Thursday, August 18, 2005

Memorable Photo Gifts

By Christina VanGinkel

I use my photo printer quite regularly, and I occasionally use the printing service at our local Wal-Mart. I also have the sporadic need for an online printer, for those times that I am not sure what I am going to want, but know it cannot be printed on my personal printer. And in the same breath, I do not want to stand in line at the store waiting impatiently for someone to help me, someone who oftentimes has no idea how to answer a question I have, let alone offer real assistance.

For those times, I head online to shop from the comfort of my desk chair. This morning was one of those times, and I thought I would check out Ofoto and Kodak online. Both have stores with a wide offering of products, so I thought I would check them out to see what they offered and to see if their prices were competitive to some of the other online stores, such as Shutterfly and Snapfish.

Kodak was my first stop and by clicking on their Shopping tab, I was taken directly to their storefront. The first thing I noticed that I liked, was that not only are their products broke down by individual item names themselves, such as Frames and Albums, but categories can also be browsed by Occasion! By clicking on Vacation for example, it brought me to a variety of suggestions for using vacation photos to their fullest potential, including calendars, mouse pads, even decks of cards resplendent in my favorite vacation snapshots! I could also order coffee mugs and poster-sized prints! Overall, the Kodak website was easy to navigate and offered me a nice assortment of products to choose from, that I could never print from my home printer. Prices were competitive, and when I signed in (Which I had to do before it would let me shop) I realized I still had fifty free 4" x 6" prints coming from when I had signed up at their site some time ago. There was even a notation that they never expired, so I will definitely be uploading some photos to check out their photo processing.

I also tried to click over to Ofoto, but I quickly realized that what was once its own site is now the same as Kodak. I thought I was having a problem with my computer, but it was nothing more than if you type in the address for Ofoto, you are merely routed right back to the Kodak site. A quick search online also turned up a few other names that I recognized as possible printing outlets, including PhotoWorks, which was a pleasant surprise. They not only offered the standard coffee mug for memorable gift giving, they had puzzles made from your favorite photos and porcelain Christmas ornaments! As I am already compiling my Christmas list, this was a very nice find for me. They also have a nice selection of the photo books that are becoming all the rage. So if you are looking for a new place to order photos and such online, be sure to check these two places out.

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