3 most important tips wedding photographers should know when creating a photo book - learn about bleed line, trim line and safety zones.


If the title has already caused you to be a little confused, then you have come to the right place! For any photographer, designer, or even someone who just loves photo books, knowing these important terms such as bleed area, trim line, and safety zones is extremely important. Below we will break down all these important terms for you and, hopefully, you will be a complete pro after!

We want to make sure that the photo book you have created gets printed without any images being cut off at the edge of the page. This is one of the most common issues when it comes to the printing world and it can be fixed easily by understanding the technical yet sometimes confusing terms. Once you know what these terms means, designing your photo album will be much easier for you!

design the best wedding photo album for your clients using indesign

The Bleed Line and why it is very important in printing

Knowing what the bleed line is and where it is located is very important, particularly when you want to have a full-page spread. If the image is not correctly placed up to the bleed line, there can be a slight white line/space that may appear around the edge of your photo (see image 1).

To make sure this white space doesn’t show, you must drag your image up to the bleed line
and doing this can make a difference in your final product.

Image 1 – What happens if you don’t have a bleed for your image when printing

What happens if you don’t have a bleed for your image when printing

This extra 3mm border around the image (as seen in image 2 in red) is the actual bleed area. You must also always remember that anything in this area is going to be trimmed out and therefore important areas of your photo such as a person’s face or text must not be dragged into this bleed zone.

Image 2 – Bleed Area

Bleed Area

Professional photographers who like to use InDesign to create your photo books and photo albums must remember that when you are exporting your file into a PDF, make sure that the bleed is selected in your export (see image 3).

Image 3 – Exporting from InDesign template into PDF

Exporting from InDesign template into PDF

What is the Trim Line?

The trim line is where the trimming will take place and the blade is placed on this line. It is truly what its name is. This line is the guide for printers and to know where to cut.

where is the trim line for printing photo books

However, due to cutting being done by hand, there can sometimes be a slight 1mm or 2mm from the trim line. This is why it is important to have a trim area because this extra mm is within this trim area. This area allows you to either have a full-spread or have a slight white border around your images.

Depending on the type of editor or editing software you use, if you want to avoid having any white edges shown, you need to extend your photos up to the bleed line rather than leaving it in the trim area.

Important tip, make sure that no important parts of your image are located in this trim area as we do not want the top of your beloved’s head slightly trimmed or for the layout of the photo to look funny at the end (see an example at image 4).

Image 4 – Placing an image into trim area

Placing an image into trim area

Image 5 – Having a white border around your image

If you would like to have a white border surrounding your pages, we suggest placing your image roughly 10mm from the trim line which is called the safety zone, just before the trim area starts (see image 5 as an example).

Remember if you don’t want to have the white border and prefer a full-spread page, especially for layflat albums, make sure your image has the full bleed! (Refer back to image 1).

Having a white border around your image

What is the Safety Zone?

The safety zone is the area which your images and text are safe from any trimming occurring. It is the 10mm spacing away from the trim line and forms the inner box where all your artwork is placed safely. Anything you place in this area is completely safe from ever being trimmed away!

The safety zone is the perfect place to put people’s faces, that centerpiece of the photo, and important text within as it is 100% safe away from being cut through.

We also do advise to look out for the corners of your images. Even though this is the safety zone, if in the corner you have a particular shape (for example, see image 6) such as the hat, remember that this may get trimmed. In the editor you are working on, it may look like its whole, but in the printing world, the shape will be changed.

Image 6 – Tip of images in the corner

Tip of images in the corner

For the FlipChap editor, our trim area is located in between our light blue line and our dark blue line (see image 7).

Image 7 – Trim Line in FlipChap Editor

The dark blue line is actually the trim line and our team tries our very best to trim on this line but, remember everything we do is handmade. Realistically there can be slight trimming within these 2 blue lines. We are only human after all. So please do not place anything important, such as someone’s forehead or text, within this area.

Trim Line in FlipChap Editor

For those of you who are professional photographers and want to have more control in designing their photo books, you can upload your design using our templates for both InDesign and PhotoShop. There is a template for every photo album size that already contains the 3 important areas (see image 8).

Image 8 – A sample PSD file from FlipChap showing the three important areas pre-set in the file.

A sample PSD file from FlipChap showing the three important areas pre-set in the file.

Source: Photo Book Guru

How to create your own design for both hardcover photobook and layflat album perfectly

As a professional photographer or designer, we are pretty sure designing your own template is your number one preference as with this, you have complete control over your design. Now that you know what all these important terms means, creating your own design that includes the bleed line, trim line, and if you want the safety zone, should be a piece of cake!

For example, if you want to make a Landscape 8 x 11 inches template (210 x 297mm) Layflat Album, one other important tip you need to remember is that the pages need to be prepared as a spread. This is because layflat albums are printed on one long paper.

Image 9 – Creating your own design for a layflat album

Creating your own design for a layflat album

With this in mind, the artwork you need to prepare will have the bleed line of 216mm x 600mm (see image 9 as an example). Below is how we got this calculation!


Height : 201mm + 3mm (top bleed) +3mm (bottom bleed) = 216mm

Width : (297mm x 2 pages) + 3mm (left bleed) + 3mm (right bleed) = 600mm

The trim line is easy to mark out as this is the 210 x 594 mm (the 2 pages remember!)

If you do want to create a safety zone, just minus 20mm from each side. This will then be 190 x 574mm.


Safe Zone - Height : 210mm - 20mm = 190mm

Safe Zone - Width : 594mm - 20mm = 574mm

If the photo book you want to create is a hardcover photobook, the pages are of course different and you start with just a single page starting on the right side. As an example, let’s take the Landscape 8 x 11 inches template (210 x 297mm)

Image 10 – Creating your own design for a hardbound photo book

Creating your own design for a hardbound photo book

he artwork you need to prepare will have the bleed line of 216mm x 303mm (see image 10 as an example). Below is how we got this calculation!


Height : 201mm + 3mm (top bleed) + 3mm (bottom bleed) = 216mm

Width : 297mm + 3mm (left bleed) + 3mm (right bleed) = 303mm

The trim line is of course 210 x 297mm!

Then if you do want to create a a safety zone, just minus 20mm from each side. This will then be 190 x 277mm.


Safe Zone - Height : 210mm - 20mm = 190mm

Safe Zone - Width : 297mm - 20mm = 277mm

For those who want to learn more technical information especially when using other editors such as InDesign and Photoshop, PhotoBook Guru explains more details in his YouTube video and also in the Photo Book Guru blog. They are both the perfect place to get more information on all of these important terms and a must visit. Especially if you are a professional photographer or a designer.

photobook guru youtube video on bleed line and trim line for photographers

Now that you know all the most important terms needed in the printing world, you can start creating your beautiful photo albums for your clients!

START CREATING