Make Your Own Photobooks

Photo Book Backgrounds:
Creative Themes for Photobooks and Albums

Photo book backgrounds are the actual designs, decorations, and photo book themes that you'll find on pages of a more creative photo book.

While photo books can come with plain books and plain backrounds, the creative photo book themes provided by some photo book printers can be a lot of fun to play with and use. And can give your photo book project much more of an "decorative digital photo scrapbook" feel.

The photo book backgrounds available are usually combined into groups and called themes. A photo book theme usually has more than one background in it, although some photo book priting companies only have one type of photobook background for each of their album themes.

Why are Photo Book Backgrounds Important?

Why are the themes for a photo book important? Because the look of your page sets the tone for your pictures, and for your whole digial photo memory book. If you like a very simple setting for your pictures, you might like just a simple white or black page. If you're looking for something more like a digital scrapbook, you'll aim for themeatic and colorful photo book backgrounds.


Either way, your photo book background will set the mood for your book... it's all about the pages you choose. A birthday celebration for a young child, for example, would lend itself well to bright, cheerful, bold colors. Look for the pages that will help to tell the story of your special event or the person your commemorating.

You don't always need all the glitz, though. For example, if you wanted a clean and sophisticated look to your wedding photo book, you would look for photo book backgrounds that are subtle... even a plain black and white background with some full page bleeds of photos that you want showcased. For such a special celebration, wouldn't always want bold, busy designs on your pages that would detract from your pictures.

Want some ideas on a particular background for a photo book? Try these:

Baby Birthday Christmas Easter Fall Graduation
Halloween Heritage Love Pets Pink Heart Polka Dot
Sports Thanksgiving Travel Wedding Winter

All photo book printing companies have "free album backgrounds" to use when you're creating a photo book online. Some publishers have more to choose from than others. Some have their own designers, and some are submitted by users. Some are common, some are unique. So be sure to shop around!

The two major photo book printing services that offer the best variety of backgrounds are Shutterfly and Picaboo. These are the two we'll hightlight below.

Picaboo Photo Book Backgrounds,, on the other hand, focuses less on in-house designs, and more on allowing their thousands of users to create, design, and share custom photo book themes, colors, and backgrounds.

Picaboo's "Background Community"

The group of users that creates photo album backgrounds and themes for Picaboo is called their "Background Community," and the thousands of backgrounds there are free to use. Occasionally, a user will submit one which would work well for one of their themes (ideas) and then will be contacted for permission to use it in a particular theme. This Community gives Picaboo a definite edge when it comes to the number available. When using these pages, depending on the version number of your web browser*, you may have to save the image to your hard drive and then import it to your photo book as you would any normal image. Then it's simply a drag and drop onto the area of your album page where you want it to appear.

Click here to learn more about how to use Picaboo Backgrounds for your photo books. Or go directly to to check out their software and play around with their free backgrounds.

Shutterfly's Photo ALbum Backgrouds has a ton of creative photo book backgrounds which are created by their own in-house design team, along with other designers such as Cross-My-Heart, Flair Designs, Karen Foster Design, Pebbles Inc. and Scrapbook Elements.

Usability. While Shutterfly offers lots of backgrounds for their many theme books, the process is a little different. You need to actually choose a photo book, choose the size and cover and then click the "Get Started" button. From there you can click the Style button and see the list.

To create a photo book with one of the designs from the Gallery, simply click on the "Make one like this" button. It will then copy the design, styles and layouts of the book you're looking at. All you have to do is add your own pictures and text. This works for every book that was created with Shutterfly's software. If the book was created with other software you will get a blank book. These other books usually have the label (Created with Design Software). So it's generally best to use Shutterfly photo book thems with Shutterfly's software.

Preview Your Photo Book Backgrounds in Shutterfly

Shutterfly has a Community section that includes a Photo Book Gallery where users post their photo books. This is nice because it gives you an idea of how any backgrounds you're eyeballing will look in a book.

Other Printers' Photo Book Backgrounds

While they may not have quite the same level of design and variety as Picaboo or Shutterfly, there are several other photo book printers whose photo album background and theme options are worth mentioning.

Some photo book printers make access to viewing their backgrounds prior to selecting a photo book easy and convenient. and MyCanvas are perfect examples. For these photo book printing companies, all you have to do is find the photo book background or theme you're interested in, and click to preview the different backgrounds. I find this enormously beneficial since I can decide even before starting the photo book whether I like the what is available, and I can start thinking of specific photos to use on the pages.

PhotoWorks and Snapfish are pretty much the same way. Most publishers who display their photo book backgrounds this way also make it easier for you to change your choices once your book has been started.

*When Internet Explorer 6 came around, Microsoft added some new security protocols which made it impossible to drag and drop photos directly into a book. The same is true with Internet Explorer 7. With Firefox, the ability to drag and drop was removed for the same security reasons in a much earlier version.

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