New-Age Photo Albums

Gift giving is no easy feat; from family members to best friends, it’s always a struggle knowing what type of gift is appropriate for all of those special occasions that call for shopping, paying, wrapping and card-making. For us nuts, a birthday or holiday usually brings with it a special momento (an engraved frame, a record or a lovely poem outlining a friendship shaped through time), otherwise, we like to commemorate a 23rd year (for example), with a piece of jewelry (a long necklace for Jess, a chunky chain-link bracelet for Cat and pretty disc-shaped earrings for Kate).

While all of these options are special and memorable, sometimes a bigger event, such as your parents’ 25th wedding Anniversary, a 30th birthday celebration or the 10th Valentine’s Day with your significant other, calls for something a little more ambitious. We don’t all have hundreds of dollars to spend on a gift, so something that I’ve often looked to is a photo book. In this day and age, all of our pictures are digital, making a drag-and-drop photo book system so easy to put together. When done correctly, a photo book can become the greatest conversation piece in a living room, it can tell a story of a recent trip, or can outline a whole life.

This weekend, I celebrated my grandfather’s 80th birthday. I can only begin to explain how much my grandfather has lived; he’s been a racecar driver, a pilot, started a successful business in sports manufacturing, he lived through WWII and has become the head of a family that completely adores him. Consequently, I knew something big needed to be done to commemorate his 80th year on earth. We threw him a huge surprise party at my parents’ house, and I scanned about 300 vintage and recent pictures to project on screens as background entertainment.

Using Picaboo‘s photo book application, I selected around 150 of these images and organized them chronologically, creating the closest thing he would have to his life’s storybook.

Photos from the 40's

Left: My grandparent's sailing past New York City (note: Twin Towers)

You would be surprised how cheap these books can come. The one I made for my grandfather was $89 including shipping, although I paid extra for express since it was a last minute job!

I made one for Valentine’s Day this year on iPhoto (only $42) and another to remember a recent trip across Quebec as a Christmas gift (made using Shutterfly).

Each of these tools are easy to use and make for beautiful finished products, just be sure you’ve edited the photo selection to highlight the special ones, give yourself enough time to have it printed and shipped, and be sure to have someone read it over before you click ‘Order’! I guarantee that the person you’re gifting it with, will appreciate the time and effort you put in, and will cherish a professional-looking book that shows them just how much you care (in a nutshell).

Left: Made using Shutterfly / Right: Made using iPhoto