Amazon two day shipping might allow you to push off holiday gift shopping till the very end but when it comes to well thought out photo gifts, you need to look at the beginning of December as your deadline. I know, your brain just shouted “Whaaaaatttt!!” No worries, I’m here to help.
Your first step is brainstorm what it is you want to create. You’ll want to find answers to the questions below:
Whom you want to share your memories with?
Is your recipient digitally focused or do they prefer printed photos?
What memories do you want to share?
Family portraits, vacations, a summary of the year?
What it is you want to do?
Single framed photo, album or slideshow?
If you are doing more than a framed photo, then you’ll want to collect anywhere from 40-100 images.
Do you want/need to gather images from friends or family?
This step could give your present more wow but it also means you are going to spend more time cajoling and gathering images/information from other people.
What do you want to create?
Printed photo album or digital?
Calendar, collages, mugs, lockets, etc.?
Images printed on canvas, wood, or metal?
Gathering the images
After you have solidified what you want to create, you can now focus on finding the images you want. Pick out your favorite photos by listening to your gut about what images make you smile or speak to you. Make sure to include those photos with stories behind them. If this feels overwhelming, spread the search over several days, maybe only sorting through one month’s worth of photos at a time.
There are many photo printers out there but there are a few who stand out as providing quality products. Many have online (or downloadable software) tools to help upload and play with your images. Here are a few to check out and what unique things they offer:
Printique – They print premium photos, photo books and albums on a wide variety of photographic papers, metal, canvas, wood, etc. They can even create a collage from your Instagram photos to display on your wall. www.printique.com
Bay Photo – They produce quality photos and printed albums as well as a wide variety of other gift ideas. Take a look at their Wood Print Boxes that allows you to provide your recipient with a collection of images that they can display (switch out), all stored in an elegant box. Also take a look at their Wave Books. www.bayphoto.com
Chatbooks – For the person who really has no time, this company automatically gathers images from your social media pages and phone (after set-up) and creates a book for you. As soon as you reach a certain number, they let you know that your book is ready to print and you can make any edits. This is a great gift to put on your own wish list or to buy for the other busy woman in your life. https://chatbooks.com
Nixplay – Forget about the digital frames of the past. This digital frame allows you to connect your phone and social media so that images are automatically downloaded to the frame for display. Don’t worry, you still control what gets displayed; You just don’t have to go through the extra effort of putting the images on a thumb drive or SD card that you then have to connect with the frame to download. www.nixplay.com
Picaboo – Quality photo books for great prices! They also can help you digitally create scrapbook pages. www.picaboo.com
Smugmug – A great service to use if your gift needs input from many family members or friends. You start the account, invite people to upload their images or stories, and Smugmug lets individuals print out what they want so you don’t have to keep track of the orders. www.smugmug.com
Walgreens – They are well rated by Consumer Reports for their photo printing quality. They also have great yearbook templates especially for any seniors graduating in the spring. Another key advantage is their selection of products with same day pickup, in case you did procrastinate and still want to give a photo gift. www.walgreens.com
So create your vision, gather your images and get going creating photo gifts before the beginning of December. Make this the year where you got the gifts finished on time and had time to enjoy the holiday season guilt-free.