By Christina VanGinkel
I have been a fan of the digital camera from its initial incantation. I have used mine for everything from photos for my son's and grandson's scrapbook pages, to snapping photographs of wild black bears that frequent the woods around my home. I have even used the photographs for the occasional gift. What I did not realize until this morning when I was doing a bit of browsing on the Internet, was exactly how many different things you could do with your digital prints.
Shutterfly, an online photo site, has a section of their website dedicated solely to personalized gifts. I must say that I find it hard to believe I was missing some of the most wonderful ways to put my photos to use.
By uploading your photos to their website, you are then capable of ordering items that include your chosen photos. Items such as mouse pads, tote bags, magnets, coffee mugs, note-cards, aprons, t-shirts, posters, even canvas prints that are hand stretched and gallery wrapped. However, the most inspiring and unique gift that they have listed is your very own book.
With a choice of hardcover or soft cover editions, you can quickly create your own coffee table or gift book for a loved one that is filled with your very own photography! I cannot say enough about this idea. Each book will hold between 20 and 100 photos. With the cover design featuring a cut away opening, the first picture in your book is also displayed when the book is closed. These make ideal gifts for almost any occasion you can image. Better yet, make one for yourself! No more fumbling with photographs in an album when you want to show visitors snapshots of your newest grandchild, or your son racing around the motocross track. By building a book of each, they will always be on permanent display, ready to share.
Text can also be added to each photo. Memories can be captured both visually and through your own verbal interpretation for generations to come. Talking of generations, this idea is a great way to correlate all those ancestral photos. With many older black and white and sepia toned pictures deteriorating from handling, age, and lack of proper storage, this is a great way save those photographs. Have a few copies printed and share them with the older family members. They will make beautiful gifts to be passed down to younger family members in the years to come.
These books would also make a great gift for new parents. Assemble one of baby and present it to them on babies first birthday. This will truly become a keepsake gift. Have an older pet that is like part of the family. Assemble photos of Fido along with some heartwarming stories, and your beloved little friend will always be with you. Special occasions, from weddings to weekends fishing, are all excellent reasons to assemble one. Actually, I may have to make room on my bookshelf by the time I am done putting together all the books I already have ideas for, let alone those yet to be thought of!