Use Affinity Publisher to Design a Great Photobook

Lesson 1: Introduction to the Course

Hi Photobook Creator,

This is the photobook I will be designing during this course. It’s a saddle-stitched printed by Digital Printing, although during the lessons I will also cover designing for perfect bound and hard cover photobooks. If you have any questions as you go through the lessons you are welcome to email me on



Lesson 2: Core Skill: How to prepare the images and text for the photobook

I prefer to have all the images prepared and in an initial sequence, as well as having the initial text written and ready before I start the design. This enables me to spend my time creating a photobook design without worrying where everything is.

In this module you will be able to watch a short ‘Core Skill’ video and then an extended video where I put the core skill into action.

Images: You will see how I use Adobe Lightroom to select the images and then create the initial sequence. Some photobook creators will export from Lightroom, but I prefer to use Camera Raw. You will see how I edit in CR and then export the images, in a number order ready for design.

Lesson 3: Core Skill: How to create and open a new file in Affinity Publisher and get the settings right

During this module we consider the creating a new file with the appropriate settings for the photobook. We set:

  1. The page Layout with page size and DPI
  2. The initial number of pages
  3. The Colour settings
  4. The Margins
  5. The Bleed

Lesson 4: Core Skills: Finding your way around the desktop and the tools most often used

Computer Program Desktops can often seem very complicated because they offer a lot of tools to try to cover a lot of different jobs. In this core skill video I discuss the tools you will use most often to create a photobook.

Lesson 5: Core Skills : Creating and Understanding Master Pages

This is a slightly longer ‘short core skill’ lesson, because it is a more complete guide.

Master Pages can make our life easier, and designing photobooks faster. We put elements that we want repeated on pages in our photobook on master pages.

The master pages themselves do not show as a page in the photobook, it is just the elements on the master pages that show, when we assign a master page to the live pages.

Lesson 6: Core Skills : Importing single and sets of images and how to resize them using the Picture Frame Rectangle Tool

Images are possibly the most important aspect of a photobook. In this module we look at how to import single and set of images onto the page and then resize them.

It is important to remember from the earlier lesson that the images should be sized ot the longest edge of the page size, which for this A5 lnadscape photobook is 210mm, and exported at 300ppi.

Prior to starting the design, as discussed int he lesson about preparing images and text, I have them all prepared and in a folder prior to beginning the design. I am open to add or delete images from the initial selection during the start of  the design process.

Lesson 7: Core Skills : How to add text and link the text boxes together

During this core skills short video we look at how to add text to the page, wrap it around an image and then link the text boxes together.

It is really important to link the text boxes because otherwise if you edit the text and add things that expand the text beyond the box it is in, you could end up printing a publication with missing text.

Lesson 8: Core Skills : Adding and deleting pages to the design

In this core skills short video we look at how to add and delete pages to our design, as well as duplicating pages.

I normally start a new design with 8 pages. I then create some pages which I duplicate and then change the content on the duplicated pages. This creates a more cohesive flow to the photobooks whole design.

Lesson 9: Core Skills : Choosing the best Print House to create your Photobook

Once you have completed your design, you will need to choose which print house to send your PDF to for printing.

You might have already used a printer such as Blurb, and I have too in the past, but they can be expensive and a little slow. In this short video I refer to print houses I have used in the past.

Click on the links to go their websites. My prefered one is Digital Printing

Lesson 10: Core Skills : How to export for a saddle stitched photobook

A saddle stitched photobook is a great place to begin your journey into designing photobooks because creating the design and exporting the file is a little less complicated than a perfect bound photobook. All is revealed in the video about the differences.

Lesson 11: Core Skill : Part 1 What is a Perfect Bound Book and how is the design different to a Saddle Stitched Photobook

Part 1: How is a perfect bound photobook different to a saddle stitched and how do we know the thickness of the gutter?
Part 2 Setting the Margins for a Perfect Bound Photobook
Part 3 Creating the two files needed for a Perfect Bound Photobook

Lesson 12: How to create a design and upload to Mixam for both Printing and Selling

The design for a hardcover photobook is very similar to a perfect bound design, but with a few differences. The main difference is the bleed on the cover which needs to be 20mm