Sunday, August 26, 2012

Christmas Gift or Personalised Present Idea

I like to try and think of slightly different things for Christmas gifts.  Ideally unusual things that don’t cost a lot of money are good.  I thought you might find this idea of interest. 

This time of year you can get photo books from the online suppliers at a very good price, before the Christmas rush I guess. 
Top Tip - Always check out the special offers section of their website.

I did a photo book for my son and for my daughter a couple of years ago.  I started with their baby photos and went through the rest of their growing up until they were young adults.  It’ll be a lovely keepsake for them.

How it works

Once you decided which company you are using (use an online search) then log on, choose the book style you want and add in your digital photos to the online formatted book.

I have bought both soft and hard covered books.  Both are very good quality and the photos looked clear.

The online format allows you to add your photos and text boxes so you can explain where the picture was taken, etc or make funny comments about the picture.  There’s a range of page styles and colours to choose from.

Most of my photos were pre-digital so I had to scan them into a jpg file and use this for the book.  But if you are using digital photos the whole process is quite quick to do.

You can make this a bit quirky

Most book formats allow you to add a photo on the front cover.  Instead of a standard photo you could use a drawing of the person receiving the book and include some of their interests.

If you are not too sure about drawing you can do most of the items on the computer.  Use a photo of the person and place clip art images of their interest in appropriate positions using a graphics program.  Print this out and trace off the lines you want from the print off. 

You can add extra details or simplify the whole thing – just use your creativity.  Once you are happy with the sketch then scan it, save as a jpg, and you can use this image as the front cover of the photo book.  Add some text using a text box too if you want.

An example

If I was doing this for me I would think about my interests – painting, gardening, liking a glass of wine with dinner, walking, reading, and so on.  Out of that I would choose a few things to make up my drawing.

One idea could be with me sitting at a table with a big plate of food and a glass of wine and lots of flowers coming in through an open window.  Below the table a pair of thin legs with large walking shoes.  You could make this fairly realistic or more like a cartoon.

For this one I would just use a photo for the face and clip art for the walking shoes and perhaps the flowers.  The rest of the shapes can be drawn with a ruler.

Be sure to consider the format of the front cover of the photo book and to make your sketch in the same format (usually landscape rather than portrait) for the best result. 

You also have the choice of whether to make the sketch black and white or perhaps to add colour.  Adding colour would be good for anyone who supports a particular sports team too.

The sketch can be as simple or elaborate as you like.

Group Gift

If you are a member of a group you could make up a photo book including photos of meeting, trips or special occasions. 

If you've been to a wedding you could get photos from other guests and make up an ‘unofficial wedding album’ using these snaps. 

Should you decide to do a ‘group book’ just order one to check that you are happy with the result and then you can order additional copies knowing that the book is good.  If you find that a photo is too dark/light you will be able to change it before you place the bigger order of copies.

I hope you can use some of these ideas.  Digital photos are nice but it's lovely to have a hard copy version too.