how to design a family reunion book

Summer Vacation Book Design: how to tell a story with your images

Are you interested in your summer vacation book design? How do you tell a story with your images to create a dynamic book from a family reunion?
With a little thought while taking pictures and focus when picking the perfect photos for your family vacation book, it becomes quick and easy. Tackling your summer vacation book design doesn’t have to take a ton of time and you can easily finish the books in time for holiday gifts. 
My passion is in creating beautiful heirloom albums and books for my photography clients and capturing a fleeting moment in time. We do this with the power of storytelling and documentary style pictures. 
–>>The key is to know what you want to say with the book design and how to tell an effective story, even if you have a lot of formal portraits.
You too can make a family reunion souvenir book and learn how to choose photos that tell a story and capture your family history and genealogy. As a professional photographer, I use Smart Albums to design all of my wedding and family portrait books quickly and easily.
Blurb also has a wonderful design software that is actually free and super easy to learn. I recommend Blurb’s  BookWright software so highly that I’m working on a tutorial just for that software!
Check out Blurb’s easy to use BookWright software:

How to start with your summer vacation book design?

Well, you start by gathering all of your images into one folder.

That means, gathering images from your family’s cameras too. Recently, I taught my parents how to use Google Photos, how to upload their images to Google Photos, how to create an album with just the images I needed and then how to share the album with me in Google Photos.

Do you see a theme here? It’s Google Photos!

  • Free!
  • Setup so every picture you take gets uploaded automatically
  • It will even try to get smart and create albums FOR you
  • Easily tag faces once and Google does it for you every time
  • slideshows, books and more!

If you don’t already have a solid backup plan for your photos from your phone or camera, check out my friend’s blog all about how to document and save your life for posterity at the Frame of Life Project.

Keep an eye on my YouTube channel (hey, why don’t you just subscribe for updates?) for my tutorials on all things Google Photos and Sharing!

Rename your summer vacation images with something descriptive for easy searching & organizing.

On a Mac, you highlight the files and right click / Rename

So then you have all of your images in one spot, renamed to something that makes sense to you for sorting the event and now it is time to open your album design software. 

The first thing your software will ask you is what size and style book you are creating.

  • If you have a million images OR a huge amount of locations you visited, then choose a large book.
  • If there aren’t that many amazing images, tons of people to include or a huge variety in the different scenes, you can choose a smaller book, like an 8 inch book.

Now, import the folder with your images.

It might take a minute… go for a short walk, get some coffee and come back.


And now, layout your family vacation book!

This is the fun part and why I created the video above! What you want to focus on is the story that each page of the book tells. 

  • Each open spread should have it’s own story. What are you doing? Who is doing it? How did it feel to be there?
  • Pick one image as your main image, and use smaller images as supporting or storytelling images.
Blurb Books Black Friday 2018

It is more important to finish the book, than to tweak it to death.

–>> Done is always better than perfect. 

I do a super fast design to start, without over thinking it and then I walk away for a day or two. When I sit back down to the layout, that’s when I make critical choices. What can be removed? What is missing?


This process might never end, therefore I highly recommend a  strong deadline.

Checkout this great little book I created for a family’s Christmas vacation on Lake Huron.

They rented a house for the week and I was there on Christmas day to capture the essence of that week, including formal portraits.

Interested to see the final Family Summer Vacation Book Design?

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