Picture Book

Table of Contents
Changes in iPhoto '09
Summary of Outside Layouts
Summary of Inside Layouts
Cover examples
One-photo Layout Examples
Two-photo Layout Examples
Three-photo Layout Examples
Four-photo Layout Examples
Six-photo Layout Examples
Eight and Sixteen-photo Layout Examples
Earlier versions

The Picture Book theme is characterized by frameless photos with white dividing lines. Picture Book is unique in that it has one-, two-, three-, four-, six-, eight-, and even sixteen-photo layouts. There are the standard three introduction pages, maps, and a blank page. In earlier editions of iPhoto, Picture Book had no captions. In iPhoto '09, each of Picture Book's layouts has a version with or without captions. The font Helvetica Neue is used throughout.

Note: I seem to be having trouble with the images on this page, there should be many, many more. I'm working on it!


I have created a completely updated, printable guide for each iPhoto Book Theme from iPhoto '09. Each one costs $3 or you can buy the entire set of 16 guides for $20. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.

Changes in iPhoto '09

The only changes to the Picture Book layout in iPhoto '09 are the addition of three introduction (or text) pages and the ability to create maps. As far as I can tell, everything else has remained the same.

Summary of Outside Layouts

Picture Book's cover is one of the most versatile. Its inside flap is one of the most standard.

Summary of Inside Layouts


Picture Book offers white, gray, and black backgrounds for the outside and adds the Photo Background (formerly Palm Tree) to let you use any image you want for the background of the inside pages.

Cover Examples

With seven distinct layouts, Picture Book seems to have the most versatile cover options.

The third layout has four rigid frames, equally sized, horizontal frames and a caption (title and subtitle). Photos are cropped to fit:

The fourth layout also has four rigid frames, but there is one large vertical to the left, and two small verticals to the right over a single horizontal. Photos are cropped to fit. The fifth layout is almost identical to the fourth, but the small vertical photos are below instead of above the horizontal one:

Layouts 6 and 7 are very similar to 4 and 5, but have the large vertical photo on the right instead of the left:

One-photo Layout Examples

The Picture Book theme has two basic one-photo layouts: a full bleed and an almost full bleed with caption. If you choose full bleed, the layout depends on the original orientation of the photos: only horizontal shots will fill the whole page; vertical ones have white space to the right and left:

With the second layout, since the caption takes up room at the bottom, the horizontal shots bleed on only three sides, and the vertical one bleeds only at the top:

Two-photo Layout Examples

There are four two-photo layouts.

The first layout is pretty basic, offering large photos with thin white dividing lines. The layout depends on the original orientation of the photos you place. Two horizontal pictures are placed in the center of the page with white space above and below while two vertical shots fill an entire page:

If you mix one horizontal with one vertical, they expand to fit the width of the page:

Layout 2 (shown on the right below) is the same as 1, except that the photos are pushed higher on the page and a caption is inserted below:

The last two two-photo layouts are not very flexible. They feature two rigid horizontal frames with a thin white dividing line. Photos are cropped to fit. Layout three fills the page; Layout 4 offers a caption at the bottom:

Three-photo Layout Examples

The first three-photo layout depends on the original orientation of your photos. With three horizontal shots, you'll get one large photo at the top and two smaller ones across the bottom. With three verticals, you'll get one large photo to the left and two smaller ones to the right:

With two verticals and one horizontal, three layouts are possible, one with the horizontal in the large position at left (or right) and one with one of the verticals large. Changing the order of the photos around achieves the different layouts.

With two horizontals and one vertical, three more layouts are possible. One with the vertical shot large (either on the right or left) and one with one of the horizontal shots large at the top over smaller versions of the other two photos:

Layout 2 offers all the same permutations as Layout 1, but with captions:

Layout 3 has three rigid horizontal frames, one large one on top over two smaller ones across the bottom. Layout 4 adds a caption. In both layouts, photos are cropped to fit.

Four-photo Layout Examples

The first two four-photo layouts depend considerably on the original orientation of the photos.

With four horizontals, the photos fill the page. With four verticals, there is white space to right and left:

With three horizontals and one vertical, the row with the two horizontals becomes slightly smaller and the row with one of each slightly larger. The vertical photo can be in any of the four corners (only two permutations are shown below). The photos fill the page with white dividing lines.

If you have three vertical photos and one horizontal, they fill the central part of the page, leaving white space to right and left. The row of two verticals is larger than the row with one of each. The horizontal picture can go in any corner:

With two horizontal and two vertical, the photos bleed at the top and bottom but there is white space to the right and left. You can move the photos around in any combination and the layout stays pretty similar (only four possibilities are shown below):

The second four-photo layout is virtually the same except for an added caption across the bottom:

Six-photo Layout Examples

The six-photo layouts are idiosyncratic at best. First, the easy parts: They always fill the page. There are a number of display possibilities. The basic layout (below left) shows one large vertical, one medium horizontal and four small horizontals. But there can also be two medium horizontals with four medium verticals, in various locations.

The tricky part is getting to the configuration that you like. It's not just a question of changing the order of the photos, as with other layouts. The curious thing is that sometimes the frames are rigid (cropping photos to fit) and sometimes putting a differently-oriented photo in a frame changes the layout. When you first choose the six-photo layout, you'll get the standard arrangement, shown above left. If you drag a vertical photo to the vertical spot and then a second vertical photo anywhere, you'll get the medium/medium arrangement. If you want to get back to the standard arrangement indicated by the menu, you can always choose the layout from the menu to get back to it.

If you choose the second six-photo layout, you get a caption. Sometimes the layout stays like you had it (albeit slightly smaller), as shown here on the right:

Sometimes, iPhoto decides you really wanted the standard six-photo layout (and offers no Undo). Note that the only thing that has changed on the left page shown below is that I chose the second six-photo layout. The photos are the same, just rearranged:

You should be able to get the same layouts that you got without the caption, but I'll confess it took a lot of playing around in this case (shown below left). I put a photo in one frame, iPhoto pops it in another and changes the layout. I put it where I want it to go, iPhoto keeps the layout and crops the photo. The only way I was able to succeed getting the layout I wanted was to painstakingly choose each photo in the right order (basically, if iPhoto insisted on putting the next photo in a particular place, I chose the picture that should go there). This is not the way a program should work, but in the end, you can win:

Eight- and Sixteen-photo Layout Examples

The many-photo layouts are very straight-forward. The eight-photo layout fills the page with eight rigid vertical frames divided by thin white lines. Photos are cropped to fit. The sixteen-photo layout fills the page with 16 rigid horizontal photos with thin white dividers. Again, photos are cropped to fit.

Both layouts are available with a caption:

Earlier Versions

Here's my description of the Picture Book theme in iPhoto '08.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Copyright 2007 by Elizabeth Castro. Please don't copy this page. Instead, link to it!


Page last modified on November 11, 2010, at 07:34 AM EST