:

  1. One photo per page
  2. One photo per spread
Vacation photo book layout - one photo per page
Photo book design layout - one photo per page
Vacation photo book design layout - one photo per spread
Photo book design layout - one photo per spread

Based on my experience, if you want to create a photo book with one photo per page or one photo per its own spread, you’ll need to have at least 30 photos that you’d like to include in your photo book.

Keep in mind that not all of the photos taken on your journey will be suitable for inclusion in your photo book. Therefore, you’ll most likely need to take a lot more than 30 photos to create a 30-page photo book of your trip.

If you plan to include more than one photo per page, you will need at least 60 photos to create a decent photo book.

Keep in mind, however, that the number of photos in a photo book will largely vary depending on the length of your trip. A longer trip may require more photos, while a short weekend getaway may require fewer. 

My Lightroom Editing Process

A step-by-step video tutorial (25 minutes) showing how I edit my photos in Lightroom

The most important thing to remember is that every photo should have a purpose or tell a story. When selecting photos, you want to focus on quality over quantity and make sure each image has meaning to it.

Tips for Selecting the Right Number of Photos for a Photo Book

Decide on the Size of a Photo Book

Before you start selecting photos for your vacation photo book, I recommend you decide on the size of the photo book. 

The number of photos in a photo book can vary considerably depending on the size of the photo book. 

If you will pick a smaller size photo book (e.g. 7×7 in / 18×18 cm), then you’ll need a smaller number of photos than if you choose a larger size (e.g. 13×11 in / 33×28 cm) photo book.

Personally, I use a standard portrait (8×10 in, 20×25 cm) size for all of my recent photo books

I find this size to be the most versatile as it is portable (in case if you need to take it with you) and it also looks great as a coffee table book. 

Vacation photo book from Amalfi Coast, Italy

Also, the photos in this size are large enough to showcase the details and view the photos with comfort.

Choose an Appropriate Number of Photos Per Page

When selecting photos for the photo book, it’s important to decide on the number of photos per page or spread.

As mentioned earlier, I normally include one photo per page in my photo books, but you might want to use more than one photo per page in your photo book.

The service that I use to print all of my photo books (Blurb) has a very handy application (Book Wright) that allows you to automatically create beautiful photo layouts from several photos.

BookWritght application for designing custom photo books
Design custom photo book layouts with ease with BookWright

As a rule of thumb, if you’ll decide to use more than one photo per page, you’ll need a larger number of photos to create a decent photo book. You might wonder why so since you can place more photos on a single page.

The reason why I say that you’ll need more photos is that you will most likely want your photo book to have a minimum of 20 – 30 pages, otherwise, it will just be too short.

Therefore, if you plan to include 4 photos per page, then you’ll need at least 80 photos for a decent 20-page photo book. 

Consider the Photo Book Layout and Design

This tip is somewhat related to my previous point.

Basically in my opinion, a photo book with a simple page layout design and a lot of negative space (empty space around the photos) looks much more modern and sophisticated compared to a photo book with lots of photos and complicated layouts on every single page.

travel photo book with a simple layout

Therefore, when selecting photos for your photo book, you should consider the overall layout and design of the pages.

If you want to create a modern-looking photo book, then go for fewer photos with more white space around them. 

On the other hand, if you want a more traditional look, then you can choose to include several photos on each page.

Prioritize Quality Over Quantity

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I am extremely picky when it comes to selecting photos for my vacation photo books.

The numbers show that on average I only use 9% of the photos that I take during my trips.

Adobe Lightroom photos from my trip to Spain
In my recent trip to Spain, I took 915 photos but used only 52 in my photo book

I honestly think that it is important to curate and not just collect your photos in a photo book.

You might argue that each photo is a memory from the trip and it is important to include as many photos in your photo book as possible, but in my opinion, it is better to select fewer but truly memorable photos for your photo book.

PRO TIP: When choosing images for your photo book, focus on the story that you want to tell with your photo book, and don’t try to put all your photos in a photo book. Also, avoid using similar photos in your photo book (just pick one that you think is better).

Diversifying Your Photo Book

When selecting photos for your photo book, try to mix various types of photos (portraits, landscapes, small details) together. 

Having a variety of different photos in your photo book will make it much more interesting and dynamic for the viewer.

For instance, as you can see in the photo below, in one of my photo books I’ve decided to place a photo of my wife on the left and a photo of a beautiful Church of Santa Maria Assunta in the centre of Positano on the right side. This way I diversified the photo book and made it much more interesting.

Travel photo book with photos from Positano, Italy

PRO TIP: Don’t forget to take photos of various details, such as statues, buildings, doors, signs, pots, and flowers during your trip. These photos might seem insignificant at first but when used in the photo book they can become a great way to tell your story.

The Photo Book Service I Rely On

I’ve used Blurb online photo book service to design and print all of my recent photo books.

What I like the most about Blurb is the quality of their photo books

Unlike many other cheaper photo book services, Blurb’s printing quality, the paper they use and the photo book covers are of an amazing quality that feels amazing in hands and are sure to last for years to come.

I really enjoy using their BookWright application which allows me to create custom designs that are tailored to my needs.

BookWright Mac OS application for designing custom photo books
The BookWright application allows you to design custom photo books

Also, Blurb is available in Europe, which is an important factor for me, because I am from Riga, Latvia. It takes on average around 5-6 working days for the photo book to arrive after placing an order.

Finally, after completing the photo book design in the BookWright application, it automatically renders the photo book and allows me to preview it using their special viewer which allows you to virtually flip through the pages of your photo book.

Blurb photo book online preview
You can preview your photo book online before placing an order

Conclusion

In this article, I provided my personal recommendations on how many images you need to take for a photo book.

To summarize, if you’re planning to create a photo book with individual images on each page or spread then you will need at least 30 photos. If you want to include more than one photo per page in your photo book, I’d recommend you have at least 60 photos.

I hope that this short article was helpful and allowed you to get an idea of how many photos you need for your next photo book!

If you have something interesting to add to this article, you can always get in touch with me using the following email: hi [at] ohmycamera.com.

P.S. Please don’t forget to subscribe to my weekly newsletter where I share practical and actionable tips about photography.

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Aleksandrs Karevs OHMYCAMERA Founder & Author

Hi, my name is Aleksandr and I am a full-stack digital marketer from Riga, Latvia. In 2018 I became obsessed with photography and decided to create this blog to share my knowledge about both photography and marketing. In my free time, I enjoy taking photos with my everyday companion – FUJIFILM X100V.

Aleksandrs Karevs OHMYCAMERA Founder & Author

Hi, my name is Aleksandr and I am a full-stack digital marketer from Riga, Latvia. In 2018 I became obsessed with photography and decided to create this blog to share my knowledge about both photography and marketing. In my free time, I enjoy taking photos with my everyday companion – FUJIFILM X100V.

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Disclosure: OHMYCAMERA.com is a participant in several affiliate programs and may be compensated for referring traffic and business to companies from affiliate programs at no additional cost to you.