So far all of my albums have been for gifts. The one I made for my son and his wife started with pages of each alone(baby, school, teen). Pics with family. Special pets. It was fun finding similar pics of each-- like blowing out B'day candles, opening Christmas gifts, etc. Then I had pics of where they first met, friends, engagement, etc.
-- hope this helps!
Oh yeah!! I also use D-ring albums and after I give the album, I ask for pics that they have that they would like added.Sometimes the last page can be the event at which you have given the album. So for instance, if it's a 30th birthday and I'm giving the book at the party, I take pics at the party and make a final page with those pics.
I did my neices Wedding album as a gift. I had lots of photos but for events that I didn't have photos like the Pretty Party, I simply cut a mat so she could place a standard 4x6 photo. I also included a small tape runner so she would be acid free.
I have done this and I found it hard to scrap without pictures. I used photo corners and made all pictures 4x6. The couple I gave it to really liked it and in fact, today they mentioned that they meant to bring it to show me and how much they appreciated it. I would suggest 8x8 and make it very easy for them to add the pictures and only do it if you know they will appreciate it. I know alot of people who have done this only to find out the people don't add the pictures and could care less about the gift.
I use photo corners and cut a white piece of cardstock, the size of the pic and label it with the size. If it's a specialized size like a square, I write on it for them to use it as a pattern to cut picture.
I've done only one gift scrapbook but did learn a lot from the experience. What I've found is stick with a theme (I did a baby album for her twins) and use similar colors to give it a cohesive look. Also, most people who don't scrapbook tend to print photos in 4X6's, so try to create layouts using the standard photo size. Or you can go a little smaller and have them crop it. Lastly, decorate the cover a bit to make it special. For my own books, the covers are usually plain. But the one I made for my friend had some embellishments on the cover along with her twins' names. Hope this helps!