how to simplify a layout with lots of photos

Documenting each of our trips with a single pocket page layout usually means including lots of photos, which can make keeping things simple a challenge. Here’s how I keep my pages (and my process) as streamlined and minimal as possible when I’m including lots of photos.

Here’s the layout I’m working with for this post, documenting a four-day trip we took to Malta:

Here’s a close-up of the left side:

And the right side:

one / Choose photos that have white space

One of the ways I keep things simple is to choose a mix of photos, some of which include white space. This means the subject of the photo is to one side or to the bottom of the picture, and a good amount of the actual photo is subject-free.

In this layout, I included several photos like this: the airport tarmac for our title shot, the black and white pic of Nick and the kids with lots of sky, the photo I split in half on the right side of the layout.

The white space gives the eyes a place to rest and keeps the layout from being too busy. Of course there are photos like selfies and close-ups that don’t have white space. No problem – they serve as a great contrast.

two / Include journaling on plain white cards

I almost always use at least one plain white 3×4 or 4×6 card to add journaling, but in this particular layout I used three white cards with simple black text.

Journaling allows me to include details and memories I can’t necessarily capture with a photo, and it means I can literally add white space to the layout.

For this layout, I also used really minimal word art, which adds some texture and dimension to the layout without making it more busy.

three / Use photo templates

Liz’s photo templates are so helpful for mixing text with photos, adding captions and titles, and including lots of photos in one 4×6 or 3×4 pocket.

Another thing I try to do is include more than one version of the same shot or photos with similar coloring in a template.

This keeps the individual pocket from looking too convoluted.

four / Balance light and dark photos

It can be tempting to brighten photos a little too much or include photos with all the same level of bright or dark.

But I find these layouts make it hard to know where to focus.

Having a mix of light and dark along with pops of color keeps the eyes bouncing around the layout. I love the bright blue of the door behind the boys, the orange in Ben’s jacket, the dark brown of the woodgrain card, and the dark grey of the tarmac.

I try to scatter those darker and brighter colors throughout the layout to keep my eyes moving between white space and more saturated color.


I hope you’ve found these tips useful for your photo-heavy layouts!

You can find me on Instagram (please say hello!) or see what’s inspiring me on Pinterest.

How do you keep your photo-heavy layouts simple?

xo, Catherine

Products used:  4×6 photo templates vol. 63×4 photo templates4×6 photo templates vol. 1woodgrain journaling cardspictures + words no. 18.

p.s. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan and/or you’re just curious about what happened to Malta’s Azure Window, it’s worth a couple of minutes to check this out.

Blog Comments

Thanks for your ‘tips and tricks’. You tell it clear and very helpful.

Thanks Vivrem!

Just simply beautiful! Love your style. Care to share what font you use for journaling.

Thanks Sindee! Of course – I use Aleo, which is a free download through Font Squirrel 🙂

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