A Face in the Snow, © Brenda Tharp.
Whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Christmas, Solstice, or Hanukkah, gift giving season is here. But rather than just get the usual purchased gifts, why not think about unique and special ones using your photography. If friends and family like your work, now is the chance to share it.
1. Cafepress.com offers an incredible assortment of products in which you can have your photograph(s) incorporated - calendars, mugs, boxes, coasters, T-shirts, aprons, boxer shorts - you name it! I gave out canvas tote bags last year with inspirational quotes and photographs that matched the picture and meant something to the receiver - such as flowers and a gardening quote for the avid gardner in the family. If you haven’t visited them, check their site out now. It’s not too late to order stuff. Visit http://www.cafepress.com
2. Mypublisher.com and Apples’ IBook are great software applications that allow you to create a book of your images - it could be a family trip, or a personal journey that you did with a friend. Or simply a collection of personal favorites that you want to share. My sisters are always saying “we want a coffee table style book of your pictures.” Well, to print three of those would be ludicrous with offset printing. But to print three through one of these sites is very doable and affordable.
3. Calendars - what better way to share your favorite pictures of the year with someone than in a calendar? Cafe press produces them, but you can also download software and free calendar templates with a little searching of the web. Some are customizable, some are not. But these were such a big hit with the family and friends one year.
4. My partner and I produced magnets with our photographs for stocking stuffers a few years ago. We learned the hard way that non-archival pictures didn’t last very long for some locations - apparently the lights are on in the kitchen much more often than other parts of the house - or the cooking odors, etc. caused a change - but we got it right and replaced the fading magnets with archival printed pictures and they are doing fine! You can get the magnet material already precut into business size cards in Office Depot or stores like it. Then you just print your images the size that will fit the magnet blanks.
5. Make a translucent picture. Why not print your favorite image on printable Vellum, a translucent ink-jet paper. Red RIver Paper (www.redriverpaper.com) sells it, and others probably do as well hopefully in small enough quantities to make this idea affordable. If you print the picture, then frame it in a wire frame designed to have light coming through, you can hang these in windows without direct sunlight, like an ornament. I produced one of a slot canyon image from the southwest US, and they’re pretty neat. While they won’t likely be archival, (you’d have to check with the paper manufacturers to see what the life expectancy would be), you could always supply two or three pictures to replace the faded one when it eventually goes. And it’s a unique gift idea.
The list could go on - and I’m sure many of you have your own creative ideas for using your photographs as gifts. Share them with others in the public Q&A of Betterphoto! And celebrate the gift-giving season with images of beauty, fun, creativity and love.
Have a great week everyone!