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How to Create a Photo Book in 2020

New Year, New Photo Book! But how should you create it? We go over a list of different photo book creation apps and programs for 2020 and beyond.

How to make a Photo Book in 2020

By Tim Weaver

Designer at Presto Photo

You’ve never had so many options to make a Photo Book. You can make them online in your web browser, in Apple Photos, or on any number of desktop publishing softwares available at cheaper prices than they ever have been before. To add to the confusion, Apple no longer allows for direct printing through Apple Photos, iPhoto, or Aperture any more, and with a couple of developments since the macOS “Catalina” release, it’s never been a more confusing time to decide how to make your Photo Book.

Well, we’re here to make things a little easier. Here are all the different ways you can make a Photo Book and purchase it with PrestoPhoto in 2020 and beyond!


Screenshot of the PrestoPhoto App in Apple Photos

PrestoPhoto App

The Presto Photo App for macOS is hands down the best way to create a new photo book on a Mac today. Available as an extension for Apple Photos, create Photo Books right in Apple Photos (plus tons of other things like Photo Prints, Calendars, Wall Art, and Photo Gifts like Coffee Mugs), just like you’re used to. There's even a portion that uses Apple Pages (more on that later).

It’s pretty simple: select your photos for your photo book, then choose the orientation (portrait or landscape) and size (there's around 24 in total to choose from), pick a template and the number of pages you want to start out with in your book, and then your done!

Easily customize your book with text freedom: Apply text wherever you want, regardless of the template layout. Flip your layout, add extra images, change the background color, and make books up to 220 pages (120 more than most of our competitors!), all within Apple Photos.

Download the PrestoPhoto App in the macOS App Store Back to List

Screenshot Photo Book made in Apple Photos

Apple Photos

If you are still on a Mac running macOS 10.13 “High Sierra” and below with Photos 3, you can still make a Photo Book in Apple Photos. We call this Legacy Apple Photo Book Printing.

If you still have access to this powerful photo book creation tool, and you prefer Apple Photos for making your photo books, you can still make photo books and print with PrestoPhoto

When you start a new project, you'll see a dialog box like this pop up:

Apple Photos Create New Project Warning

As of September 31 of 2018, you can no longer print a photo book, calendar, or any type of print project directly through Apple. Fortunately, you can print them through PrestoPhoto. All you have to do is export the PDF of the book and upload it to our website and we can print it in Hardcover, Softcover, Layflat and more, with more options than you've ever had before with Apple.

When you do upgrade your Mac, you projects will seamlessly come with you if you bring along your same Photos library (as of right now, projects cannot be stored in iCloud, so you can't do a complete cloud transfer). Apple Photos still has some features that have not been replicated (Apple Map's on photo book pages for one)

Alternatively, you also have access to start using Photos Project Extensions like the PrestoPhoto App for macOS to create new projects, just download it and start building today with your Photos library.

Upload Your Apple Photos Book Back to List

Screenshot of Photo Book made in Apple Aperture

Aperture

Aperture is an amazing legacy Apple Photo Book creation tool for professional photographers and prosumers alike. If you still have the program up and running on your Mac, you can create new photo books and print previous projects by uploading and printing with PrestoPhoto. The big problem comes with the macOS 10.15 “Catalina” Update: Apple has removed support for 32 Bit software as of macOS 10.15, and that includes Aperture. When you go to run the program, you'll see a warning like this, it won't run, and the app icon will show a icon on top:

Aperture giving a warning that it is not supported for macOS 10.15 and up

If you plan on upgrading computers soon, you should at least create a backup PDF of all Aperture photo books as they cannot be converted to an Apple Photos project. If you’ve already upgraded and still have access to your previous Aperture or iPhoto library, you can download a program called Retroactive and you should still be able to export those photo books to a PDF for your archive and for future printing. I wouldn’t count on Retroactive to work forever (especially for it to work for macOS 10.16, when it's presumably released next year), but for now it should work for folks who upgraded to macOS 10.15 in a pinch.

Should you still create books with iPhoto and Aperture? If you love them and they still run fine for you, there should be no problem in continuing to create with these legacy Apps, and then printing them with us.

Upload Your Aperture Photo Book Back to List

Screenshot of Photo Book made in Apple iPhoto

iPhoto

iPhoto is another legacy Apple Photo Book creation tool, and if you still installed on your computer, you can upload a iPhoto photo book and print with PrestoPhoto. The big problem comes with the macOS 10.15 “Catalina” Update.

Apple has removed support for 32 Bit software running on its computer as of 10.15, and iPhoto is a 32bit program, so it will no longer run on computers with macOS 10.15 and above. If you plan on upgrading computers soon, you should create backup PDF's of any previous book projects as they cannot be converted to an Apple Photos project. If you’ve already upgraded and still have access to your previous iPhoto library, you can download Retroactive to run iPhoto on Catalina. It's unsure if this will work on macOS 10.16, but for now it should help Catalina users who updated without knowing iPhoto wouldn't run.

When you click on iPhoto or see the icon in your Application folder in macOS 10.15, you'll see something like this:

iPhoto giving a warning that it is not supported for macOS 10.15 and up

Should you still create books with iPhoto and Aperture? If you love them and they still run fine for you, and are on macOS 10.14 and below, there should be no problem in continuing to create photo books with iPhoto and printing with PrestoPhoto.

Upload Your iPhoto Photo Book Back to List

Screenshot of Photo Book made in Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign

We’ve talked at length about InDesign in the past, and for good reason: InDesign is by far and away the professional industry standard for book layout, and Photo Book layout is no exception. Used by wedding photographers, professional portfolios, corporate books, and more, if you want to give your photo book game a level up, you might want to give it a try.

InDesign allows for unparalleled control of your Photo Book. Place photos, text, or graphics anywhere you like, flow text between multiple text frames, create and manipulate vector graphics, master page template creation, and more.

The flaw with InDesign over most photo book creation methods on this list is that it does cost money, and it is a subscription based model: InDesign runs for $20.99 a month, or an Annual Plan for $239.88, without discounts. So if you wanna work with one of the best programs for ground up design of your photo book, it's going to cost you.

On the plus side, it works for both macOS and Windows operating systems, so most likely any computer you own will work (sorry ChromeBook users!). Check out our help page on InDesign to find more information about setting up your book to be print ready.

Upload Your InDesign Photo Book Back to List

Screenshot of Photo Book made in Affinity Publisher

Affinity Publisher

Like InDesign, but not a fan of a monthly subscription model? You should look into Affinity Publisher for macOS and Windows . Not only is Affinity Publisher a more than capable piece of desktop publishing software, it only costs $49.99, as a one time fee. If you hate subscriptiong based pricing models for software and want the most bang for your buck, we suggest giving Affinity Publisher a whirl.

Check out our Affinity Publisher Help Page for more information on using Affinity Publisher to create your next photo book.

Upload Your Affinity Publisher Photo Book Back to List

Screenshot of Photo Book made in Apple Pages

Apple Pages

The PrestoPhoto App has another side to it that you may not know about. Originally, the PrestoPhoto App was made to exclusively support Apple Pages, and it still includes support for Apple photo book templates within Apple Pages. Along with Apple Pages amazing desktop publishing options for design within the app for beginners and professionals alike, and can source photos from your Apple Photos or iPhotos library.

The amazing thing about Apple Pages is that not only is it an amazing word processor, it makes for a great photo book layout tool as well. With new features like flowing text between multiple text frames (like InDesign and Affinity Publisher) and the ease of layout with pictures and design elements, its the best free way to layout your photo book with no constraints.

When you’re done with your photo book, export a PDF from Apple Pages of your project and upload it to PrestoPhoto to print.

Upload Your Apple Pages Book Back to List

Screenshot of Photo Book made in Apple Aperture

Lightroom Classic CC

Loved by Photographers everywhere, Lightroom Classic CC is a great program you might already use on a daily basis that you can create a photo book with. Featuring some slightly odd landscape sizes ( and ), easily create photo books using your own edited photo library. Note, this feature is not directly supported in Lightroom CC, only in Lightroom Classic CC. Lightroom Classic CC generally goes for $9.99 a month (subscription based model like InDesign). It's design options are a little more simple than most other programs on this list, but if you're already using Lightroom to maintain your photo library, no harm in giving it a shot.

Upload Your Lightroom Photo Book Back to List

Screenshot of Photo Book made in PrestoPhotos Online Designer

PrestoPhoto Online Designer

Want to create a photo book online without any kind of App downloads, and works on Mac, Windows, or ChromeOS? Give the PrestoPhoto Online Designer a try! We have tons of template options to choose from, 24 book sizes to design in, and you can start making your book right now!

Create your Photo Book Online Back to List

That about covers it for now for our list of photo book creation tools. Check back to this list periodically as we update and and new programs to explore, and maybe make your next photo book in!

Blog Post Author Tim Weaver

Tim Weaver

Tim is a North Carolina native, extreme book geek, and sometimes thinks he's an artist. When he's not whipping up amazing graphics and designs for Presto Photo, he's probably sipping a coffee with his cat and organizing his art book collection.