Gift cards often feels like the go-to choice when you don’t know what to give someone, and while they may be practical, they’re also quite impersonal. So what do you give someone? Everyone so much STUFF nowadays that they probably don’t really need another gadget to sit in the corner and take up space. But guess what’s fun to give? That’s right! Photo gifts! They’re personal, memorable, and often results in bonding time, so what’s not to love? We think you can do better than gift cards, so to help you prepare for all your upcoming occasions, we’ve assembled this top 10 list of creative photo gift ideas that offer a wide enough budget range to fit any wallet.
Let’s get creative!
Give More, Share More
One of the biggest reasons to display photos is to honor those we love. Did anyone see Pixar’s recent movie Coco? In this animated feature, they use family photos to celebrate Dia De Los Muertos and to show that those we care about are never forgotten. Even though this is used as a storytelling device in the movie, it also shows how important photos are in our lives. You honestly can’t go wrong gifting photos because A) it’s inexpensive and B) shows how much you care. Plus, it makes a personal gift for any special occasion, for example Mother’s Day.
There are a variety of ways to send or give photos to loved ones. With digital technology taking over the world, you have more options than ever to get creative with your photos. You can go the traditional route of making crafts out of regular photos, of course, but technology has made everything so much easier. As photo organizers, we want you to give more photos and share more photos, so to help you find the best ideas, we’ve scoured the internet for unique and time worthy gift choices.
Here’s out top 10 list:
Photo Gift Idea #1 – A Nixplay Digital Cloud Frame ($$)
For people who want simplicity, this digital cloud frame is our top choice. It works just like a regular digital frame except it links up to a cloud storage account through an app. You upload your photos with the app, and the frame displays them, no matter where it’s located. This makes it super easy to send photos to family members who are overseas, or parents and grandparents that don’t use much technology. We all love and use them in our family because we’re spread out over several continents.
Photo Gift Idea #2 – A Photo Book ($$)
For people who want to use their creativity to the fullest, a photo book is a wonderful choice. This is a unique and fun project to get kids involved with, and if you love storytelling, you’ll quickly get addicted. You can make your own DIY photo book at home using paper and crafts, or you can upload your digital photos to an online service that prints your book for you. It can cost anywhere from $15-300 depending on the type of paper used and how many photos you want to include.
If you want to make a homemade photo book, all you need is a printer so you can print your own photos. If you type “DIY Photo Book” into YouTube or Google you will find many different tutorials to help you figure out how to put it together. If you would like a cleaner looking photo book and don’t want to deal with printing at home then I recommend using a service like Mixbook, Shutterfly, Blurb for consumers, or Apple. You can visit any of their websites to get started.
If you want a really high quality photo book, call a Pro! The price may be a little higher, but you’ll get a superior product! We would love to help you put together a great book for your family, or coach you through how to make one on your own, but if you prefer to work with someone local, visit APPO.org to find a photo book designer in your area!
Photo Gift Idea #3 – A Canvas Print ($$)
For people who want easy wall art, you can’t go wrong with a print on canvas. You can print almost any high-resolution photo onto a canvas (a sturdy woven fabric used for art/photos/painting) for as little as $15. It all depends on the size and quality, and if you want it framed.
To get a photo printed on canvas you can go to a local place near you that prints to canvas or use an online service like Easycanvasprints, Simplecanvasprints, or Shutterfly. A canvas print is great idea for anyone who enjoys art in their home. Framed or not, it makes for a great gift!
Photo Gift Idea #4 – A Mini Photo Pocket Printer ($$)
For people who love small gadgets and are on the go, give a mini-photo pocket printer! It’s a small sized printer that fits in your purse or pocket that will print photos wirelessly from your smartphone. This is a personal favorite because it’s convenient and easy to carry around and you get small prints instantly.
There are many different brands on the market, but they all cost between $100-$150. You’ll need to purchase the specific photo paper for it. This runs about $25 for a pack of twenty. I suggest ordering a few of these packs up front because you will be printing a lot when you first get started. And you’ll want to have enough on hand for your next family vacation.
Photo Gift Idea #5 – A Retro Image Viewer ($)
For people who love nostalgia, a customized Retro Viewer is a unique gift. Great for large or small celebrations, this classic toy will bring a smile to anyone. Remember those Retro Viewers you liked to look through when you were a kid? Most of the time they had cartoon images or movie stills, and when you pulled down the lever the reel turned to expose another image to tell a story? Well, Image3d took this idea a step further so that you can put your own photos in the reel! All you have to do is upload your digital photos to their website and they create the reel for you.
You get one viewer and one reel for $29.95. Check their webpage image3d and be sure to watch their overview video that explains everything in detail.
Photo Gift Idea #6 – A Photo Puzzle ($)
For cute kids who are problem-solvers, try a photo puzzle! Vendors like Collage, Shutterfly, or Puzzleyou all have great options for turning a good photo into a great learning tool! This is a good gift for kids are a between 5 and 10 years old, boys and girls alike.
It’s up to you how many puzzle pieces you want, but the more pieces, the harder it is to put together and the more it costs. Normally, they range from anywhere between $15-50 depending on manufacturer, size, and quality.
Photo Gift Idea #8 – A Digital Photo Message ($)
For those times when you only need to send a quick congrats to someone, check out Ditty by Zya. This is a free app that you download on your phone and it turns your texts into music and graphics. You can add photos to it while customizing your words to popular songs, for example you can have your own words, texts, and photos put to the Star Wars theme. It’s a thoughtful way to send a celebratory digital message via your iPhone.
They have a limited number of free songs, so you’ll have to pay 99 cents each for the rest, but hey – that’s still a pretty good deal! You can download Ditty for free (using an iPhone/iPad) by going to the app store.
Photo Gift Idea #8 – A Shadow Glow Wall ($$)
For the handy person who wants to entertain, a shadow glow wall might be a fun option! This is more an experience than a tangible gift, but it would be a perfect surprise for a kids party! There is a great tutorial you can watch here that shows you exactly how this works. Every time you create a flash of light with someone standing in front of the glow wall, an image of their shadow will be preserved. Kids will have a blast creating images and you can snap photos of all the different pictures they create! This isn’t only a fun photo display, but an experience the whole family will remember. The sky’s the limit on creativity here.
To make a shadow glow wall, buy some rolls of glow-in-the-dark vinyl (or glow paint) and use that as your background. You’ll also need a flash to use as the camera (a UV flashlight could also work). You can buy both a wireless camera flash and glow-in-the-dark vinyl on Amazon. Home Depot also carries different brands of glow paint. This display can run anywhere between $15-200 (it depends on how much vinyl or paint you need), but it’ll be worth it when you see your kids having fun!
Photo Gift Idea #9 – A Classic Photo Booth ($$$)
Here’s another experience that may be the perfect gift for someone who already has everything – rent a photo booth! This is a vintage party favorite that we just don’t see enough of anymore. Adults love it and kids love it, so it’s a perfect surprise for any event. In our Chicagoland area, ZippyBooth is a popular choice, but you can also get them from Keshot and TapSnap, among others. Some versions will give you the time-honored photo strips to take home, and others let you send the shots directly to your phone.
Floating party? Not enough time? Check out Photobooth.net – it’s a website that locates still remaining active photo booth around the world!
Photo Gift Idea #10 – A Photo Safari Tour ($$$$)
Forget stuff. Experiences are the new thing to gift, and what could be better than a new adventure?
If you’ve got the budget for it, a photo safari is the way to go. Experience animals in the wild with Natural Habitat Photo Adventures (WWF) or find the northern lights in Iceland with Dream Photo Tours! These types of experiences usually range from $4000-15000 depending on destination and itinerary, but from what I’ve heard, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience! This is the perfect gift for a wedding or an anniversary, and it’ll get you some pretty amazing shots to frame!
Meaningful Gifts are Better
The best gifts are those that you’ve put some thought into because it’s the thought that counts, right? Photos are a better gift overall because they create a connection and lets the recipient know that you made an effort. Thoughtfulness is key to a perfect gift! So why not turn your photo collection into something nobody will forget? You don’t have to spend anything at all to make someone’s day memorable. You just need to make the time to create!
Editor’s Note: Thanks for these fun ideas, Shastina! Now, who’s gonna buy me a photo safari for my birthday? 😉
What say you readers? What photo gifts are your favorites?
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