It’s the most stressful time of the year (sung to the Christmas tune of It’s the most wonderful time of the year). It’s time for Christmas shopping for our loved ones!
I’ve finally reached that age where I’m struggling to think of great Christmas gifts for my adult family members: mom, dad, in-laws, sisters. You can only give so many golf balls and tees before Dad starts losing them on purpose. So after much brain-wracking and anxiety, last year I realised I should be giving photographs. You might think this was obvious since I am a photographer, but it didn’t actually occur to me until I was struggling with last-minute gifts.
So this year, I’ve decided to do it again, but a little bit earlier and with a bit more thought. It can be really easy to get caught up in all of your photos and memories, and then you find yourself 5 hours later with only one chosen. Here are my tips for picking the best photos to print as Christmas gifts for your loved ones.
1 – Start by brainstorming, not by looking through digital folders and endless streams of images.
I find this time of year is a time of reflection, so I use that to my advantage. I sit down with my cup of tea and think back on the warmer days of spring, summer, and fall. I make a list of my favourite memories of the people I love. I also make a list of things that I love about the people I want to give gifts to. And finally, I list the people they might want pictures of (mostly, my kids or other grandkids/nieces/nephews).
Here’s a few items from my list to give you an idea:
- Our trip to South Haven, Michigan with family and friends
- Playing laser tag at my sister’s house
- Walking Box Hill with our friends
- Things I love about people in my life
- My mom’s smile
- My dad’s love of teaching people how to do things
- The way my sister plays with my kids
2 – Decide what kind of photo gifts you want to give
If you’ve ever been to one of the photo printing websites or shops, you know that range of gifts you can choose to buy and put on a photo on are endless. You can save yourself some time and impulse buying by thinking about what kind of gift you want to give beforehand. This also helps in deciding what photos to choose.
Don’t underestimate the power of the simple print.
A small 4×6″ print in a simple frame is easy to display (on a bookshelf, the mantle, on top of a dresser or window ledge). Most of us rarely print our photos anymore. We post them on social media, we flip through them on our phones, or we forget about them on our hard drives. So a small print gets those photos out to be enjoyed.
Other easy to create photo gifts include calendars, photo display blocks, and Christmas ornaments or baubles.
3 – Use your list to go through the photos you have taken this year (or in years past)
Once I have my lists made, it’s a lot easier to go through the photos and pick the ones I want to use. In fact, by the time I’m done with my lists, I already have photos in mind.
As I look through the photos, I look for the ones that have the most genuine facial expressions or emotions. I want to make sure the recipient of the gift is reminded of those things I love from my list, like a special moment or the feeling of playing laser tag.
4 – Get the photos printed!
That’s it, upload the images to your favourite site and get those prints and gifts ordered. If you are in the UK, Photobox has a nice range of gifts. If you are in the States, my favourite vendor is Artifact Uprising. Of course, I can also help you with beautiful prints from my professional lab with 4×6 prints starting at £10. Just send me a message, and I can give you the details.
Merry Christmas and Happy gift giving!
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