Some of the gifts I am giving this year are 2010 calendars made with my photographs and artwork. While the sites that help you do this (Snapfish, Shutterfly, etc.) have templates that facilitate the process, it is still up to you to choose the layout, design, backgrounds, fonts, paper colours and textures, number of images per page, accompanying text, and so on. It takes a fair bit of time to design a photo book or calendar, and you also have to allow for the time it takes to download all the images you want to use onto their site before you can begin your design work. I would rather, however, spend my time doing that than shopping in cookie-cutter, look-alike stores that we find in malls. Mind you, I could not totally avoid mall shopping, but the days I was working at home designing calendars and photo books, I was much happier and stress free. Internet shopping is often a less stressful way to shop....if you allow adequate time for delivery.
Above are a few of the new 2010 calendars with my photographs.
More calendars. I designed some (already wrapped) using my children's photographs of trips (Spain, for example). and others with photographs of beloved children for their parents. You can design gifts that are relevant, specific and unique for the recipients. Occasionally an image that looked great in the design on the computer screen does not measure up in print, but it is rare. For example, the bottom left image in the red grouping above does not compare to what I saw on the screen. I guess it is to be expected.
Above are photo books that can be made in several sizes, but I like to use and give them as coffee table books, so these are the biggest size available at the site I use. (The photo books are quite a bit more expensive than the calendars.)
You can design each page differently. So above you see one picture on the right that takes up the entire page, whereas on the left the picture is smaller and framed in a border. You can add text to accompany your images if you so choose.
Again above there are more coffee table photo books. If you look closely you will see that you can put smaller inserts of smaller images over others. There are dozens of variations in design available. I'm sure many of you are doing this already. If so, I would love to hear what site you use and your experience with it. I originally started with Snapfish but have worked more with Shutterfly of late. Too many errors with Snapfish Canada, but I have heard that Snapfish in the States is very good. Shutterfly has given me excellent quality and service.
Then all you have to do is decide what goes to whom, wrap and deliver them.