Frugal Gifting with Photographs

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

Most people won’t leave for vacation without one important item: their camera.  Most people would also say their most treasured possessions are their family photos.  Photos help us capture special moments and save their memory for a lifetime, but because they’re so easy to take, store, and print, we often take them for granted.  We take tons of pictures on our vacations, during family reunions, and in our everyday lives that, unless you’re an avid scrapbooker, tend to end up in a box under the bed. This holiday season, why not take a look in that box and see if there are any special photos you can make into personal and meaningful gifts? Here are a few suggestions on how to make the most of your photos this Christmas.

  • Look through printed photos for pictures that would be special to someone in your life.

Most of us aren’t professional photographers, so a majority of the pictures we take won’t turn out that well. But every once in a while we capture the perfect smile or expression with the best lighting, and the photo is a keeper.  Look through the pictures you’ve already printed to see if there are any forgotten treasures you can make into a gift for someone. For instance, if a beloved family member has passed away, photos of that person are especially meaningful and appropriate as gifts.  For grandparents, consider compiling collages of your children’s photos or choosing an especially good family photo.

  • Look through digital photos that you can enhance or re-size. 

The wonder of digital cameras is that you can take 2,000 pictures but only print 20. The downside is that because it’s so easy, you might not get around to printing any of them.  If you have digital photos spread across numerous electronic devices, consider using a portable SD card to transfer them to one location, or place them on photo CDs, labeled by date and event. This will make it much easier for you to retrieve specific photos for printing and viewing enjoyment. Look for photos you’ve forgotten about or ones that are only slightly imperfect. Using a simple computer program, you can easily fix red eye, crop, rotate and even change the hue of your photos to make them look their best (maybe even professional).

  • Save money and get creative by printing at a discount store. 

If you’re really concerned about quality, don’t print your own photos. You need a photo printer as well as high quality ink and paper to get the same results as you’ll get from a photo lab. This can get expensive. Crunch the numbers and decide if it’s worth the cost and hassle of printing them at home versus getting them printed professionally. Most discount stores have photo labs that offer incredibly cheap prints. What’s more, most of them offer many photo-gift options such as mugs, jewelry, canvas, afghans, and more.

  • Stock up on cheap but unique frames or make your own.

You don’t need to spend a lot on a frame for it to be the perfect complement to your photo gifts. Check for clearance sales and stock up on basic frames in various sizes. If they’re too plain, you can always paint them or add craft embellishments to dress them up. If you can’t find the right size frame for your photo, add some scrapbook paper as a background. A great place to find unique or vintage frames are thrift stores and yard sales. You can also make your own using molding and other supplies you can find at crafting stores.

Printing and framing special photos as gifts is incredibly meaningful and inexpensive. If you’re trying to be more frugal with your gift-giving without appearing cheap, this is an excellent choice as we approach the holiday season.

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