Raise your hand if you’ve invested in having a photographer document a special time in your life, and then after you received your images, did nothing with those beauties except share them to social media? And raise your hand if you’ve been telling yourself that THIS is the year you’d really like to get a few of your photos PRINTED and up on your walls, into a keepsake album (or two), and/or even into photo frames on your desk that haven’t been updated in 5 years. If you’re raising that hand (or both even?), then this post is for you!
Today I’m sharing some super simple ideas with you on what to do with all those digital images! And to all the sweet mamas reading this post, with Mother’s Day RIGHT around corner, this is also a great post to share with your husbands for gift ideas! ;-)
You’ve got the photos… now is the time to bring them to life!
After you’ve made a safe backup copy (or three) of all the digital copies of your images, the next best thing you can do to enjoy your favorite images everyday AND ensure those memories never fade, is to bring them to life in some way through printing. Here are 5 quick and easy things to do something with your photos beside post them to social media, with recommendations on where you can get things made on a consumer level, too!
1) Photo prints
The tried and true, never-goes-out-of-style photo print is by far the easiest way to bring your digital images to life. You can put prints inside frames that will go your walls, shelves, and/or office desk, leave them out on your coffee table in decorative bowls, and even store them in adorable boxes such as the linen keepsake boxes I offer as add-ons to my clients. There are so many options, and with online uploading/ordering of digital images and shipping direct to your door, it’s easier than ever to get photo prints into your hands!
If you are a client of mine, ordering directly through your online gallery is an easy option available to you (as well as an ordering option for your family/friends). The images are already online, so all you need to do is select the size photo(s) you’re looking for, adjust the photo crops if necessary, insert your shipping & payment information, and within days the prints will arrive to your door.
However, if you’re looking to print images that are no longer in an online gallery or photos you have taken yourself, I highly, highly recommend iprintfromhome.com, which is located right in our very own Kenmore, NY. They are a professional printing lab offering great rates, quick turnaround times, and you can either pick up your prints in person or they can ship directly to your door. All you have to do is upload your images and complete your order. (If you are interested in using them, and care to credit me as your referral, you can do so by mentioning my name when you create a new account). And because I’m always asked… if you do use them, I always recommend the Photographic & Inkjet Prints in Lustre finish. Lustre is definitely the way to go with photo prints as glossy leaves finger prints and matte finish tends to seem dull when used on traditional photo paper.
Alternatively, if you are looking for prints that are not a traditional photo paper, and more of a matte cardstock look/feel, I highly recommend Artifact Uprising. Their Square Print Set (the top photo in the image above) is my personal go-to for the prints I leave laying out in a decorative dish at my house.
But what about frames, you ask? I often find frames at Michael’s or Joann’s when they have their frame sales, or at Target depending on what my needs are. Unfortunately, most big box stores no longer make/sell real wooden frames (which is my personal favorite), so for your solid wood frame needs, I highly recommend having something custom made with Five Acres Furniture. Shawn’s hand-made frames are breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL and so worth the investment.
2) Canvas wall-hangings
Do you have a wall in your home in need of a large photo, or a collage of several photos, but the thought of finding and hanging frames sounds a bit time consuming? Well, then a canvas might just be the answer to all your photo hanging desires! With the canvas wall-hangings I offer to my clients, there is so little effort needed to actually get your images up onto your wall(s). Built around a sturdy wooden frame, each canvas has photo-wrapped edges, a fully-finished back and comes with pre-assembled, ready-to-hang hooks. These durable, high quality, and affordable canvases won't deform or wrinkle over time, and they're super easy to hang (and clean, too)! Just pop a single nail in the wall for each canvas, or you can even just set the frame upright against the wall for a more casual feel.
There are a variety companies out there that will do canvas wraps, but beware – not all canvases are created equal and you absolutely get what you pay for using consumer photo printing sites. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a company I would recommend at a consumer level, because the quality from the company I use (that sells only to professional photographers) knocks the socks off any other company I’ve tested. Whether you are a client or not, I would be thrilled to order a canvas for you! You can find more about pricing and ordering a canvas here. And if you need help deciding which image (or collage of images) to order, just let me know. I’m happy to offer my canvas recommendations at no charge to anyone placing an order with me.
3) Photo books & Keepsake Albums
Whether it’s a special occasion (like a wedding or birth), an in-home Real Life family session, or even images you’ve taken on your own from a vacation or over the course of a year, photo books are the perfect way to bring your story – and a large quantity of photos – to life!
I have personally been putting together photo albums ever since I got my hands on a camera (way back in middle school!). Way, way back in the day I would insert 4x6 photo prints into sleeves contained within albums for each school year or special adventure (like a family trip to Florida!). But, as you can imagine, the print costs added up, and the albums themselves are incredibly bulky. So when I transitioned to digital photography in college, I also transitioned to the more modern photo book.
For your everyday style photo book, where you are looking to include many images and looking to keep costs down, there are a variety of consumer sites available to you at any time – Artifact Uprising, Shutterfly, Blurb, and Pinhole Press are just a few I have heard others used and have tested out myself. These style books are great for re-telling travel stories or showcasing favorite photos of your little one throughout the year. Each site mentioned above includes design programs to lay out the pages, and a few have options to upload PDFs if you’re indesign savy instead. These style books are usually made with thin paper pages that bend in the center of your book, and are likely to get crinkled over time. The quality of image printing will greatly vary depending on the company you use.
For these reasons, I recommend going with keepsake albums (pictured above) for the really special occasions, such as a wedding or birth story, and even in-home family sessions. These albums are hand-made with thick, durable, lay-flat pages and the images printed on photograph paper so they are crisp and clear. If you are looking for something long lasting, made with quality and timelessness in mind, this is definitely the way to go. These albums are available for purchase by professional photographers only, but I would be LOVE to design and order a keepsake album for you! If you’re interested in learning more, you can find more details here.
Where is the one place in your home you know you and your family members will be standing at least once throughout the day? The fridge! Printing small images onto magnets is a great way to add some character to your kitchen and bring you joy as you’re starting the day, trying to figure out what’s for lunch, or winding down at night with a late night snack. There are a variety of companies online that offer magnet printing. Or you can even DIY some yourself using photo prints, and one-side adhesive magnet strips (which you can find available for purchase from most local craft stores).
And last, but certainly not least….
Are you a busy couple or family that likes to keep track of your weekly/monthly activities on a traditional wall calendar? Then this is a great option for you! You can pick and choose images that you love the most for each month, which is a great way to show off your images (and reflect back on when you’re adding new things to the busy month(s) ahead!
I’m personally a google cal type of gal (hence no photo to share!), but if I were to order a traditional printed calendar, I’m totally loving the options Pinhole Press has available. The large date blocks – and image space! – are nice and big on their wall calendars, which is perfect for busy couples and families!
Frame them, display them, hang them, create tangible pieces in all the formats that suit your needs and desires! Whatever your preference, just be sure get those images out of the digital abyss! Thank you so much for checking out this post! I hope it was helpful. But if something is missing or you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m happy to help with all your printing needs!