Creating a Disney Vacation Photo Book – Getting Started Tutorial

Camera doodle by CD Muckosky; all other digital supplies are by Bella Gypsy at Scrap Orchard. Fonts (title) are options in the AdoramPix Photo Book builder.

Before I started creating photo books, it was really overwhelming for me to figure out where to get started. How did I know what photos to use and what not to use? It was so overwhelming, that for a long time, it stopped me in my tracks from creating anything. I'm going to share with you a few things I have learned over the years and give you some tips to help you get on the road to creating a beautiful Disney photo book. Note: these tips will also work if you are going to create a scrapbook, an album, or anything else with the photos from your trip.


I've made many photo books since that time. Let me share a couple of posts from The Daily Digi.  First, a while back, I printed the exact same photo book with 12 different photo book printers to find out which one I would like the best.You can read my in-depth photo book review if you would like.

Not too long ago, I did a follow-up post where I shared why I am still printing my photo books with AdoramaPix, that you can read if you would like.

Through all of the photo books I've made, I've found a simple process to help me decide what photos to use and help me get organized to create a book quickly.  This same process works when creating a scrapbook album or photo book about any event. Let's dive into making a photobook, shall we?

First, Make a Decision

What order will your book be in?

  • chronological
  • by park (all of the photos taken at Magic Kingdom together, no matter which day they were taken on; all of the Epcot photos together not matter the date; etc. For Disneyland this would be broken up into Disneyland and Disney California Adventure).
  • or by event (all of the ride photos together, no matter the park or the date taken; all of the meal photos together, no matter which park or the date the were taken, etc.)


To keep things easy, for your first photobook, I recommend organizing it chronologically.  The other methods can get a lot more complicated and confusing, but most of us can wrap our brains around the chronology of the trip.

Second, Gather Helpers

I always keep an itinerary in a spreadsheet form for any trip I take to Disneyland or Disney World. They are very helpful when I'm trying to remember what happened on what day.  Maybe you put everything on a calendar or another type of organizer. Grab a copy of this so it's handy.

This trip that I am going to use for photo book was in October with my sisters. My youngest sister and I were at Disneyland to test the Capturing Magic iPhone Apps (before we submitted them to Apple for the first time), so I didn't have the luxury of using my own apps to help me document the trip. I have since used it on a trip though, and the information that the app gathered, as I was using it is really great to help me remember what we did when..  Here is a look at an exported “Taken List” from the app from a trip to Disneyland in January. I can't wait to have these lists on all of my trips:

Other items that are helpers:

  • receipts
  • hotel information and receipts
  • flight information
  • car rental/shuttle information
  • text messages during the trip
  • social media posts during the trip (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc.)


Gather Photos

When creating a photo book, I like to have all of my photos in one folder EXCEPT when they are taken on different cameras. Sometimes the times on cameras can be a little off which will put the photos in a crazy order when viewing them by time taken. On this trip, we had:

  • My DSLR
  • My youngest sister's iPhone
  • My iPhone
  • PhotoPass


I use Lightroom for my photo organization, but when creating a photo book, I still like to use the folders.  Here you can see all of our photos sorted into folders:

Next, I create a folder called “Photo Book” where I will copy/paste everything that is going to be in my book. Figuring out what photos to set aside for a photo book can be a daunting task.On this trip, we had:

  • 118 PhotoPass photos
  • 99 photos on Sara's iPhone
  • 1349 photos on my DSLR
  • 102 photos on my iPhone
  • 13 videos

What story do I want to tell in my book?

We all know that everything at Disney has a back story. Every ride and attraction have a story they are trying to tell. Our photo books need to tell a story as well. So, I ask myself: What story do I want to tell in my book?

Here are my answers for this book

  • A chronological timeline of the highlights from this trip through photos (I'm not going to worry about documenting every single hour of everyday…just the highlights)
  • chronological highlights through videos added with QR codes
This little list will help keep me focused as I go through and select photos.

From there, I ask myself: What is the first story I want to tell?

I knew I wanted to tell the story of staying in the Disneyland hotel first. So I selected two photos of our room and then the photos, that were actually taken one of our last days of our trip, in front of the tower our room was in. I selected those photos by holding the CTRL key (CMND on a mac) and clicking on each photo. I then right clicked and selected copy; I went to the “Photo Book” folder I had created and right clicked and selected paste. Last, I often rename the photos to number order in the book for each story (ex: this first story (or page) will have 4 photos, so I named them all 1-DLhotel1, 1-DLhotel2, 1-DLhotel3, 1-DLhotel4. This way, when the photos are uploaded to AdoramPix, the ones that go together, can easily be found.

I repeated this same process until I was done (and this is the same process I use when creating any photo book and/or album):

1) What is the story I want to tell on this page?

2) Gather photos to support that story.

3) Copy/paste photos to a Photo Book folder and rename them with page number.

I did a lot of really fun things with this book and will be posting about them in the coming days. Here are some of the things coming up:

  • Creating a photo book using digital scrapbooking supplies (no previous experience or special software necessary)
  • Adding QR codes and videos to a photo book
  • Adding park maps to a photo book

P.S. If you find yourself wishing you had photos of specific things to help tell your story, check out Katie's post and be sure to grab our apps for your next trip!