Treat Yourself – What to do with all those photos?

Hi friends,

It sure has been a while since the last update. These days I’ve been busy and have only been able to keep up (sort of) with my Instagram posts. I want to see if I can post something of quality 365 times in 2017 – so far I’m ~50 posts behind! All in all, not too bad for the year.

Today I want to talk about something that is very important to me as a photographer and that I feel is often left out of the limelight on photog social media. That something is what to do with all those digital photos.

From my experience, Instagram can be a fantastic ego booster when you get to see others enjoying your creations, but a typical smart phone’s 3″x5″ screen can never do your images justice. What’s worse, as the volume of photos grows, you can lose track of your favorites among the duds. What’s the point of taking photos and then never seeing them again? We can all address this by printing our photos! Let’s not stop there, I will share with you how I share, display, and enjoy my photographs.

 

Small Prints (4″x6″ to 5″x7″)

The most economical form and where I recommend everybody start at. You can go get a photo album for 4″x6″ prints and print dozens of photos for less than 20 dollars. I’ve used many different print shops, from cheap instant prints at Walmart to professional prints at Vistek, and I will say this: I got a Costco membership. Costco’s prints are almost at the same level as my Vistek prints but at only a fifth of the cost! If you have a membership there already, you are all set!

Don’t just stop at the album either, you can also used small frames or stands to display your favorite captures around the home. I use inexpensive IKEA frames (only $2.99-6.99) and either place them on shelves or use them to build a collage on the wall. The pre-cut matting really classes things up.

Inexpensive frames will brighten up any wall (just don’t mind the reflective glass!).

 

If frames aren’t your thing, you can get creative with other fixtures such as stands. I came across this idea when one of my coworkers wanted a way to hold and display a sentimental postcard. Her search for something elegant got her nowhere. Here I was thinking, why not just make one? So I did. She now has a beautiful way to display her postcard, and I my photos. These are just small pieces of white maple cut and sanded to a standish shape.

Works especially well with white framed prints!

 

Larger Prints (8″x10″ and up)

Looking at a 5″x7″ picture still feels too constricting? Time to move to the big league – welcome to large frames, canvases, and the recently introduced metal prints. I’m still at the frames stage – unlike the other options, it’s not a huge commitment since you can always switch the print and reuse the frame. For me, another consideration is my limited wall space, frames allow me to rotate through more photos. Otherwise, I would have to store multiple canvases.

Once again IKEA is a great source of inexpensive frames ($9.99 and up); I am a fan of the minimalist RIBBA series. One recommendation though if you do decide to choose IKEA – buy all your frames at once! IKEA tends to change its frame designs every few months so if you are building a collage and want the same frames, get them while the style is still in.

RIBBA in white. Very understated and doesn’t distract.

If you want to upgrade to studio level frames but are thrifty then my secret is the thrift shops (duh!). You can often find very professional frames at your local Value Village or Salvation Army. The easiest way to tell is to check the back. Profession extruded metal frames all have the same basic design and are held together with pressure springs and screwed brackets.

Like so.

The benefit of more professional frames is the quality of the matting and some might even have anti-reflective glass! (that is a very pricey option!).

 

Photobooks

Photobooks are essentially more permanent and sleek photo albums. They can take more time to put together (no undos!) but have a very professional feel. For a long time, they were reserved for important life events and travels due to the high price tag. Not anymore. These days Costco has simple 21-page 6″x9″ photobooks for $9.99! For the price of a unhealthy meal at a fast food joint, you can preserve your memories in a way that is easy to share and appreciate. This is really one of the best presents you can get for yourself this Christmas! That reminds me – I need to go to Costco to make a few of my own!

 

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