Now it is so easy to take great digital images, and to manipulate them as we want, one of the simplest ways to create truly personalised gifts and cards for the festive season is to use an online photo service. And there are so many to choose from. Here’s a selection of new services, along with a few older favourites:
Note that last order dates for the services vary depending on products and delivery options, but tend to be around December 12-16. Please check before ordering!
Nero Kwik Media Software
Nero has added a new photo service to its free Kwik Media software. This lets you design and print your own customised calendars, cards and photo books – show off your holiday snaps, print a ‘boast book’ for grandma or send a family calendar to an aunt who lives abroad.
Great for showing off your holiday snaps, creating a gift for the grandparents or sending a family calendar to Mum for her birthday.
With Nero Kwik Media, the user can complete a high-quality, ready-to-order photo book, calendar or greeting card in minutes. Photos can be tagged and filtered using facial recognition so they can found quickly. Also the pre-configured background themes and layouts can be edited and changed to make your project completely personal to you.
The free Nero Kwik Media software lets you manage, sync and share photos, videos and music across PCs, Android smartphones and tablets. There are also tools to edit and enhance photos, create slide shows, burn your content to DVD and Blu-ray, and post photos and videos to social networks.
Photo products typically ship within five to 10 business days.
Go to: http://kwikmedia.nero.com/eng for details.
A favourite of many of my mum friends is Snapfish. As well as offering bargain prices for photo printing – especially if you have a big batch to get printed, Snapfish also offers a number of personalised gifts.
A customised calendar or mini photobook, for example, each come in at less than £15. Or how about getting your own image on the stamps you use to send your Christmas cards? They cost from £7.80 for a sheet of 10 x 1st class stamps.
You can capture your special moments in a personalised photobook – choose books of up to 150 pages – plenty of room for all your family and friends from over the years to be included in a memory book for a partner or best friend. Soft cover book prices start from a stocking filler price of £2.99.
I have just used Snapfish to create a magic mug (the pictures appear as you fill it with a hot drink) for my husband from my little boy. You can squeeze up to 15 pictures onto a mug – a great gift to keep at work. Plus a calendar for Nanny, filled with pictures of her grandchildren – a whole year of lovely images for £14.99.
My favourite pics tend to go up on Facebook, so rather than go back and trawl through the hundreds of images I’ve taken this year, it would actually be easier to take them off my Facebook page.
The people at Blurb have obviously had the same thought because they have just launched a new bookmaking flow that lets Facebook users turn their album photos into professional-quality books.
The Blurb photo book flow for Facebook lets you use your Facebook photo albums, along with their captions and comments into quality photobooks. The resulting 7×7 inch square format books, start at £7.
To create a book, sign into your Facebook account on the Blurb website. Once the albums are selected they will then autoflow into a Blurb book and a personalised cover will be automatically chosen. Photo comments and captions associated with a picture are also captured. You can buy or edit your book using Blurb’s online bookmaking tool, Bookify.
The images are automatically optimised to high print quality and there is an option to share and sell your book from the Blurb.com bookstore, as well as to create an ebook for iPad.
Books are delivered in seven to 10 days.
More at www.blurb.com/apps/facebook
Jessops has long been a favourite with photographers and it also offers an online service with a wide range of photo gifts.
One of our favourites are the Skins, which can be personalised with your own image for iPhones, iPads and PCs.
If you’re on a budget there are mugs, jigsaw puzzles, mouse mats, gift wrap and cards, snow globes, stationery sets, cushions, key rings and lots more, whether you’re looking for stocking fillers or something a bit more substantial. Keen chefs could even be unwrapping their own personalised apron on Christmas morning.
Until December 6 2011, Jessops is offering 50% off its photo calendars – use the code XMASCAL.
Go to http://photo.jessops.com for more details.
Trawling through a huge box of old family photos recently, I came across piles of Bonusprint envelopes filled with badly-dressed people with questionable hairstyles – and yes, many of them were me. It’s hardly surprising, as BonusPrint has been around 1979.
However, there’s’ nothing old-fashioned about the service it now offers online. BonusPrint has all kinds of personalisd photo gifts for you to choose from, from Photo Cards and Photo Books to prints, calendars and diaries.
As my small boy has come home from school several times with some other child’s Ben 10 lunchbox, being able to personalise a child’s lunchbox is absolutely inspirational – and at £9.99 it’s pretty much on a par with the prices charged for your average character themed box.
For someone who loves their kitchen, or who has just moved into a new home – how about a personalised glass chopping board or glass placemats?
There are loads more ideas – head to www.bonusprint.co.uk for all the details.
Finally, Photobox is another favourite in our household. On our first wedding anniversary, I was struggling to come up with a clever paper-based gift until I logged on to Photobox and found their beautiful collage photo posters – I grouped together some favourite photos of our time together for a truly unique gift.
As well as the usual posters, calendars and photo books, Photobox has also introduced Christmas photo baubles this year – great as gifts for grandparents, or for a baby’s first Christmas, or even as a lasting reminder of a loved one who has passed away.
Also new this year at Photobox are the personalised photo snow globes.
Head to www.photobox.co.uk, where new customers can get 30 per cent off their first order using the FIRST30 code.