The holidays are officially here and I’m a big fan of creating photo gifts for my parents and in-laws. They love getting pictures of us, especially my 8 year old stepson, and I can do all the work from the comfort of my recliner and it ships directly to my house.
I’ve been making photo gifts for over 5 years now and here are my tips for making holiday photo gifts. I’ve used Snapfish for years so my photo history is there and its the same service my friends use, so I can use their pictures as well. Shutterfly is another great service and like Snapfish, is free to use. There are many more sites you can use but I’m not going to list them all here. Ask around and see what your friends use or try Snapfish or Shutterfly to get started.
- Start uploading pictures early – Ideally, after you take the pictures you would move them from the camera and then upload them to your photo service. That never happens for me so when I finally get around to downloading the 500+ photos I took on a recent trip to Charleston, SC I made sure to upload them to Snapfish once they were on my computer. Being diligent about uploading your pictures to your preferred service makes it much easier to create your photo gifts later.
- Get pictures from family & friends – I have a habit of taking pictures but never being in pictures. I also don’t remember to bring my camera with me everywhere I go, so I rely on others to help me fill in the gaps. I can pull pictures from my friends’ Facebook and Snapfish account and hopefully, fingers crossed, they will have a picture of my family and me I can use for the calendar I make for my mother-in-law.
- Sign up for emails from your photo service – This time of year, you should never pay full price for photos or photo gifts. I receive a new coupon code every couple of days from Snapfish and I bought 3 photo books for the price of 1 just last week. I’m a girl on a budget and I will take all the deals I can get my hands on. If you aren’t interested in receiving emails, just do a quick search for coupon codes for your photo service before you check out to get a coupon code.
- Buy in bulk and start a tradition – Last year I made 1 book of all the pictures from the 3 sports my stepson played and ordered 3 copies, one for each in-law and one for my stepson. Everyone loved it and I’m told my mother-in-law carried it around for weeks showing it off to her friends. And my stepson loved seeing his pictures in a book that was made just for him. I also give my mother-in-law a photo calendar every year. She looks forward to receiving it, they use it throughout the year, and its an easy gift to make for her.
- Start early – The hardest lesson for me to learn has been to start early. I’ve always waited until the last minute and it adds more stress to an already stressful holiday season and then I cross my fingers and hope the gifts arrive on time. There is no reason to stress myself out this way. Its much easier to create a photo gift when you aren’t staying up late trying to get it ready in order to use a coupon or meet a shipping deadline. I also use the Pomodoro Technique to break up the work into smaller time blocks.
I love having photos of my loved one out and I think photo gifts are more personal than a scarf or tie. And since I’m terrible at printing and distributing photos the rest of the year, this makes up for it. (I didn’t pass out the kindergarten pictures until halfway through 1st grade.)
Do you make photo gifts? What service do you use? What are your favorite photo gifts? I really like picture books and stationary but I’m thinking about getting a few photo canvases.
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