A few days ago I wrote a post about the important role that photos can play in our memories and our sense of self. I wrote about how they can be a reminder of past lives, a celebration of our adventures and progress; something to gather around or quietly contemplate. But they only do all of this if we get them off our hard drives and in to our hands. I'm really hoping you've been inspired to do just that, so here's some ideas to get you started.
My husband is really, really tricky to buy presents for. He's one of those annoying people who doesn't need or want much and tends to buy whatever he needs or wants when he needs or wants it, which makes gift buying rather difficult. So back in 2007 I was searching desperately for something just right for him, when I came across Blurb - a site which allowed you to publish your own book. Brilliant! I thought, and proceeded to make the first of what is now an annual tradition - a photo book for the family that documents our adventures from the past twelve months.
Each year the book gets bigger and better, partly because my photography has improved, partly because Blurb itself has improved and partly because I've learnt a lot about layout and design. When I revisit that first book I'm stunned by both how ridiculously young the step-sons look and how terrible my choices were when it came to photo quality and layout...
In the next post I'll outline some tips for making the best photo book you can, but in the meantime I'll share this page from our 2008 book as it's our wedding anniversary today (in case you can't read the caption it says 'Getting hitched'!).
I've also used moo to create postcards and greeting cards from my photos (I prefer the postcards, for some reason the print quality seems better). And once - in an act of desperation a few days before my husband's birthday and completely stuck for gift ideas (have I mentioned he is ridiculously hard to buy for?) - I used Moonpig to create a personalised birthday mug. It was so delightfully tacky I have a feeling this may become another annual tradition.
I also have some of my favourite shots framed and dotted about the house - a cluster of smaller prints in similar frames looks especially good, I think. In the past I've printed out single shots at home but unless you have a fabulous printer I wouldn't recommend it. Better to use a professional service; I've had great results using Snapfish (good value too).
I recently asked my photo taking friends for some further recommendations and here's what they said:
"I used Origrami and they were awesome. Very reasonable and you can choose from a fab range of borders and filters! And the box is super cute..."
- Katy Dee (@shiztastic)
"I recommend Genius Printing for consistently high level prints, great customer service and fast turn around times."
- Andrew Paranavitana (Andrew Parmi Photography).
Origrami is definitely on my hitlist, I've heard such good things. I'm also really keen to try Artifact Uprising - the quality of their products looks amazing and their website is so clean and pretty. And I'm even keener after reading this review by CZ Design.
These days there are loads of photo printing, book making, product creating options around at all kinds of price points. You can go from a fill-in-the-blanks type book (like those offered by the Kindred app) to hard cover works of art printed on lux paper. Not to mention giant canvases or notebooks or calendars ... Film might be dead (I don't think it is but that's for another blog post!) but the printed photo sure isn't. There really is no excuse for not turning your digital images into tangible artefacts. Go forth, and print.
Please do tell me if you've tried any photo printing services - good, bad and ugly!