Tip — adding text over photos

Share the Blurb:
pin it button Tip     adding text over photos

textoverimage1 Tip     adding text over photos

Using text over a photo or illustration can add real impact to your book. The BookSmart designers have provided several layouts that make it easy to add this design element — the hardest part may be finding the perfect image to go with that quote from your favorite 80′s movie.

Chapter titles and section pages are great places to use text over photos — repetition of this technique at the beginning of each section will provide a nice rhythm for your reader. A text overlay also works well with blurry photos, textures, or patterns that may not be that strong alone … but that really pop when married to a famous quotation, pull quote, or chapter title.

quotefinal1 Tip     adding text over photos

Here’s how to create text-over-photo pages like those pictured above:

1. First, add a new “Quotation” page using the Add Page button (or look for the “Quotation Page” category in the Change Page Layout pull-down menu to see a few layout options to choose from).

2. Next, select your image and drag it to the page. Your image should now show up underneath the text area. Images that don’t have much contrast, or that contain large, solid hits of color (such as the blue water above) tend to work best.

3. Add your text and play around a bit. If you’re laying type over a dark image you may want to “punch” it out by making it white or a subtle gray. Consider increasing your font size to really make the type pop off of the image background. This also usually serves to increase legibility — and adds a dynamic component to your design. Position your type within the text area using the text alignment buttons, or add a few returns to push your type down the page.

4. Finally, give yourself a gut check on legibility. Some text and image combos, especially those with high contrast or multi-colored photos, just won’t work. Give yourself a bit of time for trial and error.

If you have a book, or you run across someone else’s in the Blurb Bookstore, that has a great example of using text over an image, please share by adding a comment to this post … and, as always, happy bookmaking.

P.S. Did I mention our free Design Tips webinar is tomorrow?

Share the Blurb:
pin it button Tip     adding text over photos


  1. Is there any way that you can take the text that is in the layout, and move it closer to the side, top, or bottom of the page?

    By Tiffany Hunter
      October 12, 2008 – 12:52 pm   Permalink
  2. Is there a way to fade the picture behind the text?

    By Word
      November 1, 2008 – 8:47 am   Permalink
  3. It is not out-of-date information? Because I have other data on this theme. http://video-online-go.ru/map.html

      November 17, 2008 – 4:49 pm   Permalink
  4. Tiffany Hunter,

    Select the full bleed page with the largest text box and move the text wherever you want it to be.

    By TheBeanTeam
      November 20, 2008 – 9:47 am   Permalink
  5. Help! My inside layouts are all black with white text but I do NOt want white text on my COVER…and the text automatically appears white on the cover (the picture i chose for the cover is not conducive to white text) any way to change the text on the cover only to black?

    By Rose
      January 28, 2009 – 9:42 am   Permalink
  6. Please, help me!! I want to add a panoramic photo and use double page. How can I do that?? Is it posible?

    By Teresa
      February 18, 2009 – 5:11 pm   Permalink
  7. Hi Teresa:

    Yes you can. Check out this popular method:

    By Kevin
      February 19, 2009 – 11:09 am   Permalink
  8. Hi!
    I really liked one Cover Layouts, but is there some way that I can use the Front cover as Back cover and Back Cover as Front Cover?

    Thank you

    By Marilene
      February 25, 2009 – 11:53 am   Permalink
  9. hello,

    is there a way (or option ) to type texts vertically instead of horizontally???
    for example:

    By suzie
      March 14, 2009 – 8:46 pm   Permalink
  10. Is it possible to design my book using software other than Booksmart? Such as Quark or InDesign?

    How do I move text around on the cover page? is it possible to double text to create a text “shadow”?

      March 23, 2009 – 10:34 am   Permalink
  11. I need that help too, place title of book vertically on front

    By Suzanne
      March 27, 2009 – 3:33 pm   Permalink
  12. Ok, so I am new here but am having trouble putting a picture on a page and then adding text over it. I would like the picture to be a full-bleed with one line of text, i.e. “Appetizers” over a picture. I saw one on a sample but can’t figure out how to do it. PLEASE HELP! Thank you.

    By Lisa
      March 29, 2009 – 7:19 am   Permalink
  13. I am wondering if there is any way to increase the size of text boxes manually. Or to create a text box and insert it where you need it. I understand the text over picture bit, but am working with a font that needs to be size 60 to even really be legible, therefore text boxes are eaten up quickly. Any way to manually increase or insert text boxes? Thanks!!

    By Pat
      May 18, 2009 – 10:56 pm   Permalink
  14. Is there a way to “turn” a text box the way you can “turn” a photo? In other words, I want a photo in the book in “landscape” format, not in “portrait” format – and I want the photo description to be in landscape format as well. I don’t want the whole book in landscape, just this page.

    By Matt Gulling
      July 12, 2009 – 9:16 am   Permalink
  15. Can i create a background, solid color inside of a text box? I’d like the text box to stand out, framed, as an overlay accross a number of pictures?

      October 4, 2009 – 4:50 pm   Permalink
  16. I have been looking at some of the other books published on blurb and would love to use the effect of THICK BOLD TEXT over a photo but FADED out to still revile the photo behind. I understand there are different programs you can use to make book, I am using booksmart and cannot find any way to fade text (or photo’s for that matter) is there a way to do this???? If not is there any chance of adding this function to booksmart?

    By Lis
      October 7, 2009 – 2:02 am   Permalink
  17. Can I create a background, solid color inside of a text box? I am creating a yearbook with many photos and want to include a text box overlaid on each picture…but I want the text box to have its own background. Please help me understand what my options are – I’m on a deadline!!!

      May 4, 2010 – 7:58 pm   Permalink
  18. Hi Nancy,

    No color in text boxes, I’m afraid, but great idea!

    – Kathy

    By Kathy
      May 7, 2010 – 9:02 am   Permalink
  19. Re Kathy’s reply to Nancy 7.5.10 I had decided that this was I would like to do to. Many of my photographs are not conducive to single colour text, leaves of various shades etc., It gets messy. I do move the text box around using “Edit” to find a clear spot but it would be Sooo much easier if I could simply make the whole box one pale colour and write the text over that.

    Cummon blurb. You can do it, you know you can!

    By Fred
      July 25, 2010 – 9:06 am   Permalink
  20. Fred,
    That’s a good suggestion and one we hear from time to time, so you’re not alone. I’ll pass it along to the team.

      July 25, 2010 – 8:13 pm   Permalink
  21. I developed a solution to putting a background behind the text. Insert an image box and drag in a picture that is solid white or black (ie a scanned piece of paper) then insert a text box over this.

    By Pam
      September 8, 2010 – 5:50 pm   Permalink
  22. Pam, GENIUS move! I’ve been struggling with the need for a white text box over a patterned background I made. C’mon Blurb, the need is there!

    By Sascha
      September 27, 2010 – 4:55 pm   Permalink
  23. Thanks for the suggestion. Great idea!

      September 28, 2010 – 6:32 am   Permalink
  24. I’m working on a book but I have questions.how can I have answers appropriate to my situations?

    By Maria M Rodriguez
      October 22, 2010 – 6:33 pm   Permalink
  25. Hi Maria,
    Your best bet is to contact our customer support team by email or live chat if you have specific questions. You can also check out our list of frequently asked questions.
    Hope that helps.

      October 25, 2010 – 9:50 am   Permalink
  26. We really need color behind text AND fade picture behind texts PLEASE!!!! I looked though travel books at Chapters recently and that’s what they mostly have! We need to be able to fade a picture lighter or blend in a solid color with a panoramic picture for texts. It’s the way to make a book look professional!

    By Tesa
      November 23, 2010 – 7:53 pm   Permalink
  27. Thanks for your comment, Tesa. I’ll take your suggestion to our product folks. We’re always looking for ways to make Blurb books even more professional, so stay tuned.

      November 24, 2010 – 2:47 pm   Permalink
  28. to add text to a photo simply go into word perfect make a file called “text photos”
    drag your photo to it. Add text bottom or top or where ever.
    It’s that easy! Believe me. Try it!
    If you don’t save the photo you can use this over and over as a boiler plate.

    By dave lafontaine
      January 17, 2011 – 9:31 am   Permalink
  29. Hi Maria,
    The folks on our Customer Support team are always glad to help out, so chat with them or email anytime.

      February 4, 2011 – 8:31 am   Permalink
  30. I’d love to see the ability to grayscale/image opacity a text box to overlay text on a photo – especially since I work with “slurping” my blog to book – I have so many photos I want to use – but text that is just as important. I like the ideas here, but surely this would be a feature that would be greatly appreciated by the blurb community!

    By Beth
      March 4, 2011 – 5:27 pm   Permalink
  31. I’m quite familiar with using Photoshop to overlay reverse text on a dark b/g. No problem there. My issue is that when I import the image into my double page spread in Booksmart, the preview render in Booksmart makes the text look distorted. Is this merely the low quality of Booksmart’s rendering and I can reasonably expect the printed result to match the text crispness quality of the image I prepared in Photoshop? Or… have I done something wrong?

      May 4, 2011 – 2:14 am   Permalink
  32. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for your question. Our terrific Customer Support team is the best resource to help you with this issue – and you can get in touch with them right here: http://blurb.custhelp.com/app/ask_decide

      May 4, 2011 – 3:16 pm   Permalink
  33. Thanks, but never mind. Will use Indesign and roll with PDF to book. Your software just doesn’t have the required finesse. It’s not bad, in fact better than most, but no control over typography is driving me nuts.

      May 31, 2011 – 11:32 pm   Permalink
  34. Chris,
    Our PDF to Book workflow does give you total creative control and if you use InDesign or a similar design tool, it’s definitely the way to go. We’ll be introducing a Blurb plug-in for InDesign in the coming month and it will make the upload process smoother. Thanks for hanging with us. We’re always working to make the whole bookmaking experience better. Comments and feedback are always welcome.
    Eileen H.

      June 1, 2011 – 10:37 am   Permalink
  35. This is just a stop-gap solution, but how about importing your image into a photoshop program (I use GIMP because it’s open-source and free) and manually put a white (or whatever colour you want) box into the image, so that later on you have somewhere to position the text box over? I expect the Blurb team will develop filled textboxes in the future, but if you need something now, this is one option :)

    By Melody
      November 16, 2011 – 4:11 pm   Permalink
  36. Thanks for the tip!



    By Kent
      November 16, 2011 – 5:28 pm   Permalink
  37. Rember this?

    Well it took over a year, nigh on two, til I had a eureka moment.

    Photoed a white, or coloured’ sheet of paper. Fed it in as a Photo with the others. Just dropped an image box where I wanted text on the ‘Main’ Image. Put the plain photo there. Then dropped a text box over it.
    And wrote my text in the small box.
    Both boxes can be made to the size you require and saved as “My layouts!” for the future. And the ‘blank’ can be any colour you want as can the text. Can’t wait to try it on my next book.

    By Fred
      January 25, 2012 – 2:37 am   Permalink
  38. Hey Fred,

    Thanks for sharing that. That’s a great idea.



    By Kent
      January 25, 2012 – 11:25 am   Permalink
  39. I tried using the Quotations page to put text over a photo. The program will not allow me to insert the photo. When I move (drag) the photo onto the page, the small check becomes a black circle with an line through it. However, I can drag the same photo onto another page.

    There seems to be something wrong with the above instructions.

    By Linda
      September 24, 2012 – 4:44 pm   Permalink
  40. Hey Linda,

    Not all of the quotation layouts have image containers – so check to see if the one you’ve chosen has a box that says “drag image here.” You can always add an image container by clicking “edit layout” and then “image box” in the upper left-hand corner.

    By Kent
      September 25, 2012 – 11:47 am   Permalink
  41. We are attempting to have a page at the beginning telling about the photos.
    How can we get enough room on the page for a paragraph? The lines are spaced too far apart. We are using Lightroom 4. Can we change the line spacing?

    By David
      November 24, 2012 – 11:40 pm   Permalink
  42. Hey David,

    This is a good question for our Support Team. You can contact them here: http://blur.by/Teoa6W



    By Kent
      November 26, 2012 – 12:07 pm   Permalink
  43. Can you tell me if you can have a text box at an angle . It would be great if you could as you would be able to give your book a bit more personality

    By Phil
      January 8, 2013 – 8:48 pm   Permalink
  44. Hey Phil,

    Unfortunately, we don’t. But it’s a good idea. We’ll add it to our list of requested features!

    By Kent
      January 11, 2013 – 10:09 am   Permalink
  45. Hi is there a way to have a vertical text box, with vertical text in it?

    By ADRI
      January 11, 2013 – 1:53 pm   Permalink
  46. Hey Adri,

    At the moment, the only way to do this is to choose our Chapter Layout that offers vertical text. You can adjust the size and position of the text box in the “edit layout” mode. I hope this is something we can make a little bit easier in a future release.



    By Kent
      January 14, 2013 – 11:24 am   Permalink
  47. I’m reading my book to make sure everything is correct and I find some paragraphs that the spacing between the lines is closer together than other paragraphs. How do I correct this so it all looks nice.

    By Norma Gimpel
      February 12, 2013 – 4:54 pm   Permalink
  48. Hey Norma,

    Our Support Team can help you out. Please contact them here: http://blur.by/YdcjqC



    By Kent
      February 13, 2013 – 9:43 am   Permalink
  49. I wish to create a book of postcard style photo’s i.e. with printing underneath on the white border. I have created them in Photoshop. Will the printing and photo publish ok. ?

    By Harry Walmsley
      June 17, 2013 – 9:44 am   Permalink
  50. Hey Harry,

    Sounds like a fantastic idea! Yes, as long as you save them as JPEGs at at least 300 DPI, they should print wonderfully. You can always reach out to our Support Team too if you have specific technical questions: http://blur.by/SPPRT



    By Kent
      June 18, 2013 – 10:04 am   Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

(required, not published)