Photo Gift Ideas

Whether you're the family photographer, busily snapping away with your digital camera, smartphone, or the photo mode on your digital camcorder, or you're the keeper of the picture archives, tasked with scanning generations of prints, you can turn your treasured images into equally treasured gifts. Look through your photos for just the right shots to personalize a birthday present or adorn a Father's Day gift. Once you choose the images, transform them into memorable gifts they’ll appreciate.

Great Photos

Today's cameras pop up on other devices perhaps as much as they show up on their own. Your smartphone, tablet and camcorder take pictures. Your camera includes capabilities that film-based photography never dreamed of, such as wireless backups to compatible desktop and notebook computers, images that post directly to social media and online galleries, and memory cards capable of holding more images than you would have dreamed of shooting with film. Just because many devices take pictures and photographs show up everywhere doesn't diminish their value in the presents you give.

As Andrew Laffoon, CEO of Mixbook, points out, "Family and friends love to share photos via email, SMS and social networks, and it's even more exciting when there's an element of surprise. Today's photo sharing is done in an almost purely digital world, and often times, we forget about some of the spontaneous moments we've captured on our mobile phones. These are the moments that surprise and delight us." Kay Mitchell, Director of Marketing for Fracture, notes that "Photo gifts are easier than ever now thanks to the convenience of the Internet."

Prints & Frames

Perhaps the simplest forms of photo gifts consist of prints, including those you make on your own computer and printer. You also can apply your images to a seemingly unlimited array of items and surfaces, from cakes and T-shirts to glass and canvas. Along with the crafts you create yourself, incorporating photos into album pages, cards, calendars, and frames ranging from traditional rectangles to freeform shapes, you can choose from a wide range of gifts produced from photos you upload to websites. Mitchell believes that photo gifts make better choices for people with whom you share a close tie. "Photo gifts are a great way to preserve memories and moments you've shared with friends and family," she says. "Given how much photos capture those personal connections, a customized photo gift will invariably have more appeal the closer you are to someone. Even so, choosing the exact right photo for someone you don't know is never an easy task."

Photo Books

Turning a selection of your photos into a printed book produces a gift that honors the images, the giver and the gift. Laffoon says that "You can put a photo on just about anything these days, but we believe the best place for photos continues to be in a medium that's meant to cherish and preserve the memories ̶ a photo book."

He sees books as offering a way of answering the privacy concerns that can arise when you use online galleries as ways of sharing images. "It's important to have control over where your photos are being shared and used," he says. "We encourage digital consumers to fully understand their privacy options. If you are concerned with the re-distribution of your photos, take the right steps to protect yourself. The beautiful thing about printed photo books is that you gain back that control, in a beautiful, tangible medium." Mitchell agrees. "Privacy matters to us. People are trusting us with their favorite pictures, so we make sure never to share our customers' photos without explicitly seeking their permission." Online venues offer a convenient gateway to production processes you can't implement yourself, as do smartphone apps that provide another avenue through which to access online production services.

Other Considerations

Photos can appear anywhere and everywhere, from the lock screen on your smartphone to the touchscreen that controls your refrigerator. Adding a photo to a gift or turning one into a gift can signal a closeness that enhances the image's meaning for the recipient at the same time that it enhances the gift itself. Laffoon sees the rise of photos as backgrounds for device screens and subject matter for online perusal as an ideal way to make printed images carry greater weight when you render them in tangible form. "As the digital photo world evolves, we print fewer photos than ever before, so it's always a pleasant surprise to receive a photo book that users can touch and feel."

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