Finding words to go with your pictures

by Rachel B Posted on February 25, 2010

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Do you ever have difficulty finding the right words to go with your photo book images? I do…all the time. When I see a blank text field I panic. How do I write something brilliant, funny, Pulitzer-Prize winning? Too much pressure! Then I tell myself to relax, because annotating my photo book is much easier than I think. Here are a few of my homegrown tips. Please feel free to use them yourself, or add your own, by commenting on this article.

You don’t need to write anything. Let your pictures alone tell the story (if you leave photo book text fields blank, the pages’ backgrounds will show up instead). Using just pictures, Nuziata tells her honeymoon story beautifully.

You have permission to make it simple. Write a short description of the picture, or the feeling you have about the picture, or the names of the people in the picture. That’s it. Shelly_L’s less-is-more journaling philosophy works perfectly for her baby’s-first-year book.

Steal from the best. I have no qualms about using quotes written by other authors – as long as I give them credit. Kentuckykatie does a great job of accompanying her flower photography with meaningful words from the greats.

Try using lyrics to a song. I love this book by DianaD38 where she uses Elton John’s lyrics to describe her feelings about the birth of her child.

In addition to the above four tips, I highly recommend using a larger font – at least 20 points when possible. Makes reading the words so much easier!!! Raina_C does a fantastic job with the font size in her sailing book.

Hope that helps!


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  1. Earl J Says:

    This is filled with good, practical advice. So many authors do not pick the correct font size for the page. Also, I’m glad I read it, Rachel, as I had picked the “My First Year 2010″ by Shelly_L as one of three birthday books I’ll talk about in an up-coming blog. Should I substitute another book or is it OK to still include this one?

  2. BarbaraJ Says:

    How true, you don’t need the words, in fact many times I feel like the wording will take away from the photography in the books. Great ideas.

  3. AnnAbbott Says:

    Rachel, I am glad you have given me the ok to let the pictures do the talking. Hahha
    I do that most of the time in my books but all of your tips are wonderful. My 2nd favorite tip…GIANT FONTS!

  4. Joey Says:

    I love these tips. I sometimes let the picture/s do the talking or my favorite is to use quotes. I find quotes that is fitting to the picture – a lot of times the authors name doesn’t fit, so I end up not using it or it may be anonymys (sp?), so I don’t add that. I do on some where it fits – I also like the larger easy to read font. Not only for Gallery, but for the person receiving it.
    Great tips.

more about Rachel B

Thank you for visiting “Picture More”, Shutterfly's Community Blog. My name is Rachel, and I come from a long line of photo enthusiasts. My grandparents kept a large (and heavy!) collection of family photo albums in their living room, which my sister and I loved looking through. My mother continued the tradition by becoming a hobby photographer (phrases like “smile, “hold that pose” and “let me get my camera” were a constant part of our lives). Now my sister and I are avid camera fans. She takes beautiful pictures of her children, and I enjoy capturing the many far-away places my husband and I visit. What I love about Shutterfly is that it helps me turn my photos into meaningful keepsakes like photo books, calendars, and photo gifts (I love my coasters, posters, mug and mouse pad!). My memories are now a part of my everyday life, not living in a shoe box or hard drive. And what I love about "Picture More" is that it will help us get even more creative with our pictures. I'm excited to exchange ideas with all of you!

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