The holidays are coming up quickly, and for all of us photographers, that means it’s time to go on the hunt for the perfect gifts to give our friends and family members. And since we’re photographers, most of us have probably already given some of the more common photography gifts. You know what I mean! Things like framed prints, photo books filled with all our favorite family memories, or even things like mugs and jigsaw puzzles made from our photographs. Of course, all of these things make great gifts, but none of us want to give the same things year after year, so I thought it might be nice to put together a list of some uncommon ideas. Check out the following and you may just find that some of these things end up on your holiday shopping list!
What is a memory lantern? These are small lamps — often in a square Asian style, but not always — that have images printed on the lampshade. Search on Etsy for memory lamps to find the style that I’m referring to, but keep in mind that specialty shops all over the internet make lamps in all different styles. Search for “personalized lamps” and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll find everything from traditional lampshades to cube-style lights, both in color and in black and white. This makes an interesting housewarming gift, and it also makes a great gift for the Holidays.
Make Some Bookmarks
If you’re looking for inexpensive but personalized gifts to cover a long list of recipients, then what about bookmarks? Search online for personalized bookmarks and you’ll soon find that there are dozens of well-known printing services that will make beautiful bookmarks for a relatively small price. With bookmarks, you are able to not only give something of your photography, but you can add personal notes, too. So, if you have a quote to go with your images or you want to leave a message for family members, this is an ideal way to do it. The best part of this idea is, everyone uses bookmarks, so your gift is one that is sure to be appreciated. Make bookmarks in a few different styles, and you’ll be able to give a set of bookmarks to the recipients on your list.
Refrigerator magnets are another one of those things that just about everyone uses. So why not use this as an opportunity to display your photographs and to give others an easy way to enjoy a little something of your artwork, too? As with the other ideas, you’ll find dozens of places online that can make magnets in a variety of styles for not very much money at all. Consider using a few different images to make a set of magnets, or even create a small story with a group of related images to feature on different magnets. If you choose magnets in a square design, then you could even turn them into a refrigerator puzzle of sorts — break one image apart into nine or twelve pieces to be printed individually on magnets and let your recipients arrange the pieces and parts on their refrigerator door.
Personalized Rubik’s Cube
Speaking of puzzles, did you know that you can make personalized Rubik’s cubes? This is a fun, quirky gift that will reward recipients with hours of fun. Each side of a personalized Rubik’s cube features one image, which makes it a wonderful way to combine art and puzzle solving. There are a variety of different options online, too. Some places will personalize the Rubik’s cube for you, while others will send you the cube so that you can fix the images to it yourself. And if you’re crafty, you can print your images on sticker paper to place on the squares of a regular Rubik’s cube.
Personalized jewelry takes many forms. Where photography is concerned, the locket is a time-honored favorite, used to keep an image of a loved one close to the heart. But these days, there are all kinds of other options available. Small photos can be turned into necklaces and pendants, and there are also jewelers who will turn images into bracelet charms or even stylish cuff bracelets. Turn images of loved ones into jewelry, or for the fashion-obsessed, use an abstract photograph as the centerpiece to a bracelet or an eye-catching pendant.
Create a Keepsake Book
I mentioned books up above as one of the more traditional photography gift options, but the truth is, with print on demand services, creativity is your only limit where books are concerned. So, instead of creating a printed photo album of family memories, try something unique. You could create a booklet of inspirational photographs with a passage of personal thoughts or devotions on the facing pages. Or, since adult coloring books are incredibly popular right now, you could always convert a select handful of images into line drawings to be printed and bound as a coloring book. Gift books can even be handmade in the form of artistic little scrapbooks, which makes them a valuable keepsake for close friends and family members.
Don’t Forget about Home Goods and Textiles
For a cozy gift, there are lots of options available. Photographs can be turned into pillows and throw blankets. These can make a nice addition to home décor, and they’re also great for people to have in the car so that passengers can relax comfortably on long road trips. For women, personalized makeup bags are a great option. Create a photo collage to be printed on a small pouch, and she’ll have an artistic way to help keep her purse organized. Along those lines, smartphone, tablet, and e-reader cases can also be customized, so if there is a gadget-lover in your life, this could be a great way to help him or her keep her electronics safe and enjoy a little art at the same time.
As you can see, there are lots of options besides the photo album or the framed print. Before the holiday season becomes too hectic, poke around online for personalized photo gifts and I’m sure you’ll find lots more ideas for the people in your life!